MLB Power Rankings: Week 4

749924.png

MLB Power Rankings: Week 4

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

Tony
JJ Comments 1

Tony: Best team in MLB...if Hamilton is healthy.
JJ: The best in AL at scoring (120) & preventing (67) runs.
2

Tony: Two walk-off losses in Wrigley hurt.
JJ: Nearly best in NL at scoring (113) & preventing (60) runs.
3

Tony: The Chosen One has joined the team.
JJ: Worse haircut: Bryce Harper or Bill Gates?
4

Tony: They look good if Price, Zobrist are right.
JJ: A productive Jason Heyward has been huge.
5
Tony: Off to a fantasticly surprising start.
JJ: Matt Kemp (11) has more home runs than the Cubs (8)
6
Tony: Can their rotation hold up?
JJ: Surprisingly, offense rates fourth-best in baseball.
7

Tony: This team shouldn't get swept by SEA.
JJ: Second-highest starter ERA in MLB negated by best offense.
8

Tony: Hudson return is a big boost.
JJ: Quick and painful regression to the mean for White Sox, Twins.
9

Tony: Four straight losses this week hurts.
JJ: Anyone notice their team OBP is at .305?
10

Tony: The O's are for real, just ask the Blue Jays.
JJ: 3.42 ERA from starters is probably a mirage.
11

Tony: Is Bruce on his way to superstardom?
JJ: Lincecum's gonna be fine.
12

Tony: Hey! Signs of life! This team can win!
JJ: Wholly average, but good enough for 1st in division.
13

Tony: Desperately need Utley, Howard back.
JJ: Need Upton to hit for power to carry lineup.
14

Tony: Watch out, looks like Lincecum has found it again.
JJ: BruceVotto are great, but can anyone else hit?
15

Tony: Peavy looks awesome, but needs to close out W's.
JJ: They'll come crashing back, but let 'em have this.
16

Tony: They're in first at end of April? Huh.
JJ: Missed a great early chance to gain on Detroit.
17

Tony: They're going to need Gallardo.
JJ: With their pitching, they can't be this bad, right?
18

Tony: Ailing D-Backs still holding on.
JJ: One of 3 NL teams to allow 100 runs.
19

Tony: Maybe Trout will help in SouthLAAnd?
JJ: At 49, Jamie Moyer has been their best SP.
20

Tony: Who players Moyer in the movie? Dennis Quaid?
JJ: Blech.
21

Tony: Just imagine where they'd be if Ike could hit.
JJ: Probably too harsh; allowed 25 more runs than scored.
22

Tony: See? They're not so bad. Are they finding groove?
JJ: Bad offense, good pitching.
23

Tony: Is the drama getting to them?
JJ: Even worse offense, good pitching.
24

Tony: They're scoring runs! Well...kinda.
JJ: Offense has scored 16 more runs than the Angels. 25

Tony: They may set record for lack of attendance.
JJ: Only NL team to score fewer runs: Pittsburgh.
26

Tony: Did that Humber perfecto wake them up?
JJ: Shoutout to them for staying out of the basement.
27

Tony: Liriano just doesn't look right.
JJ: "Our Time" is 2012's "All In," apparently. 28

Tony: Well, at least they won some games, eh?
JJ: Good series wins this week, overall outlook is blah.
29

Tony: Lead the MLB in losses.
JJ: Do they move the fences in?
30

Tony: They're coming back to Earth a bit.
JJ: MLB-worst starting rotation.

White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito: No-hitter 'special' after early struggles

White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito: No-hitter 'special' after early struggles

Lucas Giolito got the “click” he was looking for on Thursday night and it resulted in a seven-inning no-hitter for Triple-A Charlotte.

Currently the No. 2-rated White Sox prospect, Giolito has struggled so far this season at Charlotte. He’s 2-5 with a 5.44 ERA in nine starts in 46 1/3 innings.

While he’s struck out 43 hitters, Giolito has also walked 25. But it all came together for the tall right-hander on Thursday when he threw an 87-pitch no-no against the Syracuse Chiefs.

