Week 4 MLB Power Rankings – The Seattle Mariners Sliding Down

One month of baseball gone. The majority of Major League Baseball’s everyday hitters and fielders are approaching their 100th at-bat, and many starting pitchers have made 5 starts. And now fifteen percent of the regular season is out of reach. Some of the best teams in baseball are exactly what fans expected, and others are well, bewildering, and bemusing, but baffling. Let’s now expeditiously power rank the entirety of baseball before the entire top ten shapeshifts yet again. Onward!

TOP TIER

1. Los Angeles Dodgers: Another 10 games where the Dodgers go 3-7 and then LA will drop one or two, maybe three spots, at most. But until then – and I doubt this happens again this year – you can’t – and I won’t hear you if you try to – tell me that it means nothing how before the regular season began, a World Series defending champion team shook up Cy Young Award Winner, David Price’s confidence enough that ESPN winds up devoting multiple days on Pardon The Interruption, First Take, Baseball Tonight, commentating on Price’s unprecedented “good guy/team player” volunteering for the bullpen – and that that means nothing; because this, right here, is a true testament to the astronomically daunting starting pitcher rotation depth in Price’s clubhouse. And, oh yeah, they’re still missing CF, Cody Bellinger. Just wait until this team is at full strength. We’re talking Oakland A’s length winning streak. The Dodgers rank in all of baseball, second in runs, first in OBP, eighth in batting average, sixth in OBP. And then on the mound, in all of baseball, they rank third in ERA, first in Quality Starts, second in WHIP and fifth in BAA. 

2. Boston Red Sox: Some baseball minds believed this team was headed for a rebuild before their torrid winning streak following their opening series sweep blunder. And since dropping three in a row to Baltimore at Fenway, for the very first time in franchise history, it seems like the Bo-Sox doesn’t know how to have a bad game at the plate. They average the most runs per game in baseball.  They’re first in the AL East. They rank, in baseball, first in batting average, slugging percentage, third in runs, third in OBP. Boston also has MVP candidates galore. Pay close attention to super slugger J.D. Martinez – the guy who has spent arguably the most time getting shoved down the length of their dugout in the good luck laundry cart anytime after a player has a good AB – down the stretch. Right now Martinez is hitting .377, with 7 HRs, 21 RBIs, and he has a 1.095 OPS. Just stellar.

3. San Francisco Giants: Does anyone remember that the Mariner’s took 2 of 3 from them in their season-opening series? No. Okay. Moving on. The Giants are about as good as they’ll have to be – which is fantastic if you haven’t seen them play – if they want a shot at winning the NL West division title. They will have to outplay both the Dodgers and the Padres, no small feat. Right now, they’re doing all the right things. San Francisco has series wins against San Diego, Colorado twice, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Florida. Once they play just shy of two dozen games against the Dodgers, we’ll know for sure if they’re as good as their record right now. The Giants’ pitching staff is excellent for the moment, ranking in baseball, second in ERA, and BAA, and fourth in WHIP.

4. Kansas City Royals: Are they as good as their record? 15-8, right now the best winning percentage in baseball. And I know you saw this one coming during Spring Training ball when the Mariners dropped 13 runs on them, right? Yeah…me too. Saw it all coming, happening, this way. (As in, there was no way anyone saw this coming, in case it wasn’t clear.) But, wow. KC has won or tied in all but one of their series so far this year. They dropped two of three against Tampa Bay. And that’s it for blunders. Otherwise, they’ve won the majority of games in several series against some very talented teams LA Angels, Toronto and decently talented teams, Texas, and Detroit, and then also split several series with Pittsburgh, Chicago White Sox, and Cleveland. Can it last? No. So how do we explain a team like the Royals? Maybe they’re right now more emboldened by new partial owner, Patrick Mahomes’ faith in the future of their organization? Who knows how or why this is happening because aside from starting pitching, where Danny Duffy has only allowed one earned run in four starts – oh, so that’s how they’re doing it – the Royals are otherwise nowhere near the top of any major statistical category – apart from overall wins. They lead the AL Central division by 2 games.

5. Houston Astros: And they’re back. Jesus. They’ve won 6 of their last 8. During the bottom of the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park in Houston, on Wednesday, the bases chock-full with Astros, score tied, 5-5, M’s play by play announcer, Dave Sims, during the Root Sports broadcast, said, “It’s a stomach burner tonight.” Then it was a gut punch. The otherwise bulletproof Seattle bullpen finally imploded. And before surrendering back to back walks and giving up an RBI sacrifice fly to Jose Altuve, who still went 0 for 5 tonight, and allowing Houston to take a 7-5 lead into the top of the ninth inning, the Mariners bullpen had appeared nearly untouchable, and in the last 17 games, their combined ERA was .81 before Houston, the second-best offense in baseball right now, hung a devastating 4 runs on a unit that had allowed the M’s to before tonight go 12-3 when scoring 4+ runs. If the ‘Stros can get to this M’s unit and win big scoring 4 in a frame to go up 2 on a night when their Ace and future HOF lock, Zack Grienke only last 4 innings – and the only way the red hot Seattle Mariners steal a single game out of 4 from them in the series finale is if the M’s starter throws 7 innings of 1-hit ball, then this team stands a very good chance of running the table and winning the AL West. Sims also said worth repeating about Houston’s first six hitters, during their Game 2 of the last series, 2-0 victory, Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel, Carlos Correa, “Pitching to the first six in this Houston lineup isn’t fair because this is an All-Star team.” He’s not wrong at all.

SECOND TIER

6. Oakland Athletics: The blistering thirteen-game winning streak was not exactly too good to be true. But it was certainly not going to last forever. Not when the A’s are stuck playing roughly 20 games against the LA Angels, Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners. These four teams together still power what is clearly the most talented division in baseball right now. The A’s dropped a couple in a row against a subpar Tampa Bay Rays team while in Tampa. Yet they’re still 7-3 over their last 10. 

