Category Archives: Power Rankings

Power Rankings for June 23rd — The Red Sox are really really good.

Welcome to the fortnightly instalment of Baseball Canadiana’s Power Rankings.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of my power rankings, you must know that it has very little to do with the standings.  Power rankings are meant to look past the standings and are therefore not reactionary to hot and cold streaks, as they take into account the unreliability of small sample sizes.  Also, rather than publish these rankings at the beginning of the week, I will publish them (from here on out) on Fridays so as not to conflict with my writing schedule elsewhere.

We are now as close to the half-way point of the season as possible for a power ranking (the next one probably won’t be done until the All-Star break), and one thing is clear: There are three really good teams, two other teams that are just good and then a whole lot of mediocrity.  No team is on pace to lose 100 games this year and only the four teams at the very bottom of this list could be considered really bad.  This makes ranking them kind of difficult; one team goes on a run and the inclination is to raise them way up in the rankings, another team swoons and the tendency is to bury them.  But power rankings are not meant to be reactionary, that’s why we do them.  Sometimes the standings just aren’t enough.

My theory is that it’s much harder for a bad team to move up the rankings than it is for a previously good team to move down.  This edition of the rankings is a good case study on that very point.

So, without further adieu (click to enlarge):

The Top Ten
I was very close to moving the Red Sox in to the top spot last time, but instead decided they hadn’t yet proved enough to move past the Phillies; one dominating weekend later, and up came the BoSox.  The Red Sox massacre of our Blue Jays nearly two weeks ago was the largest single beating by any team this season.  Boston won all three games and outscored Toronto 35-6!  Since then Boston has continued their tear averaging over seven runs per game since the last rankings with a run differential of 85-38.  They continue to get steady production from their incredibly deep lineup and Adrian Gonzalez looks like an MVP in his new, more homer friendly park.  So, for the first time since the beginning of the year, the Red Sox sit atop the power rankings.

The Phillies and Yankees are the other two ‘really good’ teams in baseball right now.  Along with Boston, these three are head and shoulders above the rest and Bodog.com has the odds of one of those three teams winning the World Series set at better than 4/3.  At this point, it’s true that the Yankees play in the tougher division and in the tougher league, but how they continue to play well when they have one good starting pitcher (C.C. Sabathia) and a vat full of mediocre starters, and an injury-riddled bullpen is beyond me.  The Phillies may not have the offense that the Yankees have, but even without Roy Oswalt, who’s out indefinitely with more back problems, have a much better pitching staff.  For now, that’s keeping them narrowly ahead of the Bombers.

Tampa Bay and Atlanta are equal(ish) in my eyes and any tie goes to the AL team, so the two continually consistent teams are fourth and fifth respectively.  The Giants meanwhile keep getting solid pitching despite their complete lack of offense and although they had a run differential of -10 this fortnight, they still went 6-6 and remain in sixth.

The Rangers are seventh and have yet to fully convince me they are an elite team.  Their record sits at just 40-36 and they gave up five-and-a-half runs per game over the last two weeks.  I’m really starting to worry that their lack of starting pitching could really hurt them down the stretch; especially if the Angels and A’s can get it together and string up some wins.  Only six games separates first from last in the AL West.  Having said all that, they are clearly better than any of their division-mates and given their status as an AL team, have to be considered at least marginally better than the cluster of teams directly behind them; for now.

Two teams with under .500 records in the last two weeks actually moved up into the top ten.  The Brewers and Tigers were both 6-7 but went from 11th to 8th, and 12th to 10th respectively.  For those two teams, it wasn’t their overall record, but who they beat that put them here.  The Brewers easily handled the Cardinals in a series sweep and moved past them in the NL Central standings, while the Tigers beat Tampa in a makeup game and took two of three from the Indians to squeeze barely past the still mediocre Reds and into the top ten.

Surges and Swoons
Like I said in the opening, in my eyes, it’s easier for a team we thought was good to fall fast when they start to struggle than it is for a bad team to move up when they surge.  The A’s in the last ranking fell from 12th to 18th when they started to struggle (they remained steady this week after a six-game winning streak) and this week the faltering Marlins have fallen not only out of the top ten, but all the way down to 17th after a 2-12 fortnight that was included in a horrendous 1-17 stretch.  After the resignation of manager Edwin Rodriguez, the Marlins hired 80-year-old Jack McKeon to right the ship.

After going 6-5 this fortnight, the White Sox moved up five spots to 12th, which may seem drastic, but they’ve been pitching really well and have made huge strides over the past month; they are still the best team in the AL Central on paper.

The Mariners continue to stick around in the AL West and for that they’ve moved from 23rd to the top 20.

