MLB Power Rankings: Week 1

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 1

Every Monday throughout the regular season, we'll be ranking all 30 teams -- take a look and offer up your thoughts in the comments or to us on twitter @CubsTalkCSN or @WhiteSoxTalkCSN.

Previous rankings: Preseason

Tony
JJ Comments 1
Tony: Wow.Impressive start.
JJ: Well, at least Jose Valverde finally blew a save.
2
Tony: Looking sharp so far.
JJ: Are Yu ready for Darvish's debut?
3
Tony: Sitting atop AL East after sweep.
JJ: They're happy to have Carlos Pena back.
4
Tony: Not the best start, but could've been much worse.
JJ: Not looking like a team that lost Albert Pujols.
5
Tony: See above.
JJ: Rough start not a sign of things to come.
6
Tony: No World Series hangover for the Redbirds.
JJ: Starting pitching is a growing concern; Rivera is not.
7
Tony: Bad series, but again, could be worse.
JJ: Remember when people were concerned about Halladay? That was funny.
8
Tony: These kids are for reals, yo.
JJ: Drilled LincecumBumgarnerCain in impressive fashion.
9
Tony: Don't fret, they're too good to stay down.
JJ: Is Liverpool to blame? If so, it's all Andy Carroll's fault.
10
Tony: Who'd have thought they'd ever been in last place?
JJ: Ryan Braun hits the road for firstBOOOOOO.
11
Tony: I really like this group, solid start to 2012.
JJ: What's worse: Ozzie's Fidel comments or Hanley at 3B?
12
Tony: This is the "worse" I mentioned above. Ouch.
JJ: NL Central battle could get more fun if Cincy contends.
13
Tony: Just ask the G-Men if the D-Backs are for real.
JJ: Naturally, Chad Tracy played hero multiple times.
14
Tony: Think they have a shot at the Wild Card this year?
JJ: Pitching should be fine after being dismantled by Arizona.
15
Tony: Got to watch them first-hand. Solid group.
JJ: Scored seven runs in three games against the Mets. Blah.
16
Tony: Great start, love this young lineup.
JJ: Great start for Ubaldo's season.
17
Tony: What happens when Kemp slumps?
JJ: Hop on the Brandon Morrow bandwagon while there's room.
18
Tony: Good start trying to show they belong.
JJ: Bruce. Chen. And, you know, a good offense.
19
Tony: Came up on the wrong end of two marathon games.
JJ: Offense right where we left it in '11, but Dunn looks better.
20
Tony: Will they ever mesh as a team?
JJ: I admire Kemp's 5050 goal, but...no.
21
Tony: Two losses to Houston? Who are they, the Cubs?
JJ: Gritty series win vs. Philly, still don't think the pitching is there.
22
Tony: Man, if only...this close to a sweep.
JJ: Santana's return is big, but they're still the Mets.
23
Tony: Hung in there vs. Texas...for two games.
JJ: Beat up on a bad team.
24
Tony: Great start, but can they keep it up?
JJ: Also beat up on a bad team.
25
Tony: Felix Hernandez is great, but who else will step up?
JJ: Booing already? Yikes.
26
Tony: Love Maybin, but not enough offense.
JJ: There's no such thing as an overreaction to losing to Houston.
27
Tony: Cespedes is a man, but he's not 40.
JJ: Andrew Cashner might break someone's radar gun.
28
Tony: Holy cow. Didn't think they'd sweep all year.
JJ: Yoenis Cespedes is my spirit guide.
29
Tony: Ouch. To the Orioles? Really?
JJ: Brutal offense scored five runs in three games.
30
Tony: Wasn't sure they'd win two games all year.
JJ: Lucas Harrell started their second game. Lucas Harrell!

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

[RELATED: Jim Thome on being a finalist for National Baseball Hall of Fame]

Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI. 

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”