MLB Power Rankings: Week 17


MLB Power Rankings: Week 17

Every Monday throughout the regular season, we'll be ranking all 30 MLB teams.

Take a look and offer up your thoughts in the comments or to us on twitter @CubsTalkCSN or @WhiteSoxTalkCSN.

Previous rankings: Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 First Half Week 15 Week 16

JJ Comments 1
Tony: If they're this good without Votto, imagine when he returns.
JJ: Even sans Strasburg, they're a legit World Series contender.
Tony: Strasburg should just play OF when he's done pitching.
JJ: Chapman having an all-time great season for an RP.
Tony: Could have put Red Sox away this weekend, but didn't.
JJ: A Cliff Lee return would be nice, but doesn't help lagging O.
Tony: What's wrong with Josh Hamilton? JJ: Despite rough stretch, on cruise control in AL East.
Tony: Been hot, but nowhere near as hot as CIN.
JJ: Clear favorites for the first Wild Card.
Tony: Started the week still with a hole in their rotation.
JJ: Williams appears to be clear trade deadline winner.
Tony: Liriano a great move, but what will be done with Sale?
JJ: Desperately need another starter.
Tony: Really like the Hanley move for the Dodgahs, you guys.
JJ: They're legit. Run differential on par wloaded Angels.
Tony: Hunter Pence? Would put the G-men over the top...
JJ: At this rate, could battle A's in Wild Card playoff.
Tony: Fister, Scherzer are key down the stretch.
JJ: Wonder if they'll blink and give up talent for Dempster.
Tony: Will Greinke be able to handle the spotlight?
JJ: Go 2-4 after getting Sanchez, Infante.
Tony: Can't lose series to Cubs if they have playoff hopes.
JJ: Wonder if they can hang wLA without making a move.
Tony: They're in second place. It's almost August. Wow.
JJ: Currently buried by Reds, Pirates. But still hanging around.
Tony: Why don't they ever make moves at the deadline?
JJ: If Oakland falters, could re-enter Wild Card race.
Tony: Bautista's return on the horizon.
JJ: Loitering on the edges of the playoff race, but still there.
Tony: Still alive in the cluster that is AL East.
JJ: Santana's ERA above 5 since throwing no-no.
Tony: No way. Just...not gonna make it.
JJ: Bad run differential suggests a crash is looming.
Tony: Still have a 17 percent chance of making playoffs.
JJ: Begin big series vs. Dodgers on Monday.
Tony: Pretty much done for, I'd say. Will Choo be traded?
JJ: After drubbing at the hands of Twins, time to sell.
Tony: Keeping the ball down: How Dickey got his groove back.
JJ: Well, it was fun while it lasted.
Tony: Trade Johnson, Zambrano and start over.
JJ: 2012 season just an unmitigated failure in Miami.
Tony: Blow it up and start over. Trade Pence, Victorino.
JJ: Bad injury luck and a few down years have done them in.
Tony: What would keep fans interested in SEA right now?
JJ: Wonder if they'll field offers on Felix now or in offseason.
Tony: Started week only 2.5 games out of 4th!!
JJ: Went from fringe contender to seller in a matter of days.
Tony: Come in behind CHC because of awful 1-9 stretch.
JJ: 17-10 since Rizzo's call-up.
Tony: Why do they keep locking up best trade pieces?
JJ: Clayton Richard would be a nice pickup for someone.
Tony: They really couldn't have gotten more for Liriano?
JJ: Of all the teams to bury Cleveland, it was Minnesota that did.
Tony: Hosmer just needs a redo on this season.
JJ: No reason to keep Francouer with Myers crushing it in AAA.
Tony: Hey, remember when entire team forgot how many outs there were?
JJ: After a few pretty good years, have come apart in 2012.
Tony: Remember when they weren't the worst team in MLB?
JJ: Building a decent farm system, but they're years away.

Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears


Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

As Tom Brady approaches what in all reasonable likelihood will be his last game against the Bears and in Soldier Field, the first time this reporter saw Tom Brady comes very much to mind. Actually the first times, plural. Because they were indeed memorable, for different reasons.

That was back in 2001, when Brady should have started replacing Wally Pipp as the poster athlete for what can happen when a player has to sit out and his replacement never gives the job back. Drew Bledsoe, who’d gotten the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl, had gotten injured week two of that season. Brady, who’d thrown exactly one pass as a rookie the year before, stepped in and never came out, playing the Patriots into the AFC playoffs the same year the Bears were reaching and exiting the NFC playoffs when Philadelphia’s Hugh Douglas body-slammed QB Jim Miller on his shoulder.

After that the playoff assignments were elsewhere, including the Patriots-Steelers meeting in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Brady started that game but left with an ankle injury and Bledsoe came off the bench to get the Patriots into Super Bowl.

Then came one of those rare moments when you are witnessing history but have the misfortune of not knowing it at the time.

The question of Super Bowl week was whether Bill Belichick would stay with Bledsoe’s winning hand or go back to Brady. Belichick of course waited deep into Super Bowl week before announcing his decision at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night, the second time that season Belichick had opted to stay with Brady over a healthy Bledsoe. And of course Belichick didn’t announce the decision himself (surprise); he had it put out by the team’s media relations director.

You did have to respect Belichick, though, going into his first Super Bowl as a head coach with a sixth-round draft choice at quarterback and leaving a former (1992) No. 1-overall pick with a $100-million contract on the bench. The Patriots upset The Greatest Show on Turf Rams in that Super Bowl, Brady was MVP, and Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo that offseason.


That Super Bowl also included one of those performance snapshots the Bears envision for Mitch Trubisky but missed a chance to let him attempt last Sunday at Miami in his 17th NFL start. Brady took the Patriots on a drive starting at their own 17 with 1:30 to play and no timeouts, ending with an Adam Vinatieri field-goal winner.

If Belichick was all right letting his second-year quarterback in just his 17th start throw eight straight passes starting from inside his own red zone, the next time Matt Nagy gets the football at his own 20 with timeouts and time in hand, best guess is that the decision will be to see if his quarterback lead a game-winning drive with his arm instead of handing off.

It may not happen this Sunday. Brady is a career 4-0 vs. Bears, and if there is one constant it is that his opposite numbers play really bad football against him, or rather his coach’s defense. Bears quarterback passer ratings opposite Brady, even in years when the Bears were good: Jim Miller 51.2 in 2002, Rex Grossman 23.7 in 2006; Jay Cutler 32.9 and Cutler again in the 51-23 blowout in Foxboro. Cutler finished that game with a meaningless 108.6 rating, meaningless because Cutler put up big numbers beginning when his team was down 38-7 after he’d mucked about with a 61.7 rating, plus having a fumble returned for a TD, while the Bears were being humiliated.

A surprise would be if Trubisky bumbles around like his predecessors (New England allows an average opponent passer rating of 91.6), but whether he can produce a third straight 120-plus rating…. Then again, Pat Mahomes put a 110.0 on the Patriots last Sunday night, but Deshaun Watson managed only a 62.9 against New England in game one.

Trubisky will make the third of the three 2017 first-round QB’s to face the Patriots. The first two lost.

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night


Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski sits down with Kendall Gill and Will Perdue to discuss all the need-to-know topics to get you ready for the season opener. The guys analyze how Lauri’s injury will make its mark on the early season rotation, whether Jabari will return to the starting unit or embrace the 6th-man role and why Portis betting on himself is the right move. Plus, Kendall has the key to unlock a “6th Man of the Year” award for Portis this season.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: