This is the 2nd edition of the weekly “Johnny G’s Power Rankings”. The team is listed, followed by their record to date and then their previous rank on the list from last time.
1. New York Yankees (4-2) (1)- The Bronx Bombers had a pretty successful week one of play, with nothing transpiring to knock them from their top spot on the rankings. Sabathia almost no-hit the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, A.J. Burnett is settling in, and their lineup appears to be clicking on all cylinders. The ageless Mariano Rivera also has not missed a beat. It’s going to be tough to keep this team from winning the AL.
2. Boston Red Sox (3-3) (2)- David Ortiz’ 2010 season is suddenly looking very similar to his frustrating start to the beginning of the 2009 campaign. While Big Papi eventually rebounded, it would be for the best, for both the team and Ortiz, if he started hitting very soon. His struggles can only be a distraction. Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Bucholz, and Wakefield still make one of the best rotations in the game.
3.Philadelphia Phillies (5-1) (3)- As incredible as the Phillies have looked this season, the caliber of their opponents this season is preventing them from moving up on my list. Doc Halladay has performed as advertised, after a complete game gem against the punch less Astros and the entire offense, other than Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez are scalding hot right now. The only questions that linger with this club is the back end of the pen and if Ryan Madson can handle the 9th inning duties. Brad Lidge continues to struggle on his rehab assignment and is giving Phils fans more reason to worry by the day.
4. Tampa Bay Rays (3-3) (4)- The Rays started the season with a couple of dramatic wins but their main issues have been their inconsistent offense and their struggling bullpen so far. The starting rotation has kept them in games but it has been either the bats or the bullpen arms that have led to the losses this season. This team was almost no-hit by CC Sabathia and the Yankees and have only scored more than 4 runs once this season. This team has too much talent to panic at this point in the season and should rebound nicely.
5. Texas Rangers (3-3) (7)- So far, Scott Feldman is proving 2009 was not a fluke and that he can anchor the Ranger staff. There are no questions about the talent in their offensive lineup. Vladimir Guerrero looks like a new man hitting in Arlington in front of the powerful Nelson Cruz. If Josh Hamilton can put it all together like 2008, this is one scary lineup. Neftali Feliz replaces Frank Francisco in the closer’s role “temporarily“. With Feliz’ talent, I wouldn’t hold my breathe waiting for Francisco to get another shot in the 9th.
6. Colorado Rockies (3-3) (5)- Ian Stewart has really started this season with a bang, hitting for both power and average. His presence in the lineup in place of Garrett Atkins makes this entire lineup much deeper. Ubaldo Jimenez has picked up right where he left off, but the struggles of Aaron Cook have been troubling so far. Carlos Gonzalez is really coming into his own with 11 hits so far.
7. St. Louis Cardinals (4-2) (8)- Despite Chris Carpenter’s struggles on Sunday night, this club has performed very well so far in 2010. Albert Pujols wasted no time by going deep twice on opening day and with another year under his belt, Colby Rasmus is becoming a dangerous threat behind Matt Holiday. The rotation is top heavy but 5th starter Jaime Garcia’s first start of the year was quite impressive, going 6 innings and allowing only 1 earned run. Ryan Franklin has not run into any trouble yet, so everything is fine over in St. Louis.
8. Minnesota Twins (5-2) (10)- Even with the loss of Joe Nathan, Ron Gardenhire’s squad has put together an impressive first week. Jon Rauch has filled in admirably with 4 saves in 4 chances. Mauer and Morneau continue to anchor the lineup and the additions of Orlando Hudson and JJ Hardy are proving to be very wise moves. In addition to their added defensive value, this lineup is now much more dynamic. Their rotation is good enough with Baker, Slowey, and Blackburn at the front to keep this team competitive in almost every game they pitch. If Liriano can return to his pre-Tommy John surgery performance, this team could be very dangerous.
9. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2-5) (6)- The beginning of the 2010 season has been very frustrating for Mike Scioscia and the Angels. Jered Weaver continues to anchor the staff, but Joe Saunders’ struggles have continued. Brandon Wood was given the starting job at third base out of Spring Training but that has been disastrous thus far. Wood is 1 for 19 this season for a measly .053 batting average. Having said all that, this team is too fundamentally sound for these struggles to continue. This team is very much a contender.
10. Atlanta Braves (3-3) (13)- The Jason Heyward show has begun, and the kid has certainly not disappointed. Heyward blasted his third homerun of the season Sunday night, albeit in a losing effort. Derek Lowe has had command issues in the first week, but the rest of the staff has done very well. Chipper Jones going down in the 3rd game with a sore side is not good news for Braves fans, but this team has enough to compete while he gets healthy. Billy Wagner blew his first save against the Giants on a 2-run shot by Edgar Renteria, but Wagner has looked very good throughout the young season.
11. Los Angeles Dodgers (2-4) (9)- Only Joe Torre can explain what was going through his mind when he chose Vincente Padilla as his opening day starter over the likes of Clayton Kershaw and even Hiroki Kuroda. While it is no surprise the Dodgers lost both of Padilla’s starts, Kershaw’s command issues have continued from last season. Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger struck out 12 on Sunday in an impressive showing and his presence in the 5th spot, if he can continue to pitch well, will do wonders for this team.
12. Detroit Tigers (5-1) (16)- Even with Justin Verlander struggling in his first two starts, the Tigers have won 5 of 6 to start the year. Max Scherzer had an impressive debut for Detroit, going 6 innings without allowing a run and even Dontrelle Willis, who won the last spot in the rotation, has shown signs of life in his latest start. With youngsters Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore, in addition to veterans Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez, this team has had a tremendous start to the season.
13. Florida Marlins (4-2) (12)- Jorge Cantu has carried the Marlins so far. Cantu has racked up 10 RBIs, while hitting.320. Josh Johnson has struggled so far but both he and Ricky Nolasco are much too talented to allow that to continue. On the other hand, Chris Volstad did extremely well in his lone start this season. Cameron Maybin’s speed in center and Hanley Ramirez make this squad a very interesting team to follow.
14. San Francisco Giants (5-1) (15)- The recipe for success remains the same in San-Fran, pitch well and hope the offense puts up enough runs to win the game. This season the offense has surprised most by putting up runs in bunches. I don’t have confidence this offense containing mostly, slow, aging veterans that refuse to take a walk will continue to score enough runs to compete regularly. The sooner Brian Sabean decides to bring up Buster Posey from the minors, the better for the organization as a whole. Any lineup with Aaron Rowand in the lead-off spot cannot consistently score runs for 162 games. They are a nice story though, hopefully they can continue to defy the odds.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks (4-2) (18)- This is a much improved team from 2009 and perhaps I did not give this team enough credit in the first edition of the power rankings. Brandon Webb has not made his return yet, but Dan Haren should be fine by himself for the near future. Edwin Jackson has struggled so far early, but coming to the NL West should be a major boost for him. The addition of Adam Laroche and Kelly Johnson are major boosts to this lineup and full seasons from Stephen Drew and Conor Jackson can only help this young Diamondbacks team. Everyone knows what Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton can do, this team has a very bright future.
16. Chicago White Sox (14) (2-4)- Jake Peavy did not impress in his White Sox debut, but his stuff should be fine transitioning to the AL from the less-talented NL. Add him to the mix with Mark Buehrle, John Danks, and Gavin Floyd and you have a very solid rotation. The White Sox did not have a very strong first week but theres no reason to panic, but a suggestion to Ozzie Guillen: Stop penciling in Omar Vizquel as your DH.
