MLB Power Rankings – Are The “Godres” Still #1?

Maybe I’m not a blistering red stitch and seam reading fastball shaman, and I can’t hit a good curveball, but it seems the Baseball Gods want us to know – and prefer that all baseball universe citizens have faith in – two big facts first: that no one knows what the hell is going to happen this week and next and the next, and that every single 162 game regular season find bizarre ways to astonish even the most sagacious onlookers. 

Vital we remember the Baseball Gods won’t tell us but will show us that they look at our planned starting pitching rotations, and neatly printed names of would-be stars on our beloved game day batting lineup cards. And then laugh as they send us all on an unpredictable roller coaster. Again, and again, baffling action. Grueling plummets. Brutal 5 G-force ascents. Steady pathways are as rare in our modern game as a .300 batting average. And by this time next week, I can almost guarantee some new big league team will outshine the Slam Diego Godres. 

In my gut I know it’s unwise to insist too hard upon attaining anything like clarity when I ask how it’s possible the best team in baseball owns a four-game losing streak? It’s just, some things, IYKYK. You know? And I know I’m absolutely sure it does not matter how many games the Rays win in a row, they still won’t grab a World Series ring this decade.

True as well the Seattle Mariners remain the team with the worst batting average and have somehow now become, far and away, the most enthralling Seattle side since 2001. The M’s have found so many ways to win games they shouldn’t via, “Chaos Ball,” I’m not even a fraction of a percent concerned they’ve now been no-hit twice and shutout seven times before the All-Star break. The M’s won five games in a row, an eighth straight Memorial Day game, and were winners in an awesome run of seven of eight before the bullpen imploded and gave up 11 runs. And I’m not vexed whatsoever because I remember they’ve now used 47 players since Opening Day, more than any other team in baseball, and with that, it’s official, the Seattle Mariners are an oxymoronic oasis of opportunity for everyone. Not purgatory, heaven, hell. It’s Dipoto ball.

And when will anyone get serious about the egregious and illegal use of banned foreign gunk and sticky and grimy substances being used to doctor, alter, amplify advantageous pitching grips, and spin rates? Does anyone care how clear the evidence of the cheating is? Apparently not.

With that, onward! Power rankings!

1. San Diego Padres: The Slam Diego Godres are in one way far better than they were last year. And we can sum it up in one word – pitching. Right now San Diego has the best-combined ERA (2.85), third-best WHIP (1.11), and second-best batting average against (.207). 

2. Tamp Bay Rays: Maybe the modern game neglects batting average in favor of something more valuable? Who knows? Right now the Rays are 21-9 on the road and 7-3 over their last ten games while also ranking third in runs scored (279) but still come in at 26 in team batting average (.228). They also have the best record in baseball (36-22).

3. San Francisco Giants: Through twenty-five games this season the big story was the absurd and new concentration of elite caliber teams stacked up in each other’s back yards all the way out on the west coast. Now the trend is back. Three of the top five teams in the league play home games in California long after the rest of the country goes to bed. And the Giants have the second-best record in baseball (34-21.) San Francisco’s pitchers also have the second most quality starts (25).

4. Los Angeles Dodgers: At the moment the defending World Series champions sit third in the absolute best division in baseball, the NL West, with a record (33-23) and win percentage better than the majority of the league. Their pitching staff is still epic. First in Quality Starts (34), first in WHIP (1.07), first in batting average against (.206), and fourth in ERA (3.18). Oh yeah, Cody Bellinger just came back to the lineup. Wondering if he’s ready to go full speed? Well, Belli slugged a grand slam and put up 6 RBIs as part of just the bottom half of what became a record-setting eleven-run first inning against the Cardinals. 

5. Chicago White Sox: Tony La Russa may not know what’s coming out of his mouth, or how outdated the vast majority of his baseball etiquette comments sound – or maybe he just doesn’t care anymore. But he is still absolutely a baseball player whisper. The better of the two red hot teams in the windy city, the White Sox are tied for fourth in runs (272), fourth in batting average (.256), and first in OBP (.343). Plus their pitching staff has cleaned it up on all fronts. They rank fifth in ERA (3.29).

6. Chicago Cubs: How many times did we hear the World Series core was on the verge of being sent akimbo for good? About ten thousand. They weren’t winning. They couldn’t hit home runs. And, well, maybe not so much anymore. The second-best windy city baseball team is 9-1 over their last ten games and now sit atop the NL Central after going 14-3 in their last 17 games. They rank sixth in OBP (.322), ninth in batting average (.241), and eighth in slugging percentage (.412). 

7. Boston Red Sox: I may have said or perhaps mentioned something about one of these teams being the best in the league by this time next week. For my money, it’s the Bo-Sox. Right now in second place (33-23) behind the Rays, Boston ranks third in batting average (.256), sixth in runs (271), and are second in slugging percentage (.437).

