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The Sports Daily > The Giants Cove
The Sports Daily May 2017 MLB Power Rankings

by The Sports Daily staff — May 1, 2017

The Sports Daily MLB writers are back again with an updated list of the best teams in baseball. Returning from the original ranking are Joseph Coblitz, Gavin Potter and Justin Lada from Burning River Baseball, Aaron Hooks from Cards Diaspora, John Coppinger from Metstradamus, Chuck Richter from Angels Win and Richard Dyer from The Giants Cove. New this month is David Pan from Blue Jays Mic.

  1. Washington Nationals – 17-8 – ↑4

Bryce Harper is hitting over .400 and Ryan Zimmerman is having a renaissance season. If the switch to Koda Glover as their closer doesn’t blow up, the Nationals could be running and hiding by June. – John Coppinger

  1. Houston Astros – 16-9 – ↑4

The Astros in division dominance has placed them atop the AL West and second in our rankings. They’ve been particularly successful against Seattle, winning five of seven, all in their first ten games. Now, Evan Gattis and Yulieski Gurriel are leading an elite offense while one of the best bullpens in baseball does a great job putting those leads away. The one area for improvement is the rotation where Dallas Keuchel is playing his way to another All-Star game, but no one else is standing out. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. Chicago Cubs – 13-11 – ↓2

Hangovers, man. You do your best to avoid ’em. Build a good base. Drink lots of water and take ibuprofen before bed, but it’s not bulletproof. And let’s face it – after the the banner was raised and the rings were passed out, it was a little harder for the Cubs to get pumped for April baseball when the memories of last October’s party were still so fresh. Yes, they lost 4 of 5 mid-month. No, they aren’t running away with the division, but the hangover looks to be about over and the Cubs are still as good a bet in the NL to take the pennant. – Aaron Hooks

  1. Baltimore Orioles – 15-8 – ↑9

The Baltimore Orioles … The Baltimore Orioles! They’re the biggest surprise, in my opinion, heading into the end of April. Their pitching has been decent—great at times—but the Orioles offense has been explosive, the sole reason they are in first place in the A.L East. Let’s see if they could continue their offensive onslaught against the AL in May. – David Pan

  1. Colorado Rockies – 16-10 –↑11

Colorado just completed a 4 game series with the Nationals losing three and seeing their pitching staff deconstructed by the Nats offense to the tune of 46 runs, an average of 11.5/game, but the Rocks’ offense is 6th overall in the Majors with 109 RS and 4th with 80 XBH. Joining the party off the DL will be Ian Desmond’s big bat and versatility. – Richard Dyer

  1. Cleveland Indians – 14-10 – ↓3

Edwin Encarnacion hasn’t quite been the hit the Indians had hoped for and the starting rotation (beyond Carlos Carrasco) has been slightly disappointing, but the Indians are still first in the AL Central and well on their way for a second straight Central title. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. New York Yankees – 15-8 – ↑7

The Bronx Bombers haven’t let the loss of Gary Sanchez slow them down as they enter May tied for baseball’s fourth-best record at 15-8. If Aaron Judge can maintain any of the power he has shown so far this season (10 HR, .750 SLG%), New York can be serious contenders. – Gavin Potter

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks – 16-11 – ↑13

Possibly the biggest positive surprise in baseball so far, most outside of Arizona expected the Diamondbacks to at best have an outside shot at a Wild Card, but instead they burst into first on the outset of the season and maintained that spot through the last week of April. Every aspect of the team is improved over last year, much of which had to do with the return of A.J. Pollock although losing Shelby Miller will hurt. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. Boston Red Sox – 13-11 – ↓7

The Red Sox are an anomaly. By acquiring Chris Sale, the Sox rotation should dominate the A.L East— right? And when you have Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts in the lineup, the Sox should score more runs and win more games. It all sounds good in theory, but the Red Sox have a 13-11 record heading into the end of April. Translation: the Red Sox are two games over .500. Something is wrong with this team, and I’m not sure what the problem is. What do you think? – David Pan

