First Half MLB Power Rankings

813134.png

First Half MLB Power Rankings

Every Monday throughout the regular season, we'll be ranking all 30 MLB teams.

Take a look and offer up your thoughts in the comments or to us on twitter @CubsTalkCSN or @WhiteSoxTalkCSN.

Previous rankings: Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13

Tony
JJ Comments 1
Tony: Almost moved them out of top spot.
JJ: Still have best run differential in baseball.
2
Tony: A-Rod is on pace for his worst season ever.
JJ: Neck-and-neck with Texas for top spot.
3
Tony: Curious to see what this team does before deadline.
JJ: Would they actually shut Strasburg down during pennant race?
4
Tony: Yep, they're a Top 5 team after sweep of TEX.
JJ: Closing the gap with Texas means they're 4 back at break.
5
Tony: McCutchen overtaking Votto for NL MVP?
JJ: Neil Walker's resurgence has been huge in getting them here.
6
Tony: Alright, seriously, Mike Trout for AL MVP?
JJ: 56 from Texas and Toronto mighty impressive.
7
Tony: Can Dusty keep this team in the hunt this time?
JJ: Cueto's All-Star snub was outrageous.
8
Tony: Kemp return will be a HUGE boost.
JJ: Still hanging at the break, although tenuously.
9
Tony: McCann starting to heat up a bit?
JJ: Limping into the break, but should get Kemp back.
10
Tony: Needed to take more advantage of weakened Dodgers.
JJ: Also limping into break. Lincecum has been just terrible.
11
Tony: Allen Craig is a big bopper, but can he stay healthy?
JJ: Pretty much buried the Phillies over the weekend.
12
Tony: Hard to believe they won't make a run late in season.
JJ: Righted the ship after rough patch; very much in WC hunt.
13
Tony: The fade has begun, right? I mean, it's coming, isn't it?
JJ: If Wainwright's luck ever turns, will be huge down the stretch.
14
Tony: Johnny Damon signing not enough, clearly.
JJ: Almost as nuts as Cueto's snub: Dickey not starting ASG.
15
Tony: Thereee it is. A winning streak. Finally.
JJ: Finally turning it around, or just beating bad teams?
16
Tony: Remember when they can't win a series against the Cubs?
JJ: Can't sustain any kind of a run.
17
Tony: This team is just maddening. No consistency.
JJ: Outstanding offense, but pitching not there without Morrow.
18
Tony: Given up third most runs in AL.
JJ: Only 4 back at break. If Upton turns it around...
19
Tony: No way they trade Justin Upton, right?
JJ: Still loitering around race, although may not be serious contenders.
20
Tony: Good for them. Golf clap.
JJ: Playing .500 ball at the break is pretty darn impressive for them.
21
Tony: Why is Corey Hart untouchable?
JJ: Greinke first player to start 3 in a row since Red Faber.
22
Tony: This team bores me. I won't be watching "The Franchise."
JJ: Resembling the talent-laden Ozzie-managed team of 2011.
23
Tony: Utley, Howard not helping matters in City of Brotherly Love.
JJ: Great to see everyone trying the BBQ at All-Star Game.
24
Tony: Too bad their young talent isn't well represented at ASG.
JJ: Getting healthy, but not getting any better.
25
Tony: Mauer bashing the ball like the Cerrano -- er, Mauer -- of old.
JJ: Anyone notice Kevin Millwood has a 3.69 ERA?
26
Tony: Time to call this a sophomore slump for Ackley?
JJ: Only Colorado has allowed more runs.
27
Tony: This team could be a great "spoiler" in 2nd half.
JJ: Haven't lost a series since Rizzo came up. RizzoEffect
28
Tony: Offense will be sad again without Quentin.
JJ: May not lose their grip on last place at this rate.
29
Tony: I feel bad for CarGo. This is a lost season for his team.
JJ: No longer last, because...
30
Tony: Sucks to be in sixth place, doesn't it, Houston?
JJ: 479 runs allowed by one of the worst pitching staffs in years.

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015.

MLB.com graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com.

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."