The MLB “Real” Top 30
Good evening, you didn’t think just because College Basketball was over the “Real” rankings would cease? Ladies and gentlemen, I would never dream of leaving you without something high quality to read.
The “Real” Top 30
#30 Houston Astros
Back to the old ways. An exhilarating win over Texas in the MLB’s first game this year sent Astros fans into a tizzy. Well, I hope you enjoyed it, because this may be the worst team in baseball history. Since the opening win, Houston has a worrisome -25 run differential. Jose Altuve is cursing under his breath at the thought of having to play the remainder of what may be a record breaking year for futility with this ball club.
#29 San Diego Padres
The Friars were stomped across Coors Field in a demoralizing brooming which saw San Diego manage only six runs in the infamous hitter’s paradise. Having a -26 run differential after playing the Rockies and Mets (both expected to finish well under .500 this year) is little more than unsettling for a team which viable all-star selection with Chase Headley on the disabled list.
#28 Miami Marlins
Getting swept in Nationals’ Park was expected. The battle of NL East Bobo dolls saw the New York Mets manage a series victory. Giancarlo Stanton is waiting patiently for July so he can get the hell out of Dodge.
#27 Pittsburgh Pirates
Nothing like losing two out of three to the Cubs and getting swept in Los Angeles to make Pirates fans realize the franchise will reamin a symbol of mediocrity for another season. With the strong core of young players, you would think eventually the Pirates would be able to consistently play well for an entire season…not 2013.
#26 Milwaukee Brewers
A fourth straight National League team, the Brewers and known cheater Ryan Braun have lost five in a row AT HOME against the Rockies and Diamondbacks. Two west coast teams making the trip to Milwaukee and getting W’s is tough to stomach for the average Fermenter fan. A rebound is possible against the Cubs this week.
#25 Seattle Mariners
Seattle has started off the season relatively strong. I’m proud of their 3-4 record against Oakland and Chicago (White Sox). Seattle fans should be expecting a sweep of the Astros in the team’s first series this week and a 4-gamer against Texas looms for the weekend. Keep impressing me Seattle and your stock is about to skyrocket.
#24 Chicago Cubs
First off, Jeff Sarmardzija is looking like a possible Cy Young candidate in the early season. No one ever doubted he could toss the rawhide, but he’s finally proving he made the proper choice playing baseball instead of football. The lovable losers and their fans should not lose sleep over a sweep by the super-powered Braves where the run differential was only 8. No one expects the Cubs to finish better than 4th in their division, but the start hasn’t been terrible.
#23 New York Mets
I see you working, New York. I see you at 4-2. Don’t get too excited, remember you played the Padres and Marlins.
#22 Toronto Blue Jays
I don’t expect the Blue Jays to sit in the lower half for much of this season, but the team is yet to impress. R.A. Dickey is looking more the journeyman than Cy Young winner so far this season and the aside from Jose Reyes, the offense has looked bad. Canadians fear the return of Jose” HOLY SHIT IS THAT REALLY JOSE BASTITUA HITTING 40 HOMERUNS?” Bautista and are a little troubled by the lack of production from the big signings over the offseason. Vegas’s had the Jays with the best odds to win the World Series preseason….well, in the Division of Death anything can happen.
#21 New York Yankees
Once again, I don’t know I’ll ever have the chance to rank the Yankees this low again. I think the Bronx Bounceouts are the worst team in the American League East for the first time in ever.
#20 Colorado Rockies
The bats have started the season wicked hot, leading the league in runs, average, on base percentage, and slugging among others. The team’s best player so far this season? Not Tulo or Gonzalez, but former Twins great Michael Cuddyer. The Rockies have to continue to show me something as the season wears on, but the bats cannot stay this hot even when Coors Field is your home.
#19 Philadelphia Phillies
Philly was the lucky interleague team for the weekend and Kansas City pulled out a series victory in what was a minor league surprise. Chase Utley looks to be back previous form, leading the Cheesesteaks in average, runs, homeruns, RBI’s, on-base, and slugging…the Phillies probably understand they are in trouble, however, since Utley leads the team in homeruns with only a single roundtrip in six games.
#18 Minnesota Twins
The American League has World Series contender Detroit surrounded by four iffy teams…this is the first of those teams. Minnesota is back to the ways of just finding ways to win which yielded 6 AL Central crowns in 10 years from 2001-2010. The rebuilding process is not done in Minneapolis and I expect the Twins to end up fifth in the AL Central by year’s end.
#17 Oakland Athletics
I thought last season Oakland was doomed to a 100-loss season, but the team actually won its division. Along with Baltimore, the A’s stunned the baseball world last year and I’ll be just as surprised if Oakland wins the division again this season. Having Houston it the division is a plus, but Oakland is going to need its surprise stars of 2012 to have encores in 2013.
#16 Arizona Diamondbacks
The snakes were a popular pick for the NL West crown last season, but excitement fell off for 2013. Now the team’s best player (Justin Upton) is in Atlanta and there was little hope with the Dodgers and Giants occupying talk across the map. Arizona still has talent, but I’m not sure if it’s enough.
#15 Cleveland Indians
The Indians put together a solid lineup. Pitching is beyond suspect when unknown Justin Masterson is your ace,but the guy is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA against the Jays and Rays. Nick Swisher is not the team’s best option for the 4 slot and Drew Stubbs and Mark Reynolds will strike out too much to make the Indians a playoff team, but the franchise is finally headed in the right direction and building the right way.
