MLB Power Rankings After 50 Games – Who Is On Top?

In the first game after veteran MLB umpire Joe West set a new record for most games all-time in blue and black at the big league level, 5,736 – a record he improves upon every game – West made headlines once again. This time, however, it was because he threw the St. Louis Cardinals’ right-hander Giovanny Gallegos’ literal hat out of the game before Cardinals manager Mike Shlidt was ejected for arguing as well. 

The big reason for the odd theatrics? Someone told West to inspect a small dark smeared globular spot of some unknown sticky substance clearly visible – and repeatedly touched upon – atop Gallegos’ red cap. 

If you haven’t heard already, you should know more about the greasy mess now: the absolute biggest story in the baseball universe this week is a long overdue yet perilously extreme reckoning with multiplicitous cadres of banned foreign substances it’s rumored, said, suspected that maybe all or nearly all of baseball’s pitchers use to increase grip and spin rates; and in short, use every day, every game, and for every pitch hurled to do their job better, to get more outs, to strike out more hitters. 

The first problem with the use of sticky foreign substances is that this is illegal. Clearly. But the bigger questions going forward are not so clear as Will pitchers stop using these illustrious gunk compounds? They won’t. Rather – at what rate will any game or season-long bans for being caught using foreign sticky foreign substances get handed out? Do we have any precedent for these bans? Worst case scenario, we’re all surely now foredoomed to grouse infinitely when baseball responds at the feckless rate we saw the Houston Astros suffer once their own cheating and sign-stealing scandal came to light. Still, also true, it’s in no way a best-case scenario or an overall good thing that we might have to steel ourselves and prepare for the devastating impact that could come all at once as many dozens upon hundreds of lost pitchers leave the game for cheating just like everyone else who was or was not caught in the act. So many players of titanic stature were banned for years at a time when baseball’s superstars suffered and benefited from the ultra juiced power-hitting stats and later repercussions, including US Congressional testimony, of the steroid era. What happens on the opposite end of the spectrum?

Who knows?

Something has to happen. And something has to change. The game is weird. Baseball players are right now hitting the worst league-wide batting average this season, and though the low numbers change every day, there is a great chance the trend will continue unless some punitive actions are proffered then enforced. Until that time – could be this weekend, maybe next year, or never, let’s power rank the entire league using one big stat for every team playing despite how wildly devious, or dubious, this hot take exercise seems in light of what may occur within the next who knows how long? Eye on the ball! Stick with me now!

1. San Diego Padres – At this point, it’s the Slam Diego Godres. My word. In three games, against a very short-handed Seattle Mariners pitching staff, Fernando Tatis Jr. finished the series with a monstrous and Mike Trout style hitting line of seven for ten with three home runs, one grand slam, ten runs batted in, three walks, six runs, two doubles, one strikeout, two stolen bases, and at least three – that I remember – super high definition digital slow-motion highlights where upon returning to the top steps of the Padres’ dugout Tatis Jr. was awarded an all-new gigantic golden Padres chain about as bright and flashy as his cockatoo feather colored dreads.

2. Tampa Bay Rays – After a lukewarm, sputtering start to the season, the defending American League champions have won 13 of their last 14 games and now sit one half-game in front of Boston in the AL East.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers – The defending World Series Champions have the batting lineup with the best on-base percentage .343 and the pitching staff with the best WHIP 1.05 in all of baseball. 

4. Houston Astros – Despite sitting one full game back from the AL West division-leading Oakland Athletics, Houston is the only team in the division with a positive run differential: +55.

5. Boston Red Sox – They have baseball’s most runs 259 and best slugging percentage .445.

6. New York Yankees – At one point they were 5-10 and the worst Yankees team through 15 games in the last half-century. But since picking up some steam and drawing to five hundred, at 16-16, the Bronx Bombers are 12-4 and closing in on the Rays and Red Sox.

7. San Francisco Giants – Only one division in baseball has three teams with at least 30 wins right now, the NL West. The Giants are third in this division behind the Padres and Dodgers. They are 13-10 against the NL West and 17-9 against teams throughout the rest of baseball. 

8. Chicago White Sox – General safety regulations at baseball games are presently at an all-time high, despite the lack of masks, capacity limits, and social distancing at and within ballparks in Arlington, Houston, and Atlanta; however, in an odd bit of semi-arcane baseball stadium laws, regulations and liability news, ESPN’s William Weinbaumreported, “An Illinois Circuit Court this week denied a White Sox motion to dismiss the team as a defendant in a civil suit filed by Edward Rybarski, a fan who says his nose was broken by a 107 mph foul ball in 2018 at Guaranteed Rate Field. The suit alleges ‘willful and wanton conduct’ in failing to extend netting before 2019 to protect the area in which Rybarski was seated, near the field, just beyond the first base dugout. A state statute permits liability findings if such conduct is proven at trial.”

9. Oakland Athletics – As of Thursday afternoon, the A’s were tied with the Mets for the worst run differential among all division-leading teams: -11.

10. St. Louis Cardinals – Recent All-Star acquisition Nolan Arenado leads the red birds in batting average (.288), home runs (10), and RBIs (32).

11. Cleveland Indians – Cleveland is 19-11 against opponents from the AL Central and 8-10 against teams from elsewhere in baseball.

