Cubs

MLB Power Rankings: Pirates, Yankees continue to surge

6-8andrewmccutchenjoshharrison.png

MLB Power Rankings: Pirates, Yankees continue to surge

Last week saw baseball's first big trade of the summer, with Arizona unloading Mark Trumbo to Seattle as the Mariners try to inject some life into a lagging offense. But only a few other teams are in sell mode right now, with even the bottom-five White Sox only a few games under .500 and only need a good week or two to get back in the playoff hunt.

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

Rank Team
Last Week Comment
1 1

Still the clear No. 1 team in baseball and with Jaime Garcia healthy, may be the best rotation in baseball, even without Wainwright.

2   2

Yasiel Puig is back, Clayton Kershaw is back to ace form and yet...Dodgers have lost four of five.

3 3

They have SEVEN players leading AL All-Star voting at their respective positions. Goodness.

4   6

Welcome to The Show, Carlos Correa. Can baseball's next megaprospect help keep Houston atop the AL West?

5 4

Torii Hunter's resurgence has been a big reason for their success: The soon-to-be 40-year-old has eight home runs and a .787 OPS.

6 8

Andrew McCutchen is so good, even Michael Keaton has his back.

7 14

Alex Rodriguez has 11 home runs and a .280/.386/.522 slash line. Keep on trollin', A-Rod.

8 7

Rough week highlights Giants' biggest concern: Will their starting rotation hold up? Matt Cain getting healthy and returning to form would help in a big way.

9 13

Chris Archer is the first modern-era pitcher to have three straight starts of 10+ K's and no walks. That'll do.

10 10

Statement series against the Nationals, but still have only a -1 run differential and a 30-25 record. Their fortunes hinge on continued success in 1-run games.

11   5

Anthony Rendon's return hasn't led to immediate results (see above), but his presence in the lineup and the infield makes the Nationals way, way better.

12 9

To be a real contender, need to do more than 4-6 vs. Marlins, Padres and Diamondbacks.

13 15

Joey Gallo's first big league week: .292/.370/.583, two home runs and nearly half his outs have been strikeouts.

14 12

Ended an eight-game losing streak Saturday and scraped out a desperately-needed series win over the White Sox.

15 19

Back up to .500 after winning 4 of last 5 and emerging in the Wild Card race again.

16 22

Mark Buehrle has thrown back-to-back complete games, the latter of which was a 93-pitch masterpiece of a shutout (otherwise known as a Maddux).

17 16

How soon until we see Francisco Lindor? Not now, but probably sometime this summer.

18 18

Great move to get rid of Trumbo and clear some room in the OF. Tomas and Pollock should play every day right now, no exceptions.

19 19

Albert Pujols has 15 home runs. That's good! What's bad is he has a 5.8 percent walk rate and a .307 OBP.

20   17

Julio Teheran's struggles show just how shallow this starting rotation is, even with Shelby Miller (1.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) still shining.

21 21

There's still plenty of time to make a move in the AL East, especially if Ubaldo Jimenez keeps pitching as well as he has (3.02 ERA).

22 26 Can they finally seize some momentum after sweeping Oakland over the weekend at Fenway?
23 20

Not sold on Mark Trumbo being the answer to their offensive woes, but hey, at least they're trying something.

24 23

So Tulo has seemed to wake up a bit, but Carlos Gonzalez is still hitting only .240 with a .697 OPS. Is he just done then? This guy put up a .920 OPS from 2009-13.

25 25

People criticize Joey Votto for not driving in enough runs or slugging enough, but is anybody getting on Brandon Phillips' case for utter lack of power (.387 SLG despite .309 AVG) and no patience (only 10 walks)?

26 24

Even while showing signs of playing better, they've dropped back-to-back series to Texas and Detroit.

27 27

They may have the worst record in the AL, but we're all winners for getting to watch Pat Venditte pitch with both hands in the majors.

28 28

Adeiny Hechavarria (.308/.338/.429) starting to put it together offensively and he's already enjoying a great defensive season, too.

29 29

Package Aaron Harang and Jonathan Papelbon together and the Phillies may actually get a decent return from a trade that doesn't involve Cole Hamels.

30 30

No starting pitcher has an ERA under 4.00 and Garza/Lohse have combined for 5.83 ERA in 137.1 innings.

Joe Maddon wants Cubs fans to cheer for Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez

Joe Maddon wants Cubs fans to cheer for Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez

Why can't a trade be looked at as a win-win? 

There doesn't always have to be a clear winner and loser.

Prior to Jose Quintana taking the ball for Saturday's game against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field, Joe Maddon was asked about the players (Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease) the Cubs gave up to acquire Quintana as well as the deal with the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman in July 2016.

Gleyber Torres is absolutely killing it in New York, hitting .323 with a 1.014 OPS, 9 homers and 24 RBI in only 29 games. Six of those homers have come in the last week alone. 

With the White Sox, both Jimenez and Cease have found success in Double-A and Advanced Class-A, respectively.

Jimenez is hitting .331 with a .992 OPS, 9 homers and 35 RBI in 35 games. Cease is 6-2 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 57 strikeouts in 47.2 innings.

As the Cubs work to get their offense settled into a consistent groove, some Cubs fans have been looking at what might've been with guys like Torres and Jimenez.

"You can't have it both ways, man," Maddon said. "I'm happy for Gleyber. When he left, we talked about it. And we talked about the kids that went to the White Sox. It's good stuff. 

"I'm really disappointed if anybody's disappointed in the fact we won the World Series in 2016 and the fact that the guy we're talking about that we had to give up Gleyber for was so instrumental in that happening. That's bad process if you're gonna get stuck on something like that. Be happy for Gleyber. Be happy for him."

Maddon has been a fan of Torres' since he saw him in spring training in 2015, Maddon's first year in the Cubs organization.

"This kid's 21, with high, high baseball intellect," Maddon said. "He's very similar to Javy on the field. I've had some great conversations with him in the past. 

"The first time I saw him in spring training, I thought this guy's for real. It was like one at-bat, line drive to RF, I said who is this guy? And then you have a conversation with him. He's solid."

Maddon's point is a great one — would Cubs fans prefer to still have Torres and NOT have the 2016 World Series championship? Because that title doesn't happen without Chapman, regardless of how you feel about him as a person or what the Cubs had to give up to acquire him.

"Don't play that game," Maddon said. "Be happy for [Torres]. I'm gonna be happy when Eloy and Dylan make it up here. All these dudes, I want them to get here and be really good. And the guys that we get, I want them to be really good. 

"I don't understand why somebody's gotta lose all the time. This is an absolute classic example of what was good for both teams."

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998

sammy_sosa_1998_wrigley_hr.jpg
AP

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

An off-day did nothing to slow down the 1998 National League MVP as Sosa collected his second straight 2-homer game May 27 of that season.

He went deep in the eighth and ninth innings of a Cubs' 10-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, driving in 3 runs. 

The first homer - off Darrin Winston - was an absolute blast, traveling an estimated 460 feet. The second shot was tame in comparison with only 400 feet as a recorded distance.

In a matter of two games, Sosa raised his season OPS from .930 to .988 and his slugging percentage from .521 to .577 thanks to a pair of 2-homer contests.

Fun fact: Doug Glanville - former Cubs outfielder and current NBC Sports Chicago analyst - was the Phillies leadoff hitter that day in 1998, collecting three hits and scoring a pair of runs.