Another week down in the short Major League Baseball season, and do we know more than we did two weeks in? Yes and no.
The Astros? Nats? Brewers? Yeah, we still don’t know about them.
The top two this week look mighty familiar and, being honest here, it’s going to take a colossal failure or a huge surprise to upend both L.A. and N.Y. The A’s are sure trying though, aren’t they? Cubs aren’t looking too shabby either.
The A’s might be the most interesting team in baseball right now, though. Their young pitchers look fantastic and they have Matt Chapman, who may be the most underrated player in the entire league. Keep an eye on them — and not just because of those fly uniforms.
Three weeks in, here’s how we see all 30 teams in MLB.
TEAMS WE KNOW ARE GOOD
1. New York Yankees (12-6): The Yankees didn’t look as unbeatable this week as they did previously, but as long as Aaron Judge is hitting dingers and Gerrit Cole is whiffing opposing hitters, the Yankees remain the team to beat.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (12-7): The Dodgers leading all of MLB in run differential (by nine runs over the Twins) proves just how dangerous they are. The Dodgers aren’t just good, they’re capable of running over teams.
3. Oakland A’s (13-6): I’m starting to talk myself into the idea that the A’s can win the World Series and it’s not too far-fetched. If their young pitchers can keep this going — they’re third in ERA and you probably can’t name a single one of their starters unless you’re an A’s fan — you’ll soon realize just how good they are.
4. Chicago Cubs (12-3): The Cubs only lost one game last week. Of course, the Cubs only played three times since our last installment. That’s what happens when you have a series set against the Cardinals. Still, the Cubs have the fewest losses in the league. That counts for something.
5. Atlanta Braves (11-8): The Braves lost two straight to the Yankees, one of their first big challenges of the season if we’re to believe them as a contender. They’re definitely a playoff-caliber team, but are they the second-best team in the NL like some people think? We’ll see.
6. Minnesota Twins (12-7): Maybe Wednesday’s 12-2 win over Milwaukee was what the Twins needed. After a strong start, they lost five of six games going into Wednesday. And three of those losses were to the Royals. For the Twins to roll this year, they can’t do that.
7. Colorado Rockies (12-6): Charlie Blackmon’s red-hot start has made the Rockies the early surprise of 2020. We know they’re talented but by now, we’re tired of being tricked by Colorado. Now they have to prove this isn’t just an early-season fluke.
8. San Diego Padres (11-8): Let’s take it to the tweets: Here’s ex-MLB pitcher Phil Hughes and Pads first baseman Eric Hosmer. He kinda has a point.
Yeah we’re nasty Phil
— Eric Hosmer (@TheRealHos305) August 12, 2020
9. Tampa Bay Rays (11-8): After an underwhelming start, the Rays rebounded. They took three of four from the Yankees. Their pitching is looking more like what we expected. It’s now five wins in a row after beating the Red Sox on Wednesday.
10. Cleveland Indians (10-9): The Indians have pitching issues, but that’s off the field. On the field, they still have the best ERA in baseball. The offense needs a spark, but they’ve started to get more runs across the plate lately, including a 13-0 win last Thursday.
11. Chicago White Sox (10-9): Mostly, I want to believe in the White Sox. Love the lineup. Love the young talent. The pitching is what needs to prove it can be a contender. Here’s the problem: It’s probably a little too early for team meetings and Dallas Keuchel calling out his teammates’ effort.
HONESTLY, WE EXPECTED MORE
The hey-it’s-still-early caveat DEFINITELY applies, but these are four teams with big postseason aspirations that have clunked out of the gate. At least relative to their expectations. The Astros are dealing with a litany of injuries, the others just haven’t found a groove.
12. Washington Nationals (6-8)
13. Houston Astros (8-10)
14. Milwaukee Brewers (7-9)
15. Cincinnati Reds (8-10)
SURPRISES WITH A LOT TO PROVE
Kudos to the Marlins for being tied for third-best winning percentage in the league after everything they’ve been through. We still need to see more. Same goes for the Orioles and Tigers, who are proving all the pundits wrong with their hot starts. But being above .500 three weeks in doesn’t automatically get you ahead of the Astros and Nats.
16. Miami Marlins (8-4)
17. Baltimore Orioles (9-7)
18. Detroit Tigers (9-7)
This is the land of groans. There’s nothing to be too excited down here — unless you were rooting Dylan Bundy to finally figure it out with the Angels. The Phillies, Angels and Mets have playoff-caliber rosters but are seeing all-too-familiar disappointing results. The Rangers, credit to them, have been beating up on the basement of their division this week. The Blue Jays and D-backs, meanwhile, aren’t living up to sleeper hopes at all.
19. Texas Rangers (8-9)
20. Philadelphia Phillies (5-8)
21. Los Angeles Angels (7-12)
22. New York Mets (8-11)
23. Toronto Blue Jays (6-9)
24. Arizona Diamondbacks (8-11)
The most interesting thing isn’t that the Red Sox remain in our lowest tier, but that they have the second-lowest winning percentage in the league. Trade your best player and then play horribly? Shocker.
25. Boston Red Sox (6-12)
26. San Francisco Giants (8-12)
27. Kansas City Royals (8-11)
28. Seattle Mariners (7-13)
29. Pittsburgh Pirates (3-13)
St. Louis Cardinals (2-3): Five games they’ve played at this point. Seems unfair to even try to assess whether the Cardinals are good. Maybe they’ll get back on the field this weekend and we’ll start to figure it out.
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