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MLB Power Rankings: Cardinals, Royals standing out

May 15, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

May 14, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter (13) hits a two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a look at Major League Baseball with analysis from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and Nationals writer Chase Hughes:

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

30. Brewers – Hughes: (LW: 30) Scooter Gennett looked like a future All-Star last season, his first full year in the bigs. He’s been awful so far in 2015.

29. Phillies – Hughes: (LW: 29) As bad as it seemed the last two seasons for Philly, this year it’s much worse. They are on pace for 58 wins, which would be their worst finish since 1994.

28. Rockies – Hughes: (LW: 24) Will the Rockies trade Tulo, or won’t they? Everyone’s tired of talking about it. Just get him on a playoff team, one way or another.

27. Indians – Zuckerman: (LW: 28) Nightmare start to the season, but Corey Kluber’s 18-K gem this week was incredible.

26. Rangers – Zuckerman: (LW: 25) Ross Detwiler: 0-5, 6.95 ERA in 8 starts to date. Not going well for the ex-Nats lefty.

25. White Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 27) Can Carlos Rodon save the White Sox? Top prospect is off to a great start.

24. Athletics – Zuckerman: (LW: 23) They’ve actually scored more runs than they’ve given up. Don’t be surprised if things turn for them soon.

23. Diamondbacks – Hughes: (LW: 22) Addison Reed, who allowed the grand slam to Michael Taylor, is probably going to lose his closing job quite soon.

22. Braves – Hughes: (LW: 17) Shelby Miller (4-1, 1.60) has been one of the best pitchers in baseball so far. The rest of their rotation, however, has been terrible.

21. Mariners – Zuckerman: (LW: 26) Nelson Cruz has 15 HRs, 1.136 OPS. Imagine what those numbers would be if he didn’t play at Safeco Field!

20. Orioles – Zuckerman: (LW: 21) Jimmy Paredes (1.050 OPS) making a strong case to be this year’s Steve Pearce.

19. Red Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 20) Hard to see how they can compete with 5 starters sporting ERAs over 4.50.

18. Marlins – Hughes: (LW: 11) Things aren’t going well for Miami, but Giancarlo Stanton sure can hit it far, can’t he?

17. Blue Jays – Zuckerman: (LW: 18) Hard to see how they can compete with 3 starters sporting ERAs over 5.00.

16. Giants – Hughes: (LW: 16) Lincecum has a 2.43 ERA through seven starts. Is Timmy back? He’s averaging only 87.5 miles per hour on his fastball, so probably not.

15. Pirates – Hughes: (LW: 19) Andrew McCutchen is starting to heat up and they certainly need him to. That division is tough.

14. Angels – Zuckerman (LW: 12) They’re pitching well, and they need it: Lineup has worst OBP, OPS in AL.

13. Reds – Hughes: (LW: 15) Former Nats pitcher Jason Marquis is their only starter with an ERA above 3.00. They may have something in Anthony DeSclafani.

12. Twins – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Minnesota’s surprising early success doesn’t feel sustainable, but stranger things have happened.

11. Padres – Hughes: (LW: 10) Count me as one who had no idea Derek Norris would be this good someday when the Nats traded him.

10. Rays – Zuckerman: (LW: 14) Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi leading a very good pitching staff.

9. Nationals – Hughes: (LW: 8) Bryce Harper has to be the NL MVP at this point. The sky is the limit if he can stay healthy.

8. Cubs – Hughes: (LW: 9) The Cubs are as advertised so far. It should be a fun series when the Nats go to Wrigley later this month. Harper vs. Bryant and all.

7. Mets – Hughes: (LW: 5) Losers of four straight, it will be interesting to see how long New York can hang in first place. Noah Syndergaard looks good, though.

6. Astros – Zuckerman: (LW: 7) First in AL in homers, last in batting average and strikeouts. But it’s working for now.

5. Yankees – Zuckerman: (LW: 6) Michael Pineda’s strikeout-to-walk ratio: 54-to-3. That’s insane.

4. Tigers – Zuckerman: (LW: 4) Jose Iglesias (.360 AVG, .902 OPS) making a big difference after missing 2014.

3. Royals – Zuckerman: (LW: 3) Eric Hosmer picking up where he left off in October: Among league-leaders in bunch of categories.

2. Dodgers – Hughes: (LW: 2) Joc Pederson has a .972 OPS despite hitting just .243. He was a .302 hitter in the minors, though, so expect those numbers to go up.

