Cubs

MLB Power Rankings: Cubs rising to the top of the NL

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MLB Power Rankings: Cubs rising to the top of the NL

The Cubs are rising to the top of the National League, as they enter play Tuesday with the third-best record in the National League and a season-high eight games over .500. The only two teams above the Cubs are fellow division rivals St. Louis and Pittsburgh. But the Cubs face a true test this week with a four-game set against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field and a three-game series in St. Louis. Though, Kris Bryant and Co. are off to a good start, taking down Clayton Kershaw Monday night.

With that comes another week of MLB Power Rankings from CSNChicago.com's Tony Andracki and JJ Stankevitz. Stay tuned for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10

Rank Team
Last Week Comment
1 1

I think the whole baseball world is curious to see what their punishment will be for the hacking scandal. This may ruin the Cardinals' reputation for a generation.

2   3

Lost in their All-Star voting chaos is they’ve consistently been the American League’s best team for nearly the entire season so far. 

3 9

Impressive job by this young team to respond very well after slipping a bit earlier this month. 

4   6

So many people have been talking about Gerrit Cole (1.78 ERA) and A.J. Burnett (2.05 ERA), but Francisco Liriano (3.26 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 10.7 K/9) is having a heck of a season.

5 2

Who would've thought Andre Ethier would be this season's savior?

6 7

No Maddon, no Friedman, no Zobrist, no problem, apparently. And Matt Moore is nearing a return from Tommy John. 

7 8

If the sky Monday night was any indication, Hell is freezing over and the Cubs are a legit contender.

8 11

They've won just four of their last 11...and that includes a three-game winning streak in there.

9 6

Alex Rodriguez isn’t just pulling baseball’s greatest troll job, he’s also a big reason (.282/.384/.524, 14 HR) why the Yankees are right in the thick of the AL East race.

10 5

Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin and Jose Bautista have been worth nearly 10 combined WAR. That’ll work. 

11   16

Lost in A-Rod’s 3,000th hit and Toronto’s home run barrage are these guys, who are playing as good of baseball as anyone in the month of June. 

12 13

Yeah, we all know Bryce Harper is amazing. But what about Yunel Escobar? He's hitting .331 with an .801 OPS.

13 10

Six games over .500 but only a +8 run differential. Hmmm. 

14 14

Not exactly a good sign to lose a series to the White Sox after handing them their eighth straight defeat on Friday. 

15 17

Jered Weaver’s fastball is approaching Mark Buehrle levels and he just hit the disabled list.

16 12

J.D. and Victor Martinez combined for four home runs on Sunday, though Victor hitting one was just as big an accomplishment as J.D. hitting three. 

17 15

Will they even be in contention by the time David Wright returns from his mysterious back injury?

18 18

Addison Reed sent down the minors? Yikess.

19 21

With Freddie Freeman's health is question, the Braves are done for.

20   22

This Pete Rose news is not good, but the silver lining is: Nobody's talking about how much the Reds suck right now.

21 19

This may be the most disappointing season in Padres history.

22 20 The only thing that would’ve made their 17-0 loss to the Cubs last week more fitting were if it came on Browns appreciation night. 
23 24

Mark Trumbo hit his first home run with Seattle over the weekend, which is good! Except he’s still hitting below the Mendoza Line. 

24 27

Plus-35 run differential aided by a 14-run win over San Diego last week. 

25 28

Can we agree to not call this Pablo Sandoval business Instagate? How about Insta-groan?

26 23

Of course, right when Carlos Gonzalez looks like the CarGo of old, he gets hurt.

27 26

Really curious to see how they handle Jose Fernandez when he returns during the midst of a lost season in South Beach.

28 25

Finally started to right the ship with a series win over Texas, but offense continues to slip and hasn’t shown many signs of pulling out of tailspin. 

29 29

Rotation is last in the majors with 5.08 ERA. Yes, even behind the Rockies and Red Sox.

