The Call to the Pen: April 25th, 2016

Welcome back to The Call to the Pen! Great week across the board for baseball. Jacoby Ellsbury stole home, the White Sox turned a very interesting play, and the league’s best outfielders showed off their arm cannons this week. Let’s get to the Power Rankings..

Power Rankings

The Bottom:

30) Atlanta Braves (4-14): Down 1
29) Minnesota Twins (5-14): Up 1
28) Miami Marlins (6-11): Down 1
27) San Diego Padres (7-12): Up 1
26) Milwaukee Brewers (8-11): Down 2

25) Cincinnati Reds (9-10): Down 8
24) LA Angels of Anaheim (8-11): Up 1
23) Houston Astros (6-13): Down 3
22) Philadelphia Phillies (9-10): Up 1
21) New York Yankees (7-10): Down 5

The Reds are this week’s big fall another rough week, including getting no-hit by Jake Arrieta and now having allowed the most runs in the Majors. The Astros move back into the Bottom after a tough week. While the have one of the better offenses in the AL (5th in runs), their pitching has struggled to establish itself allowing the most runs in the AL. I’ll address the Phillies below but despite having the best record of teams in the Bottom, a -26 run differential (RD) won’t pull yourself up that much.

The Middle:

20) Tampa Bay Rays (8-10): Up 6
19) Seattle Mariners (9-9): Up 3
18) Arizona Diamondbacks (10-10): Up 3
17) Oakland Athletics (10-9): Up 2
16) Detroit Tigers (8-9): Down 6
15) Colorado Rockies (9-9): Down 2
14) San Francisco Giants (9-11): Down 9
13) Boston Red Sox (9-9): Down 1
12) Toronto Blue Jays (10-10): Up 3
11) Texas Rangers (10-9): Even

The Giants plummeted this week going 2-5 including a four-game sweep at home against the D-Backs, who move up into the middle. San Fran still has a +10 RD which is why they’re above teams with better records. The Tigers also fell out of the Top after going 1-5. The rest of the American League is floating around .500 so dividing up the teams came down to RD and that overall run scored/against themselves; hence why Oakland (-4 RD, 66 runs scored) is six spots below the Rangers (+1 RD, 81 runs scored) despite the two teams being tied for first in the AL West. The Blue Jays will be interesting going forward as they lost Chris Collabello due to PEDs.

The Top:

10) Pittsburgh Pirates (10-9): Down 2
9) Cleveland Indians (9-7): Up 9
8) New York Mets (10-7): Up 6
7) Baltimore Orioles (11-6): Even
6) Chicago White Sox (13-6): Up 3
5) St. Louis Cardinals (10-8): Down 3
4) Kansas City Royals (12-6): Up 2
3) LA Dodgers (12-7): Up 1
2) Washington Nationals (14-4): Up 1
1) Chicago Cubs (14-5): Even

The Nationals continue to move up; they’ve allowed the fewest runs in the league and even have the third highest RD despite being outside of the Top 10 in runs scored. So why aren’t they #1? Jake Arrieta and the Cubbies are dominating Major League Baseball. The Cubs recording three shutouts this week including Jake’s no-no. In fact, Arrieta’s only loss since last June was Cole Hamels’ no-hitter last July so if the Cubs can get a hit whenever he starts, they should win. The Indians move up nine spots and the Mets moved six to put both into the Top. The pitching is coming together for both teams and the bats are starting to come alive for the Mets as they’re coming off a weekend sweep of the Braves. The Cards drop to fifth by going 3-3 while the other teams in the top five won at least four games.

All Star Votes:

Apr24 ASG Picks

All Star Voting opened up this week! I’ll be casting a ballot each week and sharing on this post. As there are 19 spots to be voted on, it would take too long to go through each pick and probably cover one or two close races. I went with Jean Segura at NL 2B over Daniel Murphy, Josh Harrison, and Neil Walker. While all four are solid second basemen, Segura’s played the most productive in terms of runs, RBI, and walks. Murphy is close and may take over my vote, but his injury to start the year reduced his sample size.

In Case You Missed It:

Phillies Update:

The Phillies had an interesting week. It looked like the Mets had the brooms ready until the Phightin’s squeaked out a W in the series finale on Wednesday. Over the weekend they visited the Brewers in Milwaukee and won the first two games before falling yesterday afternoon. As expected, Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera are the serious threats in the Phillies lineup with Franco leading the way (.296 BA, 5 HR, 13 RBI). The Pitching staff has polarizing stats to boast. On one hand, the club has an accumulative K/9 of 10.36 but has a team ERA of 4.36 and the pitchers have allowed 28 home runs. This week, the Phils wrap up this small road trip with a mid-week series in Washington. The Phillies return home this weekend for their first interleague series of 2016 as they host Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians.

Disagree with the Rankings? How about my All Star votes? Let me know in the comments

(cover photo via)

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