Thursday April 15th, 2010

MLB Power Rankings
21Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: N/A
Things were looking good a week ago. Trevor Hoffman had just converted his second save as the Brewers were opening series winners over the highly-touted Rockies, and owner Mark Attanasio was exchanging barbs about payroll with Yankees president Randy Levine. Since then, however, the Brewers have lost four out of five, blowing three late leads in the process (including two by Hoffman, who admits there's a degree of concern with how he's pitched).
 
22Seattle Mariners
Last Week: N/A
The fears of the Mariners' weak attack have not been unfounded. Seattle has scored just 28 runs in 10 games. How anemic has the offense been? It's team OPS (on-base plus slugging) is .622, which for perspective's sake is more than 75 points less than weak-hitting infielder David Eckstein's career number. Paging Jermaine Dye. Jermaine Dye, please pick up the white courtesy phone.
 
23Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: N/A
On Tuesday the Angels watched the Yankees, who beat L.A. in the ALCS last year, receive their World Series rings, and they fell to 2-6 for their slowest start since 1972 -- but those weren't the worst parts of their day. A man committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the Angels' team hotel, a disturbing scene that rattled several of the players who witnessed it.
 
24San Diego Padres
Last Week: N/A
Winning one's home opener 17-2, as the Padres did on Monday, can certainly create plenty of warm feelings -- the fans at Petco showered the players with a standing ovation after the 10-run fourth inning -- but that only masks San Diego's trouble scoring runs. Consider that nearly half of its 37 runs this season were scored in that one game. The Padres' offensive problems start at the top of the lineup where its Nos. 1 and 2 hitters are getting on base at a very low rate, .175 and .256, respectively. It may be early, but it's already time to move Everth Cabrera and Eckstein to the bottom of the order, or out of it altogether.
 
25Kansas City Royals
Last Week: N/A
Jose Guillen has homered five times in the past four games and is finally showing some of the life that earned him (an admittedly ill-advised) three-year, $36 million contract. How bad was Guillen last year? According to Fangraphs.com, his offensive and defensive value to the Royals last year was so bad that he should have forfeited his salary AND paid the Royals $8.6 million in damages.
 
26Washington Nationals
Last Week: N/A
Who needs the young kid (Stephen Strasburg) when the Nationals have the old man (Livan Hernandez)? Hernandez spun a gem for about Washington's only early-season bright spot on the mound, shutting out the Mets for seven innings. If you ignore that one outing, the Nationals' starters have an 11.14 ERA. In case anyone's wondering, Greyhound does travel from Harrisburg, Pa., to Washington, D.C. -- with only two stops and a discounted web fare of $34.32.
 
27New York Mets
Last Week: N/A
The Mets may be 2-5 with the NL's second-worst record, but there are some good things to say about the Mets: Jose Reyes looks healthy; David Wright is raking; and, uh, they're tied for the major-league lead in sacrifice flies.
 
28Cleveland Indians
Last Week: N/A
Look for outfield prospect Michael Brantley to break out soon. Though he has only a .192 average and .250 on-base percentage, he leads the majors in seeing 5.1 pitches per plate appearance, so he should work his way closer to his career minor-league rates of a .300 average and .387 OBP.
 
29Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: N/A
There is one very bright spot for the Orioles in spite of their 1-8 start, and his name is Brian Matusz. He earned his club's one win in his first start and pitched a gem into the eighth inning against the Rays on Tuesday -- but that's when Baltimore's ugly bullpen reared its ugly head. Rather than trusting his relievers with a 3-0 lead, manager David Trembley allowed Matusz, making his 10th career major-league start, to allow four straight hits in the eighth before finally removing him.
 
30Houston Astros
Last Week: N/A
At the risk of piling on the Astros even more, I'll merely note their negative-30 run differential in eight games -- an average loss by nearly four runs! -- and wish them well in winning one of their next 13 games to avoid tying the 1988 Orioles for worst start to a season.
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