Thursday April 22nd, 2010

MLB Power Rankings
21New York Mets
Last Week: 27
Ike Davis hysteria has overcome Queens. The system's top first-base prospect made his major-league debut on Monday and had two singles, including one in his first at bat. Fans were so excited for a glimmer of hope that a few even printed their own Ike Davis player t-shirts for the occasion. Manger Jerry Manuel has even gone so far as to compare Davis to Hall of Famer Willie Stargell. All that Davis is lacking is a good nickname. In a bit of reverse presidential humor, I humbly submit "Dwight" as Davis' new moniker.
 
22Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 18
Alfonso Soriano just can't do anything right. Even when he hit a ball into the gap, as he did on Monday night at Citif Field, he didn't hustle out of the batter's box, effectively turning a triple into only a double. In left field, Soriano has incorporated an odd hop before making each catch. Neither of these developments has pleased manager Lou Pineilla, who is generally displeased with the club anyway, as it has started the season three games under .500. Desperate times require desperate measures and so news broke yesterday that Carlos Zambrano would be moving to the bullpen, where he hasn't pitched since 2002.
 
23Texas Rangers
Last Week: 9
On the bright side, designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero proved he could still run, swiping two of the Rangers' team record nine stolen bases on Tuesday night, although it did come in the fifth of what is now six straight losses. Also encouraging: red-hot Nelson Cruz, who left that game early with an apparent injury, was merely suffering from a hamstring cramp and is okay.
 
24Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 13
Dan Haren may have given up seven runs in six innings on Tuesday but still won, thanks in no small part to his four hits at the plate, only the sixth time a starting pitcher has had at last four hits since Y2K. In the 21 times a starter has had four hits since 1960, his team has gone 21-0.
 
25Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 10
Tuesday could have been a very bad day for the Reds: Major League Baseball suspended pitcher Edinson Volquez for 50 games for failing a drug test, and they blew a 9-3 lead to the Dodgers. But Volquez, who's recovering from Tommy John surgery, can serve his ban on the 60-day disabled list, so he won't miss any additional games, meaning the suspension will save the Reds $137,345.68.. And then the Reds rallied late to win that game anyway, beating L.A. 11-9. Instead, it was just the rest of the week that was bad.
 
26Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 25
Scott Podsednik, the light-hitting speedster, may never be mentioned in the same sentence as Barry Bonds again, so here goes: Podsednik is the only major-leaguer with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title with an on-base percentage over .500, something no player has done for a full season since Bonds in 2004. Through 13 games Podsednik leads the majors with a .526 OBP, including a .449 average, and is tied for the stolen base lead with seven. The left-handed batter is also hitting a cool .800 (8-for-10) against lefty pitchers.
 
27Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 28
After starting the season just 2-for-18, Shin-Soo Choo then had 12 hits in his next 22 at bats, with four home runs, 12 RBIs and seven walks, making him the runaway winner for AL Player of the Week. It has been helpful production for a lineup in which four positions (catcher, first base, second base, third base and center field -- ahem, Grady Sizemore) are all batting under .200 with an OBP under .300. Further distressing to the Indians' offense is that those four home runs Choo hit last week are the only four the team's outfield has contributed this season.
 
28Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 19
Type in "Chic" into Google News and three of the first five entries are the Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Cubs, while the Chicago White Sox aren't even in the top 10. ("Chicago Bears" is actually first, ahead of even the entry for the city "Chicago" itself.) Of course, their 5-10 start isn't helping either.
 
29Houston Astros
Last Week: 30
To date the Rays' B.J. Upton has four home runs and three stolen bases. The Astros as a team have five home runs and five stolen bases. That depressing stat aside, Houston welcomed Lance Berkman back into its lineup for the last two games of a 5-1 week, so things are looking up.
 
30Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 29
Forget "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain" as a pitching plan; the Orioles need Brian Matusz and a weekly monsoon. Matusz is 2-0 with the bullpen blowing an eighth-inning lead in his third start. In starts made by everybody else, Baltimore is 0-13.
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