Thursday, August 12, 2010

2010 MLB Power Poll vol. 2

I spoke with my Dad yesterday, and he said he read one of my posts and liked it. It was the one with the John Candy reference and picture. He liked that one and has been meaning to check the blog again. That was our one and only power poll this season. So, I figured: it’s been six weeks; this is a good time to see how the balance of power has shifted in our perception of Major League Baseball.

It’s interesting that standings have little to do with the order of the power poll when talking about non contenders. If you’re going to finish a dozen games out of the playoffs, you may be worse off than a team who’s more advanced in their rebuilding process but finished 35 games out.

As usual, we are counting down the power rankings from worst to first. (Their place in our rankings on June 25th in parenthesis.*)

*Before checking, I think the biggest jump has to be the Rangers.

30. Cubs (23)
Our beloved Cubbies have had a miserable season. For some reason, I still have faith in Jim Hendry despite his recent track record. It’s been two terrible offseasons in a row, after a couple of offseasons that looked good but backfired.  Maybe I still like Hendry because I remember all the great things Steve Stone, Andy McPhail, and others said about him when he was appointed General Manager.

Let me stop right here because I don’t want to get too upset, and as Osh wrote: “Less Cubs.”

Is it Football Season Yet?
29. Indians (30)
28. Diamondbacks (27)

The Suns, supposedly, got a bunch of shooters to get Steve Nash some more assists and stay competitive. Cleveland doesn't want to talk about the NBA. Cleveland doesn't even have hockey. Sadly, these two cities have to root for the Browns and football Cardinals. Losing Warner and Bolding and having a crappy D'backs club likely means Arizonians are going to spend more time playing golf and less time watching the local sports teams the next couple years.

Looking at 2014
27. Royals (28)
26. Astros (29)
25. Orioles (25)

One of the best things about baseball - the hot stove and spring training in particular - is that even a target date of possibly making the postseason three or four years from now can spring hope among the fanbases.  The Royals got some valuable youth and salary relief at the trade deadline.   Fans in Houston are said to be buzzing about this new look club more than any time since they won the pennant in ’05.  In Baltimore, the Buck Showalter Era has taken off as the Orioles basically refuse to lose.  The return of a healthy Brian Roberts helps, too.

2013 Could be the Year
24. Blue Jays (17)
The Blue Jays dropped a lot in the rankings, but they have a chance to get “lucky” in the AL East because of their outstanding young pitching. It doesn’t sound like fun to think your team may be three years away from competing. Unfortunately, because of the way the Yankees are constructed and how Boston has so much money coming off the books this year, it looks like those two teams will own the division through at least 2012.

A Couple of Years Away
23. Pirates (26)
22. Mariners (24)
21. Nationals (19)

While the Mariners are losing power in our rankings, the faith we have in Jack Z’s process & King Felix’s presence keeps them within relative striking distance of a pennant. In the other two baseball towns, it should be an exciting time to be a fan.  Pittsburgh and out nation's capital have rich baseball history, but no recent success for the fans to cherish.  The future looks bright as their teams are young and talented. The reason we feel 2012 is a more reasonable target than next season is that they still have some pretty substantial questions marks. The Pirates are stronger in hitting and weaker in pitching than the Nationals, but both teams still need help with both. The Mariners really need to hit better.

Wait ‘till Next Year
20. Brewers (22)
19. Mets (12)
18. Angels (15)
17. Dodgers (13)
16. Marlins (18)
15. Athletics (20)
14. Tigers (6)

This is the tight knit group of heartbreakers. At least, for their fans' sakes, they have a chance next season. The Brewers likely have only one more year with Prince Fielder. They resisted the temptation to buy or sell this summer because, we think, they are comfortable with what they have going into 2011. Sometimes, you gotta know how to hold ‘em.

Speaking of four aces, the A’s are a lot like the Blue Jays in that we love their young starters. We seem to be wrong about the Tigers this season, but that shows how volatile the standings within that middle class of the 6th and 20th best teams.