Bad teams that continue to defy logic and play well take much longer to move up; the Indians earlier this year took quite a while to move as high as 11th, but their subsequent crash has dropped them back down to 14th, with more regression in the cards.

The Nationals had the best record in baseball over this stretch winning eleven of twelve games (followed by the surprising resignation of manager Jim Riggleman), but they moved up only two spots to 24th.  Meanwhile the Pirates have been playing well, sitting at the .500-mark, but we all know they aren’t that good, they fell to 26th despite a 7-6 record mainly because of a -14 run differential.

The Bottom Five
Along with the Pirates are the four teams I would consider to be ‘bad’: The Royals who have the worst record in the AL, the Padres who are a shell of last year’s smoke and mirrors team, the Cubs who are, well, the Cubs, and the Astros who’ve been marred in 30th for quite a while.

Advertisements

Power Rankings June 9th — Phillies and Red Sox establish dominance, Indians and A’s begin free-fall.

Welcome to the fortnightly instalment of Baseball Canadiana’s Power Rankings.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of my power rankings, you must know that it has very little to do with the standings.  Power rankings are meant to look past the standings and are therefore not reactionary to hot and cold streaks, as they take into account the unreliability of small sample sizes.  Also, rather than publish these rankings at the beginning of the week, I will publish them (from here on out) on Fridays so as not to conflict with my writing schedule elsewhere.

Continue reading

Power Rankings May 22nd — Phils stay on top, Giants and Indians surge

Welcome to the fortnightly instalment of Baseball Canadiana’s Power Rankings.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of my power rankings, you must know that it has very little to do with the standings.  Power rankings are meant to look past the standings and are therefore not reactionary to hot and cold streaks, as they take into account the unreliability of small sample sizes. 

Now one quarter of the way through the year, things start to even out in Major League Baseball.  The teams at the top probably won’t waiver much and you’re starting to see the contenders play like contenders, while the teams who will soon start to rebuild for next year are starting to bottom out.  There are, however, a few exceptions.  All will be detailed in this edition.

Continue reading

Power Rankings, May 9th — The Phils stay on top, while the Red Sox fall out of the top five.

Evan Longoria's return to the lineup this past week will further the Rays' surge back toward the top of the rankings after a slow start.

Welcome to the fortnightly instalment of Baseball Canadiana’s Power Rankings.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of power rankings, you must know that it has very little to do with the standings.  Even though the Indians currently hold baseball’s best record, it’s difficult to say that they are better than Philadelphia, the Yankees, or even Boston.  Power rankings are meant to look past the standings and are therefore not reactionary to hot and cold streaks, as they take into account the unreliability of small sample sizes. 

I made a decision with the Power Rankings here at Baseball Canadiana; I’m making them bi-monthly.  Why you ask?  Because at this time of year, teams start to show who they really are and very little changes from week-to-week.  I feel like there is more to talk about when it’s done every two weeks.  This instalment is no different; here are the rankings:

Continue reading

Power Rankings April 24th — No change at the top as the tier-two teams are too close to tell apart

Another week has gone by and so I bring you the BC Power Rankings once again.  Things have been slow around here these days, but as always, you can check out my writing on fantasy baseball over at Getting Blanked and you can follow me on Twitter here.  If I’m watching the Jays game live, I’m probably tweeting too…a lot.

Here are the Rankings:

As you can see, the top six are unchanged from last week, as are the bottom three.  You’ll notice as this goes along that I treat power rankings as they were intended to be treated, that is, I don’t necessarily look too closely at the record, at least not this early in the year.  The idea of power rankings is to rank the best teams in baseball.  If you really think about it, it’s obvious that the Red Sox are a better team than the Clevelands, even though their current record would suggest otherwise.

So, my top six remain unchanged since the Phillies are still winning, the Red Sox finally look like we thought they would getting great pitching and the Yankees are still managing to win despite rain-outs and a pitching staff thinner than Hilary Swank’s midsection (honestly, it’s the best I could do; leave me alone, I have a migraine).  The Rays have looked really good with what I consider to be the best rotation in the AL, while the Braves look to finally be turning things around.  The Rangers took four of six games this week and are still winning despite their best player being on the DL; now let’s see if they can do it without their best pitcher, Neftali Feliz.  A bullpen that includes Brett Tomko and Dave Bush doesn’t exactly scream late-inning dominance so let’s hope for their sake that the ultimate pumpkin Alexi Ogando continues to pitch the way he is.

When everyone else acts surprised that the Marlins are doing so well, remember who told you at the beginning of the year that they would be good.  A rotation that has Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez is going to compete and compete well in the NL.  I have them seventh this week, jumping Colorado who has lost five of their last seven.