#14 San Francisco
Matt Cain was lit up by the Cardinals on Sunday, but that is not the Giants’ biggest problem. Just like the last couple of seasons, the Giants seem to lack enough offense to make the hike to the World Series. Timely hitting sparked last season’s championship and it can always happen again, but if the pitching continues to struggle as it did in the Cardinals series then the Giants won’t even be around in October.
#13 Kansas City Royals
I suspect you’ll see the AL Central teams other than Detroit all hovering between 10-16 for most of this season. All four have enough talent to be dangerous, but lack one piece. The Royals have no shortage of offense, but the starting rotation is not strong enough. Kansas City may be the second best team in the AL Central, but the gap between the Crowns and the better teams in the league is substantial.
#12 Chicago White Sox
Should Chris Sale toss as well as he did on Opening Day, the Pale Stockings will be the Tiger’s biggest challengers in the AL Central. If he doesn’t, I’m not 100% sold on the rest of the rotation being able to step up and the most interesting White Sox storyling will be Adam Dunn’s never-ending quest for stirkeout glory. The Big Donkey has already logged a couple of hattricks this season and is striking out once for more than 1/3 of the time.
#11 Baltimore Orioles
Chris Davis is going to settle down eventually. Remember Josh Hamilton’s unbelievable start? Rangers fans were pretty ticked off when Hamilton struggled down the stretch…their sour attitudes actually made Josh sign with the Angels and the loss of Katie Hamilton being felt throughout North Texas. Anyway, Baltimore still has some legwork to do to prove 2012 was no fluke and the early week matchup against current division leader Boston is a nice starting point.
#10 Los Angeles Angels
Everyone penciled Anaheim into the World Series last year…well the Angels forgot and didn’t even make the playoffs. This year, expectations are just as high with the signing of Josh Hamilton and release of known cancer Vernon Wells. Hamilton of course brings his regular visits to the all-star game, tattoos, five-tools, and hot wife to Anaheim. On the diamond? Hamilton has four hits in six games and is batting a meager .160. We’ve only just begun and Hamilton is a sure fire to be around .300-30-100 for average, homers, and steaks by season’s end.
#9 St. Louis Cardinals
Boogie is here to stay! The Cardinals always manage to put together a makeshift pitching staff which excels so I’m not going to point that out as a weakness. The Cardinals biggest problem might end up being production. If Carlos Beltran retreats to pre-2012 and David Frease isn’t the same after injury then Allen Craig and Matt Holliday are going to feel extremely lonely in that lineup.
#8 Los Angeles Dodgers
Going “Yankee” this offseason made people dust off the old cap and head out to Dodger Stadium for the first week of baseball. Tormenting the Pirates shouldn’t make the Dodgers overconfident, especially having lost 2 of 3 to the Giants to start the year. Clayton Kershaw may be the best pitcher in the world and the vaunted lineup hasn’t even started hitting yet. It’s a bright forecast in Los Angeles.
#7 Boston Red Sox
I’m not really a huge Red Sox fan (the organization or this year’s team), but the start has impressed me enough. I don’t know if Wade Middlebrooks (I’m guessing he’s white?) is really a 3-homer night kind of hitter, but props to him. For now, I’m pretending this isn’t a hoax and Boston will be in playoff contention this year.
#6 Tampa Rays
3-3 and still this high? Yessir, this is my favorite team in the AL East. I don’t know if they’ll win the division, but I really like their odds. The back end of the rotation looked solid through week 1 and batting order is just strong enough. Losing 2 of 3 to the O’s for the opening series was disconcerting, but David Price is eventually going to find his stuff.
#5 Texas Rangers
They can still hit sans Hamilton and the rotation is phenomenal with Darvish Ham and Alexi Ogando leading the way. An embarrassing loss to the Astros is the only blemish after taking 2 of 3 from the Halos in Arlington. Josh Hamilton might have been wrongly booed, but no one expected Texans to show manners.
#4 Detroit Tigers
I know the Tigers are also 3-3, but the team is loaded and eventually will find its footing. In baseball, there aren’t great odds of something like the A’s and O’s making the playoffs and the Halos and Dodgers missing. You almost always know what you’re going to get and we know the Tigers are going to sniff 100 wins and make the playoffs as the Central Division champs of the American League. The Cabrera-Fielder combo remains the best 3-4 in the league if Prince Fielder keeps playing well in his garbage bags.
#3 Washington Nationals
Washington learned the hard way why things aren’t settled preseason. Washington is far and away the most popular pick to win the National League en route to the World Series, but the team’s best competition came extremely close to brooming Washington. Bryce Harper is looking more the superstar and less the clown this season. The top 3 guys in the rotation are going to do them. It’s all a matter of Rafael Soriano not having days like Saturday against the Reds and the last two spots in the rotation staying solid.
#2 Atlanta Braves
Atlanta is stacked, no doubt about it, on the offense end. The Braves’ bullpen is also the third best in the majors (with Craig Krimbel possibly being the best reliever). The rotation causes some concern, but the Braves are this year’s team which can win games despite lousy starting pitching.
#1 Cincinnati Reds
The Redlegs looked impeccable in two series against the Angels and Nationals. A few rolls the other way and the Reds could be standing a 6-0 against two of the best teams in the league. Joey Votto hasn’t even started hitting to this juncture and the offense still torched Washington for 27 runs in the series. If Todd Frazier plays at a semblance of this level for the entire season then the Reds are the best team in baseball. The starters only need to go 6 with the lead to ensure victory as Cincy may have one of the best bullpens ever assembled.