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers – 14-12 – ↓6

The Dodgers are #1 in the NL with a 3.28 team ERA, and middle of the pack with 96 RS. With Arizona and Colorado wrapping up a hot April, LA is still finding their footing in the new world order of the NL West. The arrival of rookie OF/1B Cody Bellinger could loom large, and there’s a lot more talent down on the farm. – Richard Dyer

  1. Miami Marlins – 11-12 – ↑7

Three close wins over the Mets have kept them afloat so far. Giancarlo Stanton is off to a good start, hitting .286 with 7 home runs and 15 RBI, but the real star is J.T. Realmuto, whose .362 average is unworldly. – John Coppinger

  1. Detroit Tigers – 12-12 – ↑5

The Tiger have looked much like the talented yet flawed team that was expected entering the season. Alex Avila (1.216 OPS) and Justin Upton (.900 OPS) have led the offense, and Justin Verlander and Michael Fulmer are once again a solid 1-2 punch to lead the rotation. However, depth issues, injuries, and bullpen woes meant the team could only manage to go 12-12 on the month.

  1. Tampa Bay Rays – 12-14 – ↑7

Steven Souza Jr. and Corey Dickerson are leading the Rays offense while Chris Archer, Blake Snell and Matt Andriese have kept the rotation steady. Despite that, it’s only the incredible struggle of the Blue Jays that have kept the Rays out of the AL East basement. They should still be a potential Wild Card candidate and will greatly benefit from the return of Wilson Ramos in the second half. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. St. Louis Cardinals – 12-12 – ↓3

I was looking on YouTube for a video to encapsulate the Cardinals’ April and I found it. Ok, fine, I was watching Taylor Swift videos and it autoplayed. STILL… The Cardinals first four series were a disaster that threatened to kill the ’17 season in its crib. But since most of the NL is a ‘hold my beer’ meme race to the bottom of the standings – the Cardinals aren’t in bad shape for a playoff spot. – Aaron Hooks

  1. Texas Rangers – 11-14 – ↓6

The Rangers were supposed to be neck and neck with the Astros at the top of the division, but among other things, Sam Dyson‘s early season struggles have pushed them behind schedule. Even so, there are three West teams tied at 11 wins and chances are the second place Angels won’t be able to keep up their pace (LAA pythagorean W/L 12-15 compared to 14-13 actual). One or two more good series and the Rangers could be in first and Dyson won’t be holding them back anymore with Matt Bush taking over the closers role. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. Philadelphia Phillies – 11-12 – ↑6

Jeremy Hellickson‘s decision to accept the Phillies’ QO is paying off. Hellickson is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA and is keeping the Phillies afloat early on. He’ll cash in as a free agent, and the Phillies will cash in at the trade deadline. – John Coppinger

  1. Milwaukee Brewers – 13-13 – ↑7

As a player, Marcus Thames is the surprise story of the season so far and as a team, the Brewers success is up there. They currently rank second in the NL Central, but the whole division is a bit surprising as it’s all within three games. The Brewers have scored among the best teams in baseball and they’ve allowed as many as nearly every other team, evidence of the legitimacy of their .500 record and a reason to expect that to continue. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. Minnesota Twins – 12-11 – ↑7

Expected to fight for last in the AL Central with Chicago, the Twins have to be pretty excited to be near .500. After finishing last in all of baseball in 2016, it won’t take much to see major improvements. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. Chicago White Sox – 13-10 – ↑7

Last week marked the 116th anniversary of the very first ‘American League’ baseball game played between the Cleveland Blues and the Chicago White Sox (Sox won 8-2, if you’re wondering). Since that season, the Sox have qualified for the MLB playoffs 9 times, or less than once per decade. Patience for the prospects (and their elite performance) to arrive is not something South Siders will lack… so all things considered? Being within spittin’ distance of .500 isn’t a bad April. – Aaron Hooks

