How they rank: May 1

To paraphrase the poet, April is the cruellest month, breeding hideous stats. Here are a few of them. Last rankings in parentheses; stats through Sunday’s game:

  • 1. Washington (1): After repeated votes of confidence from manager Dusty Baker, Blake Treinen gives up 17 hits and eight walks in first 10 innings. Last closer to get a vote of confidence from Baker was Jonathan Papelbon, who hasn’t pitched much since.
  • 2. Houston (2): Alex Bregman has yet to homer in 84 at-bats, but at least he’s hitting .250, which is a hot start compared to last year, when he debuted in the majors with an 0-for-18 and was 1-for-his-first-34.
  • 3. N.Y. Yankees (9): Greg Bird’s average dipped to .042 on Jackie Robinson Day, and then dropped to .038. Relatively speaking, he’s been hot since then — 5-for-30 — but is still at .107 with a .214 slugging percentage. Alex Rodriguez has to be looking  at those numbers and thinking he retired too soon.
  • 4. Baltimore (6): Mark Trumbo started last year with six homers and a .337 average in 89 April at-bats; he’s hitting .202 this season and his .548 OPS is 25 points lower than his 2016 April slugging percentage. Couldn’t have anything to do with 2016 being a free-agent season?
  • 5. Chicago Cubs (3): Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s advice for Javier Baez upon his recall from the minor leagues in 2015 was,”Try not to suck,” and the Cubs put it on T-shirts for 2016. Baez should try harder. He’s hitting .203 with a .601 OPS and has fanned 21 times in 59 at-bats.
  • 6. Cleveland (5): Indians catchers were last in MLB in OPS last year at .564 with a .185 average. They elected to return two of the catchers — Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez (Chris Gimenez is a Twin) — who produced (or didn’t produce) such bad numbers. To the surprise of no one perhaps but the Indians, they’ve worked their way up to 28th, despite performing even worse. Gomes is hitting .176, Perez .200 and the two have combined for a .521 OPS — 43 points worse than last year’s.
  • 7. L.A. Dodgers (4): As a team, Dodgers were last in MLB last year in OPS vs. left-handers. Their .622 OPS vs. lefties was a whopping 45 points behind the Phillies. Given the offseason to improve, the Dodgers have, by six spots to 24th and 25 points to .647, which doesn’t sound promising if they have to face Jon Lester in October. Outfielder Yasiel Puig is 4-for-33 with no extra-base hits and a .332 OPS vs. lefties, barely better than his .305 batting average vs. righties. Puig has a 1.019 OPS vs. righties; presumably he’s the king of reverse platoon splits at 687 points.
  • 8. Arizona (14): Fernando Rodney is tied for fourth in the NL with six saves, another example of why the stat lacks meaning. Rodney also has a 12.60 ERA, 2 blown saves and a 1.066 OPS against. It’s almost better to give the ball to Kevin Plawecki in the ninth inning. Rodney started 2016 with a 0.31 ERA with the Padres, but since they traded him to the Marlins, he has a 7.32 ERA in 46.2 innings and has allowed 57 hits, 32 walks and seven home runs. Rodney celebrates saves, when he doesn’t blow them, by pretending to shoot an arrow at the sky. He might need to modernize his armament.
  • 9. Colorado (15): Tyler Anderson, who debuted last season with a 3.54 ERA in 19 starts, has a 7.71 ERA in six starts this year and is second in the NL in home runs allowed with nine. That wouldn’t be surprising, given the Coors Field effect, except that Anderson has thrown only two home runs in two home starts and seven in four away starts. Anderson has yet to throw a quality start, has yet to even complete the sixth inning, and his .639 slugging percentage and 1.005 OPS against are the worst in the NL (they’d be the worst in MLB but for Steven Wright).
  • 10. Boston (7): Sandy Leon’s time as Joe Hardy has apparently ended. Leon spent the first two months of last year in the minors (with a .643 OPS) and then hit .455 and slugged .673 in his first major-league 55 at-bats. He’s at .180, 0-for-his-last-19 and 1-for-his-last 30, and losing playing time — deservedly so — to Christian Vazquez (.412).
  • 11. St. Louis (20): Shortstop Aledmys Diaz outperformed expectations last year when he hit .300 and slugged .510 but he’s making up for that this year. He’s grossly underperforming them. In his first 92 at-bats Diaz is batting .217 and has walked just twice, good for a .625 OPS. Three errors haven’t helped.
  • 12. Chicago White Sox (25): Cody Asche has been the White Sox’s DH 10 times, and they’d be better off letting the pitcher bat. Asche is batting .093 in 43 at-bats with no extra-base hits and two walks. That adds up to a .245 OPS.
  • 13. Minnesota (18): The Twins have Ervin Santana, who’s been the best starter in the AL in April, and who’s been canceled out by Kyle Gibson, who’s been one of the worst. Gibson is 0-3 with an 8.06 ERA and .970 OPS against, topped in awfulness only by, once again, the Red Sox’s Stephen Wright (1.148). Gibson is averaging little more than 4.1 innings per start.
  • 14. Milwaukee (16): Keon Broxton was beaned in the first week of the season and said he felt fine the next day despite two black eyes. Perhaps not. Broxton, who had a .916 OPS vs. lefties last year, is batting .191 overall and just .167 vs. lefties, and has fanned 31 times in 68 at-bats.
  • 15. Detroit (12): Jordan Zimmermann is 3-1, but that $110 million investment the Tigers made in him looks shaky. Zimmermann has a 6.18 ERA, .909 OPS against, and has allowed five home runs in 110 at-bats. And that’s with four of the starts at pitcher-friendly Comerica Park.
  • 16. Miami (10): David Phelps gave up six home runs in 86.2 innings last year; he’s given up half that many — two in the same game — in 14 innings this year. That’s helped Phelps, who had a 2.28 ERA and .582 OPS against last year, to a 5.79 ERA and .876 OPS against.
  • 17. Texas (21): Jurickson Profar was sent to the minors when the Rangers claimed Peter Kozma, a career .221 hitter, from the Yankees. That’s bad. Profar earned the demotion, even if it’s hasty: he’s hitting .135 without an extra-base hit in 37 at-bats.
  • 18. N.Y. Mets (8): There’s nothing grand about Curtis Granderson, except for the $60 million the Mets gave him. The way he’s performing, next year’s contract will be a fraction of the one he’s finishing this year. Granderson is hitting .128 with a .178 on-base percentage and a .395 OPS in 86 at-bats. Even worse, he’s taking at-bats from Michael Conforto, who’s hitting .321 — 100 points more than Granderson is slugging — and has an OPS 660 points higher, but has been to the plate 26 fewer times.
  • 19. L.A. Angels (27): If the Angels were wondering why the Nats were so quick to jettison a middle infielder who hit 24 homers last year, they know now. Danny Espinosa has three homers, but he’s batting .170 with five walks and 34 strikeouts in 88 at-bats. It’s almost enough to make them miss the occasional singles from Johnny Giavotella. Almost.
  • 20. Philadelphia (29): If the Phillies are going to have a bad first baseman, at least they can do it on the cheap. Tommy Joseph is hitting .179 with one homer and a .476 OPS but he doesn’t cost much. Ryan Howard, who hit 25 homers and batted .196 last year, was paid $25 million.
  • 21. Cincinnati (11):  The Reds are third in MLB in stolen bases and stolen base percentage, which raises the question: how many would they steal if Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza were more proficient at reaching base? Hamilton has 10 steals and a .265 on-base percentage; Peraza has 7 steals and a .258 on-base percentage. Combined the two have almost twice as many steals (17) as walks (9).
  • 22. Tampa Bay (13): Not every Tommy John surgery is guaranteed. Alex Cobb, who had it and missed 2015 and most of 2016, is back, but has a 4.66 ERA, .858 OPS against and has allowed 38 hits and five homers in 29 innings. Compare that to the 2.76 and 2.87 ERAs he had in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
  • 23. Pittsburgh (23): If saves are a meaningless stat, what does that make holds? Daniel Hudson has seven of them, even though he has a 9.90 ERA, .955 OPS against and 17 hits allowed in 10 innings. What exactly is he holding and how?
  • 24. Atlanta (26): Dansby Swanson hit .302 and impressed in his first 129 at-bats last year, but he’s hitting little more than half that this year. Swanson is batting .156 with a .433 OPS and five walks and 24 strikeouts. That’s not nearly enough to absolve former Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart for trading Swanson, but it’s getting near time to wonder what’s next.
  • 25. Seattle (24): The Mariners’ bullpen is 29th in MLB and fortunate it doesn’t rank lower. Six Mariners have pitched at least six innings, primarily out of the bullpen, and have ERAs of 7.11 or greater: Dillon Overton (7.11), Dan Altavilla (7.36), Evan Marshall (9.39), Evan Scribner and Chase De Jong (11.05 apiece), and Casey Fien (15.00). Chris Heston would add to that list but he only pitched two innings and gave up five runs. De Jong started Sunday against Cleveland and didn’t get far. He was knocked out in the third inning of a 12-4 loss.
  • 26. Oakland (19): Give Trevor Plouffe points for consistency: he’s been bad at bat, where he’s hitting. 207, and in the field, where he’s made three errors in 61 chances at third base. He’s hit four homers, but he’s going to have to hit a lot more to overcome his faults.
  • 27. San Francisco (17): The Giants spent $220 million on Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzijia after 2015 and in their second season, neither is doing much to earn it. Cueto is 3-1 but has a 5.10 ERA and .774 OPS against, and Samardzijia has been even worse: 0-4 with a 6.32 ERA and .826 OPS against. Each has allowed six homers in 30 and 31.1 innings, respectively. With Madison Bumgarner out, the Giants’ best starter has been Matt Cain, which doesn’t bode well until Bumgarner returns.
  • 28. Toronto (28): Devon Travis has hit .300 in each of his two abbreviated major-league seasons and is a career .317 minor-league hitter. Yet he’s at .130 after 77 at-bats with a .193 on-base percentage and .195 slugging percentage, and he’s lost time to Ryan Goins. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, Goins — .200/265/333 — hasn’t been much better.
  •  29. San Diego (30): Two statistical oddities on the Padres. It’s not easy to have a .706 OPS when you’re batting .149, but Ryan Schimpf does, thanks to 17 walks and six of his 11 hits being homers. It’s also not easy to have a 4.71 ERA when you’ve thrown a major-league high 10 homers in 28.1 innings, but Jered Weaver does. He’s allowed only 11 singles and six walks in five starts, giving him a .278 on-base percentage against to go with a .546 slugging percentage against. It’s not good, but it could be worse.
  • 30. Kansas City (22): Pick a Royal, almost any Royal. The Royals are last in MLB in team average (.210), on-base percentage (.270), slugging percentage (.336) and OPS (.605). And that’s with a DH, though the Royals’ primary one, Brandon Moss, hasn’t been much of one with a .167 average. Raul Mondesi was hitting .103 when he was farmed, and Paulo Orlando .147 and without an extra-base hit when he joined Mondesi in Omaha. Alex Gordon (.184 with a .486 OPS) and Alcides Escobar (.171 with a .420 OPS) are still here and playing every day. Two-thousand-and-15 seems a long time ago.
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