In ninth, Oakland’s rotation has come as advertised and once some of their bats (Josh Willingham, David DeJesus, and Daric Barton specifically) start hitting the way they should they’ll be much better than .500.

Rounding out the top ten is the Los Angeles Dodgers who once again leapfrogged the Giants after a 5-2 week.  Like the Giants, the Dodgers’ rotation is very good and with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier hitting the way they did in 2009, the Dodgers are in a great position to sustain their winning.  I would like to see them add a bat at some point this season, which may be hard considering the whole ownership fiasco.

Ranking the teams 12th through 18th was certainly a chore.  I had about seven different configurations before settling on this one.  A few wins here or there by any of these teams can vault them up the rankings quickly.

I still maintain that right now, the Reds (12th) are the best team in the NL Central although the continued good play from the Brewers (13th) after a slow start could change that quickly.  Getting Zack Grienke back from the DL very soon could vault them ahead of the Reds.  After that I have the Cards at 15th, even though they currently lead the division and just took two of three from the Reds, and the Cubs at 19th.  The separation between 18th (Minnesota) and 19th (the Cubs) is quite large however.

The Angels were one of the hottest teams in baseball led by Jered Weaver and Dan Haren and their ridiculous starts, but after being swept at home by the Red Sox, I had to drop them a spot to 14th. While the Tigers went up two spots with a good week to 16th and the White Sox’ terrible week has landed them in 17th, three spots lower than last week.

With Toronto’s continued struggles to hit the ball (outside Jesus H. Bautista of course) I swapped them with the Cubs at 19th and 20th.

The Indians appear to be falling back down to earth losing all their games this week that they didn’t play against the Royals, but they stayed treading at 21st mainly because none of the teams behind them took enough of a jump to move them down.

Washington has been hovering around the .500 mark all season and they remain in 22nd spot, while their Beltway cousins Baltimore move up a spot to 23rd, again, mostly because I couldn’t justify putting them below and of the teams following them on the list.

The Mets’ end the week with four straight wins (albeit against the lowly Diamondbacks) and as a result move up thee spots to 24th, while KC’s 2-5 week keeps them at 25th only because the five teams below them are very bad teams.

After a 1-6 week, the Padres fall three spots to 26th and if they continue this trend will be rivalling the bottom-dwellers by next week.

The Astros and Mariners are 30 and 30A this week and that probably won’t change anytime soon.

Agree, disagree? Let me know.

Power Rankings week one: Depsite bad week, good series against Yankees keeps the Sox at #1

Rank

Last Week

Record

1

Boston Red Sox

1

2-7

2

Philadelphia Phillies

2

7-2

3

Atlanta Braves

4

4-6

4

New York Yankees

5

5-4

5

Texas Rangers

12

8-1

6

Tampa Bay Rays

3

1-8

7

Oakland Athletics

6

4-5

8

Los Angeles Dodgers

7

5-4

9

Chicago White Sox

10

6-3

10

Florida Marlins

9

5-4

11

San Francisco Giants

11

4-5

12

Colorado Rockies

15

6-2

13

Cincinnati Reds

14

6-3

14

Minnesota Twins

8

3-6

15

Milwaukee Brewers

13

5-5

16

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

17

5-4

17

Toronto Blue Jays

16

5-4

18

Baltimore Orioles

21

6-3

19

Detroit Tigers

18

3-6

20

St. Louis Cardinals

19

3-6

21

Chicago Cubs

20

4-5

22

New York Mets

22

4-5

23

San Diego Padres

23

4-4

24

Washington Nationals

25

4-5

25

Pittsburgh Pirates

26

5-5

26

Arizona Diamondbacks

27

4-4

27

Seattle Mariners

24

2-7

28

Cleveland Indians

29

7-2

29

Kansas City Royals

30

6-3

30

Houston Astros

28

2-7

 

If you understand the concept of power rankings, you’ll understand that at this stage of the season, the win-loss record means very little, which is why you have the Red Sox holding strong at number one despite a 2-7 start.  They won two out of three against the Yankees and for me, that keeps them number one.  Had they lost two of three or all three, I likely would have dropped them.

Big move-ups this week:

· The Rangers, who jumped from #12 to #5 with their 8-1 start.

· The Rockies, who move from #15 to #12 after being two extra-inning losses away from a perfect record

· The Orioles, who move from #21 to #18 after an impressive first week

The biggest tank-jobs include:

· The Rays, whose 1-8 start drops them from #3 to #6.  Another bad week may cause them to fall off a cliff for me, but I still think their pitching is good enough to carry them to contention.

· The Twins, who drop from #8 to #14 with a 3-6 start.  In fairness to the Twins, the gap between #6 and #15 is very, very small at this point in my mind.

