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MLB Power Rankings: Mariners Continue to Climb, Cubs Back in the Top 10

With roughly two months of the 2018 MLB season in the books, we’re starting to get a better idea of which teams will by vying for playoff spots and which ones could be looking to change course at the trade deadline.nike cheap nfl jerseys

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees maintained their standing as the top two teams in baseball, but there was once again plenty of shuffling behind them, including plenty of movement in the top 10.

This remains a fluid process, as teams rise and fall based on where they were ranked the previous week. If a team keeps winning, it will keep climbing—it’s as simple as that.

The Seattle Mariners (5-2) have gone nike nfl cheap jerseys  13-3 in their last 16 games to join the upper echelon of MLB teams here in the early going.

The pitching staff posted a 3.13 ERA in May—good for fifth in the majors—and Wade LeBlanc (6 GS, 1-0, 2.60 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) has been a revelation stepping into the starting rotation.

Denard Span (7-for-25) and Alex Colome (4 G, 3 HLD, 0.00 ERA, 4.0 IP) have both made an impact since coming over in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, while Dee Gordon has made a smooth transition back to second base to help ease the loss of Robinson Cano.

On the NL side of things, nfl nike jerseys cheap china the Chicago Cubs (6-1) used a four-game sweep of the New York Mets to climb back into the top 10 in these rankings.

A strong week from the starting rotation is a promising sign going forward. Mike Montgomery has been excellent filling in for the injured Yu Darvish, going 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in 11.2 innings over two starts.nike jerseys nfl cheap

Four NL West teams made strong moves up our rankings, as the Arizona Diamondbacks (5-2), San Francisco Giants (5-2), Los Angeles Dodgers (5-2) and San Diego Padres (6-2) are all playing good baseball right now.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

The Detroit Tigers (6-3) also enjoyed a strong week with series wins over the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays before putting a nice cherry on top of that with the selection of Casey Mize as No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft on Monday night.

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Cole Hamels Goes to the Philadelphia Phillies

Sure, Cole Hamels to the Philadelphia Phillies is a little on the nose. Yet, it also makes perfect sense.

Following a rough 2017, the 34-year-old left-hander is back on track with a 3.74 ERA through 11 starts for the Texas Rangers. But since he’s in the final guaranteed year of his contract and they’re going nowhere, he fits better on the trade market than he does in the Rangers’ rotation.nfl jersey sales

The catch has to do with money. Hamels is making $22.5 million this year, and he has at least another $6 million due his way this offseason. This limits his scope of suitors by default. The luxury-tax concerns of teams like the Cubs, Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers may further limit it.

The Phillies are a different story.best cheap nfl jerseys

They opened 2018 with just a $95.3 million payroll. That puts them hilariously short of their full spending power, which means their financial muscle is the best thing they’ll have going for them on the summer trade market.

Hamels is the ideal player for whom to flex that muscle. He’d fit well alongside Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, and the Phillies obviously know firsthand that he can handle himself in a pennant race.

The Kansas City Royals haven’t made any impact trades yet, but Jon Heyman of the FRS Network reported that they’re “‘quietly’ letting other teams know they expect to have a ‘for sale’ sign up soon.”

Although the Royals have a little something for everyone, their most popular trade chip is sure to be Kelvin Herrera. Good relievers are always in high demand at the trade deadline. And between his track record and his 0.83 ERA through cheap jerseys nfl  22 appearances this season, he qualifies as a damn good one.

To boot, Herrera is a rental. His acquisition cost will be high but not high enough to ward off swaths of contenders.

To list just a few, Herrera makes sense for the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays. But he probably makes the most sense for the Astros.

Overall, Houston’s bullpen is doing just fine with a 3.02 ERA and an MLB-best 4.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. No thanks to Ken Giles’ struggles, however, ninth innings have been on the adventurous side.nfl jerseys for women

Were a trade for Herrera to fix that, the Astros would have all the puzzle pieces for a second straight World Series title.

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J.T. Realmuto Goes to the Boston Red Sox

The Miami Marlins could have honored J.T. Realmuto’s request to be traded as part of their massive offseason fire sale. Instead, they now stand to collect a big reward for holding off.

The 27-year-old is fully realizing his potential by way of 1.8 wins above replacement to lead all catchers, according to Baseball Reference. Throw in how he’s under club control through 2020, and he’s a hugely valuable trade chip.jerseys nfl cheap

The perfect suitor for Realmuto is a contender with a dire need at catcher and a front office shot-caller who’s willing to be bold.

