Mar 28, 2008

Power Rankings @ 149 Games

With 16 games remaining, the playoff teams have all made themselves known, with the exception of the final NL Wild Card Spot. Consequently, this last, regular season posting of the power rankings will cover the 11 playoff "locks" and this last race.

1. Pittsburgh Ponies [102-47, Run Differential (RD): +292, Prev. Ranking (PR): 2]

Ponies get the top spot due to their Griffey-best 102 wins, coupled with the facte that any playoff opponent would likely face the untouchable Matt Ross three times in a seven game series. It would be tough to quantify Ross's dominance succinctly, but here's a try: The Pittsburgh ace has more complete games on the season (25) than earned runs allowed (23). The Ponies' bullpen is solid, but can be beaten, provided opponents can even get to it.

2. New York Yank-mes (97-52, RD: +220, PR: 3)

The Yank-mes appear to be the top team in the NL, having posted solid records against the primary NL Contenders. Specifically, New York has gone 7-3 against San Antonio, 3-3 vs. Fuzznuts, and 7-3 against Atlanta. A pitching staff featuring a 1-2 punch of twin aces Juan Cordero and Terry Torres should lead New York far into the post season.

3. Fargo Fuzznuts (99-50, RD +331, PR: 1)
The Fuzznuts lost some of their swagger since the time of the last Power Rankings, having dropped key series against top NL contenders Atlanta and San Antonio (twice). The Fuzznuts do not appear to match up well against either team, having posted a 2-8 record against San Antonio and 4-6 against Atlanta; Fargo is 3-3 against New York, another team that figures prominently in the NL picture.

4. Cheyenne Duck Snorts(93-56, RD: +212, PR: 10)
Unquestionably, the Duck Snorts have been the AL's hottest team since the time of the last Power Rankings, having posted a gleaming 30-7 mark over the past 37 games. This impressive run included 23 games against the full gamut of Junior Circuit contenders [Pittsburgh (6 games), NY (7 games), Charleston (3 games), Montreal (3 games), and Philadelphia (4 games)], against whom Cheyenne posted a 16-7 record. Cheyenne is a deep team, well-built for the regular season, but the Duck Snorts lack the true pitching ace to make them a threat to contend for the AL Crown.

5. Atlanta Ripettoes (92-57, RD: +115, PR: NR)

Atlanta was quite vocal after feeling slighted during the last power rankings, but rather than sulk about it, the Ripettoes got it done on the field in tallying impressive series wins over top NL opponents New York, Fargo and San Antonio. Like Cheyenne, Atlanta features a deep pitching staff, but also lacks the top-shelf starting pitcher to go toe-to-(Rippet)toe with New York or maybe even Fargo in a short playoff series.

6. San Antonio fighters (92-57, RD:+198, PR 4)
The fighters have been enigmatic in the 2nd half, at times looking sharp and at times looking very beatable. The defending NL Champs will have to regain their stride here in the last week if they want to make a title run.

7. Montreal Valiants (85-64, RD: +143, PR: 6)
It's difficult to tell whether this record is a true indicator of Montreal's talent, as they could have put the season in cruise control 30 games ago. The Valiants have been lead offensively by rookies Russell Brow (.391 OBP)and Tike Hayes (55 HR, 138 RBI)

8. Los Angeles Mojo (86-63, RD: +107, PR: 9)
The Mojo are another team who can put it on auto pilot for the remainder of the season. NL MVP hopeful Chuck Simmons has found the Mojo's new digs much to his liking here in Season 7 having belted 45 HR in a renowned pitchers park. Simmons will have to maintain pace if the Mojo want to contend with the NL heavyweights.

9. Charleston Cobras (83-66, RD: +108, PR: 5)

The champagne is on ice in Charleston, as a repeat divsion title looks readily in hand. Javier Marquez claimed another Player of the Week Honor this week, so the Cobras appear to be in top form heading into the playoffs. Last season, the Cobras gave the Ponies all they could handle in the ALCS, and hope to improve on that performance once the playoffs start.

t-10. Philadelphia Revolution (85-62, RD: +85, PR: NR)

Philadelphia finally overcame a disappointing start to make the AL East Race interesting. The Revolution feature a flight to the top of the division standings has been lead by the powerful bat of DH R.A. Flier, who boasts the AL's top OPS (1.188). Philly still has an outside chance of catching Cheyenne to claim the second first-round bye, but given the short schedule remaining, the stars would really have to align for the Revolution.

t-10. New York Cyclones (85-64, RD: +73, PR: 9)

New York has struggled desperately to fend off the Revolution, but fatigue has set in for the Cyclones. Key bats, including MVP hopeful Richie Miller desperately need some time off if the Cyclones want to make the most of their inevitable playoff berth. With rested bats, New York could make some noise, since opponents could see more of Philip Black with a shortened rotation.

12. 2nd NL Wild Card????

Who knows what will happen with this race, but this is probably the story of the year in Griffey. Four teams (KC, Cincinnati, Tacoma, Pawtucket) are within a game of the final berth. The wild card has been KC's to lose all year, but the Twisters have floundered badly in the 2nd half. The Centipedes boast a +156 run differential, which compares favorably with many others on this list. Tacoma, on the other hand has been outscored on the year, so their presence in the race has been something of a surprise; however, a change in management has clearly helped. Pawtucket will face Atlanta and New York in their final series, which would seem to be a strike against the G-Maniacs' chances; however, those teams may be resting up for the playoffs at that time, which may give Pawtucket a puncher's chance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, being in the AL East with Pittsburgh, I probably haven't been as aggressive as I should have been...and the team's play lately has been very frustrating. (gophilsgo)