The Cubs are still rolling. They’ve won four more games than any other team in baseball, and have a +162 run differential. The next closest in baseball is the Red Sox at +84. The Cubs currently have a .705 win percentage, which is their highest mark since 1907. The Cubs haven’t even had a winning percentage better than .602 since World War II.

The Cardinals probably won’t catch the Cubs, but they are rolling themselves. They’ve won five straight games, including a sweep over the weekend in Pittsburgh. The Cardinals have been lead by their strong offense, which boasts the second highest OPS in the MLB at .793. The Cardinals now hold the first NL wildcard spot, and are 0.5 games ahead of the Mets who hold the second spot.

The Pirates are struggling. They’ve lost five straight games, and now find themselves just one game above .500. The Brewers have been playing much better since their 8-15 start in April, and are 21-18 since. The Brewers are now just two games behind the Pirates for the #3 spot in the division. The Reds have won 7 of their last 10 games, but still find themselves well behind the pack.

This week, we will focus solely on the 2016 MLB Draft.

Chicago Cubs 43-18 –
St. Louis Cardinals 35-28 9.0 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 32-31 12.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 30-33 14.0 GB
Cincinnati Reds 24-39 20.0 GB

Chicago Cubs

Tom Hatch, RHP

Tom Hatch, RHP

The Cubs didn’t have a pick until the third round this year. The reason for that was because they signed Jason Heyward and John Lackey this off-season. The Cardinals offered both players qualifying offers, and when they signed with the Cubs, the Cardinals get those picks instead. So far, it has certainly worked out for the Cubs, but time will tell if the Cardinals will get the last laugh. The Cubs used each of their first four picks on right-handed pitchers!

Cubs Draft

This Week:

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (4:05) at Nationals
  • Fri (2:20), Sat (8:15), Sun (8:08) vs Pirates

Milwaukee Brewers

Corey Ray, OF

Corey Ray, OF

The Brewers took Corey Ray with their first pick (#5 overall pick). Eric Stephen of SB Nation had a great breakdown of the Brewers top pick:

Louisville outfielder Corey Ray was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night with the fifth overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.

The 6-foot, 190-pound left-hander hit .319/.396/.562 in his junior season in 2016, with 16 doubles, 15 home runs and 44 stolen bases. Ray was ranked by Baseball America in May as the sixth-best prospect entering the draft.

Ray was tabbed as a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy in 2016, awarded annually by writers to the top player in college baseball. Ray was originally drafted out of Simeon High School in Chicago in 2013 by the Seattle Mariners in the 33rd round, but he did not sign.

He envisions himself at the top of the batting order in the majors.

Brewers Draft

This Week:

  • Mon (10:15), Tues (10:15), Wed (3:45) at Giants
  • Thurs (10:10), Fri (10:10), Sat (10:10), Sun (4:10) at Dodgers

Pittsburgh Pirates

Will Craig, 3B

Will Craig, 3B

The Pirates went pitching heavy this year in the draft, but their top pick was 3B Will Craig. Charlie Wilmouth of Bucs Dugout had great info on the Pirates top pick:

The Pirates have picked Will Craig from Wake Forest with their first pick in the draft. Both and Baseball America have Craig listed as a third baseman. At the draft, Craig was announced as a pitcher, but that was apparently a mistake.

This pick comes as a bit of a surprise. had Craig listed as the 31st-best prospect in the draft, with a scouting report comparing him to Billy Butler. Baseball America, meanwhile, lists him as the draft’s No. 45 prospect.

Craig batted a ridiculous .392/.537/.766 last year for Wake Forest, so the interest in him as a hitter is understandable, although the Butler comparison is a double-edged sword, and BA’s scouting report notes that, as a third baseman, Craig has good arm strength but might have to move off the position, particularly since he’s already pretty bulky.

That profile might have Pirates fans thinking of Pedro Alvarez. Particularly after the Bucs drafted a bunch of contact-oriented infielders last year and after Alvarez played his way out of the organization, it’s a little surprising that he’d pique the Pirates’ interest.

