MLB Power Ratings
The third full week of Major League baseball begins today, and if the current division leaders are the franchises you believed would lead their respective sectors in the final April 3rd, then one, two buckle my shoe. I took a week off publishing the Finn Factor MLB Power Rankings because it was the civil cause to support. The third full week of MLB action is about to tell us more than any of the first three power polls I’ve published. WagerTalk handicapper Tony Finn offers his Week 3 MLB Power Ratings.
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In the last MLB Power Rankings (Week 2), I offered my Top Three Observations. That list of three read as follows;
- The Yankees are the best team in the AL East by a wide margin.
- The Dodgers are unlikely to be an underdog more than five times this season if the current pitching staff stays upright.
- Tony LaRussa thinks he knows what he does is best compared to and represented by the body of water between the United States and Europe.
The Yankees are 5-10 on the season, and despite the slow start, if your local or any sportsbook you have a relationship with is offering a plus-money prop on the Yankees finishing the season with a record above.500 I strongly suggest you grab that plus money with five percent of your current book bottom-line; in English, invest five percent of your current book balance.
After going through the Dodgers schedule and estimating the starting rotation vs. their opponents’ rotations from Friday, April 17th, 2021 (last week), these Dodgers will not be underdogs in any of their 162 regular-season games this 2021 season. That, of course, is contingent on the rotation staying healthy or missing just one of their starters to a short-term injury and two or less of their regular position players. The Dodgers, by sober measure, are capable of winning 115 games this season.
The Pale Sox equivalent to Noah, yes, the same Noah that built the arc, is Tony La Russa. The comparison fits in more ways than one, but the near 250-year-old (in baseball years) isn’t 800 or closing in on Noah’s years of age, but the White Sox skipper is certainly making decisions like he is out of touch with today’s game. Coach Tony has mismanaged this Chicago bunch to the point of ridiculous. La Russa has been awful in decisions after the sixth inning. This past Tuesday offered pudding to what I am declaring as La Russa awfulness. La Russa didn’t replace Garrett Crochet after allowing the one run in extras, and one run resulted in two. Game, Set, and Match for the Cleveland Indians. La Russa has failed to pinch-hit in crucial situations.
An example was using newly acquired Jake Lamb recently, a situation that required confidence and positive form. Lamb had yet to record a hit on the season, and La Russa didn’t pinch-hit for in a case where the obvious choice was to do so. La Russa hitting Nick Williams in the lineup’s five-hole is nothing short of a dementia decision by “old as F%#@ Tony.” Williams was recently left in the lineup when the Pale Sox entered extra-frames, and Williams led off despite being 0-for-3 on the night and remaining the hitter with a runner on second base with no outs. …because Williams’ batting average at the time was .000.
The Red Sox, Mariners, and Royals lead the trio of American League divisions while the Reds, Mets, and Dodgers own the top spots in the Senior Circuit’s Central, East, and West. The Bronx Bombers, The Pinstripes, The Evil Empire, The Chairman of the Board along with the Bambino, The Mick, Captain Clutch, The Sandman, Mr. October, and others are off to the franchise’s worst start in nearly a quarter-century.
Boston holds the top spot in the American League East Division. The Sox are the only team in the division with a winning percentage better than .500. Boston owns a 10-6 mark overall, and not one of the Red Sox 10 wins has come against a team with a winning record.
The Red Sox rank first in Major League Baseball in team batting average of .277 with a run differential of +21. The Red Sox pitching staff is below average as a whole and have, but one quality start in their 16 games.
The Red Sox have begun the first month of the 2021 regular season series squaring off against the Baltimore Orioles (17th ranked team ERA) twice, Tampa Bay Rays (20th team ERA), Minnesota Twins (12th team ERA), and Chicago White Sox (8th team ERA). They have hit the cover off the ball, and the age-old adage, what goes up… must come down.
Kansas City sits atop the AL Central with a 9-5 mark on the season. The Royals have wins over two teams with records better than .500. Those two teams are the 9-7 LA Angels and the 8-7 Cleveland Indians.
The Royals pitching staff have a team ERA of over four runs per game and only three quality starts in three quality starts in their 14 games and offensively are a mere +3 run differential so far this season.