12. Chicago Cubs – The Cubs are 15-19 in games started by RHP and 12-3 in games against LHP.

13. New York Mets – Consistently throwing fastballs north of 99 mph and often throwing well into triple digits this season, Jacob deGrom has both the best ERA .80 and WHIP .60 in all of baseball.

14. Toronto Blue Jays – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is tied for the home run lead in all of baseball with 16. He also has baseball’s best OPS: 1.121.

15. Atlanta Braves – Last Friday, against the Pirates, the Atlanta Braves had 41 at-bats and slugged 20 hits, and won the game, 20-1.

16. Philadelphia Phillies – Bryce Harper went hitless in four straight games before the Phillies placed him on the 10-day IL. Through 38 games, his current WAR (0.8) is the worst mark of his nine-year career.

17. Milwaukee Brewers – The Brew Crew has the third-best batting average against (.210) among all pitching staffs in baseball.

18. Seattle Mariners (bonus extended section) – After losing six games in a row, the M’s took two games of three for a series win against the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics. In game one of the three-game set, the M’s seemed to finally come through on both the strength of an often promised but hardly delivered until now power-hitting outfield lineup and strong starting pitching. Center Fielder Kyle Lewis (4) homered to left field 425 feet in the third inning against right-hander Frankie Montas (5-4) who still managed to strike out 11 Mariners over six innings of work, giving up six hits and three walks over 101 pitches, 67 for strikes. And slumping but formerly nationally ranked number 3 baseball prospect, left fielder Jarred Kelenic finally found the sweet spot in the fifth inning against Montas. After walking and scoring in the first inning, Kelenic led off the top of the fifth and clobbered his second big league home run all-time to right field for 414 feet. Infielder Ty France made his return to the Mariners lineup, playing first base, and doubling off Montas for his tenth of the year. It was the first start for France since missing multiple games on the injured list after suffering from what may have contributed to a major slump before time away, right wrist discomfort. Earlier this season, in May, France left a game against the Dodgers after he was hit by a Dustin May fastball. In game two of the set, starting for a second consecutive game at first base, Ty France went two for four with a run batted in. J.P. Crawford raised his batting average to .261 on the strength of three hits. It was his tenth career three-hit game. He also picked up a run batted in and scored later on a double from catcher Tom Murphy. Jarred Kelenic went two for five with a run batted in. Mitch Haniger went one for four with a walk and a run. Kyle Lewis added another hit in five at-bats scoring once. And the entire Mariners outfield was excellent in the cavernous Coliseum grass all night. Both Lewis and Haniger made Web Gem worthy grabs, and in the process stole extra-base hits and what would have been game-tying or go-ahead runs batted in from Oakland Athletics hitters. Recently called up and former elite pitching prospect right-hander Logan Gilbert made his third career start, and his first start on the road, Tuesday night in Oakland. Limited by a conservative 75 pitch count limit, Gilbert still showed flashes of both brilliance and struggle through four innings of work, giving up two earned runs on four hits, but also striking out four and giving up no walks on 78 pitches, 51 for strikes. Seattle’s bullpen was lights out against what was before this series one of the hottest hitting teams in baseball and the lineup leading the AL in combined home runs (69 at the time). Seattle’s bullpen worked a combined five innings, striking out five, allowing three hits, two walks, and one earned run that scored on a throwing error to third base by catcher Tom Murphy. Right-hander Rafael Montero picked up his sixth save. 

19. Kansas City Royals – Third in the AL Central, KC has endured three major trends after 48 games. Part one of the season, the Royals went 16-9. Part two they finished with a record of 17-21 after at one point losing 11 straight games. Now after part three of the season where things have leveled off somewhat, they’re 23-25, and about as pedestrian as everyone expected once they found ways to score once in a while.

20. Miami Marlins – Despite a losing record, 24-26, the fish have a positive run differential (+15) and the second-best run differential mark for a team sitting at fourth place in their division. The Blue Jays have a run differential of +31.

21. Washington Nationals – Shortstop Trea Turner leads the Nats in batting average (.315), home runs (10), and RBIs (26).

22. Los Angeles Angels – Shohei Ohtani’s May 26 line-drive home run to right field was the hardest-hit ball of the season and the hardest-hit ball by an Angels player since the start of the Stat Cast era: 117 mph. 

23. Cincinnati Reds – The Big Red Machine’s combined ERA of 5.06 is the second-worst in baseball.

24. Minnesota Twins – Once the worst team in baseball, as of today, the Twins have won 4 games in a row, and are 7-3 over their last ten games.

25. Texas Rangers – Adolis Garcia is tied for baseball’s most home runs with 16.

26. Detroit Tigers – Detroit has swept three teams in three series of at least three games this season: the Royals, Mariners, and Astros.

27. Colorado Rockies – The Rockies have a road record of 3-20.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates – See: what happened in Atlanta…

29. Baltimore Orioles – The O’s have baseball’s worst record (17-32).

30. Arizona Diamondbacks – Arizona has lost ten consecutive games.

About Jackson Pappin 50 Articles
Jackson Pappin is a freelance writer. A 2018 WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication alumni, he writes fiction, journalism, columns, essays and poetry. His work has been published in Anastamos, The Oregonian, The Spokesman Review, The Seattle P.I. Reader Blogs, The Daily Evergreen, The Central Circuit, LandEscapes and at the Spectra Art Gallery. His writing is available at https://jacksonpappin.blogspot.com

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