· The Mariners who fall from #24 to #27 with another bad start.

Other notables:

· The Indians and Royals have a combined 13-5 record through Sunday which does move them out of the cellar of the rankings, but we all know it’s completely unsustainable.  The Astros now occupy the basement and it may take them a while to get out.

· Division leaders in the rankings have changed a little bit.  With the Reds sweep of the Brewers in the opening series of the season, they have established themselves as the team to beat in the NL Central to start the year; the White Sox leapfrog the Twins in the AL Central; and the Rangers do the same with the A’s after their terrific start in the AL West.

· As for the Jays, losing two of three in Anaheim this weekend drops them behind the Angels, but with their tough upcoming schedule, a move up the rankings is not out of the question if the team fairs well.

A lot of these wacky records will eventually even out and the important thing to consider when evaluating rankings like this is that it’s meant to judge the teams overall, not just in 7 days of games.  If teams like the Orioles, Rockies, and Rangers sustain their great play, they’ll move up more in the coming weeks.

Agree? Disagree?  Discuss.

 

Rank

Last Week

Record

1

Boston Red Sox

1

2-7

2

Philadelphia Phillies

2

7-2

3

Atlanta Braves

4

4-6

4

New York Yankees

5

5-4

5

Texas Rangers

12

8-1

6

Tampa Bay Rays

3

1-8

7

Oakland Athletics

6

4-5

8

Los Angeles Dodgers

7

5-4

9

Chicago White Sox

10

6-3

10

Florida Marlins

9

5-4

11

San Francisco Giants

11

4-5

12

Colorado Rockies

15

6-2

13

Cincinnati Reds

14

6-3

14

Minnesota Twins

8

3-6

15

Milwaukee Brewers

13

5-5

16

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

17

5-4

17

Toronto Blue Jays

16

5-4

18

Baltimore Orioles

21

6-3

19

Detroit Tigers

18

3-6

20

St. Louis Cardinals

19

3-6

21

Chicago Cubs

20

4-5

22

New York Mets

22

4-5

23

San Diego Padres

23

4-4

24

Washington Nationals

25

4-5

25

Pittsburgh Pirates

26

5-5

26

Arizona Diamondbacks

27

4-4

27

Seattle Mariners

24

2-7

28

Cleveland Indians

29

7-2

29

Kansas City Royals

30

6-3

30

Houston Astros

28

2-7

 

If you understand the concept of power rankings, you’ll understand that at this stage of the season, the win-loss record means very little, which is why you have the Red Sox holding string at number one despite a 2-7 start.  They won two out of three against the Yankees and for me, that keeps them number one.  Had they lost two of three or all three, I likely would have dropped them.

Big move-ups this week:

· The Rangers, who jumped from #12 to #5 with their 8-1 start.

· The Rockies, who move from #15 to #12 after being two extra-inning losses away from a perfect record

· The Orioles, who move from #21 to #18 after an impressive first week

The biggest tank-jobs include:

· The Rays, whose 1-8 start drops them from #3 to #6.  Another bad week may cause them to fall off a cliff for me, but I still think their pitching is good enough to carry them to contention.

· The Twins, who drop from #8 to #14 with a 3-6 start.  In fairness to the Twins, the gap between #6 and #15 is very, very small at this point in my mind.

· The Mariners who fall from #24 to #27 with another bad start.

Other notables:

· The Indians and Royals have a combined 13-5 record through Sunday which does move them out of the cellar of the rankings, but we all know it’s completely unsustainable.  The Astros now occupy the basement and it may take them a while to get out.

· Division leaders in the rankings have changed a little bit.  With the Reds sweep of the Brewers in the opening series of the season, the Reds have established themselves as the team to beat in the NL Central to start the year; the White Sox leapfrog the Twins in the AL Central; and the Rangers do the same with the A’s after their terrific start in the AL West.

· As for the Jays, losing two of three in Anaheim this weekend drops them behind the Angels, but with their tough upcoming schedule, a move up the rankings os not out of the question if the team fairs well.

A lot of these wacky records will eventually even out and the important thing to consider when evaluating rankings like this is that it’s meant to judge the teams overall, not just in 7 days of games.  If teams like the Orioles, Rockies, and Rangers sustain their great play, they’ll move up more in the coming weeks.

Agree? Disagree?  Discuss.

Power Rankings – Week One

So, I know ranking teams is a futile exercise, but it’s fun as all hell so every Monday I’ll compile a Power Rankings list.  This week, since only three or four games have been played by each team I won’t consider those games in these rankings; consider them a pre-season ranking.

If you agree or disagree, let me know; they are kind of based on my previews with division/league weighting.