The Senior Class: NL Power Rankings – Week 1.

Throughout the year, I’ll be separately assessing the fortunes of teams in the NL and AL, and ranking them accordingly. Standings won’t be dependent on record alone and will factor in such aspects as injuries, strength of competition, and acquisitions, amongst other things. Last week, in The Senior Class – Week 1I gave every team a comment in light of it being Opening Week. Week 2 sees a revert to my normal writing plan – 3-5 brief recaps for the most interesting teams of the week. Without further ado, I present The Senior Class – Week 2! (All records correct as of Saturday morning). 

  1. Washington Nationals (3-1)  The Nats took care of business this week, sweeping their opening series away to the NY Mets – beating a bad team like any good team should. With the Dodgers and Cardinals both scuffling this past week however, the Nats’ early dominance jumps them to the head of the elite pack. Even without Bryce Harper hitting (perhaps due to his continued aggression elsewhere on the field aside from the plate), Washington’s offense has been potent, with Jayson Werth in particular continuing his strong play from the second half of 2013, and Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman both also looking good. The offense needed to be on form to overcome a poor Opening Day start from Stephen Strasburg and his new slider (which made poor David Wright look silly), but Gio Gonzalez‘s and Jordan Zimmermann‘s impressive showings ensured the Nats easy wins, and highlighted the deep quality of the rotation (even without Doug Fister still). They have the Braves, the suddenly-mighty (see below) Marlins, and Atlanta again on the schedule this week, so will be tested a little more strenuously than by simply the Mets, but should they get contributions from Messrs. Harper and Strasburg, stand a good chance to be on pole again this time next Saturday. 
  2. St. Louis Cardinals (2-2) 
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers (2-2 last week, 4-2 overall) 
  4. Atlanta Braves (3-1) 
  5. Pittsburgh Pirates (3-1)  
  6. San Francisco Giants (4-1)  Last week I wondered if I was too down on the Giants by ranking them eighth; as it turns out, I was. SF are riding a three game winning patch (in my subjective opinion, it’s only a streak when it hits five) and are yet to play at home – not that Brandon Belt will ever want to go back to AT&T Park again. The focus of my pre-season Giants preview, the young(ish) lefty racked up 3 home runs against Arizona alone, propelling the Giants’ 3-1 win of the early intra-division series, and spearheading an offense that – with the starting pitching being rather touched up – has had to do some heavy lifting so far. That poor early pitching will be a concern to the Giants – only Tim Hudson‘s start on Wednesday saw San Francisco give up less than four runs, and reliever Jean Machi has picked up 2 of the team’s wins – but a series back at their friendly home confines against the rather anemic Diamondbacks offense should set things right. If Belt, Buster Posey, and Angel Pagan keep up their early raking, the early  struggles of Tim Lincecum et al. might not come into play much anyway. 
  7. Miami Marlins (4-1) As first posited by Michael Baumann, “Break up the fish!” While there was some pre-season conjecture that the Marlins were actually a team of secret operatives attempting to infiltrate the largest drug cartel on the Eastern seaboard while posing as a major-league baseball club, Miami have looked like a real legitimate baseball team over the last week. Sure, Baumann’s surveyance “Taking three out of four at home against a terrible Colorado Rockies team may not be much to brag about” might well be true, but the Marlins have, excuse the pun, made quite the splash this opening week – hence their jump up the rankings. After a ridiculous (in the ‘deserving or inviting derision or mockery’ sense of the word, rather than crazy good), positives were everywhere; José Fernández was electric on Monday, striking out nine in his six innings of work while ceding only one run on a Carlos Gonzalez jack – a shot that even titillated Fernández briefly amidst his dominance. Giancarlo Stanton – as is his wont – crushed some baseballs, and would have had three HRs but for a rocket going just foul on Wednesday (a crushing blow which would have nullified Henderson Alvarez giving Colorado a six run lead to work with, and put Miami at 5-0). Young pitching hope Nathan Eovaldi looked solid too, his average fastball velocity of 95.9mph on Tuesday sitting only behind Fernández (96.3) for the highest mark of the young season so far. Really, the only bad thing to happen in Miami this week was Dan Marino being let near a broadcasting headset; other than that, it’s been a wonderful week to be a Marlins fan (should any still exist thanks to Jeffrey Loria). 
  8. Milwaukee Brewers (2-2) 
  9. Cincinnati Reds (1-3) 
  10. San Diego Padres (1-3) 
  11. Colorado Rockies (2-3) 
  12. Arizona Diamondbacks (1-4, 1-6) ↓ Yeeeeesh. With their .143 winning percentage, the Diamondbacks currently prop up the Senior Circuit, and have looked particularly brutal on their way to doing so (despite Paul Goldschmidt continuing his amusing one man assault on Tim Lincecum). Without Patrick Corbin, the pitching has been especially horrible (S/O to Trevor Cahill!), both hemorrhaging runs to the Giants at home this week, and giving up twelve to the Rockies at Coors yesterday; you have to wonder, if the team are serious in their thrust for contention this year, how long they can continue to hold down Archie Bradley in the wake of such a poor first turn through the rotation. If things continue in such a woeful vein too, Kirk Gibson could well soon be questioning Kevin Towers’ roster moves along with the rest of us from outside the organization.
  13. New York Mets (1-3) 
  14. Philadelphia Phillies (2-2) 
  15. Chicago Cubs (1-3) → Junior Lake wore the wrong jersey in a game this week. Your (early April) Cubs everybody!

One comment

  1. Pingback: The Designated 15: AL Power Rankings – Week 2. « The Dugout Perspective

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