The Seattle Mariners have a half-game lead over the Halos in the West Division of the Junior Circuit. Seattle checks in this third Sunday of the 2021 MLB regular season with a 10-6 record. The ten victories by the Mariners find that of the five teams they have faced so far in April, only one has a winning record on the season, the San Francisco Giants, who are responsible for the only two Seattle wins against a team(s) with a winning percentage of greater than .500.
New York’s other team, the Mets, have a one-game lead over second-place Philadelphia. The Mets are 7-4 so far this 2021 campaign. Four of New York’s seven victories have come against Philadelphia, two versus Colorado, and one against the Miami Marlins. Only Philadelphia has a winning percentage above .500 of the trio that New York has mastered this season.
The Mets have a dead even run differential on the season and rank in the bottom half of the league in team batting average. The Metropolitan’s rank fourth overall in team ERA and chip in eight quality starts in their eleven games.
The 9-6 Cincinnati Reds own first place in the NL Central. Of the five series in the first month of the 2021 season for the Reds, who were forecast by most MLB pundits to finish the 2021 campaign at the bottom of the division, have three victories against a pair of teams with a winning record. Those two are the San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians.
The Reds have the second-best run differential in baseball, behind only the LA Dodgers. Cincinnati ranks in the bottom half of the league in team ERA but fourth in team batting average.
The 13-3 Los Angeles Dodgers have four of their 13 victories against clubs with a winning mark. That pair of teams and four wins have come in pairs against the Oakland A’s and San Diego Padres. The Chavez Ravine troupe currently has a +38 run differential on the season accompanied by the fifth-highest batting average in baseball. LA has the second-best earned run average with 11 quality starts in their first 16 games.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (14-4)
I wrote in the Opening Day Power Rankings and the Week 2 article, “there is not one, no singular negative that prohibits the Dodgers from being at anyone and everyone’s No. #1 in any and all MLB Power Rankings.
I was wrong; there is one negative, two instead, with Janson in the closer role and Dave Roberts as the skipper of the Dodgers boat. If given a chance, I will ask Jansen what he has on his skipper because keeping the vet in the closing role is suicide by idiocy.
The 2021 Dodgers have executed the team’s best start since they moved to Los Angeles. In 1955 the Brooklyn Skye Dodgers won 22 of their first 24 games.
2. San Diego Padres (10-9)
After dropping the first two games of the three-game set against the first-place Dodgers, the maybe-not-100-percent Blake Snell survived several full counts and poorly commanded pitches and punched out seven Dodgers over five innings. There is no such thing as a must-win MLB event in April, but it certainly felt like that Sunday afternoon in SoCal.
3. New York Mets (7-5)
It wasn’t long ago that I believed pitching could take a team only so far in this “live ball” era. That was until I discovered that the 2021 ball has roughly the same exit Velo as the 2019 and 2020 cowhide, but it isn’t traveling as far, resulting in pitching being more important than hitting. The Metropolitan’s rank fourth overall in team ERA and have executed eight quality starts as a staff. Those eight QS’s are in just 11 Mets 2021 games.
4. Chicago White Sox (9-9)
The White Sox have a +18 run differential, rank seventh in on-base-percentage, third in team walks, third in stolen bases, fourth in team strikeouts by the pitching staff, sixth in team batting average against, first in complete games, second to the Dodgers in shutouts and fourth in home runs allowed as a pitching staff in 2021. Tony La Russa and Dave Roberts are better suited for jobs in baseball outside, not inside, the dugout.
5. Cincinnati Reds (9-6)
The +24 run differential combined with Top-10 pitching positions that include strikeouts, batting average against plus Top-5 spots in offensive OPS, Home Runs, OBP, Batting Average, and Walks makes them contenders. Remaining such for 162 games is a lot to ask from a staff with only two starting pitchers with a career winning percentage greater than .500. Sonny Gray and Wade Miley need to have career years, and Luis Castillo is required to be a part of the Cy Young conversation in September for the Reds to win arguably the least talented division in all of baseball.
11. Red Sox
12. Blue Jays
MLB First Pitch
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