So, pretty much Dave Dombrowski and the Boston Red Sox.

There haven’t been any solid rumors linking Realmuto to Boston, but the state of its catching corps could change that in a hurry. Through their combination of nonexistent offense and good-not-great defense, Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez have combined for minus-0.9 WAR.nfl jersey nike

The Red Sox lead MLB with a 39-17 record, so this weakness obviously isn’t holding them back now. But they must worry about ultimately matching up with the New York Yankees’ bats and the Houston Astros’ arms.

That’s a perfect excuse for Dombrowski to add to his history of blockbuster trades.

Things were looking iffy for a while, but Chris Archer’s trade value is coming back around.nfl nike jerseys china

The hard-throwing righty struggled with a 7.84 ERA through his first four starts of 2018. But in eight starts since, he’s posted a 2.84 ERA while collecting over three times as many strikeouts (46) as walks (15) and allowing only five home runs.cheap nfl jerseys for sale

The Tampa Bay Rays control Archer through 2021 at reasonable rates, so they don’t have to trade him. But if their recent trade of Alex Colome and Denard Span to the Seattle Mariners is any indication, they’re already open for business for the summer.

Archer, 29, has a wide range of appeal, but it’s a safe guess that he’ll end up with the team that needs him the most and has enough young talent for a deal: the Milwaukee Brewers.

A hot stretch has shot the Brewers to the top of the National League at 36-21. Yet it’s hard to be enthusiastic about their starting rotation, which boasts a 4.21 ERA and a low strikeout rate.

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Michael Taylor, Washington Nationals

Stats: 71 PA, .182/.239/.227, 3 XBH, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 25 K

Potential Replacement: Andrew Stevenson nfl store

Michel Taylor has long tantalized with his power/speed potential.

The 27-year-old was the No. 32 prospect in baseball heading into the 2015 season, according to Baseball America best nfl jerseys from china . The previous season, he hit .304/.390/.526 with 46 extra-base hits and 37 stolen bases between Double-A and Triple-A.

A strong final month last year (103 PA, .898 OPS, 7 HR, 15 RBI) and a stellar showing in the postseason (5-for-15, 2 HR, 8 RBI) had him looking like a breakout candidate heading into 2018.

Instead, he’s hitting .182 and striking out at a 35.2 percent rate.

The Nationals outfield is already stretched thin with injuries to Adam Eaton (ankle) and Brian Goodwin (wrist), and top prospect Victor Robles is expected to miss significant time with an elbow injury of his own.

However, the team could still give more playing time to recently promoted prospect Andrew Stevenson—nfl factory jerseys a standout defensive outfielder who has shown a solid hit tool and plus speed in the minors.

Utility man Wilmer Difo could also see an expanded role in the outfield, though he’s currently filling in at third base for Anthony Rendon.

Point being, the team has other options if Taylor continues to struggle.

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Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants

Stats: 61 PA, .172/.197/.190, 1 XBH, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 22 K

Potential Replacement: Steven Duggar

The days of Hunter Pence playing up to his $18.5 million salary are a thing of the past.authentic nfl jersey china

As recently 2016, he posted a 118 OPS+ and 2.1 WAR, albeit in a season where injuries limited him to just 106 games.

However, that dipped to an 85 OPS+ last season as he hit a pedestrian .260/.315/.385 over 539 plate appearances for a 0.2 WAR.original nike nfl jerseys

The San Francisco Giants would no doubt love to get their money’s worth in the final year of his five-year, $90 million deal, but it’s looking more and more like it’s time for the 35-year-old to be transitioned into a reserve role.

Calling up prospect Steven Duggar could be one potential roster move.

MLB.com ranked the 24-year-old as the No. 3 prospect in a relatively thin Giants system, and nfl wholesale jerseys authentic he has the tools to hit for a solid average, steal some bases and provide above-average defense in center field.

Stats: 4 GS, 1-2, 8.36 ERA, 14.0 IP, 26 H, 13 ER, 9 BB, 17 K

Potential Replacement: Eric Lauer

Luis Perdomo was a pleasant surprise as a Rule 5 pick in 2015 and he took some positive steps forward last season,where can i find nfl jerseys  going 8-11 with a 4.67 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 163.2 innings.

A 61.8 percent groundball rate that ranked second among qualified starters was a big part of that modest success. This season has been a struggle, though, and a dip in his groundball rate to 42.9 percent is a big reason why.

