Rich 10 MLB rankings (Aug. 11-Aug. 16)

I hate to break the news to you, but you did in fact read your calendar correctly. It is only Tuesday. 

Although Tuesday tends to be one of the slower days of the week, it does not prevent baseball from being played on the diamond. Although the Miami Marlins returned to play this past week after COVID-19 cases soared through their clubhouse the week prior, the St. Louis Cardinals have become the next team to be snake-bitten by the bug. Due to their outbreak, St. Louis has not played a game since July 29. 

Even with St. Louis on hiatus from playing baseball, MLB Power Rankings must continue on. With that said, here is the fourth installment of MLB Power Rankings. 

10. Tampa Bay Rays (9-8)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 5-2

Tampa Bay was able to take three out of four games against the New York Yankees over the weekend. The activation of Austin Meadows from the Injured List (IL) has started to rejuvenate the Rays’ offense, as he is currently slashing .280/.333/.480 since his season debut last week. The 25-year-old is bound to catch more fire and show his 2019 persona (where he collected an OPS of .922) once more. The jolt on offense will be much adored by the Rays, as their pitching depth took a hit over the weekend (Charlie Morton exited Sunday’s matchup with right shoulder inflammation and was put on the 10-Day IL). 

9. Cleveland Indians (10-7) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 5-2

A strong week bids Cleveland’s return to the rankings. In typical Cleveland fashion, the club continues its philosophy of strong pitching and just enough hitting to get the job done. However, their pitching will have to crank it up another notch, as starting pitcher Zach Plesac (who has a 1.29 ERA through three starts) will miss at the next few days at the minimum after being sent home due to leaving the team hotel and violating COVID-19 protocol. Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger will also miss time after breaking protocol. Luckily for Cleveland, two of their next four days are scheduled off-days. Talk about a scheduling break. 

8. San Diego Padres (10-7) 

Previous ranking: 7

Record over past week: 4-3

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Even when you turn a blind eye to his strikeout tendencies, Fernando Tatis Jr. is the real deal. During the three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend, the 21-year-old shortstop slugged four home runs. With the explosive weekend, the slugger is now tied for the MLB home run lead (eight with New York’s Aaron Judge) and is on pace for 30 home runs in the shortened season. The Friars began a nine-game road trip this week, starting with a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The first game of the series, similarly to their series last week, was a treat. The remaining three games during the series will be just as enjoyable. In other words, grab your popcorn, folks. Or peanuts. Or Cracker Jack. It is baseball, after all. 

7. Chicago Cubs (10-3) 

Previous ranking: 5

Record over past week: 3-1

If you want to go off of pure technicality, the Cubs currently have the best Winning Percentage (WPCT) in all of baseball (.769). However, they find themselves lower in the ranking this week. In all fairness to Chicago, though, the drop is not because the production of the team over the past week was lacking – they took care of business against the Kansas City Royals by winning three out of four games. However, their weekend series against the Cardinals was postponed. Although the hitting and starting pitching looks solid, the bullpen remains a work in progress. Although it is only in 2.2 innings, Craig Kimbrel has a 23.63 ERA. Yes, you read that correctly. Even when looking through the humor of small sample sizes, Kimbrel must improve. Should he regain his former self, the bullpen will be much more formidable to opposing teams. 

6. New York Yankees (10-6) 

Previous ranking: 1

Record over past week: 2-5

The Yankees barely missed the top five in this ranking installment. Nevertheless, it was still a sub-par week for the Bronx Bombers, as the team lost two out of three to the Philadelphia Phillies and three out of four to the Rays. Even still, Gerrit Cole has performed as advertised (he struck out 10 batters on August 8 to pick up his first double-digit strikeout start on the season) and James Paxton has started to show his former vintage (he picked up his first quality start August 9). With Giancarlo Stanton hitting the IL, Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone will have to dig into his 2019 box of tricks in order to work around the injury. Luckily for the Yankees, depth is their friend. 

5. Atlanta Braves (11-7) 

Previous ranking: 3

Record over past week: 4-4

Although infielder Ozzie Albies hit the 10-Day Injured List (IL) August 5 due to a right wrist bone contusion, outfielder Nick Markakis (who initially opted out of the season) was reinstated and should provide depth on offense in Albies’ absence. With the topic remaining on offense, Ronald Acuna Jr. seems to finally be finding the spark in the bat, as the 22-year-old collected five hits combined in Sunday’s doubleheader stint against the Phillies. To make Atlanta fans even more jittery, three of those five hits were home runs. The big news of the week, however, came in the form of ace starter Mike Soroka, who tore his right Achilles August 3. With the young star lost for the rest of the season, the Braves must now muster their starters to offset the loss. Can they overcome it? Sean Newcomb was not able to do it Monday (where Atlanta lost to the Phillies 13-8), but again, baseball is a long season. Although, this season it is not as long. Atlanta must figure out their conundrum quickly.

4. Minnesota Twins (11-6)

Previous ranking: 2

Record over past week: 4-4

After taking three out of four against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, Minnesota was swept out of Kauffman Stadium in three games against the Kansas City Royals. They followed up the loss by winning their first game against the Milwaukee Brewers to begin the week. While the offense can still score runs without Josh Donaldson, it begins to scuffle slightly when Miguel Sano goes cold. Over Sano’s past seven games, he has slashed .080/.148/.240. In the three-game series against Kansas City, Sano was hitless. To make matters worse, he did not play in Monday’s game against Milwaukee. Baseball is a game of ups and downs, but the power bopper will need to find his groove again should the offense hit to its upmost potential. 

3. Colorado Rockies (11-5) 

Previous ranking: 6

Record over past week: 5-3

Colorado continues to climb through the rankings. While their pitching has been a driving force, it is best to not forget about their offense. Despite Nolan Arenado starting off the season slower than expected (he is currently slashing .241/.303/.414), Charlie Blackmon has picked up the slack and has slated himself as a National League MVP contender in the early part of the season. On the season, Blackmon is slashing .484/.514/.703. Is that good? To only add to the impressive numbers, Blackmon is currently riding a 14-game hitting streak. In 11 of those 14 games, Blackmon has collected more than one hit. I’ll say that’ll play. 

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (11-6)

Previous ranking: 4

Record over past week: 4-3

Consistency is key for any team. Consistency, especially in the form of winning two out of three or three out of four in every series, will eventually pile up in a positive way. The Dodgers, over the past week, were able to show this winning consistency, as they picked up two series wins against the Padres and San Francisco Giants. Slowly but surely, starting pitcher Walker Buehler is beginning to find his groove, as the 26-year-old over the past week pitched 10.2 innings combined over two starts and lowered his ERA to 4.40. Should the pitching and hitting continue to find more consistency as the season wears on, the roster should begin to start shining like a surefire super team everyone knows they can play as.

1. Oakland Athletics (12-5) 

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 7-1

After a spotless record over the past week, the Athletics lost in walk-off fashion to Mike Trout and the Angels yesterday. Even still, Oakland has vaulted all the way to the top spot in this ranking installment due to their scorching stretch. While their high-profile bats in Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson have yet to hit for a consistently high average, their power numbers are starting to bloom as the season moves onward. When combined with veteran pitcher Frankie Montas (who pitched 14 innings over two starts during the week and gave up only one earned run) and up-and-coming star Jesus Luzardo (who pitched 10.2 innings over two starts and gave up two earned runs), Oakland has gritty depth all over the roster. The depth will soon be tested on offense, however, as Ramon Laureano is bound to face a lengthy suspension after getting in a bench-clearing brawl with the Houston Astros on Sunday. 

Leave a Reply