MLB Power Rankings: Week 7

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 7

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

Tony
JJ Comments 1
Tony: Keep right on rolling wo Kemp with sweep of STL.
JJ: Still better than anybody, but...
2
Tony: Swept by Royals early last week -- that hurt ranking.
JJ: ...Los Angeles really narrowing that gap.
3
Tony: Just keep on rolling on Hotlanta.
JJ: Haven't got the attention they deserve for great play.
4
Tony: Every game they play is close, but they're winning 'em.
JJ: Slipping, although I think they'll survive sans Berkman.
5

Tony: Their phenom starter needs to find 'Moore' consistency.
JJ: 4.02 staff FIP probably not a good sign for future.
6
Tony: Didn't win a series vs. Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Diego.
JJ: A little more offense and they're a juggernaut.
7
Tony: Joey Bats starting to swing it, will be players at deadline.
JJ: Shipping Lind out was a bold move, starting to buy them.
8
Tony: Berkman injury hurts, season may be on downswing.
JJ: Matt Joyce is the truth.
9
Tony: They're better than they've played, but how much better?
JJ: Not only is Austin Kearns still around, he's slugging .605.
10
Tony: Still holding on to first. Sweep of MIN, SEA helps.
JJ: Enter week on 8-2 run. Like them more than New York.
11
Tony: Chapman closing, Marshall setting up makes pen dominant.
JJ: Will they repeat 2011's season arc and struggle soon?
12
Tony: If only SanchezBell got off to better starts...
JJ: Sabathia walked in a run this weekend. Yep.
13
Tony: Would they really dare to send Ike Davis down?
JJ: Cards' fall has mediocre team in striking distance.
14
Tony: As Lou Brown said, "Startin' to come together..."
JJ: We'll see if series vs. Pittsburgh springboards them.
15
Tony: Amazing that 7-3 stretch has them only at .500.
JJ: Playing better, but enter week 7 games behind LA.
16
Tony: Need Scherzer to have more dominant outings like last one.
JJ: News on Howard's recovery now limited to Subway ads.
17
Tony: Sweep of Cubs has them at .500, competing in division.
JJ: Have a big chance to move up this week.
18
Tony: Don't look now, but they've won eight of 10.
JJ: Inevitable fall out of contention underway.
19
Tony: Even if Manny struggles in return, he'll be a good show.
JJ: McCarthy'll have plenty of time to blog from mom's basement.
20
Tony: Pujols has homered, so why aren't they winning?
JJ: Somehow, enter the week with a positive run differential.
21
Tony: Have injuries derailed their season?
JJ: Disappointment level much higher than "All In" Sox.
22
Tony: McCutcheon proving to be only reliable hitter.
JJ: Pitching remains great, offense remains horrific.
23
Tony: Young back, Hudson back soon will be another boost.
JJ: Playing above .500 since 12-game losing streak.
24
Tony: Certainly had enough O to sweep Rockies, didn't they?
JJ: Upton slowly coming around, need him to really get going.
25
Tony: Bad, but definitely not terrible like everyone expected.
JJ: Got beat twice by the Twins. They're not a good team. 26
Tony: Hosmer will start hitting, Butler looks like a star.
JJ: Kyle Seager's walk-up song better be by Bob Seger, you guys.
27
Tony: Things not good in Denver right now.
JJ: On injury away from pulling Jake Taylor out of Mexico. 28
Tony: Six-game losing streak to close out the week. Ouch.
JJ: One of two teams with staff ERA above 5.
29

Tony: They actually took a series from the Angels.
JJ: Dale Thayer should be on your fantasy team.
30

Tony: Won 45, but still have baseball's worst record.
JJ: Took first two from Milwaukee...then lost by about 50 Sunday.

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Having experienced a playoff-like atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic, David Robertson and Nate Jones already feel prepared for the regular season. 

The two relievers returned to White Sox camp on Friday morning bearing gold medals from a Team USA WBC title run that concluded on Wednesday night with an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Robertson, who recorded the final three outs of the clinching victory, said he's glad to be back and won't need much of a tune-up to be ready for the April 3 season opener.

"Back up to speed?" Robertson said. "More like slow down and get ready for the season. I'll probably play catch (Friday). I didn't throw (Thursday), I spent the day traveling. Probably play catch today, and be ready to throw (Saturday). If I needed to throw today, I could. I feel like I'm season ready right now."

"It feels good to be back. It's been a long trip doing this WBC, so it's good to be back and relax a little bit. Have a couple days before we start the season."

Both Jones and Robertson appeared four times each for Team USA with similar results. Each allowed a solo home run but nothing else. Jones said he brought his gold medal back to camp because he isn't yet ready to put it in his safety deposit box. His favorite moments of the tournament were brought on by raucous crowds.

"Once you get a crowd chanting USA that was a pretty cool moment," Jones said. "You're proud of representing your country, and once they did that, it all kind of set in, like, ‘Wow, this is happening.'

"It's just pure excitement, everybody going crazy."

Jones and Robertson said they're pleased to have returned to the relative tranquility of White Sox camp after they lived out of a suitcase for the previous 18 days. Both were set to meet with pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Rick Renteria to discuss their upcoming schedule. Jones said he expected to throw a side session on Friday in front of Cooper to have his mechanics reviewed. Robertson last pitched on Wednesday and didn't know when he'd throw again.

"They've been busy, obviously, with Robbie finishing up the last game," Renteria said. "We'll see how the schedule lines up in terms of their usage for the remaining 9-10 days."

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Robertson is pretty sure he won't need much work. Whereas the team's closer normally waits until the first week of March to appear in a game, Robertson has pitched in plenty this spring. Each of the last four has had a ton more intensity than any normal Cactus League work.

"It felt like playoff baseball really early in the year," Robertson said. "Just coming from Miami, trying to win a couple days in there was really hard. Fans were really loud. That place was a very intense environment, and it didn't feel like you were the home team at all.

"It felt like (a home game) when we were in San Diego We were the home team there, and when we got to L.A., same thing. Although, I will say that when we were playing the Japanese, it erupted a couple times when they had some big moments in their game. It was just a lot of fun to play in this whole event. It was definitely more than I expected."

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

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Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."