MLB

National League Power Rankings

So much uncertainty looms as Major league Baseball continues to truck along despite the coronavirus putting its stamp on the Miami Marlins and St.Louis Cardinals(amongst a few others). Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated that he and the league are not about to quit at this stage of the season. The next few weeks will be huge in telling us if the players and the organizations are willing to make a few sacrifices in order to provide the product on the field. Keep your fingers crossed! Baseball fills us with goodness so let’s keep going! Here is my first edition of NL Power Rankings!

15. Miami Marlins (2-1)

We won’t go into too much detail here, the Marlins have been decimated by the coronavirus. The most recent news isn’t telling us much but the club is set to resume play this upcoming Tuesday according to ESPN.com. It will almost be must-see TV next time they hit the field. The roster could feature many players that even the best broadcasters and analysis will struggle to recognize.

14. Pittsburgh Pirates (2-7)

After having a somewhat solid season at the dish in terms of contact hitting, the Pirates have taken a few steps back to begin 2020. As a team, they are hitting just a combined .177 resulting in just a pair of victories. At least the pitching has held up well. Combined, Pirates starters are sitting at a 3.79 ERA while the bullpen is at a respectful 4.04. The club will need to get better performances from star hitters Josh Bell(.188), Adam Frazier(.167), and Bryan Reynolds(.143).

13.New York Mets (3-7)

What is the deal with this organization, plenty of talent, but also plenty of distractions and bad luck(or something?). Missing from the action on the field are starters Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard. Go ahead and add slugger Yoenis Cespedes to the list. He has decided to opt-out for the year citing Covid-19 concerns as well as his distaste for team management. The Metropolitans are still an intriguing team with plenty of talent, you just gotta wonder about the team’s mental psyche going forward.

12.Arizona Diamondbacks (3-7)

The Diamondbacks, who some have pegged as Wild Card contenders, have struggled out of the gate. A rough stretch of games is upcoming as they will face the Astros and the upstart Rockies and Padres over the next few weeks. The team is hitting just .192 combined despite the best efforts of Starling and Ketel Marte and Christian Walker who are all hitting above .300. The pitching staff will need to get better, starters have a combined ERA of 5.72 while the bullpen is pitching to the tune of 5.05.

11. St.Louis Cardinals(2-3)

The Red-Birds’ immediate future is in question after discovering multiple positives for the coronavirus. As of this writing, it’s unclear if the team will be able to commence the four-game set versus the Tigers.  St.Louis is struggling in the early going at the plate slashing just .217/.281/.382 in five games.

10. Philadelphia Phillies (1-2)

The Phillies may have dodged the virus bullet after getting back some false-positive tests. They are slated to resume their schedule Monday versus the red-hot New York Yankees. The Phills also have the Marlins coming up. If Miami can field a team, Philadelphia should do well to bank up some victories.

9. Washington Nationals (3-4)

Not exactly an ideal start for the defending World Champs. The offense has been mostly stale to date. Expect them to be much better when Juan Soto returns to the lineup. Pitching has held up well as they have pitched to a third-best(NL) 2.69 ERA. Ace, Stephen Strasburg is nearing a return to the staff after missing his first two starts due to a nerve problem to his right hand.

8.San Francisco Giants (5-5)

One of the better stories of the abbreviated season is the unexpected emergence of middle-infielder Donovan Solano. Solano is scorching hot at the moment. In 31 at-bats, Solano is hitting just under .500(.484) with 13 RBI and an OPS of 1.210. The pitching staff has been underwhelming so far. The complete staff’s ERA is at 5.26. Improvements need to be made on the part of veteran starter Jeff Samardzija. In 9.2 innings of work, “the shark” has just a pair of strikeouts and an ERA of almost 10.00(9.31).

7.Cincinnati Reds (4-5)

The Reds have failed to live up to expectations in the early going. The outlook, however, is still on the up-and-up. Starting pitching has been as good as advertised as the complete staff, (including Wade Miley who has pitched just 1.2 innings), has struck out 66 batters in 48.2 innings. All toll they have put up a K rate of 12.2. Offensively the Reds have been good. Nicholas Castellanos has been outstanding hitting .387 with a 1.343 OPS. The Reds have the Cleveland Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers up next on the schedule.

6.Milwaukee Brewers (3-3)

Speaking of the Brew Crew, they are milling along decently. They managed to take two of three from the lowly Pirates. Veteran outfielder and team-leader Lorenzo Cain just recently decided to pack up and leave due to COVID concerns. The Brewers will definitely miss his presence on and off the field. Another outfielder Milwaukee depends on is all-star Christian Yelich. Yelich began the season just 1-for-27. Expect him to return to form soon, which will give the offense a much-needed jolt. No concerns so far for all-star flamethrower Brandon Woodruff. Woodruff has picked up right where he left off in 2019 striking out 15 batters in his first 11.1 innings of work.

5.San Diego Padres (6-3)

A nice combination of power and speed has catapulted the Fryars to a strong start. They have swiped 19 bags which ranks first in the NL and they have also gone deep 12 times which is good for third-best. Fernando Tatis leads the team in RBI with 9. He has also stolen three bases which trails only Tommy Pham‘s five for the team lead. Starting pitchers Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet have been the team’s best hurlers. They have both given up just two earned runs each in their first two starts.

4.Colorado Rockies (6-2)

Colorado took two of three from the Texas Rangers and two straight off the Oakland A’s on the road to kick off the season. They will host San Francisco then travel to Seattle for the next seven games. Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon lead the team in hits with 10 each in seven games. Surprisingly enough, pitching has mostly carried the Rocks. They carry an NL-second best ERA of 2.47 into this week’s action.

3.Atlanta Braves (7-3)

Atlanta has most recently strung together four straight victories after losing three of five to start the campaign. The Braves have rung up the scoreboard pretty good with an NL best 53 in the early going. Dansby Swanson has knocked in 11 runs while former Cardinal Marcell Ozuna has gone deep three times. Mike Soroka and Max Fried have held the fort well at the front of the rotation.

*Update-P Mike Soroka will be sidelined for the duration of the year with a torn right Achilles*

2.Los Angeles Dodgers (7-3)

To nobody’s surprise, the Dodgers lead the NL in hits and home runs. Shortstop Corey Seager leads the team with 13 hits and is tied for the team-lead in big-flies with Max Muncy with three. Team-leader. Cody Bellinger is off to a slow start, he has just five hits in 36 at-bats before Sunday’s action. The Dodgers have a stellar pitching staff, and the numbers have backed up that statement. They own an NL-best 2.04 ERA. They also just welcomed Mr. Clayton Kershaw back into the mix. Next on the docket are the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants.

1.Chicago Cubs (7-2)

The Cubbies get the distinction of being number one in our first Power Rankings of the year. To date, it’s been mostly the potent lineup that has carried the club to taking seven of their first nine. Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Ian Happ have gone yard three times. All toll the Cubs are amongst the top of the heap in taters for the league lead.  The club’s biggest concern is bringing down their 11th ranked 4.82 team ERA. They will get some assistance in the form of steady left-handed veteran Jose Quintana who is in the midst of recovering from an injured thumb. Tyler Chatwood has been the team’s most pleasant surprise to date. He racked up an impressive 11 K’s in his Saturday outing versus the Pirates. The generally soft schedule will continue with a series versus the Kansas City Royals this week.

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