1. Cardinals – Hughes: (LW: 1) St. Louis is looking like the best team in baseball and Jason Heyward has been abysmal so far. What if they get him going?

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

  1. adcwonk - May 15, 2015 at 12:20 PM

    Michael Pineda’s strikeout-to-walk ratio: 54-to-3. That’s insane.

    As is 42 year old Bartolo Colon’s 40-to-1

    (he’ll be 42 next week)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 15, 2015 at 1:24 PM

      I still am leary of the ingredients in both of their nutritional supplements.

      • ehay2k - May 15, 2015 at 1:58 PM

        Colon’s supplement appears to be bacon.

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 15, 2015 at 2:05 PM

        +1

  2. masterfishkeeper - May 15, 2015 at 2:17 PM

    Tulowitski to the Nats? Heyman claims it could happen:

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/jon-heyman/25186170/inside-baseball-tulo-needs-to-go-and-here-are-the-options-plus-mlb-news

    • David Proctor - May 15, 2015 at 2:35 PM

      Without giving up Giolito, any package would have to include Reynaldo Lopez and then you would have to find other pieces. If you acquire Tulo, you no longer need Turner and Difo. One of those guys could make sense in the package.

      You’d also have to figure out how to unload Desi, because there won’t be room for him this year.

      Very interesting though. I doubt it happens, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

      • manassasnatsfan - May 15, 2015 at 2:58 PM

        Give them Stras, Desi, Turner and if need be Lopez.

      • natsjackinfl - May 15, 2015 at 3:14 PM

        I wouldn’t include Lopez. He’s the real deal along with Giolito.

        I don’t see it happening but, you’re right, Rizzo can pull some wild stuff.

      • veejh - May 15, 2015 at 3:16 PM

        Tulo? No thanks. Dude can’t stay healthy. Pass.

      • tcostant - May 15, 2015 at 3:31 PM

        I’m not sure you would have to give up that much, he has a lot of years left at big dollars for a player that is injuried a lot. You likely could get him for Cole and Turner (you won’t need him if you make this trade).

    • bowdenball - May 15, 2015 at 3:19 PM

      He listed 11 of the 29 possible trade destinations for Tulo, including every virtually team arguably in contention that’s in a decent-sized market (I believe the only ones missing are the Giants and Tigers). Two of the teams he listed are already overflowing with young, cheap middle infield talent but have a glaring need for starting pitching.

      In other words I wouldn’t put too much stock in it.

      • David Proctor - May 15, 2015 at 3:32 PM

        Maybe not, but the difference is that he specifically said Mike Rizzo told the Rockies he wants to be involved. He didn’t say that for all of those teams. In fact, for many he says the opposite.

      • tcostant - May 15, 2015 at 3:33 PM

        I read the NY Post a lot, and the Mets are always talking (sources) Aabout getting him.

      • virginiascopist - May 15, 2015 at 3:39 PM

        The quote was “GM Mike Rizzo has at different times made it clear to Colorado that they’d want to be involved if Tulowitzki talk really got serious”

        I guess it depends how you interpret the “at different times.” Personally, I don’t think any Rizzo is still interested.

      • veejh - May 15, 2015 at 3:42 PM

        Turner = no fricking way Rizzo does anything.

  3. Joe Seamhead - May 15, 2015 at 3:56 PM

    I think trading the “guy to be named” from the Sousa trade would be a huge, really huge, mistake. His speed alone is beyond anything else out there, but everything out there says this kid is for real with the glove and bat. Tull is a great talent when healthy which isn’t often enough to talk blue chip guys for him.Seems more like a Daniel Snyder type trade than a Mike Rizzo deal.

    • Bruxtun - May 15, 2015 at 4:05 PM

      I want to keep all of Giolito, Lopez, Turner, and Difo. Those are all my blue chips. I’m not sold on the idea, but start with some sinkerball pitchers and see where talks go from there.

      • NatsLady - May 15, 2015 at 5:35 PM

        I think that’s right. The Nats are already the 4th oldest lineup. Let’s not add another expensive, over-30 guy for the next few years. I’d rather get younger, even if 2016 is middle-of-the-road.

    • adcwonk - May 15, 2015 at 4:07 PM

      Seems more like a Daniel Snyder type trade than a Mike Rizzo deal.

      Made me chuckle . . . .

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 15, 2015 at 4:18 PM

        That would be like Snyder trading for Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith and Albert Haynesworth etc.

