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MLB Power Rankings: Marlins falling, Phillies rising

May 22, 2015, 10:33 AM EDT

May 15, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) connects for a solo home run during the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. Braves won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

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


30. Marlins – Zuckerman: (LW: 18) Name one reason why anyone should trust Loria/Samson on anything. You can’t.

29. Brewers – Zuckerman: (LW: 30) Starting rotation (4.80 ERA, 1.374 WHIP) is killing them.

28. Rockies – Zuckerman: (LW: 28) The “Trade or Don’t Trade Tulo” story jumped the shark way too long ago.

27. Athletics – Hughes: (LW: 24) It’s strange to see a current Athletics team be so good at hitting and so bad at pitching, especially in that park.

26. Phillies – Zuckerman: (LW: 29) Props to them for recent 6-game win streak. But that doesn’t change who they are in big picture.

25. Indians – Hughes: (LW: 27) Cleveland started slow last year and recovered to post an 85-77 record. I’m not sure they have enough pitching to pull themselves out of the hole they’ve dug themselves this year.

24. Rangers – Hughes: (LW: 26) How bad does Elvis Andrus’ contract look right now? He’s making $15 million with a .582 OPS.

23. Blue Jays – Hughes: (LW: 17) Has to be tough for Toronto fans to watch the Blue Jays get so close to making the playoffs last year, yet play so poorly through the first quarter of 2015.

22. Diamondbacks – Zuckerman: (LW: 23) Bullpen is a nightmare: Only 4 saves recorded through one-quarter of the season!

21. Pirates – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) They’ve been a 2nd-half team the last two seasons, but they need to show something soon if they want to be in the race again.

20. Reds – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Billy Hamilton’s .261 OBP is 3rd-worst in the NL. That’s not going to cut it.

19. Orioles – Hughes: (LW: 20) Last week I pointed out how well Tim Lincecum was pitching for the Giants. How about Ubaldo Jimenez for the O’s? They’re both pitching like they did five years ago.

18. Mariners – Hughes: (LW: 21) I thought Dustin Ackley (picked 2nd overall after Strasburg in 2009) had turned a corner last year and would have a huge 2015 season. I was wrong.

17. Braves – Zuckerman: (LW: 22) Shelby Miller looks like a brilliant acquisition by John Hart.

16. Red Sox – Hughes: (LW: 19) As much as people have been complaining about their pitching, the Red Sox aren’t score either. They’re 12th in the AL in runs.

15. White Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 25) Chicago is starting to heat up, yet Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale still post ERAs above 4.00. This team has a few extra gears to find this season.

14. Padres – Zuckerman: (LW: 11) San Diego hoping Wil Myers’ latest wrist injury isn’t a serious one.

13. Rays – Hughes: (LW: 10) The Yankees have been so bad lately that Tampa may take this division and run with it for the foreseeable future.

12. Yankees – Hughes: (LW: 5) New York was already losing, then Jacoby Ellsbury went down which won’t make matters any easier.

11. Angels – Hughes: (LW: 14) The Astros have been a fun surprise this season, but the Angels are closing in fast in the AL West.

10. Giants – Zuckerman: (LW: 16) There was every reason to believe they were doomed this year, but defending champs have proven us wrong.

9. Twins – Hughes: (LW: 12) Maybe it’s too early to get carried away, but not enough people are talking about the Twins this year. Perhaps they’re overshadowed by the Tigers and Royals in the AL Central.

8. Cubs – Zuckerman: (LW: 8) The kids, as everyone expected, appear to be legit. And there are more on the way.

7. Mets – Zuckerman: (LW: 7) They need to get back on track after 10-15 stretch, but they’re good enough to be in the race all season.

6. Tigers – Hughes: (LW: 4) Anibal Sanchez was one of the more consistent starters in baseball with a 3.47 ERA in six straight seasons before this year, but so far he’s been terrible. Wonder what’s going on there.

5. Nationals – Zuckerman: (LW: 9) To go from 7-13 in their first 20 games to 17-4 in their next 21 is nothing short of remarkable.

4. Astros – Hughes: (LW: 6) Houston leads the majors in home runs, but has the worst team average in the AL. All or nothing, baby!

3. Dodgers – Zuckerman: (LW: 2) Leading NL in OBP, SLG, OPS, HR, BB. And that’s playing half their games in the best pitcher’s park in baseball.

2. Royals – Hughes: (LW: 3) The Royals could be the best team in baseball, despite not having an elite rotation. I’d go get another arm if I were them.