Pirates Draft

This Week:

  • Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (7:10) at Mets
  • Fri  (2:20), Sat (8:15), Sun (8:08) at Cubs

St. Louis Cardinals

Delvin Perez, SS

Delvin Perez, SS

The Cardinals took the controversial Delvin Perez with their first pick. Viva El Birdos explains why:

Well, that was certainly unexpected.

With their first pick, number 23 overall, the Cardinals selected Delvin Perez, a high school shortstop out of Puerto Rico.

There’s a lot to unpack here.

A month ago, there was no way Delvin Perez was even a consideration for the Cardinals. This was an elite defensive shortstop, whose offense had begun to pick up this spring, his senior year, and was considered a mortal lock to go in the top ten picks. He was a favourite to go in the top five. He was under consideration in the top three.

A week ago, Delvin Perez was the best shortstop in a loaded draft, and a potential franchise cornerstone player.

And then the news broke. Perez had tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Delvin Perez was suddenly a PED pariah, with a positive test for an unknown (or at least undisclosed, I should say), banned substance under his belt.

I have no idea how to price in that positive test, honestly. How much do you discount the offensive breakout when you suddenly have a PED issue floating around? Or, conversely, how much do you care when you have a seventeen year old kid from a rough area of Puerto Rico trying to put on weight, trying to get bigger and stronger, trying to make himself into the biggest bonus baby he can to get a payday and improve his standard of living? I don’t know what to do with all that.

Here’s what I do know: Delvin Perez is talented. In fact, if you put the question to me and forced me not to equivocate, I would probably say Delvin Perez is the most talented position player in the draft this year. Here is my scouting report on Perez from back in early March; at the time Perez had just begun to really show those breakout offensive tools that pushed him from a mid-first rounder to a top 3-5 pick. I pointed out the electric athleticism and elite-level defensive tools, but also talked about the lack of functional strength and how much his body will need to change as he grows and matures to become an impact offensive force to match his defensive abilities. It looked, in the months since then, that the seventeen year old was beginning to make those strides. Now there are fresh questions.

But at the bottom of it all, do we care? I care about the game being clean. But I’m not sure I can find it in myself to hold it against a kid trying to escape a rough upbringing when he does whatever it takes, even when he goes outside what I might consider fair and proper conduct. So maybe, just maybe, I don’t care.

And even further at the bottom, we have this truth: the Cardinals may have just gotten their Francisco Lindor. Their Addison Russell. The Cardinals may have just gotten one of the top five players in the draft, perhaps the most talented position player available, and a potential true potential cornerstone player.

And they did it with the 23rd pick.

This…is sort of amazing.

Cardinals Draft

This Week:

  • Tues (8:15), Wed (7:15) vs Astros
  • Fri (8:15), Sat (4:15), Sun (2:15) vs Rangers

Nick’s Power Rankings

  1. Chicago Cubs

  2. St. Louis Cardinals

  3. Pittsburgh Pirates

  4. Milwaukee Brewers

  5. Cincinnati Reds

(all teams stayed the same)

Players of the Week

Pitcher: Jon Lester, Cubs: 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 9 K, 0.86 FIP, 0.5 fWAR

Batter: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals: .421/.560/.789, 3 HR, 258 wRC+, 0.6 fWAR


All statistics only include games played through 6/11/16, and used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index).

22 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso

    The only people who should be surprised that the Cardinals took a PED-tainted shortstops are either (1) unaware their current shortstop is Jhonny Peralta, or (2) brainwashed by the phony do-things-the-right-way Cardinals narrative.

  2. ohiojimw

    Doug Gray says #35 overall pick Taylor Trammel and the Reds have agreed to terms. Trammel is already in Arizona waiting for the paperwork to get done.

    If the unofficial reports are correct, the Reds top three picks (#2/35/43) are now in fold.

    I think the lefty pitcher Moss, the Reds 4th round choice, could be a sleeper. He is back off of TJ surgery and came up big for Florida in the recent SEC baseball tourney, Hopefully he will sign (the slot value is between $500-600K). The articles I’ve seen have indicated that he is likely to do so.