30 30

Maybe they want to draft the first female player and then put her immediately in the big leagues? She can't be worse than half this roster and it would prove the Phils are, in fact, going younger.

Cubs executive Jason McLeod reportedly linked to Giants' GM opening

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USA TODAY

Cubs executive Jason McLeod reportedly linked to Giants' GM opening

Is this the offseason that Cubs executive Jason McLeod finally becomes an MLB general manager?

According to Bruce Levine, the Giants are reportedly interested in McLeod, the Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development, for their vacant general manager position.

McLeod joined the Cubs' front office in 2011 alongside Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Before the Cubs, he spent six years in the Red Sox front office and two in the Padres' (with Hoyer, who was San Diego's general manager from 2010-2011). 

Of course, the Giants' reported interest in McLeod doesn't necessarily mean that he will interview for the job. However, it's worth noting that McLeod interviewed for the Twins' general manager job in 2016; he also withdrew his name from consideration for the Padres' general manager job in 2014. 

In addition to the Giants, McLeod's name has been linked to the Mets' general manager vacancy. This is more speculation, but the point is that it seems to be only a matter of time before McLeod is hired as general manager elsewhere.

For what it's worth, though, McLeod is under contract through 2021 and has previously said that he is grateful to be with the Cubs. 

“I’m exceptionally grateful,” McLeod said. “All of us are. Look at where we are at this moment in time with this team," McLeod said in 2016. "I can’t imagine a better environment, a better culture to work at in baseball.

"We’ve been together a long time. We’re friends. We’re good. We embrace the fact that we are good. And we challenge ourselves to be even better.”

Cubs have new hitting coach in Anthony Iapoce

Cubs have new hitting coach in Anthony Iapoce

The Cubs are heading into a new season with a different hitting coach for the second straight winter, but the most recent choice is a familiar face.

Anthony Iapoce is set to join Joe Maddon's coaching staff this week after serving in the same capacity with the Texas Rangers for the last three seasons. The Cubs confirmed the move Monday afternoon shortly after the news broke out of the Rangers camp.

The Cubs fired Chili Davis last week after just one season as the team's hitting coach.

Entering the final week of the season, the Rangers fired manager Jeff Banister, leaving Iapoce and the rest of the Texas coaching staff in limbo.

As such, Iapoce is rejoining the Cubs, where he served as a special assistant to the General Manager from 2013-15 focusing on player development, particularly in the hitting department throughout the minor leagues.

Iapoce has familiarity with a bunch of the current star offensive players on the Cubs, from Willson Contreras to Kris Bryant. 

Both Bryant and Contreras endured tough 2018 seasons at the plate, which was a huge reason for the Cubs' underperforming lineup. Bryant's issue was more related to a left shoulder injured suffered in mid-May while Contreras' offensive woes remain a major question mark after the young catcher looked to be emerging as a legitimate superstar entering the campaign.

Getting Contreras back to the hitter that put up 21 homers and 74 RBI in only 117 games in 2017 will be one of the main goals for Iapoce, so the history between the two could be a key.

With the Rangers, Iapoce oversaw an offense that ranked 7th, 9th and 14th in MLB in runs scored over the last three seasons. The decline in offensive production is obviously not a great sign, but the Rangers as a team have fallen off greatly since notching the top seed in the AL playoffs in 2016 with 95 wins only to lose 95 games in 2018, resulting in the change at manager.

Iapoce has worked with an offense backed by Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo the last few seasons.

Under Iapoce's tutelage, former top prospect Jurickson Profar shed any notion of a "bust" label and emerged as a budding star at age 25, collecting 61 extra-base hits with a .793 OPS in 2018.

When the Cubs let Davis go last week, they provided no update on assistant hitting coach Andy Haines, who just finished his first season in that role and is expected to remain with the team for 2019. The same offseason Iapoce left for the Rangers, Haines took over as the Cubs' minor league hitting instructor.