17. Seattle Mariners (2-5) (11)- Maybe it was the Cliff Lee mega-deal or the loads of baseball “experts” picking this team to win 90+ games, but I may have overrated them myself. When you get down to it, with Cliff Lee on the DL, this team does not have much after Felix Hernandez. Ryan Rowland-Smith is average at this point and depending on Ian Snell for any consistency is a recipe for disaster. Casey Kotchman in the 3-hole and Ken Griffey Jr, getting regular at-bats are just not things that winning ball clubs allow to happen. I don’t see where the offense is coming from even when Lee comes back, and how long is it before Milton Bradley blows up? I don’t think I want to see it, when it does.
18. Toronto Blue Jays (5-1) (19)- Impressive start for the Jays, but this is why the standings can be deceiving in early April. I’m a big fan of Shaun Marcum, Adam Lind, Travis Snider, and Randy Ruiz. Unfortunately, that’s where my positive outlook on the Blue Jays ends. This team is not going to win at this pace unless you believe in Alex Gonzalez suddenly developing a 40 homerun power stroke at the age of 33. The rotation is very young and the bullpen lacks a true closer unless you’re a big Kevin Gregg fan (his mother).
19. Milwaukee Brewers (3-3) (20)- Randy Wolf has done fairly well in his first two starts for the Brew crew and he should help anchor the pitching staff along with Yovani Gallardo and Dave Bush. The lineup featuring Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun is always dangerous but they may not have enough. 40 year old Jim Edmonds is basically in a platoon with Corey Hart and Casey Mcgehee is unlikely to repeat his 2009 season. After Sunday night and his 2nd blown save of the season, Brewers fans can add Trevor Hoffman to their list of concerns.
20. Oakland Athletics (5-2) (21)- This is another team I’m not a big believer in, but you can’t argue with winning 5 of 7 in week 1. Brett Anderson will break out this year and he looked phenomenal in his first start. Ben Sheets should continue to improve as he returns from a long absence. The lineup just doesn’t have enough pop to compete over the long haul. Barton, Kouzmanoff, Pennington, Rosales- its just too many question marks for a team that wants to contend.
21. New York Mets (2-4) (24)- I caught a lot of flack from Mets fans for the first edition of the power rankings and was starting to second guess myself. Maybe I had the Mets too low? Maybe I underestimated the step children of New York? I don’t think so. Gary Mathews is currently starting in Center Field until Beltran returns but Sarge Jr. is just awful. Giving Mike Jacobs regular playing time at First Base is like suicide. Add those two to Frank Catalanotto, Fernando Tatis, and Alex Cora. You have to wonder how this roster got so bad. The return of Jose Reyes should provide some type of spark but there is not much else to be hopeful for unless you’re a believer in Frenchy hitting .500 on the season. The rotation is a mess, Johan just got lit up by the Nats and John Maine does not look to be improving. Lord have mercy on the Mets and their fans. At least they have another team in town to take the spotlight away from them.
22. Chicago Cubs (2-4) (17)- The opening day start for Carlos Zambrano was troubling to say the least, but the Cubs seem to have much bigger problems. Alfonso Soriano’s major struggles have continued and new addition Marlon Byrd has not fared much better. It appears only a matter of time before Lou Piniella finds more at-bats for rookie Tyler Colvin. I’m still not a big Randy Wells believer but the Cubs rotation is not all that bad if Zambrano gets it together and Dempster pitches like he did in his first start. The Cubs just don’t have enough this season and Jim Hendry could be in trouble if another big free agent turns out to be a bust in Marlon Byrd.
23. Cincinnati Reds (3-3) (22)- I was pretty impressed with Mike Leake making his Major League debut after spending 0 games in the minors. His poise and pure stuff gives Reds fans quite a bit to look forward to. Aaron Harang could still be an innings eater this season, along with Bronson Arroyo who had a very impressive debut in 2010. Arroyo threw 8 innings of 1 run ball against the potent lineup of the Cardinals. Drew Stubbs, Joey Votto, and Brandon Phillips are some offensive threats to be thankful for. Jay Bruce was widely expected to break out this season, but it is too early to write off the kid this soon. With Dusty Baker on the bench, I would keep a close eye on all these young arms the Reds plan on throwing. Good luck Aroldis Chapman, Dusty may ride you into the ground.
