MLB Power Rankings: Week 4

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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.

Don Cooper remembers what made Mark Buehrle so special 

Don Cooper remembers what made Mark Buehrle so special 

Mark Buehrle didn’t have the kind of attributes found in most of the dominant pitchers of the post-steroid era. He was a 38th-round draft pick with a fastball that, on a good day, would scrap the upper 80’s. 

On Saturday, Buehrle will become the third pitcher to have his number retired in White Sox history, joining Ted Lyons (No. 16) and Billy Pierce (No. 19). For Don Cooper, who was Buehrle’s pitching coach from 2002-2011, it’s not hard to see why the St. Charles, Mo. native’s name will forever be a part of White Sox history. 

“Reliable, consistent, dependable, winner, good guy, unflappable, these are words that come to mind when I think about him,” Cooper said. 

Cooper was flooded with plenty of memories of Buehrle during the dozen minutes he spent chatting with the media on Friday. He said he learned a lot from working with Buehrle, watching him fill up the strike zone and induce early, weak contact while working at a brisk pace. One of Cooper's memories that stood out was this one:

“I can remember in the bullpen, he’d be warming up, he’d throw about 10 pitches,” Cooper said. “He’d look at me, I’d look at him. He wasn’t throwing very good. He turned to me and said, ‘Come on, let’s go, this isn’t going to get me any better.’”

But that was Buehrle — “In many ways, you could just wind him up and you’re throwing him out there every five days,” Cooper said. He battled through days where he didn’t have his best stuff — not that his stuff was electric to begin with — and turned in 14 consecutive years with 200 or more innings. 

Buehrle, of course, threw a no-hitter in 2007 and a perfect game in 2009, and along with save in Game 3 of the World Series represent some of the crowning achievements of his career. Cooper was happy to have been a part of it from his perch on the White Sox bench. 

“I think he was blessed,” Cooper said. “He was given a lot of gifts. The sinking fastball, the changeup, the cutter. His curveball, by scouts’ assessments, would probably be rated an average curveball. But as time went and as his stuff went down, we started to use that more. When he was at his best, we would throw about 8-10 of those. But as he started losing his stuff we had to mix more of those in. And listen, the career he had, his number being retired, the kids, his family — blessed. He’s been a blessed guy.” 

Adam Engel making the most of his opportunity with White Sox

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USA TODAY

Adam Engel making the most of his opportunity with White Sox

Adam Engel is making the most of his second opportunity with the White Sox.

Engel had his best game of the season in Thursday’s finale against the Minnesota Twins, where he went 4-for-5 with three singles, a double, and two RBIs in the White Sox 9-0 win. He became the first White Sox outfielder with a four-hit game within their first 11 career MLB games since Harold Baines (10th game) on April 20, 1980, according to CSN stats guru Chris Kamka.

"Some days you hit it, some days you don’t," Engel said. "Yesterday was the day that I hit it.”

After nearly a five-hour rain delay, the White Sox came out hot right from the get-go on Thursday. In fact, by the time Engel was ready to bat for the first time, the White Sox were already leading 4-0 and Twins starter Nik Turley had been yanked from the game.

“It was awesome,” Engel. “(The) team is winning, getting some hits. It’s a great feeling. Obviously the goal is to try and help the team win.”

[Vivid Seats: Buy your White Sox tickets here]

Engel made his major league debut on May 27 and then was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte on June 9. His wife Jaime had a child on June 12, and almost a week later, he was recalled again by the White Sox to replace an injured Leury Garcia.

Engel, who's hitting .344/.382/.406 entering Friday's game, will look to keep his hot streak going with his wife and newborn in attendance.