Why Not Us?
13. Reds (11)
12. Rockies (16)
11. White Sox (21)
10. Twins (9)
9. Giants (8)
8. Padres (14)

Other than the Rockies, each team in this group has at least a 44.4% chance of making the postseason, according to coolstandings. The reason we have the Rockies here is because of their recent history as 2nd half miracle workers.

In it to Win It
7. Braves (7)
Losing Chipper to an ACL tear should drop them to the ‘Why Not Us?’ group, but we’re suckers for the Hollywood Ending in Bobby Cox’s swan song.

6. Cardinals (4)
I may not like it, and Brandon Phillips definitely doesn’t like it, but Wainright, Carpenter, Pujols, and the gang should be good enough to beat the Reds.

5. Red Sox (3)
It’s an off year for Boston, but we still can’t drop them further than 5th. It must be nice to be a Red Sox fan.

Book Drops March 22, 2011
4. Rays (2)
We are interested to see if the Rays can cut their payroll next year, lose Carl Crawford, and still compete in the AL East. My expectation, right now, is that they will be leapfrogged by the Red Sox and possibly the Blue Jays. Reading Jonah Keri’s “The Extra 2%”, after its release next spring, should make 2011 a fascinating season for the Tampa Bay Rays.

3. Rangers (10)
Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels have done a tremendous job of developing young pitching, allowing Ron Washington to mix in a dynamic lineup that is strong defensively. It’s cherry picking, sure, but the Rangers are 2nd in the AL in UZR/150, behind only the Rays.*

*Can’t wait for Jonah’s book!

2. Phillies (5)
Injuries have kept this team down, but adding Roy Oswalt to the staff should not be overlooked.  We see a distinct possibility of the Phillies, once again, coming out of the National League with the pennant.

1. Yankees (1)
"Hey, we do this all the time!"
We’re sensing a theme here. The Yankees are loaded. If they don’t win the World Series, I feel this season could be a perfect example of how the postseason is a crapshoot. The Yankees have better part-time contributors than most other franchises have batting 6th or 7th in their lineup every night.

We were wrong about which team improved their most position in the rankings the most. It wasn’t the Rangers, who moved up 7 places. The Chicago White Sox moved up ten spots, from 21st to 11th. Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen are really good at their jobs. Aren’t they?

It’s kind of funny. It appears to us that they stay focused on winning better than other manager/GM teams. Isn’t that just a load of crap to spew out there, though? “They stay focused on winning better”, “they work harder!”, “they’re smarter”, how would we have any basis for making any of these claims? Persons with intimate access to every team’s front office throughout long careers, like MLB Network’s Peter Gammons and the worldwide leader’s Buster Olney, probably shouldn’t even make statements like that. And yet, other writers do it all the time.

We try very hard to limit the actual garbage we put into print.  Most of the time, we try to have some research done behind any real statement of consequence.  Sometimes, we react more on an emotional level to shout "he stinks!" or "did you see that?! that was incredible!", but we’ve never claimed to be competent writers over here.

We know a little bit about the game of baseball and have a solid respect for grammar and vocabulary. Other than that, we’d just be folks sitting in Wrigley Field, admiring the ivy, sunshine, surroundings, peanuts, stale draft beer, and sometimes the kosher hotdogs with the grilled onions from behind homeplate upstairs.

This park will host a World Series
(nonsense alert) Some people swear by the pork chop sandwich, but there’s nothing in it but a fried pork chop and a bun. I guess if you like pork chops and you love Chick Fil-A sandwiches, you’ll probably like it.

Okay, let’s digress. It’s difficult to stay focused when you’re writing a power poll and your favorite team is at the bottom. Although I stopped myself from writing everything out between numbers 30 and 29 in the pole, I’m still very upset. The Cubs really need some angels in the outfield, or something.

Jeeze, I have to digress again. Thanks for stopping by. Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. More Cubs when you are ranking them #30. Thanks. :)

    ps - I loved that Chris Johnson got 3 hits the other night after you basically told me he stinks. I'd love to see what Kevin Youkilis' numbers in the minor leagues were before he became a star in Boston. As I recall, nobody was high on him, either, and he's turned out to be a beast of a player when not injured.