May 23, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:
1. Oakland Athletics (LW: 3) – Zuckerman: It took a couple of years, but ex-Nats prospect Derek Norris is living up to the billing at last.
2. Detroit Tigers (LW: 1) — Roney: Really encouraging work from onetime super prospect Rick Porcello: 7-1, 2.91 ERA. Prehaps most impressive? Only seven free passes issued so far.
3. San Francisco Giants (LW: 2) — Zuckerman: Tim Hudson (4-2, 2.09 ERA) having a very nice bounce-back season in San Fran.
4. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 4) — Roney: Jean Segura has remained back on Earth after plummeting there late last season: .292 OBP, with horrible efficiency on the basepaths (9 SBs, 6 CS; 60% success rate).
5. Atlanta Braves (LW: 5) — Hughes: What exactly happened to Jason Heyward? The guy was looking like a future superstar just two years ago.
6. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 13) — Roney: Welcome back, Kolten: Wong has hit in all five games since returning from his brief minor league exile. He’s talented enough to keep it up.
7. Colorado Rockies (LW: 6) — Zuckerman: It’s getting close to that point where we have to start taking these guys seriously.
8. Los Angeles Angels (LW: 7) — Zuckerman: Mike Trout leads the AL in strikeouts. Reason for actual concern, or much ado about nothing?
9. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 17) — Hughes: R.A. Dickey’s last six outings have been quality starts. Is he back?
10. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 8) — Zuckerman: Clayton Kershaw looks mortal while Josh Beckett dominates. It’s Bizarro World in L.A.
11. New York Yankees (LW: 12) — Hughes: New York’s leaders in OPS this season are Mark Teixeira and Yangervis Solarte. Can’t predict baseball.
12. Miami Marlins (LW: 15) — Hughes: Giancarlo Stanton has his average over .300 and his OPS approaching 1.000. Don’t be surprised if he wins an MVP some day.
13. Baltimore Orioles (LW: 9) — Hughes: Baltimore is above .500 and Chris Davis and Manny Machado are starting to come around. Look out.
14. Washington Nationals (LW: 10) — Hughes: Having Doug Fister back and pitching well is going to be huge for them. The Nats’ rotation could use some stability.
15. Minnesota Twins (LW: 22) — Roney: The Twins are overachieving, even with their best pitcher (Alex Meyer) striking out 10.6 batters/9 in Triple-A. Will they still be here once the gigantic righty surfaces later in the year?
16. Kansas City Royals (LW: 14) — Roney: Mike Moustakas’ banishment to Triple-A is another nail in the coffin for the disappointing 2007 first round. How bad has Moose been? The Royals have zero power, and they still can’t justify keeping him around, even though he’s tied for the team lead in HR (4).
17. Texas Rangers (LW: 18) — Zuckerman: If Prince Fielder really is done for the season … wow, that trade looks like a disaster.
18. Chicago White Sox (LW: 20) — Roney: Anybody else notice Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo finally, and quietly, producing on the South Side? Even Adam Dunn is hitting about .250, which is like a regular good hitter batting .380.
19. Seattle Mariners (LW: 16) — Zuckerman: Robinson Cano hitting .326, but only 2 homers. Think he misses Yankee Stadium?
20. Cleveland Indians (LW: 21) — Roney: How frustrating is Carlos Santana? He can’t even slump well enough to justify benching. Even with a .153 average, he’s walking so much (team-leading 37) that his OBP is a playable .304.
21. Cincinnati Reds (LW: 24) — Roney: Anyone know what Rickey Henderson is up to? Billy Hamilton could use some theivery pointers — his 73% success rate on stolen base attempts isn’t actually efficient enough to help his offense (needs to be 80% or above).
22. Boston Red Sox (LW: 11) — Hughes: The wheels may be coming off in Boston as Tha Sawx have lost seven straight.
23. New York Mets (LW: 19) — Hughes: Matt Harvey wants to come back from after just 10 months of recovery? Good luck selling that to your training staff and front office, dude.
24. Philadelphia Phillies (LW: 27) — Hughes: If the Phillies keep losing, Ruben Amaro may be breaking out the dynamite once the trade deadline nears.
25. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 26) — Roney: Change of scenery alert: Ike Davis is hitting .268 on the year. I think locusts come next.
26. San Diego Padres (LW: 23) — Zuckerman: Only above-average hitters in their lineup have been Seth Smith and Chris Denorfia.
27. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 25) — Hughes: Tampa Bay looks terrible at this point, but I would not be shocked if they finish around .500. The roster and manager are too good.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 28) — Zuckerman: The Tony LaRussa hiring may work long-term, but it’s really not fair to GM Kevin Towers.
29. Houston Astros (LW: 30) — Zuckerman: George Springer looks like he’ll be the real deal.
30. Chicago Cubs (LW: 29) — Roney: Javier Baez can’t come soon enough. He’ll probably never play with Jeff Samardzija, though, who should be Garza’d out of town soon.
NL EAST STANDINGS
x-Clinched division title
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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