MLB Power Ratings
With two weeks remaining before the MLB All-Star Break, WagerTalk handicapper Tony Finn offers his Week 13 MLB Power Ratings. Which teams have over-achieved through the first three months of the season? Which ones are still trying to find their footing? Tony offers his thoughts on how the season has played out thus far.
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MLB State of the Union
Major League Baseball doesn’t react. They respond. The sports company has a history of ignoring situations that can be uncomfortable, ultimately leaving a scar on its brand. Baseball’s relationship with the public, the sea to shining sea consumers that buy their product is by and large dicey. And the turbulent cooperation with whom is essentially their business partner, those responsible for companies unique product, Labor if you will, is an incestuous consanguinity.
Since the inception of Major League Baseball and long before the two leagues join forces, the enterprising ownership believes themselves entitled. That entitlement the group feels endowed with doesn’t just exist with those that live under the family crest. Like a fine-tuned cult Major League Baseball is, it isn’t a stretch to understand what a different animal they are than the other two of the Big-Three sports companies in North America.
The attitude of Major League Baseball Incorporated and those under contract or a part of the company payroll are birds of a feather. Exceptions exist, of course. It would be irresponsible for me to push everyone connected to MLB into a container marked poison. My relationships with those who worked for or partnered with professional Baseball and the MLB brand were not all abhorrent individuals.
Placing a measurable part of the MLB group, the wealthiest of those under contract that hit and pitch the billionaire’s product, are the primary cast of characters I am writing about. It isn’t a distortion when I delineate the ownership of MLB franchises embraces arrogance grandstand their diseased decisions.
It is the status quo when the powers that are Major League Baseball pose with white hats and spin the message that the Labor is once again pushing the envelope and bending the rules for financial and selfish gain. The latest MLB sideshow in their annual 30-ring circus is the foreign substance drama. Make no mistake and ingest the knowledge that Rawlings, owned by Major League Baseball, made changes to the ball this past winter that has created an advantage for pitchers they haven’t had since “The Year of the Pitcher” in 1968.
Bob Gibson patroled a mound and any part of the 60 feet and 6 inches between the rubber and home plate. The St Louis right-hander did as he pleased that season. The Cardinals ace had a sign above his locker in “Old Busch” that read “Here comes the Judge.”
During Bob Gibson’s record-setting 1968 season, he hung a sign above his locker that read, “Here comes the judge.” He felt untouchable, he said. The St. Louis pitcher owned the inside half of the plate; he would leer down at batters who feared stepping in the box against him.
Gibson started 34 games that ’68 season. The Hall of Famer was so dominant he went a full nine innings in 28 of his 34 starts. Gibson surrendered a grand total of three runs in those 99 innings of work. He tossed 13 shutouts and registered 268 strikeouts. At the end of that 1968 spring, there was a nearly eight-week stretch that saw Gibson win 11 straight games. And if 11 consecutive starts that resulted in 11 straight wins isn’t impressive enough, each of those starts and wins were complete games.
The situation today is different than that of ’68 when Gibson was the pseudo commissioner of Baseball. However, there are similarities, as well. The powers of Baseball today, like then, are spinning that what’s changed has nothing to do with their game, company, or their decisions. It is just a cycle of the game, of life. With a Cheshire grin, those in charge of reigning in any threat to their product and company announced to the media that they and they alone were the antidote to return the Great American Pastime to normalcy.
Scoring was down, pitching ruled the summer of ’68, and Major League Baseball, as a group, believed then as they do now that they are immune from the consequences of bad decisions and the failure to react in a timely fashion to a product defect.
Damn the responsibility of being proactive in protecting the brand and nurturing public relations. To hell with the scandals inside the workings of the company. With a tip of their cap and in a commanding tone, Major League Baseball has, without actually doing so, pointed their finger at Labor for the current problems that exist within the white lines of their diamonds.
There has not been a major-league pitcher suspended for foreign substances since Will Smith of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015 and Brian Matusz of the Baltimore Orioles. While players will not lose pay if suspended, their team will be playing short-handed in their absence.
