After a weekend in Chicago, I thought today would be a good day to premier a special edition of Power Rankings. It is likely I will do this for the other Chicago teams I write about (Bears, Bulls) once their respective seasons roll around.
We'll work our way from the bottom up, shall we?
The Bottom 10
1. Kevin Gregg - I tried to be nice, but never again. The next time I write something nice about you will be if/when you deliver the final out that clinches a playoff spot, playoff game win, playoff series win, pennant-clinching or World Series-clinching win. Or whenever Luke over at Breakfast For The Block tells me you're no longer stinking up the joint.
2. Carlos Marmol - Throw f*cking strikes. I'm sick of this act. The 3.56 ERA is decent, but the 1.49 WHIP has got to go. So do the 11 hit batsmen. So do the 52 walks in just over 55.2 innings. I wouldn't mind if the Marmolade got a tweak of flavoring in Iowa ... or force feed him Greg Maddux footage of not walking people. Or both.
3. Ryan Dempster - You've been nothing but a disappointment since signing a four-year, $52 million deal in the offseason. You might have
4. Aaron Heilman - Can you believe Jim Hendry traded two guys to acquire Heilman from Seattle? Sure, Garrett Olson isn't lighting the world on fire and Ronnie Cedeno is still Ronnie Cedeno. But giving up two warm bodies for Aaron Frickin' Heilman is a fireable offense in my book.
5. Aaron Miles - You should go on the disabled list not because you're hurt, but because your inability to play baseball at a level that is worth a damn makes you a liability for this team. Go back to St. Louis, I'm sure Tony LaRussa needs a designated driver. Too bad you don't meet height requirements.
6. Jeff Samardzija - $10 million guaranteed (guaranteed!!!) for a guy who isn't even playing the sport he's actually good at. Is there a way the Cubs can trade him to the Bears? That's not a joke or a punchline. Get Jeff Spellcheck some pads, a helmet and a jersey with a number in the 80s and send him out to Bourbonnais.
7. Mike Fontenot - The other half of the Cajun Connection has either forgotten how to hit or has forgotten to eat his Wheaties in the morning. There's only room for one little person to do well, and your LSU buddy Ryan Theriot has that covered. Now, go get me some Cajun food goodness and a couple of those drop-dead gorgeous Southern Belle's I covet.
8. Sean Marshall - I have nothing against Marshall outside of the fact that he has absolutely been torched in August. A 2.667 WHIP is higher than the WHIPs he posted in the last two months combined. Sean, I like you, a lot. No homo. Just hide for the rest of the month and I'm sure you'll get your act together.
9. Neal Cotts - I don't care that you're not on the Cubs anymore. Your DL stint is without a doubt one of this season's highlights as far as I'm concerned. You need to find a new way to make an honest living, because pitchin' ain't easy.
10. Koyovany Sohill - Yeah, I combined the two scrub catchers we got on this team. Each is hitting .225 and have combined for 12 homers and 44 RBIs. That sucks. Plain and simple. I'd feel a lot better if certain members of the pitching staff could be handled a lot better than they have been.
Honorable Mention: Carlos Zambrano - Seriously, Big Z, get it together. Now. Not now, but right now. You're in the second year of a $91.5 million extension and you admit to not working hard. I'm not sure how to feel about that.
You've got a 3.35 ERA and a 7-4 record despite leading the starting rotation in walks allowed (57). Your WHIP shouldn't be 1.350. Should not. Go back to the 2004, 2005, or 2006 Big Z. The Big Z that wanted to pile-drive Jim Edmonds as he admired a popout to right field. The Big Z that used Michael Barrett as a punching bag and made him like it.
Allow me to speak for Cubs fans when I say, will the Real Big Z please stand up!
Here are the guys that aren't royally screwing the pooch. For the most part.
1. Derrek Lee - After a slow start, the slugging first baseman has done just that. In the season's first month, he OPSed .537, but has seen it rise in each month and currently stands at .910 thanks in large part to a steaming hot July in which he hit 9 HRs and 6 doubles en route to a 1.028 OPS in July.
2. Ryan Theriot - Early in the season, Theriot experimented with a power stroke that was reminiscent of the music career of a one-hit wonder. Since being lambasted constantly for abandoning his natural opposite-field swing by Bob Brenly, Theriot has re-gained his stroke and his eye at the plate.
3. Randy Wells - Sad, but true, Wells has been the Cubs' most consistent starting pitcher this year. His 1.196 WHIP ranks second among starters (behind Ted Lilly's 1.154) and third on the team. His 9-5 record and 3.01 earned run average make him a darkhorse candidate for NL Rookie of the Year.
4. Kosuke Fukudome - Saying K-Fuk has emerged as the teams' lead-off man is like saying Drake has a bright future in hip-hop. Fukudome's stats when leading off a game (.438/.571/.875/1.446) with five walks and seven hits. He's also silenced critics who said his offensive stats would fall off as he has shifted to center, thanks to a .283 batting average, .889 OPS and a .330 BAbip when playing center.
5. Rich Harden - Just look at his last 28 days, shall we? Record be damned (1-1), Harden can boast a 2.32 ERA, 40-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 0.871 WHIP in 31 innings. He might make for a fine closer one day, but right now, it is Harden who is pitching like a front-of-the-rotation starter.
6. Angel Guzman - The Goose has been the most reliable reliever for Lou Piniella, which makes him something like the valedictorian of summer school. He sports the best WHIP on the team (0.981) and makes wearing goggles cool. Unlike some jackasses...
7. Jake Fox - Cubs fans, you want Mark DeRosa? Here he is. Fox owns an .896 OPS and eight homers as a starter. He's played first, third, left, right and even caught in a pinch. If Larry Rothschild was Dave Duncan, he would have taught the kid a slider and a splitter and would be toiling in middle relief. If Ivan DeJesus could teach him how to play second base, he might actually be savior worthy.
8. Tom Gorzelanny - In his two wins as a Cubs starting pitcher, he's tossed 12.1 innings, struck out 14 batters while only walking four, and has a 0.826 WHIP. As we head into September, he's the wild-card and could lead the Cubs into the postseason if he keeps this up.
9. Jeff Baker - Who? How? Just check out what he did last week with his slash stats: .526/.571/.737/1.308. His lone homer as a Cub came as a 21st birthday gift to friend-of-the-program, Barton Lorimor. Big ups to a Baker I might come around to liking if he keeps this up.
10. Milton Bradley - The last month or so have been mighty fine for Crazy Uncle Milton. Public Enemy No. 1 has hit .414, on-based .469 and OPSed .986 since settling into the two-hole. His batsh*t crazy personality might be able to distract some teams as the Cubs try to sneak into a playoff spot.