MLB Power Rankings: Week 16

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 16

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 First Half Week 15

Tony
JJ Comments 1
Tony: Awfully close to TEX, but Yankees are half-game better.
JJ: Have emerged from brutal East as best in the game.
2
Tony: Will be interesting to see what they add at deadline.
JJ: Hamilton since June 1: .201.290.396. Yikes.
3
Tony: As we creep closer, Strasburg limit will become top MLB story.
JJ: Rotation can hold up with Gonzalez, Zimmermann and Jackson.
4
Tony: Incredible how hot they are now without Votto.
JJ: Neck-and-neck with Reds, going with PIT here for pitching.
5
Tony: (Potential) Dempster trade is a quality boost.
JJ: If they can play this well without Votto...watch out.
6
Tony: This is the year Pittsburgh. Get ready for Oct. baseball.
JJ: Pujols somehow quietly rounding into form.
7
Tony: To answer my question, yes this is the hot streak.
JJ: Can Sheets keep this up?
8
Tony: Too soon to try to get Trout on Weaver-like discount?
JJ: It's about three months late, but this is the team we expected.
9
Tony: Hottest team in baseball right now. Wow.
JJ: Could Belt be sent down with .341 OBP?
10
Tony: Could they separate from the Dodgers in NL West?
JJ: Incredible that both the A's and Pirates are top 10 teams.
11
Tony: Dang, that was a rough week, eh South Siders?
JJ: Konerko only has six extra-base hits since June 1.
12
Tony: If only they could play the Cubs every weekend...
JJ: Could NL Central get three playoff teams?
13
Tony: Even if they get Garza, would that be enough?
JJ: We're 20 starts in and Chis Capuano's ERA is 2.81.
14
Tony: They're not for real. See JJ's article.
JJ: As of Monday, have best run differential in NL West.
15
Tony: They need Bautista back like now.
JJ: With their rotation problems, pretty tough buy.
16
Tony: Doesn't look like this is Maddon's year with these guys.
JJ: One step forward, two steps back.
17
Tony: Lester doesn't even look like he belongs in bigs right now.
JJ: Maybe could make a run when Longoria gets back.
18
Tony: As Tigers heat up, Indians start to fade.
JJ: Getting absolutely hammered by injuries.
19
Tony: Rejuvenated Chris Young could help them make a run.
JJ: Santana's no-hitter a great moment, but has it killed season?
20
Tony: Wright's future is biggest question mark of this team.
JJ: Fading fast, could be sellers at deadline.
21
Tony: They're out of it. Time to sell.
JJ: Norichika Aoki a bright spot for them.
22
Tony: Carlos Lee trade didn't help too much, did it?
JJ: Just as they near .500, lose five straight.
23
Tony: Utley stole a base this weekend. Gotta be a good sign, right?
JJ: They're pretty well buried, may be too late to turn it around.
24
Tony: Will any of their young guns make first ML starts in '12?
JJ: Liking the future for this club.
25
Tony: HosmerGordon primed to have big second halves.
JJ: Padres are closer to division lead than Phillies.
26
Tony: Still think trading Quentin might have been better.
JJ: Finally dumped Jonathan Sanchez. Worst trade of offseason?
27
Tony: Was hottest team in baseball before STL sweep.
JJ: AS Roma playing at Wrigley Field was pretty neat.
28
Tony: Don't know what to say about them anymore, honestly.
JJ: Should probably trade Willingham, but may not.
29
Tony: Don't have much to offer before deadline.
JJ: Shame Dexter Fowler's solid season is going to waste.
30
Tony: Well, they got Brett Myers off their hands at least.
JJ: Without Jed Lowrie...man, they're bad.

Jose Quintana turns in stellar outing as White Sox crush Twins in series finale

Jose Quintana turns in stellar outing as White Sox crush Twins in series finale

MINNEAPOLIS -- Guess who’s back?

Jose Quintana turned in the kind of game on Thursday afternoon that reminds you why he has been one of baseball’s top pitchers the past few seasons. Working with a swing-and-miss curveball and another shocking barrel of run support, Quintana waited out a near five-hour delay to produce a stellar outing. Quintana struck out nine batters in 6 2/3 scoreless innings as the White Sox avoided a sweep with a 9-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins in front of 27,684 at Target Field. Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier and Matt Davidson all homered for the White Sox, who finished with 18 hits and a 3-3 mark on their road trip.

After making several baby steps in his past few starts, Quintana ran wild in the series finale against a Twins team that he has always struggled against. While he worked deliberately, Quintana never got into trouble facing a team against whom he was 6-8 with a 4.28 ERA in his career.

