By David Weiss
Now that May is almost over, it is time to review where each team stands. The rank is a simple calculation of the team’s record. This is done to avoid the endless debate of why teams with worse records are ranked higher than teams with better ones. Here we go:
1- Red Sox (April rank- 1)
The killer B’s of Bogaerts, Betts and Benintendi are leading a fantastic team. Sale is a monster. Add in that JD Martinez is everything the Sox wanted and you’ve got yourself a team with the best record.
2- Yankees (April rank- 5)
Is there anyone on this team who does not clobber the ball? The Bronx bombers are averaging 5.75 runs per game. Their starting pitchers have not been great, so look for them to make a move sooner rather than later.
3- Brewers (April rank- 13)
Is the Brew Crew for real or is it a repeat of last year? Milwaukee has a healthy lead early but don’t count out the Cubbies. Cain has really led this team well since joining. If the Brewers bullpen can continue to be lights out, they may shock the division and beat out Chicago.
4- Astros (April rank- 3)
They own the best pitching in the game. They lead the majors in ERA, WHIP, K’s and… you get the picture. It is no wonder they look like they will win 100 games again.
5- Mariners (April rank-Tied 7)
When Cano got suspended, many thought that was it for the M’s. Add in the fact that Cruz has not been that great and things looked bad. However, Seattle has taken advantage of a weak schedule and won a lot of close games in May.
6- Nationals (April rank- 20)
In late April, they were 11-16 and things were looking bleak. Since that point, they are 21-6 and the hottest team despite all the injuries. If you think it is due to Bryce Harper only, you’d be mistaken. They have been getting major contributions from Matt Adams and Mark Reynolds. Rookie Juan Soto has gotten off to a great start. Most importantly, their starters lead the NL in ERA, WHIP, K’s and innings pitched by a wide margin.
7- Braves (April rank-Tied 7)
Albies and Acuna have both slowed down and late in the month Acuna injured his ACL. Swanson has not played that well yet. Never the less, the Braves are winning thanks to Freeman and Markakis. Kurt Suzuki is having a great year. Most importantly the bullpen has been really good which is why they spent much of May in first.
8- Phillies (April rank-Tied 10)
Herrera is leading the offense but the real story is that the starting pitching has been great. Nola, Pivetta and Arrieta has all been great.
9- Cubs (April rank- 6)
Chicago got off to a really bad start this month before rebounding. Baez is a run producing machine. Rizzo and Russell have both recovered from a slow April but the back end of the rotation has not been as good as advertised.
10- Cardinals (April rank-Tied 14)
Despite many challenges, the Red Birds are very much in it. Molina, DeJong and Martinez are all out with injuries. Fowler and Wong look awful and Ozuna is not much better. Never the less, they are winning thanks to great pitching. Flaherty is seriously trying to win rookie of the year as he has been a real savior in that rotation.
11- Indians (April rank-Tied 14)
The once excellent pen has taken a nose dive. Allen has gotten roughed up and Miller did too before hitting the DL. McAllister and Otero have been unwatchable. The reason they are in first place is clutch hitting. The Indians have a team batting average of .293 with runners in scoring position.
Tied 12- Angels (April rank-Tied 10)
Trout is a baseball god. He is making up for an otherwise mediocre offense. The pitching has been good but the Middleton injury is a huge cause for concern. The Halos have been slumping since he hit the DL.
Tied 12- Rockies (April rank-Tied 17)
They are in first but kind of by accident. They have been outscored by 17 runs this season yet find ways to win. They are 10-5 in one run games and 8-2 in two run games. Now that is heart.
14- Pirates (April rank- 9)
After the Pirates won on May 17th, I was starting to think that Pittsburgh was going to be in the race all season long. They had the fewest loses in the NL. Since then, they have lost too many games to the Padres and Reds for comfort and it looks like reality has punched them with an iron fist. No infielder is hitting that well and it is taking a toll.
15- Rays (April rank- 19)
Wendle has come back down to earth after an excellent April. Ramos has been their most consistent hitter. Their problem is that they are in limbo. They have a respectable record but it doesn’t look they have a shot at October. They don’t have lots of big contracts to dump so it looks like they will just stay put.