    • lwblogger2

      If you want my opinion, Moss is a steal if that arm is healthy.

  3. Patrick Jeter

    I read something a few minutes ago saying the Cubs currently have a better run differential than did the 1927 New York Yankees through the same amount of games…

    I’m glad I’m not a Cubs fan because the unbridled optimism I’d have would make not winning the WS a huge blow. They might, but chances are they won’t.

    There’s a good question, RLN… from an emotional “pain” standpoint (I know, it’s a game) would you rather endure a season like the Reds are having, or endure a historically good Cubs regular season that ended with them losing in the NLCS to the Mets again?

    • mdhabel

      There is nothing worse than expecting to win and not winning. This Red’s season is not fun by any means, but considering the expectations, it is much easier to find silver linings and try to stay positive for the future, rather than stressing about every single game and being frustrated by every single loss

    • lwblogger2

      Give me the winning and the chance to win it all any year over knowing at the beginning of the season that your team has almost no chance of making the postseason. Anything can happen in the postseason, so the hope is that you get there. Once there, your team has as good a chance as any to win it all.

      • Nick Kirby

        Agreed. Even just meaningful games in September are fun. I am however fully on board with the rebuild though.

    • Jack

      Cubs losing. I think every team that has a chance to make the playoffs is hoping the Mets dont. They have the starters to beat anyone. If their big 3 get rolling again it could be the Mets as the front runner. I don’t see the Cubs starters as any better than the Mets and Nationals and Giants(Bum and Cueto). If Giants can get 1 more. What do your stats say ?

      • Patrick Jeter

        My stats say emotional pain has nothing to do with stats! 😉

        The Cubs are the best team by far, I think. The stats back that up.

      • Jack

        A few more months of therapy and I might be able to say that. I hsve a brother who is a Cubs fan and a brother who is a Red Sox fan. I’m taking a beating.

  4. Patrick Jeter

    Oh, and nice touch this week with the draft picks. I hadn’t realized the Cards had three first round selections.

    • lwblogger2

      Yep, because they need more young, talented players. Ugh.

  5. Westfester

    You might want to fix the post to show the Cardinals are in 2nd and the Pirates are in 3rd.

  6. IndyRedMan

    Oh with the Cards has a 1.60 era and allows a batt avg. of .144! Kang with the Pirates is OPS’ng .944! If the Reds ever want to actually fill some of their holes then they might look to Japan/Korea for some help.

    • IndyRedMan

      They’re both at 2.5 million while we’re paying Simon 2 mil to lose games

      • Patrick Jeter

        Once it is time to go back into “compete now” mode, I hope the Reds take a long hard look at Japan/Korea.

        Unfortunately, the success of Kang, and to a lesser extent Lee and Kim and Oh, is probably going to drive prices up. Whether or not KBO players could transition successfully was a relative unknown. Now that we have some baseline, I think future guys will cost more than did Kang.

      • IndyRedMan

        I’m not a huge fan of that slap approach but Aoki has a lifetime obp of .350 in the majors!

  7. lwblogger2

    Interesting that the Cubs not only took a bunch of RHP, they are all college arms.

    • David

      They need to strike gold in pitching within a couple of years, when Lackey, Lester and Arrieta become too expensive or too old to keep. The Golden Rule of Wrigley was never have a left handed pitcher starting there. Which is why the Cubs traded Dontrelle Willis to the Marlins.

      Strange but true.

  8. David

    Delvin Perez obviously took steroids to help bulk up. Not terrible, but certainly questionable. Steroids can get somebody to bulk up FASTER, but you can get to the same place with more long term work. He will be in the Cardinals farm system for at least 3 years before he sees the Majors. Also, look for MLB to test him regularly. He may start his Minor League career with the Cards with a 50 game suspension. Another infraction and he is banned for a season, I think. Then banned for life.

    This guy could become an elite player, or be a total write -off.

    • Patrick Jeter

      At the time of testing he wasn’t a member of the MLBPA, so their rules don’t apply to him.

      Other than have his draft stock drop and have his name forever associated with PEDs, he got off “scott free.”