By Joe Lemire
April 29, 2010
MLB Power Rankings
11 Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 17
To get something, you have to give something -- a point that was reinforced to the Diamondbacks this week. As part of a larger deal in Dec. 2007 they traded promising young outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to the A's in order to get proven in-his-prime starter Dan Haren, who has quietly put up numbers as good as any starter in baseball the past two seasons. CarGo, as he's known, was traded to Colorado a year later and showed why he was so highly rated as a prospect. Against his old team he had three multihit games and for the series he was 7-for-11 with two home runs and nine RBIs. Of course, Haren is 33-19 in a D-backs uniform, a win total he added to in a start against the Rockies on Monday.
12 Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 13
Just as the A's were starting to look better than a smoke-and-mirror early-season fluke, Brett Anderson goes on the disabled with elbow inflammation and forearm strain and could miss four to six weeks. Meanwhile, reliever Brad Ziegler has been all too happy to Tweet his opinion on everything from sparse home crowds to Arizona's immigration bill.
13 Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 18
The infield dirt around Fenway Park and wherever else the Sox are playing has become a new speedway. Blame it on the catchers' throwing arms or the pitchers' inability to hold runners on, but opponents have stolen 38 bases and been caught only once when running against a Boston catcher. (Two runners have been thrown out on the base paths, courtesy of Jon Lester pickoffs.) The easiest pitchers to run against have been Tim Wakefield (11 SBs allowed) and Josh Beckett (9 SBs allowed).
14 Washington Nationals
Last Week: 16
In an unexpected development, the Nationals boast the major-league leader in saves. Their closers have never had enough opportunities (i.e. actual late-game leads) in years past, but on Wednesday afternoon Matt Capps picked up his 10th save of the young season. He's saved 10 of the Nats' 12 wins, showing that, though they're winning, they're not winning by much.
15 Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 7
The Mariners knew their offense would be light, but they rank dead last in the AL in home runs (nine) and slugging percentage (.350), the latter nearly 100 points behind the category-leading Yankees. Lack of production from their DH has been a key concern, with no homers and just one extra-base hit, with Ken Griffey Jr. (.226, 0 home runs, 4 RBIs in 53 at-bats) starting two-thirds of the games in that lineup slot.
16 Florida Marlins
Last Week: 15
Chris Coghlan seems to have a bit of a sophomore slump. The reigning NL Rookie of the Year does not have an extra-base hit in 83 plate appearances, settling for just 14 singles. His average and slugging percentage are an identical .179. He's one of just two everyday players without any extra-base hits, joining the White Sox' Juan Pierre.
17 Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 24
Here's resiliency: On Wednesday afternoon the Diamondbacks took a 6-0 lead in the first, gave up the next 11 runs to the Rockies, but then still rallied from a five-run deficit to win 12-11 in 10 innings, capped by second baseman Kelly Johnson's eighth home run, tying him for the major-league lead. He's currently homering once every 8.8 at bats, nearly four times better than his previous season best of once every 32.2 at bats.
18 Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 14
Vernon Wells is off to a scorching start, with seven home runs, 11 doubles and an average/on-base/slugging line of .333/.398/.714. Curiously, he's doing so while swinging at a career-high rate of pitches (53.9 percent) and especially pitches outside the strike zone (38.1 percent, 10.1 points more than his previous high).
19 Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 22
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild noted last week that Carlos Zambrano has a live, but inconsistent, arm that could be harnessed when pitching shorter spurts. Zambrano's first inning of work (as a starter) is arguably his best statistically (.207 average and .313 OBP against, 8.9 K/9). And the Cubs' eighth-inning pitching, particularly by right-handers, has been atrocious. Still, moving Big Z to the 'pen is not a good use of resources.
20 Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 19
There is trouble brewing in Milwaukee, as closer Trevor Hoffman has blown consecutive save chances and four already this season, matching his number from last year. That each was at home hasn't sat well with the fans. After Wednesday's game manager Ken Macha was non-committal about Hoffman's job security. The Brewers rallied to win only one of the four games, which would have changed their record from 9-12 to 12-9.
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