        Tulo is a great player but he has baggage and an extensive injury history.

        I wouldn’t trade the future for him.

  4. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 15, 2015 at 5:05 PM

    Tulo was very good once upon a time, but now he’s basically Zim’s age, with Zim’s contract, but he’s not as good a hitter and he’s not as healthy as Zim. Consider that for a moment.

    Why on Earth would anyone seriously consider trading the PTBNL of the Franchise for him now? That makes no sense at all.

    • David Proctor - May 15, 2015 at 6:03 PM

      “but now he’s basically Zim’s age, with Zim’s contract, but he’s not as good a hitter and he’s not as healthy as Zim.”

      I don’t believe that’s true for a second. He’s had a slow start. He had a172 wRC+ last year. 172! Zim has never even come close to approaching that and that was just last year. He also plays a more important defensive position and is good there.

  5. NatsLady - May 15, 2015 at 5:18 PM

    I don’t know anything about golf, but this is pretty good, right?

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - May 15, 2015 at 5:25 PM

    From WaPo:

    Nats bullpen has thrown a lot recently. A.J. Cole was scheduled to start today for Class AAA Syracuse. Hearing he’s headed to San Diego.

    • Steady Eddie - May 15, 2015 at 6:44 PM

      Unfortunately, the other part of this tweet was “@washingnats: …and placed RHP Doug Fister on the 15-day DL with right forearm tightness. ##Nats #MLB”

      Ugh, but I guess it explains stuff. Hope it’s not a season-ender. If it’s much longer than 15 days, I hope they return Tanner to the rotation and put Cole in the pen.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 15, 2015 at 6:49 PM

        Unreal. They also need some long arms which AJ Coke can also fill.

  7. Nats Fan Zee - May 15, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    Whenever you think that folks on this board are hard on this team, go read this:

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/mets-blow-four-run-lead-as-cubs-sweep-four-game-series-at-wrigley-1.10436755

    Look at the comments section …. absolutely vicious! I was a Mets fan for a lot of years when I lived in NY and had more than my share of disappointments (blow a 7 game lead with 17 to go in 2007 and then to prove it was not a fluke, do it again the very next year) but I have never seen venom like this. Wow!

    Lets go Nats!

  8. Steady Eddie - May 15, 2015 at 6:38 PM

    Agree completely with veejh and those others who say no way is Tulo happening for the Nats. It would be entirely against the current incarnation of The Plan. The whole point of passing on Desi and JZimm without a hometown discount was to clear future payroll dollars to sign Bryce and TTB, who are the backbones of a long-term winning franchise (with RZimmat 1st, MAT in CF, Max and Giolitoand other young pitchers of course). That only works if you have young, cheap, controllable quality in the other spots.

    Rizzo maybe did want to be in on Tulo “at various times”, but I bet every single one of those times came before he made the PTBNL deal.

    • David Proctor - May 15, 2015 at 6:52 PM

      They offered Desmond $107M. Tulo has 109M coming to him the next 6 years. If they were willing to spend it on Desmond, why wouldn’t they on Tulo? I don’t think it will happen because I’m not sure Rizzo will give up the prospects, but I don’t think money is the factor.

      • Steady Eddie - May 15, 2015 at 7:00 PM

        Even apart from the money, they’ve already committed to Turner, and Tulo is too unreliable. Besides, it wouldn’t be surprising if Rizzo made the offer to Desi in the expectationhe would decline it. If he had accepted, they would have made adjustments elsewhere in the roster planning, or kept themselves open to trading him if that worked out.

        Besides, every reason to expect Desi will pick up his hitting at least somewhat for the rest of the season. Would be a real sell-low strategy to deal him now that we’ve already absorbed the sunk costs of what should be the worst part of his season.

  9. David Proctor - May 15, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    Fister on the DL with forearm tightness is very, very bad news. That’s often the initial diagnosis of something far more sinister.

  10. Joe Seamhead - May 15, 2015 at 7:06 PM

    Oops, hit these for the wrong thread:

    Okay, I’ll make the trade…for van Dekker, Brian Goodwin, and Cutter Dykstra. And I’ll throw in a bucket of balls and a year’s worth of Nats Dogs.

    Seriously, with his injury baggage, and contract, I’d have to even think long and hard for a straight up deal for Tulo for Ian Desmond.

    Ok, I’ll throw the hot dogs in with Ian…

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