“It was special,” Giolito said on a conference call on Friday. “Just the way the year has gone, it didn't start the way I wanted it to, the numbers haven't been great. So it's great to have a no-hitter under my belt, my first professional one. Just take that and work from there. I'm just going to keep working on the things I've been working on the past few weeks and hopefully string a few good ones together.”

Rated the No. 3 overall prospect in the majors before the 2016 season, Giolito’s profile has slipped some because of performance. The top name included from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal, Giolito has struggled with command of his offspeed pitches and fastball at times. Earlier this month, Giolito described his performance as “atrocious,” while remaining optimistic that his fortunes could change just like clicking on a light switch.

Giolito said he felt confident on the mound Thursday and it translated.

“I did a lot better job of keeping the fastball down in the zone to both sides of the plate,” Giolito said. “I was able to get the ball inside to lefties pretty well, maybe got a few jam shots some pop outs here and there and then I had my two-seamer working as well. It was just a pretty solid day as far as throwing the fastball.”

Pleased as he is, Giolito is striving to be better. He pointed at his three walks as an area he’d like to improve upon. But he’s also happy with how it all worked on Thursday.

“There's always still work to do,” Giolito said. “I walked three batters and that is not something I want to be doing. The walk numbers are a little too high for my liking. There's still plenty to work on, but everything felt pretty solid last night. I felt like I repeated my delivery well, I executed more pitches. Especially when I'd fall behind in the count I'd execute quality pitches and you can get yourself out of bad situations doing that.”

The Knights made two roster moves on Friday -- Yoan Moncada was activated off the seven-day disabled list and Ryan Raburn was traded to the Washington Nationals for cash or a player to be named later.

James Shields throws again as White Sox place Dylan Covey on 10-day DL

James Shields throws again as White Sox place Dylan Covey on 10-day DL

Dylan Covey is already the sixth White Sox pitcher to be placed on the 10-day disabled list this season. The club announced Friday that Covey is headed to the DL just as one of the pitchers already there, James Shields, took another step forward in his rehab.

Shields threw his second bullpen in three days on Friday and hopes to begin a minor-league rehab assignment after he throws a three-inning, game-situation-like bullpen on Monday.

The White Sox promoted reliever Juan Minaya to take Covey’s spot on the 25-man roster. They also announced Tyler Danish would be the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader and manager Rick Renteria said Covey’s scheduled start Monday would be filled internally. Reliever David Holmberg could make the start.

“I’m full bore,” Shields said. “Everything is working really well and everything feels good. Ready to rock and roll.

“It’s been pretty tough for me. I’m pretty anxious. I want to be out there and help my team win. But at the end of the day I have to stick to the process. You know the team was really doing good up until this last road trip. Now we need to pick it back up. I’m looking forward to coming back and helping the squad out.”

Covey isn’t surprised he landed on the DL.

He missed much of the 2016 season with a left oblique strain and knew exactly what he was experiencing when he felt the tug on Tuesday. But Covey remembers the early portion of last year’s injury and thinks he’s in better shape now.

“Well, my first thought was, ‘Oh, no. I did it again,’” Covey said. “It’s kind of looking like it might not be nearly as bad as it was last year. So I’m staying optimistic and taking it day by day.”

“I think if I tried to push it another pitch like I did last year, it could have maybe worsened the situation. So I’m glad I was able to hold back a little bit.”

Minaya -- who pitched in 11 games for the 2016 White Sox -- missed roughly five weeks with an abdominal tear. Though he wanted to race back (he struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings this spring), Minaya knew he had to be practical about his rehab. Once healthy, Minaya pitched well at Triple-A Charlotte, where he posted a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings.

“I took a little while but we’re going through the process and we have to be patient and do everything they say to get healthy,” Minaya said. “We have to do the right thing to be healthy.”

“I feel very happy with myself because I’m working to get back here and I see the progress and I feel very happy.”

Minaya gives the White Sox nine relievers on their 13-man staff. That amount would make it much easier for the team to fill Covey’s first turn in the rotation with a bullpen game on Monday. A career starter who only began to pitch in relief this season, Holmberg could give the White Sox several innings to start. While Renteria won’t name any candidates for the series opener against the Boston Red Sox, he did suggest it would be an internal candidate.

“We’ll probably end up filling with one of our own guys,” Renteria said.