1. Chicago Cubs (42-18, Run Differential: +122)
Chicks dig the long ball, and the Lincoln Park Trixies love their Cubbies who lead Griffey World with an astonishing 156 HRs (2.6 per game) despite playing in the NL. The offense has been led by Gabby Young(32 HR, 65 RBI) and 2B Sammy Marquez (26 HR, 76 RBI). Should make for an interesting series this weekend when the Cubbies face….
2. Cheyenne Duck Snorts (42-18, RD: +116)
…the Cheyenne Duck Snorts, who lead the AL in team HR (129) and OPS (.897) playing in pitcher friendly Conte Yard. Wyoming residents have been treated to 1.000+ OPS performances to-date from 1B Pete Casian (1.022), newly acquired free-agent OF/1B Al Javier (1.010), and RF Lou Young (1.003). Lackluster bullpen performances from Vic Venafro (34 IP, 1.82 WHIP) and Tarrik Moore (40.1 IP. 1.66 WHIP) have let AL opposition back into games late.
3. Fargo Fuzznuts (38-22, RD: +90)
The defending NL Champs feature the NL’s second best offense, which is exactly good enough for the second-best record in the NL…and in their own division. Griffey legend David Murata (not to be confused with the other David Murata) has swatted 41 extra-base hits on the season for a 1.205 OPS. However, Murata’s potency has been offset by SS Sherman Atchley’s slow start (.224 AVG).
4. Pittsburgh Ponies (36-23, RD: +79)
The Ponies may miss Dean Bukvich more than expected. While the perennial AL powerhouse would still be the least desirable draw in the AL bracket come playoff time, they are no longer shoo-ins for a first-round bye as Charleston and Washington feature comparable records. The loss of Bukvich on the mound has been compensated thus far by the unexpected performance of catcher Alejandro Johnson (.307 AVG, 47 RBI).
5. Washington Foo Fighters (34-26, RD: +51)
Clint Ramirez may be the AL’s offensive equivalent of Matt Ross. The slugger, who leads the AL in HR (26) and RBIs (77), also ranks 4th in batting average, making him a legitimate triple crown threat…and he’s also stolen 10 bases.
6. Cincinnati centipedes (35-25, RD: +62)
Cincinnati has the distinct displeasure of sharing a division with the two other NL teams discussed in the Power Rankings so far. The team’s middle of the road offense has been offset by a superior pitching performance to-date (1.30 WHIP, ranked 2nd NL) – seven centipedes have posted WHIPs of 1.20 or less on the season. As a result, no team has allowed fewer runs than Cincinnati.
7. Charleston Chewbaccas (36-23, RD: +36)
The defending Griffey champs have been getting it done in S11 with an enviable blend of pitching and hitting. SP Kyle Fisher has been 7-2 on the season with a 1.09 WHIP, while four Chewbaccas boast 40 or more RBI on the season ( Frank Lee, Jeremy Stern, Justin Franco, and Vic Polanco).
8. Atlanta Ripettoes (31-18, RD: +49)
Like Charleston, the Ripettoes -- current leaders in the NL South -- have also featured a balanced attack. Atlanta’s pitching staff boasts the lowest team WHIP on the season, and Dennis Duran (30 HR, 75 RBI) may be the only NL player who can give Gabby Young a run for the NL MVP.
9. Honolulu Beach Bums (34-25, RD: +20)
In contrast to the last two entries, the Beach Bums live and die with their moundsmen. Honolulu features three SP (Rico Andujar, Sandy Conway, and Joe Faulkner) with sub-1.20 WHIPs. A trade may be in order to obtain a slugger to drive in table-setters Sam Stewart (.393 OBP) and Nolan Cashman (.417 OBP).
10. Monterrey Rancheros (30-30, RD: +38)
A pedestrian record belies the fact that the Rancheros round out the top quarter of Griffey World teams in team run differential. A strong rotation bolstered by rookie Gus Marte (WHIP: 1.12; 3.8 to 1 K:BB ratio) should keep the Rancheros in the hunt.