16- Mets (April rank- 4)
May has been a disaster. Probably the most shocking stat is that deGrom is leading the NL in ERA but the Mets are 2-6 in the past eight games he has started. This is absurd. While they have no shortage of injuries to blame for their woes, they also have to many bad losses late in games.
17- Diamondbacks (April rank- 2)
At the end of April, it looked like they were going to cruise to the division title. They had tied for the best record in the game. They are in the midst of a 4-16 nightmare that seems live it will never end. The main problem is that they have only scored 55 runs in those 20 games.
18- Athletics (April rank-Tied 17)
This team probably won’t go far, but they won’t go away either. They have a very strong front of the rotation and front end of the bullpen. The backends of both are where they get into trouble. Those who thought the A’s would be dead last in this division will likely be mistaken. Not bad for the lowest payroll in baseball.
19- Dodgers (April rank- 21)
Is it time for LA to panic? Bellinger is not having a good sophomore season. Puig reversed to his pre-2017 form. Ryu will be out for months. Their saving grace is that the division is weak and Kemp has the best average in the NL.
20- Giants (April rank- 16)
Here is a stat that seemingly makes little sense. The Giants were 11-16 in May despite having the best NL team batting average this month. They also ranked fourth in runs scored. The reason is that their starters all have been getting hammered this season. They have the worst ERA from their starters in the majors. The Samardzija signing in particular looks awful right now. They are just loaded with overpaid and underperforming stars.
21- Tigers (April rank- 22)
If this bullpen just didn’t blow like every save chance they may actually be good. Detroit has blown 12 and only recorded 14 saves. That hurts. With Cabrera out, their chances of improving are slim. The good news is that watching Candelario play is a lot of fun.
22- Blue Jays (April rank-Tied 10)
This is not the walk year Donaldson had in mind. Morales looks lost at the plate and this could be the end of the road for him. They have a lot of disappointing pitchers. With two really tough division rivals and the Rays playing well, this just doesn’t look like their year.
23- Twins (April rank- 23)
They could be one of the biggest disappointments of the season. Buxton forgot how to hit a baseball. Adrianza plays good D, but it is not good enough to justify being the everyday shortstop. Sano has taken a huge step in the wrong direction. The only reason, they are somewhat relevant is because of Cleveland’s slow start.
24- Padres (April rank- 26)
Villanueva is doing his best to win rookie of the year. The rest of the team just isn’t doing much. When you have starters who take a nightly beating, you aren’t going to go far. With that said, they have a solid bullpen.
25- Rangers (April rank- 24)
The defense here is atrocious. They lead the majors in unearned runs, errors and are last in fielding percentage. Their lineup is just bad and they are playing like a last place team.
26- Marlins (April rank- 25)
All things considered, this team isn’t that bad. Realmuto and Bour are both having good seasons. Anderson is going to be a very good ball player. Obviously, the Marlins are not going anywhere this year, but they could be better before you know it. Their main problem now is that they just do not hit home runs. They are dead last in this category.
27- Royals (April rank- 29)
They have the worst team ERA. After Junis, the rotation is ugly. Hammel, Duffy and Kennedy have all been a mess. Offensively, they just don’t hit for power. They are 7th in team betting but 26th in slugging. It is time to go into seller mode.
28- Reds (April rank- 30)
They actually had a respectable May. Never the less they are still dead last. Harvey has pitched somewhat well, but he isn’t going deep into games. While they have decent offense in May, their pitching has been getting shelled all season long. Suarez, Votto and Gennett can only carry the team so far.
29- Orioles (April rank- 28)
The O’s weren’t supposed to be good but this is just pathetic. One would think that with guys like Davis, Schoop, Mancini, Gentry and Peterson wouldn’t stink all at once. Machado is having a great walk year and Trumbo is hitting for average but that is basically it. This team is last in the AL in team OPS in a hitter friendly park. Now add in the fact that they own the worst team WHIP and third worst ERA and they could end up with next seasons number one draft pick.
30- White Sox (April rank- 27)
This team is just unwatchable. Their starting pitchers are 9-25 on the season with a 5.76 ERA. The offense has been reasonable but the recent injury to Matt Davidson could make things a lot worse.
(David Weiss is a lifelong Mets fan. He has lived in Israel since 2008 and runs the Facebook page Jewish Mets Fans.)