Monday, 16 June 2008

MLB Power Rankings

Here is how I see the top 10 in the MLB as of June 17th... feel free to disagree, as this is what I believe is referred to as an inexact science.

1. Chicago Cubs - No real question about this in my mind. The Cubs are 2nd in the Majors in runs and 4th in the Majors in ERA. This means that their pythegorean record is even better than their Major League best 45-25 mark, which means this hot start is probably not a fluke. We'll see if they keep this pace up even with Soriano on the shelf, but so far they appear to be very legit.

2. Boston Red Sox - The Sox have a blistering 28-7 record at home, but they're only 16-22 on the road. They're also dealing with an injury to an offensive star, as David Ortiz continues to mend. But JD Drew has actually looked like an $11 million/year player of late, meaning the offense has barely missed a beat.

3. Philadelphia Phillies - Led by strong MVP candidate Chase Utley (and don't look now, but Pat Burrell has been awesome this year), the Phillies look like the 2nd best team in the NL right now. Cole Hamels is keeping the rotation together, and the pen is led by Brad Lidge, who has decided to be a great (great) closer again. The Phils actually have the 2nd best pythagorean record in the MLB.

4. Chicago White Sox - Guys like Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez might lead you to think that hitting has been the main reason for the Sox becoming relevant once again, but pitching has actually been the reason. Their 3.33 ERA is tops in the Majors, and they have been solid from 1-5 in the rotation, most surprisingly with John Danks and Gavin Floyd.

5. Oakland Athletics - The A's were supposed to be rebuilding, but they're 38-31, and the run differential suggests they should be even better than that. They're not ripping it up at the plate, but their 3.34 is just barely behind the White Sox for best in the MLB. If Rich Harden stays healthy (a huge if), the A's have one of the most formidable rotations in the MLB.

6. LA Angels - The Angels lead the AL West, but part of that reason is a little bit of abnormal success in close games, as shown through K-Rod's MLB leading 28 saves. They're in the bottom 3rd of the MLB in runs, however, and they'll need Vladimir Guerrero to start picking it up if they're going to continue at this pace.

7. St. Louis Cardinals - Even with Pujols injured, they're sticking in there with guys like Ryan Ludwick, who's improbably been one of the best hitters in the NL this season. Unfortunately, things haven't gotten easier, with Adam Wainwright on the DL and Todd Wellemeyer undergoing problems recently. Dave Duncan needs to keep pulling rabbits out of his hat.

8. Tampa Bay Rays - One of the feel good stories of the season, the Rays are 11 games above the .500 mark and having the best season so far of their existence. While BJ Upton and Carl Crawford are some of the first guys that come to mind, this has been the result of pitching from Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, and James Shields. Kazmir missed the start of the year because of injury, but he might still be a Cy Young candidate - in 8 starts he has 6 wins, a 1.74 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 9.41 K/9.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks - The DBacks aren't doing anything special, but they have a large lead over the rest of the West, which has been really bad. Some might consider Justin Upton a disappointment a little for his low BA, but his peripheral numbers look pretty excellent for a 20 year old. He's going to be studly.

10. New York Yankees - The Yankees are just hanging around, like they usually do. The pitching was already mediocre, and that won't be helped by the injury of Wang. The Yankees do have to be pleased with the resurgence of Jason Giambi, who is a power threat once again.

What changes would you make?