The Call to the Pen: April 11th, 2016

Welcome back to The Call to the Pen! Once again I’m posting this on Monday as I was in Toronto this past weekend with friends. We went to the Hockey Hall of Fame which was surreal as well as the Blue Jays/Red Sox game. I gotta say Canada, you impressed me greatly with your love for the Jays. Granted we were in the heart of Toronto and the team is great right now, but the citizens of Toronto LOVE the Jays. From the bars on Friday after the game to people just walking around during the daytime, everyone is decked out in Blue Jays gear. It’s awesome to see baseball loved in a different country, especially one that is stereotypically known for loving hockey. Anyway, let’s get to the rankings:

Power Rankings

The Bottom:

30) Atlanta Braves (0-5)
29) Minnesota Twins (0-6)
28) LA Angels of Anaheim (2-4)
27) Miami Marlins (1-3)
26) Philadelphia Phillies (2-4)

25) Tampa Bay Rays (2-4)
24) San Diego Padres (2-4)
23) Seattle Mariners (2-4)
22) Arizona Diamondbacks (2-5)
21) Houston Astros (2-4)

One of these team is not like the others: the Houston Astros. Tough start to the season but we’re only a week in. These are current power rankings after all. Carlos Correa came out firing to start the season and rookie Tyler White was red hot this week batting .556 with 3 homers and 9 RBI. The Padres had an interesting start to 2016. They were swept by the Dodgers without scoring a single run but followed with a slugfest series in Colorado scoring 35 runs this past weekend. Speaking of slugging oddities, the D-Backs newly powered up lineup scored the most runs of the bottom teams with 33 runs but the defense allowed 47.

The Middle:

20) Milwaukee Brewers (3-3)
19) Texas Rangers (3-4)
18) Cleveland Indians (2-2)
17) Toronto Blue Jays (3-4)
16) Colorado Rockies (3-3)
15) New York Mets (2-3)
14) Oakland Athletics (4-3)
13) Boston Red Sox (3-2)
12) New York Yankees (3-2)
11) Washington Nationals (3-1)

The middle of this Middle, the Rockies at 16 and the Mets 15, is probably the high and low points for each team, respectively. The Rockies had a great start to the season (thanks to Trevor Story) and the Mets, while just under .500, have not. Seven of their 14 runs came against the Phillies on Friday. Like the Astros in the Bottom, the Mets won’t be in the Middle for long. (Sidenote: Jacob deGrom has a small injury but that shouldn’t keep him down for long.) The Indians fall right below at 18 pretty much for having an “incomplete,” same with the Nationals; gotta love that early Spring weather in the North.

The Top:

10) Chicago White Sox (4-2)
9) Detroit Tigers (3-1)
8) LA Dodgers (4-3)
7) St. Louis Cardinals (3-3)
6) Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2)
5) Cinncinatti Reds (5-1)
4) Baltimore Orioles (5-0)
3) San Francisco Giants (5-2)
2) Kansas City Royals (4-1)
1) Chicago Cubs (5-1)

Once again, runs scored made a huge difference in these rankings. The Dodgers are tied for second in the majors with 42 runs having only hit three homers as a team. Losing three of four to San Francisco knocks them down in the rankings to start the season but they’ll be a mainstay in the Top. Winning three of four against LA certainly boosted SF. Between MadBum shaking off last year (and blasting two homers off Kershaw) and scoring the most runs in the Bigs, the Giants are making everyone believe even years are truly their time. While the Orioles are the only unbeaten left, the 22/10 runs scored to runs allowed ratio has me not buying in just yet. The best team right now is the Cubs, a shock to no one I’m sure. 42 runs scored with a +27 run differential (and their only loss being by one run), the only downside to the Cubs is the loss of Kyle Schwarber after a scary collision.


Other Hot Players:

NYY 2B Starlin Castro: .450 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI
CIN 3B Eugenio Suarez: .435 BA, 4 HR, 9 RBI
BAL 3B Manny Machado: .429 BA, 3 HR, 4 BBI

Phillies Update:

Well, the week ended on a high note! The Phillies were swept by the Reds to start the season after blowing late leads thanks to the shaky bullpen. It looked like that the Phils would return home for Opening Day 0-6 as they traveled to New York to face the Mets, especially after getting rocked 7-2 on Friday. The bullpen started to redeem itself holding off a 1-0 lead on Saturday and holding the leading after a solid start from Jeremy Hellickson yesterday. The lineup has been shaky, to say the least, but expect that for the year. Players around the lineup have contributed (including Ryan Howard!), but the bright spot has and will be, Maikel Franco. Starting off 2016 batting .333 with a homer and two ribbies, Franco is the guy to watch while we wait for JP Crawford and the rest of the prospects to rise through the ranks.

Disagree? What do you think of the new format? Let me know in the comments

(cover photo via)


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