For The 1st Time All Year, The Tampa Bay Rays Are NOT The #1 Scoring Team In Baseball

Mondays mean Power Rankings on the Barstool Baseball page. It's a panel-based show with the absolute-most-informed MLB guys I know at work. Klemmer is practically a HOF voter. Hubbs has an opinion on everyone and Castellani runs fake baseball teams just so he can get extra reps talking about player skillsets. It's a unique mix and rather enjoyable from my utterly biased perspective 

Some notes on the rankings: 

But before I get to these notes I actually have a meaningful announcement

BOMBS AWAY is +6.1 units on the 2023 season. It's a HR prop I cook up with Penn National/Jack McCarthy every MWF to go with the podcast schedule. We pick 3 teams to homer a night. It's usually priced like +130 to +200. Super juicy value fellas. I don't want to cram it down your throats so as a sign of good faith, here's 1400 words about MLB on a Monday morning.

- There's maybe 6 very good teams in baseball right now? Probably only 3 or 4 if we're being real picky, and yet that doesn't include either 2022 pennant winner. 

-  The Mariners, Padres, Angels, Mets, and Cardinals have all been underwhelming to say the least. The Mariners have the deepest staff in baseball and that's without a Cy Young winner. The Padres have by far the most talented 4-man core to build around. The Angels the 2 best players in the World. The Mets payroll and pedigree and the Cardinals talent gap on the NL Central... all imposing characteristics that should generate much more success to date. None of these teams would make the playoffs today and that's crazy on May 15th. 

- The Rays no longer lead baseball in every category even though I said that at the time of the recording. At the time of this blog, I am now WRONG. Suck on that Carl you drunk wrong pussy!

The Rangers now lead MLB with 6.35 runs/9 while Tampa has plummeted to 6.19. The Rangers have played most of the season without Corey Seager, who is projected to smash this year without the shift. He's baseball's MOST SHIFTED player at 99% last 3-seasons. He's also one of baseball's MOST GIFTED so the theory holds the Rangers could be better when he returns from his rehab assignment, which should be very soon. 

But it's also interesting to me that the Rays still hold a lead on team OPS both Road and Home. That's parity. The Rangers Home OPS is 90 points higher than the Road OPS.Give me the lineup that travels when it matters. 

- The Braves might travel Too Much in that case. They're 2nd in Road OPS but 10th in Home OPS. This is the kind of anomaly I think means nothing right now but wouldn't be surprised to later find out that the batter's eye at Truist Park is the wrong shade of green. Or something funkyfunkyfunky

- I'm a Cubs fan so let's shit on their futility for a second. The pitching staff throws about 90mph, on average. Heading into the season that was a big question mark and turns out I was wrong, again. The pitching staff has been a tremendous strength, pitching to contact and managing the new game very well. Weak contact and momentum mean much more, and the Cubs have capitalized on that led by Justin Steele's filthy 2023 season. The problem? 

Nobody and I mean nobody leaves more hitters on base than the Cubs. Every inning there's someone on base. Almost. They average almost 8 batters LOB per game. EIGHT. Sometimes you don't even get 8 baserunners and the Cubs are AVERAGING that many left on. 

Good thing - they're getting runners on base. Some of you real shitty teams out there are still trying to solve that problem. So count your blessings as they come up. 

Bad thing - need to score more runs to win more baseball games. Maybe we're about to see a great Rise of the RBI in the sabremetric community this winter at MIT. 

- One of you guys just puked thinking about RBI's. I'm mostly fucking around when I say they're important. But then a small yet deeply influential  voice tells me it matters because it matters to the players. When the statistics matter to players, they should matter to us. If it impacts a player's perception of his own value, or a situation's value, then that should be, on some level, important. Maybe not the full weight of a Bill James. But we should recognize the stuff that matters to players. Like if Starting Pitchers still get mad about hanging losses then we should talk about that. 

Jordan Lyles is 0-7 with a 7.14 ERA

That felt good. 

- The AL East still has 5 teams over .500. That's insane. But did you know the Red Sox have the 2nd best team OPS in the last 30 days? Sure it probably blows seeing Nathan Eovaldi carve and slice for Texas. But I think the lineup has more staying power the next couple months even if they have a glaring hole at shortstop. Here's some bright side - I think Chris Sale is closer to his last start than his season averages (71 vs. 51 game score). One thing really working in his favor is this league-wide trend to emphasize horizontal break on offspeed. Historically the emphasis has been on "depth" which is lingo for getting the ball to drop vertically. 


Now there's this rapid and sudden shift to something called Horizontal Approach Angle which measures the amount of horizontal break a pitch has at the point it enters the strikezone. The higher that angle, the more the break, the harder the pitch is to hit. This is a newer way of looking at offspeed. What you've understood to be NASTY over the years has been adjusted against by the league. Tight hard sliders and two-seam fastballs still get shit on. 

So in conjunction with Chris Sale getting older and needing to spin the ball more often and with greater variance, there's this newfound appreciation in the pitch design space of baseball for what Chris Sale has to offer. He might have some of the best Horizontal Approach Angle data of his generation without even knowing it. Given his track record, my hard guess is he keeps getting better this season with a side salad of Maybe He Can Still Be Elite? 

Giphy Images.

- I need to go back to the Braves for a minute. They have a team OPS of .941 against Left Handed pitching. Acuna certainly helps but NINE FORTY ONE? The fuck is going on with these Braves. If you're a lefty at home and the Braves are in town, maybe just stay home soak your old lady. 

- The Braves are the best and the Brewers are The Worst. They've got a .681 team OPS against lefties. Ha-seong Kim has a .680 OPS so your entire lineup is basically a light hitting middle infielder against lefties. Make the playoffs all you want but someone needs to hold the front office accountable. You can' find a couple big guys in the entire state of Wisconsin that can hit left handed pitching? I got at least two buddies who went to Whitewater who can handle a lefty. 

- MIKE TROUT WATCH: lol nobody cares. I tried that before and people just yawn because they know it's something remarkable that ultimately means nothing. Like the world's best quarterback is under center for the Toronto Argonauts. Makes me sick thinking about it. Anyways, his OPS is down 100 points this year which is really the only time since his initial debut that his OPS hasn't been over .930. Are you nervous about Mike Trout? 

Who cares. Let's go back to the Braves for a second. 

I just want to repeat their team OPS against lefties is .941. I feel like after using Mike Trout right there actually enhances just how good the Braves are against lefties and I want that staying put in your brain. 


- Wander Franco is leading AL in fWAR at 2.2

- Ronald Acuna leads NL in fWAR at 2.3

- Jose Abreu is dead last at -1.0


- Jean Segura is last in NL with -0.9


- I want to talk about other teams. If yours didn't make the list this week, I sincerely mean it: Good Luck. I need the Red Sox or Astros to make a run this week and spice things up.


We'll talk about a lot of stuff this week on Barstool Baseball. Pirates expert Nick Turani will be joining me and Klemmer on Wednesday with a special edition American League Friday. 

Right now you can get our Monday Power Ranking show available here: