Week 2 Power Rankings: A new ranking format, because of the fact I was blasted last week from the people at NYYfans and here for being too ESPN like. So I will lay out what I am going to do here. I will rank only the top 10 teams as opposed to all 30. The column name "Around the Diamond" is because it will focus on four things going on right now in Baseball...This weeks column will start off with the MLB top 10...these rankings are based on strength of schedule thus far and of course record.

1ST BASE


1)Florida Marlins (9-4) Brad Penny has just looked incredible thus far, as has Josh Beckett. The question however is How will Trader Jack handle the pitching staff over the entire season if his last tenure in Cincinnati is any indication than this could get ugly. Especially with New Yorks favorite closer at the back end.

2)Baltimore Orioles (8-4) Racked Pedro pretty good the other night this could be an interesting team to watch especially if Larry Bigbie breaks out this year.

3)Houston Astros (9-5) Wade Miller's stat line on April 14th included 7 IP and 7 BB. Control Issues could come back to haunt him in the long run.

4) Los Angeles Dodgers (9-4) Gagne may not be unstoppable anymore as displayed the other night, however you cant argue with a team thats won 5 straight can you?

5) Minnesota Twins (9-4) Aren't the Twins lucky that they didn't pawn off Jacque Jones much like they did Eric Milton?

6) Oakland Athletics (8-6) 3-1 record thus far in 1 run games, at this rate the lack of offense over the course of the season won't be a factor...but Dodger fans thought this way last year too. I just dont see Dye producing at his current clip (6 hr 14 RBI) over the course of the season...however if he does expect Dye to be the next impact player to leave the Oakland organization.

7) Boston Red Sox (8-5) Fenway Faithful watched as the Sox won 3 out of 4 against the "Evil Empire", Foulke has a 0.90 ERA thus far and and picked up a save on Patriots day. Ellis Burks has 2 hits this season thus far prompting Red Sox nation to pray for a late April Nixon return. Pedro's start in the Skydome on Tuesday was great until the 7th inning when he slipped and allowed 2 runs, still lots of things to be happy about...if of course you don't expect the Pedro of 1999 to show up with his 97 MPH fastball

8) Chicago White Sox (8-5) Soild start to the season for Magglio (4 homers 11rbi's) however Billy Koch will be key down the streach for this team. If hes anything like he was in Toronto or even Oakland, Chicago could be a big player this year

9) Anaheim Angels (7-7) They have Vlad Guillen Anderson and Glaus all hitting well but they still can't beat Oaklands pitching. A steady course of AL Central in May and June should cure this remedy.

10) New York Yankees (7-7) The Larry Lucchino proclaimed Evil Empire broke its slump in Chicago Tuesday when of all things, an Arod bunt sparked a 7 run first inning. I guess when your hitting .146 coming into Chicago and just came off a 1-17 performance at Fenway Park any hit is a good one.

2ND BASE
The Round Robin known as the Redsox Middle Relief Core
In 10 days the following has happened
4/9/2004 Red Sox placed RHP Ramiro Mendoza on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder, Mark Malaska called up.
4/10/2004 Red Sox purchased the contract of RHP Frank Castillo from Triple-A Pawtucket, Designated Brian Daubach for Assignment.
4/14/2004Red Sox sent LHP Bobby Jones outright to Triple-A Pawtucket.
4/15/2004Red Sox recalled LHP Phil Seibel from Triple-A Pawtucket.
4/19/2004Red Sox sent RHP Frank Castillo outright to Triple-A Pawtucket, activated LHP Lenny DiNardo from the 15-day disabled list.
4/21/2004Redsox trade for Minnesota lefty Brad Thomas, ? goes down to Pawtucket or Designated for assignment

So did you get all that? Who would have known that 2 guys who shouldn't even have recieved a spot in the Redsox pen this year could start a chain reaction like this? Odds are that Phil Seibel gets sent down to make room on the roster for Thomas. Bobby Jones was sent packing after the Baltimore Walk-A-Thon in extra innings against the O's, Mendoza later that night complained about his shoulder and even though the MRI's really didnt show much the Sox placed him on the DL. Mendoza is a shell of his former self, and every time that I watch him pitch I find myself asking "is this really the guy who won 4 rings with the Yankees?" Mendoza picked a bad time to go on the DL, Theo Epstein loves rule 5 pick Lenny DiNardo who has a nasty slider and a sneaky fastball that barely touches the 90 MPH range. DiNardo could be stashed and used in certain situations much like the Jays did with Lopez early on last season, until Lenny can get a feel for pitching in the bigs. Phil Seibel has shown alot of inconsistancy in terms of finding the strike zone which makes me worry if he can put together 2 or 3 solid innings of relief. The other guy I would keep up is Mark Malaska he has been nothing but fantastic in his few appearences with the Sox, it seems as if hes the latest player to make Chuck LaMar look like a fool. Trade em young sign em old! Right Chuck?

3RD BASE
Who Are these guys?
I clicked on my fantasy baseball teams stats this morning and I saw some interesting stats...
Player 1) 7 homeruns 15 RBI .300 AVG
Player 2) 19.0IP 2-0 13K 2.84 ERA
Player 3) 17.2IP 1-1 24K 2.55 ERA

Now see if you can guess who player 1 is? Magglio? nope Carlos Beltran? nope one more guess...Jermaine Dye? Correct.
After hitting under .200 and his career is serious doubt after last season Dye has come back with a vengence and is making up for missed time last season in a big way. He is the offensive leader on the A's right now, hes tied for second in the league in homers with 7 and tied for 4th in the majors with 15 RBI's.

Player 2 is former Tampa Bay starter and now Rockies lefty Joe Kennedy. After LaMar basically gave him away in a 3 way deal last season, he is off to a great start especially since he pitches for the Rockies. The Rockies in any other park might actually have a decent staff if of course they get their heads out of the dirt and put Chacon back into the rotation. Then their rotation could look something like this

Chacon
Jennings
Estes
Kennedy
Tsao

could make for some interesting baseball in the NL West this season.
Finally the 3rd player is Detroit starter Nate Robertson. Please raise your hand if you had ever heard of him before the season began. Robertson in 17 2/3 IP has 24 K's which is great to see someone do for a team that was almost the worst in history last season. Robertson started the season in the pen and then ended up winning the 5th spot in the rotation. Hats off to this guy for a good start to the season always a nice story to see an unknown helping a bottom barrel team out.

Home
This is the end of the column usually where I would recap the events of the week. Who would have known that the Boston fans would chant "you used steroids" for Giambi but not Balco for Sheffield? Is Bonds homerun record tainted or will baseball fans find out after he retires that they miss Barry's long shots over right field and into the water in Pac Bell (or whatever they're calling it this week) Park. The State of Florida isn't going to pony up $60 mil to make the South Florida home of the Marlins a reality. Really? I'm shocked I guess if drawing 20,000 fans a game doesn't convince a city to build a new stadium for the World Series champs, then I guess thats why the name of the city is Miami not Milwaukee. Well its been fun please feel free to send me feedback at my email of cbarry8883@yahoo.com, or reply back to this post...maybe even come up with a new name for this column.