7. San Diego Padres: Speaking of major comebacks. And All-Stars. And the man on the cover of the most recent MLB The Show baseball video game, Fernando Tatis Jr. The absolutely coolest and most prolific power-hitting shortstop since Alex Rodriguez, Tatis, over the last seven days is 11 for 26 in 6 games with 5 HRs, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, and 11 R. Let’s not gloss over the other thing he did this week when he became the first SS to homer in 3 straight games at Dodger Stadium. (2 against Trevor Bauer.) Through 7 games played, Tatis is 1 shy of the most HRs against the Dodgers for one entire season. Tatis has 6. Dave Winfield and Nate Colbert had 7. Tatis has 12 more games to shatter the previous record.

8. Los Angeles Angels: The most chilling yet lighthearted piece of social media I’ve ever read, encountered, and tried to forget but couldn’t, just appeared in my feed yesterday. Punctuated by 5 airplane emojis, Mike Trout tweeted, “Seattle.” Horrifying. Borderline sadistic, and I don’t need to go into how good Trout has been against Seattle throughout his career because M’s fans know all about it. Let’s just focus on the current pyretic slaughter Trout has extolled this year on baseball because it spares the Mariners fans some of the misery. They meet for the first time Friday. Right now, through 20 games, Trout is hitting .420, has 6 HRs, 14 RBIs, 29 H, 14BB. That’s good enough for a .524 OBP, and .783 Slugging, and an OPS of 1.306. I don’t know why anyone throws Mike Trout any pitches anymore. Just put him on first. 

9. Seattle Mariners: Crash. Burn. Carnage. Excruciating, humbling wallops and miserable offensive performance. And if you haven’t yet read Seattle Times Mariners beat reporter, Ryan Divish’s brutal Twitter rant on this team’s shortcomings, do yourself a favor, go find it – because he’s right on the money. The M’s right now rank, in all of baseball, 14th in runs, 29th in batting average, 27th in OBP, 28th in Slugging; and I cannot remember the last time an otherwise very good baseball team – before their more recent bullpen implosion, when the M’s had what everyone and their brother agrees was the best lockdown bullpen marks in baseball, featuring an .83 ERA in 17 games – had this many starting players hitting below the Mendoza line: a .200 batting average. Despite the abysmal showing in Houston during most of the innings they played, the M’s found something of a silver lining several times. Let’s run through a few of them because I know my editor  – and many more of y’all out there – will forever cast at me your utmost in untrammeled, very menacing, and very hostile, narrowing eyes as you propulse a slew of scathing, silent criticisms that all poke holes, call into question, and then slash askance, athwart, aslant my baseball analysis skills as a whole, if I do not, right now, clearly demonstrate and show why I can so easily justify this extra lofty ranking for a team with so many major problems. (For example, the M’s 1B Gold Glove winner from last year, Evan White, may see some serious time spent down in Tacoma at AAA if he doesn’t find a few more hits in the next 10 games.) Here we go: the M’s deserves a top ten ranking for many reasons. First, the Mariners lead all of baseball in double plays. Second, the Mariners are third in baseball in batting average with runners in scoring position. Third, the bullpen is still – aside from Montero – emphatically lights out. Right now, many believe Kendall Graveman is the best reliever in baseball. (Okay, maybe just me.) He has 3 saves, a 0.38 WHIP after 10 2/3 innings, a fastball that runs 99 MPH with late life, 12 K’s, 2 BB, and he has not allowed a single run, nor a single runner past second base yet. Fourth, the M’s are still sitting second in the best division in baseball, the AL West. Fifth, the M’s recently split a series with both the Red Sox on the road and the Dodgers, defending World Series champions. Sixth, the starting pitching is much improved from what it was during their first 10 games. Case and point, Thursday afternoon, in Houston, Yusei Kikuchi threw an absolute gem, and he carried the M’s on his back, giving up only the one hit through 7 innings of work, and this right after throwing 6 1/3 innings of no-hit ball against, arguably, the most potent, explosive (sign stealing or otherwise) extra powerful offensive lineup in all of baseball. Seventh, I flat out refuse to believe the M’s will fall into old patterns of losing. And I have one of the most valuable things in America on my side to back me up in this debate: a blind belief that my opinion is right.

THIRD TIER – Lighting Round. Single facts to justify these next spots. 

10. Chicago White Sox: Through 20 games, C, Yermin Mercedes leads all of baseball with a .432 batting average. 

11. Milwaukee Brewers: Before suspiciously landing on the Milwaukee IL – and some speculate it was a Covid19 positive test that did the damage – starting pitcher, Corbin Burnes, now with 49 K’s inched to within 2 K’s of the Dodgers, Kenley Jansen’s still best all-time MLB record for the most strikeouts earned before surrendering a walk, 51.

12. Atlanta Braves: Despite only recently eclipsing the .500 threshold, the Braves rank in all of baseball, 6th in runs, 4th in OBP, 3rd in slugging.

FOURTH TIER – Ranking the rest of baseball. (Most of these teams are at .500 or worse.)

13. St. Louis Cardinals
14. Philadelphia Phillies
15. Toronto Blue Jays
16. Cincinnati Reds
17. New York Yankees
18. Tampa Bay Rays 
19. Pittsburgh Pirates 
20. Arizona Diamondbacks
21. New York Mets
22. Texas Rangers 
23. Cleveland Indians
24. Miami Marlins
25. Chicago Cubs
26. Baltimore Orioles
27. Washington Nationals
28. Detroit Tigers 
29. Colorado Rockies
30. Minnesota Twins 

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