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The Pittsburgh Pirates Have Finally Returned to Glory Atop The National League

The Power Rankings Panel convened again late last night for an objectively shocking 1-9 this late in the season. Even though it's still very early, we have to start acknowledging these surprise stories. We'll do more of that in a minute. 

First, an announcement:

Barstool Baseball now has a podcast feed. We're going to publish different shows for different days with different mixes of people. We're starting this week with Monday power rankings and Wednesday Night headlines with plans to later add Fridays for college and history/pop culture.

That's a big deal because we had goals in place to bring it back. And now we're in a spot to build it back up with a large list of ridiculous characters that love baseball. This is good. This what we wanted. 

Thank you for your patience. 

Let's get to the Week 4 Power Rankings:

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If you watch/listen any of the actual show, you'll know we are actively trying to create an unbiased list. The whole point of this exercise is to try hard at a good power ranking. The subsequent point is that no amount of effort or process or expertise can put together a truly valid list. Not in week 4 any more than week 24. But we're gonna try and the internet is going to complain anyways. That's because people take their baseball teams so serious. 

Here's the biggest talking points: 

- The Pirates deserve credit. Are they the 2nd best team in baseball? Yes. They've got the 2nd best record in MLB and have won 7 straight, all while surrendering a total of 15 runs. The schedule could be stronger but that's not their fault. They've played the best baseball after the Rays over the last calendar week.

- The Astros are so close but just on the outside. One tremendous week does not wash the stink of a home series loss to Detroit. They also just dropped a home series to Texas and have a losing record in 10 games against the lowly AL Central. This week could be the launching point with 3 at Tampa followed by 3 at home against the Phillies. I'm not sure though because I don't live in the future. I live in the now and right now the Astros are almost over their putrid start. 

- The Brewers own a lot of real estate in my head. Last week, too low. This week, maybe too high? It's hard to say 3-4-5 here so I leaned into Corbin Burnes being the best pitcher in the NL. They took 3 of 4 from the Padres then swept the Mariners before almost winning a home series against the underrated Red Sox. I said UNDERRATED RED SOX. Then Matt Bush shit his pants in the 8th inning and the Red Sox cruised. That doesn't mean the Brewers suck. If anything it just means that Matt Bush is still in professional baseball and that's fucking awesome.

- The Rangers made a huge acquisition this winter with Bruce Bochy. Surely there are bigger player names the last couple years. But Bochy is going to be the difference maker in the Battle of Texas with the Astros. My estimates had that fight really starting next year and going for the rest of Bregman/Altuve's career. But I actually think we're a year early now and all the credit to Bochy. 

- The Orioles are only getting better and that's terrifying because they're very young and still have another wave of young guys coming. Brandon Hyde has been remarkable. This was a monster spot for a letdown to start the year after last year's surprising rise and they just keep going. Adley is a bonafide MVP caliber player right now. Gunnar and Greyson are going to figure it out. Mountcastle's going to slug and you know the bullpen is good for a handful of career seasons. 

- Manny Machado has been awful which isn't a team note but worth saying. His OPS is under .600 and he's striking out about 6x more than he walks for a -0.6 WAR. Very well could be the worst 20 game stretch of his career. Not good, Bob. 

- Castellani butchered the 8/9 explanation and I'm still not comfortable explaining his reasoning. Yankees are better than the Blue Jays? Something like that. Bigger point is you've got a logjam in the AL East with so much remarkable talent. This past weekend series was outstanding and Gerrit Cole is probably baseball's best arm right now. And even so, the Mets are probably just a little bit better despite being more banged up. 

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On that front, maybe I was wrong about Brandon Nimmo. Maybe I should have held a little more respect for a working class Wyoming man. 

And maybe Pete Alonso is actually having an unlucky season. The statcast data is telling an interesting story that we talk about this week in the Power Rankings. 

You can listen here. 

You can watch here.

More coming. This is plenty for now.

Thank you.