When life serves Major League Baseball a lemon without missing a beat, they request salt and a bottle of tequila. The current buzz-kill that faces Baseball is just another speed bump in a long history of market hurdles. Those who have and are currently driving the MLB bus won’t slow down and won’t drive around those sitting, standing, or constructed to be a reality check. They will ultimately drive over, through, or remove the fly that’s in their path to where they are going.
The timing of the current foreign substance drama isn’t an accident. The grease that is dripping from the kitchen of Major League Baseball’s reality show is MLB slow cooking their plan to have the negotiating edge in the creation of a new collective bargaining agreement.
The term “Good Faith” is challenging to wrap your arms around if you believe you are entitled as MLB ownership believes they are. And the rare talent of not only throwing a baseball 100-plus mph being able to command it in the same delivery is something that the most powerful of the Labor pool can execute.
The pill labeled “Good Faith” that sits in the middle of the CBA table between owners and Labor cannot create a collective troposphere. Neither bevy has tasted yet alone ingested the true nature of negotiating in good faith.
I have the smallest of confidence that the two sides have enough of the necessary good necessary to save the future of Major League Baseball. The current bevy isn’t interested in the “Greater Good.” Not unless you are from the school of thought that the greater good is, in fact, the bottom-line of all those involved in the current concern.
The summer of collective bargaining has arrived, and if you don’t believe that Baseball is in trouble, you aren’t paying attention. Without delving headfirst into the deep dark state of the game, the changes in how games are played out are shaking the foundation of the game we grew up with and use in painting pictures of past summers.
If I have said it or written it once in the past two months, I have done both 100 times.
Baseball is in trouble.
Need proof of this claim?
Visit WagerTalk News next week for the 13th edition of my MLB Power Poll, and I will tell you the story about how Major League Baseball didn’t know that there was a Negro League or that there was a black baseball’er that was talented enough to be a part of a Major League Baseball roster.
According to Major League Baseball, no sir, they didn’t know blacks played the game until they were introduced to Jackie Robinson.
Baseball is in trouble. Not enough trouble, yet, that the Finn Factor isn’t ranking all 30 teams and their current upside. And finally, please note the disclaimer below.
Finn Factor MLB Power Poll disclaimer: If you disagree with my rankings before you throw rocks from your glass house, know this “I do not hate your team, honest.”
The disclaimer isn’t entirely what I state it is. I do not hate your team, honest … unless I pushed cold-hard-cash on them, and they failed to like the powers that are within today’s Major League Baseball.
Beginning next week, inside the Jun 30 MLB Power Poll, I will update the rankings and report on spin rates for all teams and highlight those that experience a significant reduction in RPMs, spin rates, if you will.
June 27 MLB Power Ratings
1.Houston Astros (Record: 48-29) – Last Week: 3
During Houston’s 11-game winning streak, the Astros swept a two-game series over Texas, 4-games in Chicago against the White Sox, three versus the Baltimore Orioles, and most recently earned “Dubs” in three of four versus the Detroit Tigers in Comerica Park. The Stroh’s +143 run differential towers above the rest of the league. The closest franchise to Houston in this variable is the +104 of the San Francisco Giants. Houston is not only working on improving their 13 wins in 14 games — when their starting pitcher tosses seven innings or more — the Astros are 23-0 this year.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (Record: 46-31) – Last Week: 2
Here comes Johnny! The Dodgers activated Max Muncy off the IL earlier in the week and found Cody Bellinger catching the first pitch in pregame on Thursday night. The return of Corey Seager will be the straw that worries the Giants the most, and by the time All-Star weekend rolls around, it won’t be a surprise to see LA in the first place and getting healthier by the All-Star break minute.
3. San Francisco Giants (Record: 50-26) – Last Week: 5
The midseason classic is less than a month away, and surprise surprise, the Giants have the best record in Baseball and sit atop what has been reported as the best division in baseball for most of the 2021 campaign. This being the case once those who pimped the National League East as the monster grouping of this summer’s divisions realized the errors of their ways.
How long can this Giants duct-taped pitching staff continue to pitch above their skill set? And if the San Fran rotation continues to offer evidence they sold their souls in March, how long can the Giants lineup win with injuries to Evan Longoria and Wilmer Flores? The bigger question on the personnel front is whether Brandon Belt can make it through an entire season without withering away? The Belt query is with the veteran playing a position that isn’t typical of other defensive spots defensively.
