Cream of the crop:
1. Dodgers (6-0) –The Dodgers are off to a 6-0 start. Whereas I would usually not give them the #1 seed unless they beat the # 1 seed themselves, they have yet to lose and the Diamondbacks now have two losses on the season forcing my hand. The Dodgers beat the (1-5) Cardinals and the (1-5) Astros this week and both teams played them very tough. That just goes to show you the competition level at the Palisades WBL. There is no denying however the +25 run differential the Dodgers have on the season (best in the league). The Dodgers have beat the struggling Cardinals three times and the new look Expos twice. Is it good timing that they played teams when they did or is it the Cardinals misfortune that they played the Dodgers three times? We will know Week 4 for sure as the (6-0) Dodgers play the (5-1) Padres in a game which will likely sort out first place in this league.
2. Padres – (5-1) Jordan Robles looks like he is on a mission. He is coming off a perfect game against the Mariners and has not yielded a run in 15 innings so far, only giving up 2 hits and 2 walks so far this season. Week 4 brings a showdown between 2 power house teams (Dodgers vs Padres). The Dodgers (who leads the league in hits, runs scored) vs the stingiest pitching rotation in the league in the Padres (least runs allowed). Should be some game.
3. Diamondbacks (4-2): Don’t know what to make of it. I had the Diamondbacks ranked 1st due to their overall roster and their history of making the playoffs every year but they have lost twice now to teams who brought up the rear in 2016 (Royals and Brewers). It should be noted however that the Diamondbacks have been resting their ace pitcher Devin Torres. Devin has thrown only 7 innings over six games so far this year, a strategy that could pay big dividends as the season progresses. The Diamondbacks lead the league in hits last year and are only 4th in the league in hits at the moment (off to a slow start by their standards). The good news is Devin is staying fresh and Kenny Stengel is proving to be a very reliable starter this year. Looking forward to week 8 and week 9 when the Diamondbacks should be in full stride and play the Dodgers and Padres.
4. Giants (4-2) – Tim and Ryan gave up 3 hits between them last week against the Yankees. They have a comfortable 4-2 record. A big part of that 4-2 record has to do with Phil Fresiello leading the league in home runs (5) and being tied for the league lead in RBI’s (with 10). He has won two out of the Giants 4 wins with his homers so far this year. Rumor has it that the Commissioner may be implementing random drug testing in the near future and the fans were chanting “PED’s” during Fresiello’s last few at bats this past week. Stay tuned.
On the brink of a playoff spot:
5. Expos (4-2) – The Expos have quietly won 4 in a row after beating the Brewers twice this week and beating a Weiner-less Yankees team last week. Tyler Wegerzn is back on track on the carpet after a rough week 1 vs the Dodgers, when he took 2 losses. He is now 2-2 on the season and will face a struggling Mariners hitting lineup week 4.
6. Mariners (1-5) – The Mariners have faced some stiff pitching thus far this year, (Jordan Robles 2x, the Torres brothers, and Kyle Vonschleusingen), which can explain the 1-5 start and .104 team batting avg. They have 1 home run as a team and 2 runs scored for the season (which ranks them tied for last). We are talking about a team that was 2nd in runs scored last year… a big drop off. They have to get the bats going before they dig themselves too much of a hole. The Mariners are better than the 1-5 record indicates and as such I have them ranked higher than teams with better records but if they fail to win two vs the Expos, it may be time to accept maybe that the Mariners are just not as good this year.
7. Yankees (2-4) – The Yankees are in need of a bat. Last year they ended the season in the middle of the pack in team hits but so far this season they are last in hits with (6) and runs scored with (2) after 6 games. Weiner is still 2-0 on the season even with no run support however it’s asking a lot for whoever the Yankees are going with as their # 2 pitcher. Speaking of # 2 pitchers, week 3 brought in Palisades new comer Daniel Whitener who stuck out 15 Giants in 5 innings, only giving up 1 hit and 3 walks. Whitener lives far and may have issues getting to the field each week but it just may be a peace the Yankees needed to get over the hump. If he can give them something with the bat, the Yankees could be moving up in the standings quick.
8. Royals (4-2) – Last week I posted if Royals earned a split vs the Diamondbacks they may raise some eyebrows. Not only did they earn a split but they came within a walk of taking two games against them. The Royals just may be a legitimate threat to make the playoff this season. That will depend on the help Oliver Avallone can get on the carpet and continued run support. Avallone is leading the league in innings pitched (23) , wins (4) and strikeouts (62) and doing what he can to make the Royals a playoff team this year. Nick Martinez (3 HR’s on the season), Freddy Gonzalez and Ryan Petrone have been contributing with the bat enough to keep the Royals relevant. As long as Ryan Petrone can hold his own on the carpet and have some quality outings the Royals should continue to be pesky.
Need to get it going:
9. Cardinals (1-5) –Other than a week 3 blowout win vs the Astros (12-2 score) the Cardinals have been just coming up short. Week 3 they lost to the big bad Dodgers on total bases after scoring 3 runs in the 5th inning on a Longiaru 3 run homer. Week two they lost to the Dodgers on a Johnny Costa HR in extra innings and week 1 they lost two (1-0 score) nail biters to the Royals. With a (1-5) start to the season one would think that their series against the Yankees week 4 will have playoff implications down the road. The Yankees are just ahead of them in the standings as are the Royals and they cannot afford to lose tie breakers to both should they get hot and end the season tied in record. The Cardinals fixed their hitting woes of last year with the addition to Jimmy Cole and are 3rd in the league in runs scored. They just have to improve a bit in pitching. They ended the season last year 4th in total runs allowed but are currently 8th out of 11 teams.
10. Astros (1-5) –The Astros can hit (5th in team hits) but are last in runs allowed and team ERA. Frank Kollias is coming off a positive start vs the Dodgers giving up 2 runs and scattering 7 hits. That may just be good enough to get the Astros some wins with the hitting lineup they have. They may be in need of a second arm however.
11. Brewers (1-5) The Brewers announced on the “Palisades Game of the Week” that they may be missing Dakota Kenny for a month due a work schedule conflict. A replacement for DK in the rotation is a must. The name of the game is pitching and each team must have an ace on their staff. They are asking a lot of Anthony Bevilacqua to carry the load. A Bev is coming off a rough start vs the Expos but has had some quality outings so far this year. I see a trade or free agent pickup in the near future.