24. San Diego Padres (2-4) (23)- This team has the same issues as last season, major offensive struggles. The rotation has a lot of potential with veteran innings-eaters at the top in Jon Garland and Chris Young, Kevin Correia in the 3rd spot, and talented youngsters Clayton Richard, and Mat Latos in the final spots. Kyle Blanks has quite a bit of power potential and Everth Cabrera could develop into a nice player in time, but the only legit threat on this team is still Adrian Gonzalez. Heath Bell is a tremendous closer but you have to think he won’t be in San Diego after the trade deadline.
25. Washington Nationals (3-3) (25)- The opening series against the Phillies did not go according to plan, as John Lannan and the rest of the Nats’s bullpen was pummeled. The offense has not disappointed though. Rookie Ian Desmond has continued to excel after taking over the starting job from Cristian Guzman. Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn have not even begun to find their stroke yet and this team is still scoring runs in bunches. Matt Capps has not blown a save yet, but you won’t have to wait much longer. The bullpen may have somehow gotten worse from last year and this team does not have much to be excited about until Stephen Strasburg comes up to the big leagues.
26. Kansas City Royals (2-4) (26)- The Royals have dropped their first two series of the season, and there appears to be many more to follow. Zack Greinke hasn’t been his dominating self lately but that is the least of Royal’s fans worries. At the top of the list are free-agent signings Jason Kendall and Rick Ankiel. Ankiel has hit well in the season’s first week but his history has shown he does not get on base nearly enough. If Meche can pitch consistently and Hochevar lives up to his draft position, this team could have a nice team in several years. Billy Butler is tremendous over at first base, but another long season for the boys in Kansas City.
27. Pittsburgh Pirates (3-3) (30)- Perhaps the most unexpected start to the season has to belong to the Pirates. I had this team ranked dead last in the inaugural edition of Johnny G’s Power Rankings but this team has shown something. On Saturday they lit up Dan Haren for 5 runs in 6 2/3 innings and they currently sit at .500. I am still an anti-Garrett Jones guy and his background and long path to the Majors makes me believe his power streak cannot continue. Pitchers and Coaches will adjust to his swing and things will sort themselves out. Andrew McCutchen in Center Field is a star to look out for, and he is a ton of fun to watch. Zack Duke has emerged as the ace of the staff, but this team is currently building for the future.
28. Baltimore Orioles (1-5) (28)- This team has a lot of bright spots on the roster, but this season is not where they will shine. The O’s dropped the first series to the Rays and were swept by the Blue Jays over the weekend. Markakis, Jones, Reimold, Wieters, and Matusz will be the cornerstones of this team for the future. Chris Tillman is still in the minors but the sooner he is called up, the sooner he will continue to develop. This team could be very dangerous in a couple years. AL East beware.
29. Cleveland Indians (2-4) (29)- A lot of youngsters all over this starting nine and roster overall. This season appears to be a developmental year for the organization after trading Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia for prospects over the last several years. Fausto Carmona is an intriguing name, who, if he can regain his command, could be a Cy-Young candidate once again. Grady Sizemore is still here in Cleveland, but this team has no chance to compete this season.
30. Houston Astros (0-6) (27)- Oh my. Ed Wade did it again. Pedro Feliz, Tommy Manzella, Geoff Blum, and J.R. Towles in the same lineup? This is the first time after watching a full series that I felt legitimately bad for the opposing team. Bud Norris needs to be sent to the minors immediately, Matt Lindstrom is not an MLB closer, and somehow Brandon Lyon got that huge contract out of Eddy Wade. I wish I could tell you that are building for the future, but frankly I’m not sure what is going on in Houston.
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