This season’s early baseball season has featured a plethora of over-achievement from a multitude of teams. The Baltimore Orioles returned to the frightening logo of just the weird bird face on their caps, but have mustered a 19-9 record, are far and away the biggest surprise, and leading the division here on May 7th. But the formerly over-rated a season ago Los Angeles Dodgers cannot be far behind. Not only are bad teams playing well, but the good teams are sliding faster than Bernie Brewer down his yellow twisty slide.
The Angels were many people’s World Series favorites, but have mustered only 12 wins in 29 games. Albert Pujols didn’t hit a homer in April and honestly the starting rotation looks like the Knothole squads practicing at the local grade schools. The Yankees are in fourth, the Red Sox in fifth, and we cannot even be sure the Philadelphia Phillies remember how to hit a baseball. When it’s all said and done, however, this baseball season will likely resume course. Despite the surprises of the early season, we can soon expect teams to fall into their usual roles of bottom-feeders and contenders when autumn roles around. So without further ado, here are some current lists for basetball:
Power Rankings (Top 10)
#1. The Texas Rangers: Without a doubt, these guys are the favorite to win the World Series. Back-to-back trips to the fall classic help the cause, but with an offense that scores like a grade school football team, you can pretty much put Texas back in the playoffs again .
#2 The Washington Nationals: The Nats are not a surprise. No one paid much attention, but Washington has been getting really good for a long time. Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg may not only be the best 1-2 punch in the National League, but the two best pitchers overall.
#3 The Cincinnati Reds:The Reds are only a game above .500, but they have the talent to be one of the best teams in the league. They have the MLB’s best bullpen and that’s a luxury which every team would trade for.
#4 Tampa Bay Rays: Still holding strong, the Rays are undeniably more talented than the Baltimore Orioles. Before long, the O’s will settle into the cellar and Tampa should pick up where they leave off atop the division.
#5 Philadelphia Phillies: The team is struggling, right? A game below .500 and they don’t seem to be going anywhere quickly. Just relax, Philadelphia, your team is extremely talented and that rotation is going to find it’s stuff. Patience.
#6 Detroit Tigers: If you did not pick the Angels to win the World Series, odds are the Tigers were your choice. If Smyly and Verlander find a couple other arms to join them then Detroit can compete with Texas.
#7 Los Angeles Dodgers: Every year I look at this team and think they should win the weak NL West. This year I looked and thought, “it’s the same team, they’ll lose as always”. This year, L.A. looks set on winning. Matt Kemp is the best player in baseball.
#8 Atlanta Braves: I hate throwing another NL East team on here, but that division is loaded. Atlanta has the second best bullpen in the majors and Michael Bourne is unparalleled as a lead-off hitter.
#9 St. Louis Cardinals: Albert Pujols? Who is Albert Pujols? Is that the guy who has hit one home run in Anaheim…I mean Los Angeles? Wow, he must not be very good.
#10 Baltimore Orioles: the O’s will falter, I guarantee it, but they are 199-9 and deserve a little love from the Power Rankings.
5 Biggest Surprises (positive)
#1 Baltimore Orioles: Clearly, I mean some thought the Orioles would lose 100 games this year.
#2 Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Jays: Traded by Cincy for Scott Rolen, Eddy has 9 long balls and 25 knocked in.
#3 Ryan Dempster, SP Cubs:Empty the dumpster? No longer, Dempster’s e.r.a is a crisp .95 even though he’s 0-1.
#4 Derek Jeter, SS Yankees: Too old? Guy’s a legend and is batting .397.
#5Cleveland Indians:The tribe is 16-11 and in first place. Who’d have guessed?
5 Biggest Disappointments:
#1 Albert Pujols, 1B Angels:this is what you get for signing that contract and raising all these expectations.
#2 The Los Angeles Angels: Read the above statement
#3 Ivan Nova, SP Yankees: His banner year might be the worst thing for New York. Too much expectation/faith.
#4 Boston Red Sox: How can a team have this much talent and suck so bad?
#5 Yonder Alonso/Edison Volquez: people who mocked the Reds are laughing last as the two sent for Mat Latos struggle mightily.
Player to Watch Going Forward:
Aroldis Chapman, RP Reds: He may be the best relief pitcher in baseball and perhaps the most unnoticed superstar this year. His 0.00 era is pretty good and he’s on pace for 150 strikeouts in just 84 innings.
Player to Forget Going Forward:
Justin Morneau, DH Twins: as if you already hadn’t. The guy just cannot do it anymore.