MLB Power Ratings
As of Thursday, May 20 the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in third place in the National League West. Slow start, or are the Padres and Giants exceeding expectations? WagerTalk handicapper Tony Finn offers his Week 7 MLB Power Ratings.
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Flashback to 2017 in late August when elementary, middle and high schools were back or close to being in session and summer was coming to a close. The Los Angeles Dodgers were atop every Major League Baseball power poll and on pace to win in the neighborhood of 116 games. The Chavez Ravine troupe could do no wrong. The summer of ’17 in Vegas was filled with exciting and tradition-rich baseball. I was nearly five months into my favorite pastime, inching closer and closer to the fall and football. The Las Vegas metro was occupied by a large number of Los Angeles transfers, and the Dodgers were 91-36 amid a historic season.
I was sitting at my desk working through my weekly MLB Power Poll, taking in a Mohave sunset by my office side swimming pool, when I felt the need to blink. Those familiar with me know that I rarely deny my urges, so I blinked.
Upon finishing that week’s Top-30 rankings, I began conceiving how my season-ending article would read when a group of LA players unfolded a front office memo that had congratulated them on the 91-36 mark only to crumble it into a paper ball and slam dunk it in the locker room trash can. The Dave Roberts cast of can’t lose All-Stars had just dropped 16 of 17 games.
On Aug. 25, the Boys in Blue were on pace to win 116 games. By Sept. 11, following a Game 1 series loss to rival San Francisco, a 21-game NL West lead just two weeks early was nine games. The Dodgers, who executed a 43-7 run in the early stages of the 2017 season, eventually secured the division title and closed the season with 105 wins.
Los Angeles started this 2021 season looking much like that team of 2017. They won 13 of their first 15 games and outscored their opponents by nearly three runs per game. Since then, Roberts and his squad have worked an 11-16 record and are currently 24-18 overall. The Dodgers are two-and-one-half games out of first place behind the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres. The Finn Factor MLB Week 7 Power Poll still has the Dodgers as the best of the best in 2021.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers – Record 24-18
Like the 2017 Dodgers, who had a ridiculous run winning 43 of 50 games and losing 16 of 17, this LA Dodgers group will win the NL West and do so in a comfortable fashion.
2. Atlanta Braves – Record 20-23
Ace Max Fried was removed from Monday’s game against the Mets after sustaining what was believed to be an injury to his throwing hand. After further review, the ailment was just a cramp. Since Fried had an 11-day hiatus due to a hamstring injury, he’s returned to 2020 form.
The Braves has dropped both of Fried’s turns since his return, but the southpaw has two quality starts consisting of 12 innings of work in which he has surrendered just five hits, two earned runs, and struck out 12. In May, the lefty has allowed 11 hits, 3 earned runs, walked six, and punched out 18.
In April, Fried’s timing between his release and his landing foot were not in sync. Opponents were hitting .353 against his curveball – a pitch batters hit just .175 against last year.
3. Chicago White Sox – Record: 26-16
The last start by the Pale Sox ace Lucas Giolito offered evidence that his evolution of morphing from the skill set of fastball and changeup to that of a three-pitch starter with the addition of a slider is coming to fruition. Giolito worked eight innings of one-run and two-hit ball, striking out 11 while walking three continued his domination of the Twins player personnel.
The ChiSox sit atop the majors in runs per game and ranks second in runs allowed per game. The front office, the scouts, and the coaching staff that include the behind-the-scenes mathematicians that work the metrics have made the proper adjustments to what is not the same baseball we have seen the league play with the last two years.
The Southsiders are the top offensive team in baseball and have done this without scoring most of their runs via the long ball. If skipper Tony LaRussa can get out of his own way, manage and win without Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez, Chicago will be the overwhelming favorites to win the AL pennant before the arrival of the mid-Summer Classic.
4. New York Yankees – Record: 24-19
Corey Kluber threw the 12th no-hitter in Yankee history tonight. I am not putting much weight on any one of the six no-no’s this season. The half dozen no-hit performances have come against three teams, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and Cleveland Indians. The performance by Kluber, save making history with his no-hit achievement, is that the Intel that Kluber would match or execute a career year as a Yankee is off to a good start. The more turns in the rotation that Kluber is handed outside of Yankee Stadium, the better Yankees will be.
The Yankees will stay healthy enough and hit enough to support Cole, Kluber, and German to win the AL East and be the top threat to the White Sox in October.
5. San Diego Padres – Record: 27-17
Timing can be compared to location when dealing with real estate. Timing, timing, and timing have been the Padres’ best friend in 2021.
Just over one week ago, the Padres announced that star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and right fielder Wil Myers had tested positive for COVID-19. Also, three other position players would be out indefinitely as they undergo MLB’s contact tracing protocols. Utility men Jurickson Profar, Jorge Mateo, and first baseman Eric Hosmer were the other three who exited Tuesday’s game in the seventh inning because of those protocols.
The timing part that was San Diego’s friend was their schedule. Including that May 11 game in Colorado, the Padres have won eight of nine, with Colorado being the victim five times and overrated St Louis giving the Padres a trio of victories.
6. San Francisco Giants – Record: 27-16
7. New York Mets – Record: 20-17
8. Oakland Athletics – Record: 26-17
9. Boston Red Sox – Record: 26-18
10. Milwaukee Brewers – Record: 21-12
11. Tampa Bay Rays – Record: 25-19
12. Toronto Blue Jays – Record: 23-18
13. Cleveland Indians – Record: 23-18
14. Houston Astros – Record: 24-18
15. St. Louis Cardinals – Record: 25-18
16. Philadelphia Phillies – Record: 22-21
17. Chicago Cubs – Record: 21-21
18. Washington Nationals – Record: 17-22
19. Cincinnati Reds – Record: 19-22
20. Miami Marlins – Record: 19-23
21. Arizona Diamondbacks – Record: 17-20
22. Los Angeles Angels – Record: 18-24
23 Baltimore Orioles – Record: 17-25
24. Minnesota Twins – Record: 14-27
25. Kansas City Royals – Record: 20-22
26. Pittsburgh Pirates – Record: 17-25
27. Detroit Tigers – Record: 16-26
28. Seattle Mariners – Record: 21-22
29. Texas Rangers – Record: 19-26
30. Colorado Rockies – Record: 15-29
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
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