Baseball

John McGrath’s MLB power rankings

1. St. Louis Cardinals (1): Reliever Mitch Harris, a Naval Academy graduate who served two tours as a weapons officer in the Persian Gulf, has a different definition of “pressure situation” than other pitchers.

2. Kansas City Royals (3): Interstate-70 series between Royals and Cardinals this weekend could be prelude to ultimate showdown in Fall Classic.

3. Houston Astros (7): Win or lose, free-swinging Astros are fun to watch.

4. Washington Nationals (5): Bryce Harper entered weekend hitting .336, with 16 homers and 39 RBIs. He’s 22. Yikes.

5. Los Angels Dodgers (2): Six consecutive defeats to Giants in San Francisco are most for Dodgers since 1972.

6. Detroit Tigers (4): Rookie catcher James McCann is not a rocket scientist, but his father is.

7. San Francisco Giants (13): Manager Bruce Bochy on his surging team’s rebound from a 4-10 start: “We’ve become who we are.”

8. Minnesota Twins (8): On Feb. 11, 1986, David Letterman devoted an entire show to his favorite baseball player, the late Twins’ Hall-of-Famer Harmon Killebrew. What ensued was television magic.

9. New York Mets (9): Thanks to some wintertime work with retired Mets’ great Keith Hernandez, left-handed hitting first baseman Lucas Duda is terrorizing southpaws.

10. Tampa Bay Rays (10): Mariners on Monday get a first-hand chance to study veteran DH David DeJesus, who began weekend hitting .429 with runners on base.

11. Chicago Cubs (12): Offseason trade that brought catcher Miguel Montero from Diamonbacks in return for a pair of Class A pitchers looking like a steal.

12. New York Yankees (6): The subway stops at East 161st Street and River Avenue, a short walk to the roller coaster.

13. Los Angeles Angels (16): A year after his breakout season, Matt Shoemaker has allowed a league-high 13 homers.

14. Atlanta Braves (25): Manager Fredi Gonzalez on using 31 different lineups through 31 games: “There really is no computer involved with the decisions. It’s just a feel.”

15. San Diego Padres (15): See ball, miss ball: Padres’ hitters struck out 32 times during a three game series against the Cubs.

16. Pittsburgh Pirates (14): Take solace, Pirates fans: Bucs were similarly sluggish through 40 games last spring, and still qualified for wild card.

17. Baltimore Orioles (18): O’s hoping Steve Pearce’s grand slam versus Mariners will jump-start things for slumping second baseman.

18. Cincinnati Reds (17): After belting seven homers in April, Joey Votto entered weekend with one extra-base hit – a double – in May.

19. Boston Red Sox (18): Road to stardom for once-touted outfield prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. took another detour to Pawtucket last week.

20. Chicago White Sox (23): The No. 14 jersey of Paul Konerko – among the two or three most popular players in the 115-year history of the franchise – was retired Saturday.

21. Seattle Mariners (21): M’s last hit a grand slam on Sept. 28, 2013. Former Braves pitcher Tony Cloninger once hit two in one afternoon.

22. Arizona Diamondbacks (22): A.J. Pollock, who played alongside ex-Seahawks receiver Golden Tate as a Notre Dame outfielder, stole second, third and home in the same game last week.

23. Texas Rangers (24): Josh Hamilton expected to make his Rangers’ arrival – er, re-arrival – Monday night at Cleveland.

24. Toronto Blue Jays (11): R.A. Dickey’s sometimes flat knuckleball still capable of dancing.

25. Cleveland Indians (26): Despite the clod-hopping stumble out of the gate, Tribe can salvage season.

26. Colorado Rockies (27): Rox look like well-oiled, playoff-bound machine whenever they score five or more runs. Then again, what baseball team doesn’t?

27. Milwaukee Brewers (28): Ridiculously excessive eight-game suspension of reliever Will Smith for using a foreign substance – rosin and sunscreen – latest example why MLB needs to get a grip on pitchers who need a grip.

28. Philadelphia Phillies (30): Ryan Howard’s resurrection as a power hitter has been a pleasant surprise.

29. Miami Marlins (20): Trendy preseason picks to reach the playoffs, Marlins struggles even more confounding than those of their AL counterparts in Seattle.

30. Oakland A’s (29): Ron Washington’s appointment as “special infield coach” all about fixing the car-wreck defense of third baseman Brett Lawrie and shortstop Marcus Semien.

  Comments