  1. Oakland Athletics – 11-14 – ↑7

The A’s poor defense and league average offense is likely not going to be strong enough to keep the A’s going, but they did pull off a five game winning streak last week against Seattle and Texas to get right into the middle of the division for now. However, the current 7 game losing streak they are riding is likely closer to the real thing. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. Seattle Mariners – 11-15 –↓9

While their records and places in the rankings are similar, the Mariners and A’s seem on opposite tracks. The M’s won four of their last seven including an 8-0 shut out of Detroit and 11-1 drubbing of Oakland. Mitch Haniger was on fire before hitting the DL and with Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz heating up, their offense could be coming together as initially expected. If Felix can come back from the DL pitching like Felix, there’s no reason the Mariners can’t compete in 2017. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. New York Mets – 10-14 – ↓15

They’re the walking wounded again. Yoenis Cespedes is out for a while with a hamstring, and Noah Syndergaard has been dealing with biceps tendinitis, among other maladies. Their other worry is offense. Their team average of .209 is last in the N.L. entering Friday. – John Coppinger

  1. Cincinnati Reds – 11-13 – ↑6

The NL Central is one of three divisions with first and last separated by less than three games and Reds may be in last now, but they were in second as recently as April 24th. While their rotation ranks worst in baseball, the bullpen has been surprisingly strong and their defense has been exemplary. If Pittsburgh continues to struggle, there could at least be a tight race for third. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. Los Angeles Angels – 14-13 – 0

No one expected the Angels to compete and the Sports Daily writers who compile this list obviously still hold that belief despite them sitting in second. Mike Trout leads the world in WAR as always, but beyond him the Angels offense is absolutely dismal. The rotation is bad, the bullpen isn’t great and once they start playing outside the division, the Angels are going to sink like a rock. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates – 11-13 – ↓10

Already a long shot to contend for the postseason, Pittsburgh was dealt a huge blow when star outfielder Starling Marte was suspended 80 games for PED use. Considering Andrew McCutchen hasn’t bounced back at the plate (102 wRC+) optimism is tough to come by right now for the Pirates.

  1. San Francisco Giants – 9-17 – ↓18

Their 8-15 record through April 27th is no fluke. The Giants’ one-dimensional offense is 28th in the Majors with only 77 RS and the 4th worst run differential at -23. In era of deep roster talent and flexibility the Giants’ 1980’s model of strong pitching/just enough hitting falls flat. The bullpen continues to cough up leads and Madison Bumgarner is AWOL. – Richard Dyer

  1. Toronto Blue Jays – 8-17 – ↓17

The Blue Jays got off to a rough start—their worst start in franchise history. They were tallying hits, but they have struggled to translate those hits into runs. And so, the Blue Jays lost a lot of close games in the first half of April. On the bright side, the Blue Jays won their first series against the Rays at the end of April. Hopefully, the Blue Jays could string together a few more wins and get back to .500. – David Pan

  1. Kansas City Royals – 7-16 – ↓9

The AL Central was supposed to be the Indians running away with the division and the rest filling out behind them. Instead, the division is pretty tight with the Royals running the other way. Their offense has been dead to the point of being the worst team in baseball and their slightly above average pitching (three great starters, two terrible ones) hasn’t been enough to make up for it. – Joseph Coblitz

  1. Atlanta Braves – 10-13 – ↓6

The Braves are about where we thought they would be. One thing to watch: They pitch to contact. Their staff is dead last in the league in strikeouts and below league average in walks. – John Coppinger

  1. San Diego Padres – 11-16 – 0

The Padres have a number of talented rookies on the field as the NL West suddenly gets get stronger. OF Manuel Margot 9 XBH, .744 OPS; OF Hunter Renfroe 5 HR, 9 RBI; C Austin Hedges 13 RBI, 6 HR; and RHP Miguel Diaz 10 games, .818 WHIP are making the future look strong. And, thanks to the Giants, the Pads are in 4th place. – Richard Dyer

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