8. Oakland Athletics: Second baseman Tony Kemp tied a career-best five runs batted in, and the right side of the Oakland Athletics infield racked up eight runs batted in as first baseman Matt Olson joined with Kemp to find two hits for three runs batted in, and the A’s snapped both their own three-game losing streak while snapping a Seattle Mariners season-best five-game winning streak as they thumped Seattle for thirteen hits in a 12-6 win two days ago. And in doing so, Oakland Athletics manager and former Mariners manager Bob Melvin won game 799 in charge and took sole possession of second place all-time in wins, passing Tony La Rusa, in Athletics manager history. Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack remains first all-time in Athletics team history with more than 2,500 wins as manager.

9. Houston Astros: Are they cheating again? Maybe. (I hope you know this means, Yes.) Does their cheating now seem all that less severe in light of the clear and calculated, and let’s face it, nonchalant blasphemy that is the rampant, unchecked foreign substance ball doctoring spin rate abusing of the rules and laws of baseball physics? Not really. No. Still pretty heated about everything, division rivals, and all. No matter, the ‘Stros are second in the AL West and they won a very impressive four consecutive games against both San Diego and Boston. Surprise, surprise, Houston leads baseball in batting average (.265).

10. New York Mets: Jacob deGrom has thrown the five fastest pitches among all starting pitchers this year. Each ball – well blurry white dart – north of 101 mph. A follow-up point to consider – according to ESPN Senior Writer, David Schoenfield, “In his second start since returning from the injured list, deGrom threw six scoreless innings on Monday in the Mets’ 6-2 victory at the Arizona Diamondbacks, lowering his ERA to 0.71, the lowest for a qualified starter through the end of May since Chris Short had a 0.64 ERA for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964.”

11. St. Louis Cardinals: The red birds are one of those oddball teams, an anomaly we need more time to decipher. They don’t rank in the upper half of the league in any major team statistic besides slugging percentage, fourteenth (.394). And yet despite getting thrashed by the Dodgers, they remain second in the NL Central (31-25) and just one game and a half behind the Cubs.

12. New York Yankees: Another weird team doing weird things during one of the weirder years in baseball history. The Yankees were swept by the Detroit Tigers over the weekend. And yet they’re pitching staff may just be the best overall unit not named the LA Dodgers. The collective flamethrowers in pinstripes are second in ERA (3.14), tied for fourth in Quality Starts (23), second in WHIP (1.08), and third in batting average against (.211).

13. Cleveland Indians: Right now, one of the oldest baseball franchises in the game is on the verge of selecting a brand new team name. According to an Associated Press article I found on ESPN, “The initial list consisted of 1,198 names. It’s not known how many names are being given final consideration for what will be the club’s new identity…The forthcoming name change has sparked a lively debate among Cleveland fans, some wanting the club to remain the Indians. Among the most popular names pushed by fans on social media are the Spiders, Guardians, and Avengers. Dating to 1865, Cleveland’s baseball team has previously been called the Spiders, Blues, and Forest Citys.”

14. Seattle Mariners (special bonus extended section): Yup. Here we are. 7-3 over their last ten games. It’s real again. They’re third in the AL West. Even though we just learned reigning AL Rookie of the Year, center fielder Kyle Lewis may be out for the rest of the season, there is reason for hope. It’s called, “Chaos Ball.” The best, and most recent example of which we must recap now. This past Memorial Day, after Jarred Kelenic bobbled a base hit to left field that allowed Oakland runners to then reach the corners with no outs in the top of the eighth inning right-hander Anthony Misiewicz struck out two consecutive hitters. Then manager Scott Servais came out to get Misiewicz and he brought in right-hander JT Chargois to face the next hitter. Chargois appeared to forget himself, and the situation, when he was called for a rare balk on a very un-baseball-like shoulder shimmy with his back foot still on the rubber sending the Oakland runner on third home and the runner on first to second, bringing the A’s within one run, 3-4. Later that at-bat Oakland catcher Sean Murphy doubled to center field to tie the game at four before the game eventually went to extra innings. And this was the specific play that ended Kyle Lewis’s season just as he was gathering steam when he lunged for and missed the ball over his head. Tied at four apiece after nine innings. Both Seattle (4-0) and Oakland (2-0) were undefeated in extra-inning games upon entering the tenth frame. With Seattle outfielder Jack Mayfield on second base, and down 5-4, one of the two Mariners responsible for one of the two Seattle walk-off wins this season, infielder Ty France stepped in to face Oakland right-hander Lou Trivino. Hitless on the day in four plate appearances, the recently red-hot Ty France singled to left field and scored Mayfield to tie the game at five. And on the very next pitch shortstop J.P. Crawford doubled down the first base line before the ball got trapped nearby the first base bleachers. France was held up at third by third base coach Manny Acta with Crawford now on base at second. Oakland intentionally walked outfielder Jake Fraley to load the bases and preserve the potential double play. With the infield in close, pinch hitter and catcher Tom Murphy stepped up to the plate against Trivino. Trivino missed twice outside with sliders in the dirt. And on the 2-1 pitch, Murphy sent a sacrifice fly long and far enough to right field as France raced home and slid across the plate for the fifth extra innings Mariners win this season and Oakland’s first extra-innings loss. It was Seattle’s fifth win in a row and their seventh win in their last eight games. Seattle once again had ascended past five hundred, earning a winning record for the first time since the middle of May when they took three of four games from Cleveland, winning, 6-5 in dramatic come from behind fashion. The day was significant not just for the dramatic extra-innings victory, but the final or the next of the best crop of farm system’d starting pitchers in Seattle Mariners history showed up for real. Perhaps the ace of this young gun pitching staff one day, in his fourth start since being called up from AAA Tacoma, touted Mariners prospect right-hander Logan Gilbert (0-2) was very sharp against Oakland allowing a new career-best two earned runs over another career-best six innings while giving up five hits and one walk and striking out five Athletics in the second time he’s faced the same Oakland lineup in one week and in back to back starts. Gilbert kept his fastball out of the middle of the strike zone and he picked up five ground ball outs, eight pop-outs, and five strikes outs and held Athletics hitters to one for five with runners in scoring position. Before Gilbert’s start on Monday the Seattle Mariners had the fourth-best AL home earned run average 3.56 this season at T-Mobile Park. Excluding the Mariners bullpen game, and all during six straight games against AL West opponents, the Seattle Mariners starting pitchers had a combined 2.09 earned run average over 34 and one-third innings. Not half bad.