1. Cardinals – Zuckerman: (LW: 1) Off to their best 40-game start since 1941. They look like the complete package.


  1. senators69 - May 22, 2015 at 10:45 AM

    A little off-topic, but in case no one else has posted this, here is the link to an article comparing Harper to some of the great hitters of the past and present:

    • dgourds - May 23, 2015 at 3:34 AM

      Great article! Thanks.

  2. Eugene in Oregon - May 22, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    If you look at this list from a playoff-qualifying standpoint, in the top 10 you’ve got 2 teams from the NL East, 2 from the NL Central, and 2 from the NL West. But in that same top 10, you’ve only got 4 AL teams (3 from the Central and one from the West), and none from the AL East. An interesting distribution.

    • Steady Eddie - May 22, 2015 at 10:57 AM

      Good catch on that full distribution. Just because of how the ,Rays and Yanks entries were written, it was striking to me that the co-leads for what has often been the toughest division in MLB were down at 12 and 13 — nearing the middle of all of MLB — and 12 (Yanks) were falling rather than trying to poke their noses into the top 10.

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - May 22, 2015 at 11:21 AM

    There’s so much parity this year that trades will be the make/break for fringe teams and I include the Astros and Royals as fringe. If the Astros can pull it off it proves Luhnow is indeed excellent at what he does and the Royals 2014 wasn’t a fluke.

    The Giants are Top 5 once again in my estimation and Pence is their catalyst.

    This first quarter has defined many teams identities.

  4. micksback1 - May 22, 2015 at 12:10 PM

    can anyone tell me why the Astros have been able to turn around now? It seems like a great story and did Bo Porter have anything to do with it?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 22, 2015 at 12:40 PM

      Bo might have, but it’s hard to say which way. He did get fired last September, so apparently the FO thought he was not getting enough out of the roster he had.

      Not to your point exactly, but of some interest, an ESPN article discussing and SI article, about the team. Note please that Your Washington Nationals lead baseball in runs per dinger. : )

      • micksback1 - May 22, 2015 at 12:43 PM

        Thank you sir!!

        I will enjoy reading this

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 22, 2015 at 12:45 PM

        And then there’s this, albeit from a few weeks ago:

        As a team, Houston holds a 3.18 ERA, which is second to Kansas City in the American League and fifth in baseball. A much improved bullpen is a big reason for such a jump in performance. Houston ranked 25th in baseball last season with a 4.11 ERA. Newcomers Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson received most of the attention when they signed this off-season, but Neshek has the worst reliever’s ERA on the team at 5.87.

  5. micksback1 - May 22, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    wow Sofa…. it appears that Bo could be the Riggleman of Houston….In that he laid the ground work for success but was not around to enjoy it

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 22, 2015 at 1:25 PM

      I think there’s some short memories here about Bo that did not paint a good picture. There was an article after Bo’s firing that had the un-named sources that Bo had issues with several players. He tried some tactics with his players that didn’t work and the results weren’t great but sometimes the truth is in the middle.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 22, 2015 at 1:38 PM

        I’m in a minority here, but I didn’t even think that Bo was a very good 3B coach, and I wasn’t shocked in the least when he got fired from the Astros. He and Davey had words more than once on Bo’s decisions at 3rd.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 22, 2015 at 2:15 PM

        I thought he improved greatly as a 3rd base coach and I also wasn’t surprised when he was fired given how he took his issues public over the Appel appearance. Big lesson, family business stays private and almost always the GM wins and if the record speaks for itself, Luhnow has been vindicated

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 22, 2015 at 1:51 PM

      I am not one of the Jim Riggleman haters here, but I give a lot more credit to the front office, the minor league and player development staffs, and the scouts for laying the groundwork — and I think that’s also true in Houston.

  6. natsfan1a - May 22, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    Not sure whether this has been posted already, but MASN didn’t like Manfred’s comments (waaah):

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 22, 2015 at 2:09 PM

      Much as Texas doesn’t seem to understand that it’s already a part of the U.S. (and receives huge benefits from statehood), the O’s don’t seem to get that they’re part of MLB (and receive huge beneifits from that status).

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 22, 2015 at 2:26 PM

        It’s not a country but a country club. 30 rich men all flourishing from the wealth of RSN’s except for the Nats. That’s the shame in this . 29 teams can negotiate freely and the only team is the Nats. Sorry but $60 million isn’t enough and Angelos doesn’t want to pay that.

        I think $80 million seemed like the right number to me and I think the Nats request was $107 million which was high but not out of line based on what FOX or Comcast woulld be willing to pay and that’s true FMV!

        The rest is crap. It’s what a RSN would be willing to pay.

        Way to pitch it Mr. Manfred!!!!

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - May 22, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    Janssen up and Solis to the DL.

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - May 22, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    Matt Thornton is a great interview. Impressive coming from a guy who pitched in Chicago and NYC.





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