The remaining June schedule finds the Giants on Pacific Coast Time with three games vs. neighboring Oakland and a pair of contests in Los Angeles versus the Dodgers.
4. Chicago White Sox (Record: 44-310 – Last Week: 4
The Astros made a statement in the sweep of these Pale Sox last week. Chicago Sox couldn’t find a win until yesterday after departing the southside a week ago. Not until they played the second of two vs. the Bucs in Pittsburgh when Cease earned a win over the Pirates De Jong.
Since Yermin Mercedes hit the home run in what was essentially position player scrimmage due to a game score that went final with the White Sox winning 16-4, the rookie hasn’t been effecient. He has fallen into one of the worst slumps of any hitter in Baseball. Mercedes has hit .113 since May 25 with two extra-base hits in 86 plate appearances. Spring injuries, in particular Eloy Jimenez and most recently Nick Madrigal, have dampened the overwhelming belief that this White Sox team would be the American League reps in the Fall Classic.
5. Tampa Bay Rays (Record: 47-31) – Last Week: 1
Tampa Bay has won two straight after hitting a wall and dropping seven straight with losses at Chicago, Seattle, and Boston. Wander Franco has arrived, and the 20-year-old shortstop has gotten off to a sluggish start during his first cup of coffee. Franco came into the season as the consensus No. 1 overall prospect in all of Baseball. The young shortstop slashed .315/.367/.586, including seven home runs, six triples, and 11 doubles across 39 games at Triple-A Durham.
6. San Diego Padres (Record: 46-33) – Last Week: 7
7. Boston Red Sox (Record: 46-31) – Last Week: 6
8. New York Mets (Record: 40-32) – Last Week: 14
9. Oakland Athletics (Record: 46-33) – Last Week: 9
10. Chicago Cubs (Record: 42-35) – Last Week: 11
11. Milwaukee Brewers (Record: 44-33) – Last Week: 12
12.Toronto Blue Jays (Record: 39-36) – Last Week: 8
13. Cleveland Indians (Record: 41-32) – Last Week: 13
14. Washington Nationals (Record: 36-38) – Last Week: 22
15. New York Yankees (Record: 40-36) – Last Week: 10
16. Cincinnati Reds (Record: 38-37) – Last Week: 20
17. Philadelphia Phillies (Record: 35-39) – Last Week: 15
18. Seattle Mariners (Record: 40-37) – Last Week: 24
19. Atlanta Braves (Record: 36-40) – Last Week: 17
20. Los Angeles Angels (Record: 36-40) – Last Week: 16
21. St. Louis Cardinals (Record: 37-40) – Last Week: 18
22. Kansas City Royals (Record: 33-42) – Last Week: 21
23. Minnesota Twins (Record: 32-43) – Last Week: 23
24. Miami Marlins (Record: 33-43) – Last Week: 19
25. Colorado Rockies (Record: 31-46) – Last Week: 28
26. Detroit Tigers (Record: 33-44) – Last Week: 29
27. Pittsburgh Pirates (Record: 28-47) – Last Week: 27
28. Texas Rangers (Record: 29-48) – Last Week: 25
29. Baltimore Orioles (Record: 24-53) – Last Week: 26
30. Arizona Diamondbacks (Record: 22-56) – Last Week: 30
MLB First Pitch
Now that the dust has settled from last year’s abbreviated baseball schedule with limited travel, how will teams handle the grind of the 2021 MLB season? Get MLB picks, predictions, and odds every Monday-Friday on WagerTalk TV during First Pitch, hosted by Drew Martin.
The First Pitch Betting Guide
Each day during the MLB regular season, WagerTalk handicapper Ralph Michaels releases his First Pitch betting guide. The PDF download contains home-road splits, righty-lefty splits and a plethora of other useful betting information for that day’s starting pitcher matchup. To access the First Pitch guide, go to Ralph’s page (http://wt.buzz/rm) and find the link on the right side under Downloads. If you are already a WagerTalk user, sign into your account. If you’re not a WagerTalk subscriber, create a free account with just your email address. After you add the item to your cart, it will be available in your downloads.
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