The 24-year-old was absolutely shelled in his most recent start on Wednesday, allowing 10 hits and nine runs (seven earned) while recording just nine outs against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With three minor league options remaining, it might be time to consider a change.

Meanwhile, left-hander Eric Lauer is knocking on the door.

The No. 25 pick in the 2016 draft was viewed as one of the most polished arms in his draft class after a stellar junior season cheap china jerseys nfl at Kent State and he’s delivered on those expectations with a rapid ascent through the minors.

After posting a 3.30 ERA with 132 strikeouts in 122.2 innings between High-A and Double-A last year, he’s off to a strong start in his first taste of Triple-A with a 3.00 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 18 innings over three starts.

The 22-year-old is more floor than ceiling, but he could be ready to make the jump.

Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians

The Deal: 4 Years, $22 Million (with 2019, 2020 Club Options)

AAV: $5.50 Million cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Average WAR Value: $33.73 Million

Difference: $28.23 Million

Carlos Carrasco is basically getting Quintana money to be an even better pitcher.2be4e8f8c30f55ce0ba359664e7d13e9_crop_exact

This would have been unthinkable not too long ago. Carrasco first came to the Cleveland Indians in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade and then provided mixed results between 2009 and 2011. He then missed all of 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery, only to return to providing mixed results in 2013 and 2014.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

That is, for most of 2014.

Cleveland moved the right-hander from its bullpen to the starting rotation in August and was rewarded with a 1.30 ERA in 10 outings down the stretch. It looked legit too, as Carrasco was throwing strikes with mid-90s heat and an electric slider and changeup.

So, then came his extension in April 2015.

From there through the end of 2017, the Indians watched Carrasco put up a 3.41 ERA with 592 strikeouts in 530 innings. Among AL pitchers, only Chris Sale, Chris Archer and teammate Corey Kluber struck batters out at a better rate.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Although he’s 31, Carrasco may not have peaked yet. He’s fresh off a 3.29 ERA and a career-high 200 innings in 2017. He’ll be a top Cy Young contender if he builds on that in 2018.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Jose Quintana, Chicago Cubs

The Deal: 5 Years, $26.50 Million (with 2019, 2020 Club Options)

AAV: $5.30 Million

Average WAR Value: $33.19 Million

Difference: $27.89 Million

The Chicago White Sox took a page from the Giants and Bumgarner when they extended Jose Quintana in March 2014.
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He’d only made his major league debut in 2012, and his body of work included just 336.1 innings. But since that included a 3.61 ERA, there was little risk in trying to gain some cost-controlled production.

The White Sox ended up getting a lot of that between 2014 and 2016. He averaged a 3.29 ERA and 205 innings per season, and he placed behind only a couple of heavyweights in the rWAR rankings for American League southpaws:
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1. Chris Sale: 14.5
2. David Price: 13.5
3. Jose Quintana: 12.7

Quintana subsequently stumbled out of the gate in 2017 with a 4.49 ERA in 18 starts for the White Sox. But the Chicago Cubs came calling with a basket of prospects anyway, and they got more or less what they wanted: a 3.74 ERA and six innings per start the rest of the way. hi-res-dfa9d8feddff4414b78c2904dec94735_crop_exact
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Thus far in 2018, Quintana is serving as the Cubs’ No. 4 starter. Beyond being one of the best to hold that distinction, he’s also one of the better bargains.

Yes, Andrew McCutchen is technically a member of the San Francisco Giants now. But his appearance here has everything to do with his time as a Pittsburgh Pirate.

After extending him in March 2012, general manager Neal Huntington said of McCutchen: “It has been our intent for Andrew to be a cornerstone for this organization, and this contract solidifies that intent.” This was something of a gamble, as McCutchen was fresh off three near-superstar-level seasons at the time.

Obviously, it paid off.

McCutchen did indeed become a full-blown superstar in 2012, posting a .953 OPS with 31 homers and 20 steals. He went on to win the National League MVP in 2013, and he continued to put up MVP-caliber numbers in 2014 and 2015. According to rWAR, there was no better player in the NL over those four seasons.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Alas, McCutchen wasn’t the same player in 2016 and 2017. But he at least continued to hit well with an .807 OPS and 52 homers.
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After a slow start for the Giants, McCutchen is now teasing that he still has it. He’s collected two walk-off hits in a span of four days.

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