15. Toronto Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. still leads the bluebirds in batting average (.335), home runs (17), and RBI (45).

16. Milwaukee Brewers: The Brew Crew are (just like the Mariners) 7-3 over their last ten games. The pitching staff is third in Quality Starts (26) and fourth in batting average against (.212).

17. Kansas City Royals: Once excellent, then once dreadful, then also halfway decent again, the team partially owned by Patrick Mahomes is suddenly very good at the plate. They’re tenth in batting average (.241).

18. Atlanta Braves: Last year I picked them to win the World Series. They were up 3-1 against the Dodgers in the NLCS. And I think they would have had the Rays in about five or six games, had they advanced. I watched them play on Sunday Night Baseball against the Phillies – and they were excellent. They’re two games below five hundred and yet they seem like the most dangerous NL team not on the West Coast. The only problem right now, well, actually, I don’t know – they lose games they should win with ease, like two in a row to the Nationals (23-30).

19. Philadelphia Phillies: I’ve actually had the odd, random pleasure of watching a lot of Phillies baseball this year. Every time I tune in they seem like the kind of team that needs a solid escalation in their last 40 games where they win two thirds – and then they’ll wind up playing the Braves in what will be seen as the better of the two NLDS series even though the other will feature the Padres and Dodgers. Then I look away, and they don’t win any single series since early May. What happened? The Miami Marlins (24-30) happened. Yikes.

20. Los Angeles Angels: They cut Albert Pujols. Mike Trout is still injured. (Back in July is the latest news.) They have a -42 run differential. And their team ERA is 29 in baseball (4.98). Doesn’t matter how hard Shohei Ohtani hits or throws a ball – Joe Maddon’s Halos find all new ways to lose.

21. Cincinnati Reds: The Big Red Machine needs an oil change. Stat. They’re dead last in team ERA (5.04).

22. Miami Marlins: Why are Florida baseball teams either the most boring thing in the entire league or the best team for months on end? Too bad the fish got the raw end of this hook. They’ve lost five in a row.

23. Washington Nationals: Former World Series MVP, Stephen Strasburg is back on the IL with a neck strain. His fastball velocity is the lowest it’s been in years. He used to throw near triple digits. Before leaving a game early a few days ago, his Velo was just above 90 mph.

24. Detroit Tigers: I said this was one of the weirder years in the history of the game. Here’s a great example. The Tigers have swept four teams this year including the Yankees, Astros, Royals, Mariners. And yet their record is only good enough for fourth in the AL Central (23-32). 

25. Minnesota Twins: Now, again, dead last in the AL Central with an absolutely loaded roster, the Twins could still make a serious run for the playoffs. So watch out…even though they’re eleven games back (22-33).

26. Colorado Rockies: Silver linings for the Rockies? Not many. They did, however, sweep the Rangers recently.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates: The Bucs won’t contend for a division crown in the next decade. But second baseman Adam Frazier is hitting .335.

28. Baltimore Orioles: They have the worst record in baseball (19-37) because they have to play an outsized proportion of their games against the Rays, Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. It’s just not fair. 

29. Texas Rangers: They’ve lost nine games in a row. It’s not going well.

30. Arizona Diamondbacks: The D-Backs did manage to finally beat the Cardinals (man, combined with that other previously mentioned ignominious notoriety for their Dodgers game first inning misery, what an unlucky run for St. Louis!) on Sunday to snap what was at one point, a thirteen game losing streak. They may lose 100 games this season.

About Jackson Pappin 42 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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