The left-hander used a nasty, biting curveball along with sharp fastball command to keep Minnesota hitters off balance. Quintana struck one batter in each of the first five innings before he picked up steam. He struck out two batters each in the sixth and seventh innings and is averaging a career best 8.97 strikeouts per nine innings this season.

He struck out Miguel Sano three times in three trips and never allowed a man past second base in a 113-pitch effort. Quintana allowed five hits and walked none.

Quintana has a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts as he’s allowed 19 hits and six earned runs in 24 innings. He has walked eight and struck out 24.

[MORE: White Sox will give Tim Anderson freedom to make mistakes

The White Sox offense made it all much easier for Quintana for a second straight start. Six days after they produced an early four-spot for Quintana against Toronto, the White Sox scored five times and knocked Minnesota starter Nik Turley out in the first inning.

Showing no signs of malaise after a 290-minute rain delay, Abreu and Frazier each blasted two-run homers off Turley to put the White Sox up 4-0. With two outs and Turley gone, Adam Engel singled off reliever Buddy Boshers to make it 5-0 in the first.

The White Sox continued to add on for Quintana as Kevan Smith and Engel each singled in runs in the third to give the 2016 All-Star pitcher a seven-run cushion. Engel finished with four hits and Smith tied a career high with three.

Davidson increased the lead to 8-0 in the fifth inning with a 427-foot blast off Craig Breslow, his 17th homer. Davidson also singled, doubled and walked. The White Sox scored once more in the seventh when Tim Anderson (two hits) doubled in a run off Breslow.

After they produced 22 runs of support for Quintana in his first 13 starts this season, the White Sox have scored 20 in his last two.

White Sox will give Tim Anderson freedom to make mistakes

White Sox will give Tim Anderson freedom to make mistakes

MINNEAPOLIS -- The White Sox have no plans for Tim Anderson to take the same path as the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber.

An hour before the Cubs announced their shocking news Thursday that the World Series hero is headed to Triple-A, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said he thought Anderson’s struggles could be addressed in the majors.

Playing in his first full season, Anderson has had an up and down campaign. He leads the majors with 16 errors committed and has struggled at the plate, hitting .256/.284/.374 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 265 plate appearances. The roller coaster ride has led to some aggravation for Anderson, who slammed his batting helmet in frustration during Wednesday’s loss. Anderson said the helmet slam was the topic of a postgame conversation he had with Renteria on Wednesday.

“I feel like this year has been the toughest year I’ve dealt with since I’ve started playing baseball,” Anderson said. “I have to keep playing, lock in and control it.

“(Slamming the helmet) doesn’t make you feel better. It’s just a little frustration. You get mad at times, but you just try to control it and keep playing.”

Anderson, who turns 24 on Friday, has had a lot to manage in 2017.

It’s his first full season in the majors. He signed a contract extension in March. Since May he’s been dealing with the loss of his close friend, who was shot to death. Throw in the on-field struggles and Renteria realizes there’s a lot with which Anderson had to deal.

“You just make the sure the perspective they’re having at any particular moment is the correct perspective,” Renteria said. “You try to make sure that the underlying frustrations he might be having, that he’s able to separate it.

“You have ups and down, they’re not always going to be in the best place mentally at times. But for the most part you address it, you talk about it because you understand it, you’ve lived all those things and you just try to give him a little insight and keep it going in the right direction.”

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Anderson made a pair of miscues in a costly third-inning Twins rally on Wednesday night.

But Renteria expressed his confidence in the second-year player, calling him one of the premier shortstops in the league.

The White Sox manager has seen Anderson make the necessary corrections after infield work with bench coach Joe McEwing. The effort and preparation have been there. Renteria just wants to make sure his player can compartmentalize and stay focused. He realizes there’s going to be mistakes from time to time and wants to make sure Anderson is handling them well.

“To say he’s not going to continue to make mistakes every now and then, yeah that’s going to happen,” Renteria said. “It’s there for everybody to see. That’s why everybody takes notice and that’s natural. I think the one thing we have to do as a staff and players also is step back and stay away from the fray of that attention and stay focused on what you have to do. Minimize how all the noise affects you and continue to play the game.”

Renteria remembers his own struggles as a young player and knows how much more scrutiny Anderson faces. Every game is televised and highlights are streamed on the internet. Any little gaffe can be magnified. Anderson admits that at times he’s dealt with frustration he’s never before experienced and it’s caught up to him. Now he just needs to learn how to cope with the stress a little better.

“Nobody wants to go through tough times and struggle,” Anderson said. “Slamming helmets is not the right way to go about it because you could get injured, so try to handle it in a better way.

“It’s been tough times and a lot of frustration, but I try not to let it get to me, but sometimes it does. I try to balance it out and keep going.

“I’m just trying to manage it, balance it out and separate it from each other.”