The Call to the Pen: May 16th, 2016

Welcome back to The Call to the Pen! The first bench-clearing brawl of the season happened this weekend after Jose Bautista slid through 2nd base into Rougned Odor. Odor and the Rangers had the last laugh in both and the game. I’m sure you’ve heard all of this considering everyone from Baseball’s best analysts to Barry Melrose are talking about this fight. Let’s get to the Power Rankings…

Power Rankings

The Bottom:

30) Atlanta Braves (9-27): Even
29) Minnesota Twins (10-26): Even
28) Cincinnati Reds (15-22): Even
27) Milwaukee Brewers (16-22): Down 2

26) Houston Astros (15-24): Down 2
25) Oakland Athletics (16-22): Down 3

24) Detroit Tigers (16-21): Down 4
23) LA Angels of Anaheim (16-21): Even
22) Arizona Diamondbacks (17-23): Down 1
21) San Diego Padres (17-22): Up 5

The Yankees and Padres both make big jumps this week as NYY went 5-2 and SD went 4-3. A 4-3 week normally wouldn’t sound evidential to move up five spots, but considering the ice cold weeks of some of the teams San Diego jumped (Detroit and Arizona in particular), the Padres find themselves at 21. The D-Backs pitching staff is in the process of finding itself but the offense is there (175 runs scored, 6th in the Bigs).

The Middle:

20) Tampa Bay Rays (16-19): Down 1
19) New York Yankees (16-20): Up 8
18) Toronto Blue Jays (19-20): Down 3
17) Colorado Rockies (19-19): Up 1
16) Kansas City Royals (18-19): Down 2
15) Miami Marlins (20-17): Up 2
14) Philadelphia Phillies (22-16): Up 2
13) Cleveland Indians (17-17): Down 1
12) Pittsburgh Pirates (19-17): Down 3 
11) St. Louis Cardinals (20-18): Down 1

The Middle was mainly shuffling around as the Blue Jays and Royals switched with the Marlins, Phillies, and the Rockies. The Phils continue to surprise everyone going 4-2 this week but I’ll talk about them below. The Marlins are turning to road warriors as they have moved to 12-7 on the road. The Rockies jump up a spot after sweeping the Mets. The Pirates dropped the most of all teams in the middle after going 2-3 which included a split against the Reds and losing 2 of 3 at Wrigley Field. The Royals and Blue Jays aren’t bad, but they’re records aren’t where most would have expected them to be at this point. KC edges Toronto due to some forward-looking by me since the Jays will likely lose Bautista to a suspension.

The Top:

10) San Francisco Giants (22-18): Down 1
9) LA Dodgers (20-18): Up 3
8) Seattle Mariners (21-16): Down 1
7) Texas Rangers (22-16): Up 1
6) New York Mets (21-16): Down 3
5) Baltimore Orioles (23-13): Up 2

4) Washington Nationals (23-15): Even
3) Chicago White Sox (24-14): Down 1 
2) Boston Red Sox (24-14): Up 3
1) Chicago Cubs (27-9): Even

Any fan of a team that moved down this week, don’t feel offended. All of these teams are GREAT, some just had a tough time this past week. The Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw got a small taste of vengeance against the Mets and then LAD won two-of-three over the Cardinals. The O’s had a great week as they have won eight of ten and their offense ranks in the top ten in most major categories. The Nats stay stable this week mainly due to Max Scherzer’s 20 K night on Thursday. Daniel Murphy is clobbering the ball batting .400 in 140 ABs. The big move this week came from the Red Sox who had four-straight games with 11+ runs this week. Boston leads the league in BA (.298), Runs (299), and Slugging Percentage (.489) while the pitching staff ranks outside the top ten in most categories with their staff ERA of 4.21 ranking 19th. Boston takes on the defending champion Royals this week. The Cubs are still dominant.

All Star Votes:

The usual picture will come later…

American League:
1st Basemen: Hanley Ramirez (BOS)
2nd Basemen: Robinson Cano (SEA)
Shortstop: Carlos Correa (HOU)
3rd Basemen: Manny Muchado (BAL)
Catcher: Salvador Perez (KC)
DH: David Ortiz (BOS)
Outfielders: Mark Trumbo (BAL), Mike Trout (LAA), Jackie Bradley, Jr (BOS)

National League:
1st Basemen: Anthony Rizzo (CHC)
2nd Basemen: Daniel Murphy (WSH)
Shortstop: Trevor Story (COL)
3rd Basemen: Nolan Arenado (COL)
Catcher: Welington Castillo (ARI)
Outfielders: Ryan Braun (MIL), Yoenis Cespedes (NYM), Bryce Harper (WSH)

Phillies Update:

A 4-2 week! As much as the 1-run win stats have been thrown around when the Phillies are brought up, three of the four winning pitchers were starters this week and the starters rank 9th in major league baseball with 20 quality starts. The bullpen has certainly been strong and have completely reversed the awful start they had to begin the 2016 campaign and closer Jeanmar Gomez has moved into 1st in all of baseball with 14 saves. The Phils continue their homestand this week hosting the Marlins during the week for a three-game set and then they’ll take on the Braves. Jared Eickhoff will take the bump twice this week for the Phils and will hopefully improve his 1-5 record.

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

(cover photo via)


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