Saturday, February 28, 2009

Power Rankings


1. Durham (42-11) This team holds onto the preseason top spot as the BIG 3 have been just that. Orodonez, Adkinson, and Blanco, are a combined 26-2 with 227 K's and only 72 BB's. They have had the advantage of playing 34 of their first 53 games at home winning 28 of those contests. LF Kenny Shelby is off to a roaring start with a .352 avg, 28 HR and 75 rbi's. And he's only 24! This team is gonna be tough for anybody to beat this year.

2. Tacoma (33-20) One of the biggest surprises this year in the power rankings. The tigers have soared out to a 6 game division lead and are looking strong. They own the 2nd best era amongst the AL Power 10, trailing only Durham. New owner just4u2nv has his team playing above their heads. And above most everybody elses heads as well. Corner outfielder Pablo Hernandez has started off hot hitting for a .335 avg, while drawing 36 BB, and collecting 18 SB's. Rookie sensation Nolan Pillete (6-1 .213 era) has anchored the tiger pitching staff in impressive fashion.

3. Madison (32-21) In a year full of off field distractions, this team has managed to find a way to stay near the top of the AL. First a waiver wire scandal, then false allegations of owning an extra team, and now possibly one of the main targets of WIS's new "play nice" rule that goes into effect over next couple weeks. Despite these events the Mudholes have a 7 game lead in their division. Offensively led by FA reacquisition RF Robert Priest (.295 avg 43 rbi's 16 SB), while the pitching staff has leaned on D.T. Iorg (4-1 3.59 era).

4. Witchita (30-23) One of the preseason dark horses coming to life early on in season 5! Their pitching has been outstanding and has really responded well to the change in location this year. They are led by their stingy defense and superb pitching, including ace Danny Davies (7-0 2.62 era) who has been fantastic all year. While the pitching is doing well at home the team has not. They are only 1 game above .500 this year in Witchita. However they have been much better on the road. While last season's MVP Kenny Leyritz (.284 avg 13 HR 43 rbi) has had a down year thus far, 6 players on this squad are hitting over .300. And in a pitchers park.

5. Vancouver (27-26) After a rather slow divisional start, this squad has battled its way back into the playoff picture including a stretch where they won 14 of 19 games. Proving they still have the ability to string together wins and make a push for the AL West crown, which still belongs to them. Closer Matt Eischen (0.73 era 12 SV's) has been unhittable thus far. Slugging LF Troy Hansen (.332 avg 22 HR 59 rbi) is the leader of an explosive offensive unit that ranks 2nd in runs scored among the AL. This team has the potential to challenge spots 2-4 for a shot at derailing Durham in the ALCS.

6. Philadelphia (24-29) Despite their losing record, this blue collar team has outscored their opponents by 41 runs. That is part of the reason they have earned such a high spot in the Munson ranks. Set up man Max Pineda (2-1 1.06 era) and closer Victor Romo (0-2 2.84 era 12 SV) have formed one of the best 1-2 bullpen punches in all of baseball. C/DH has been a surprising bright spot for this team with a .312 avg. He has also hit 22 homers and racked up 54 rbi's. For this team to compete with the top 5 they are gonna have to get more production from the middle of their infield. Rookie ss Sherman (.224 avg) and 2b Williams (.197 avg) have been a disappointment early on.

7. Nashville (28-25) New owner bkdries is showing his years of experience may just be what this franchise has needed to finally make the playoffs. Despite only having 1 player who is hitting above .300, FA pickup 2b Don Arnold (.317 avg 9 HR 43 rbi), and no dominant home run hitters, although 3 players have gone yard 15 times, this team is on the right track. The bullpen has been as good as any led by set up man Raymond Chang (2-0 0.81 era) and closer Willie Samuel has not allowed a run in 16 innings and is 17 for 17 in save situations. They are also 9-5 in 1 run games which ranks 3rd in the AL. Can they continue to compete without adding some offense seems to be the looming question. Only time will tell.

8. New York (25-28) The Hokies were notorious for their late season push and magical run to through the playoffs in season 2. This year may be very similar for them if they get hot late. The pitching has preformed well enough, but the offense hasn't supported them thus far. When fleet footed Ham "The Flash" Davey gets on base (80 times) he makes pitchers worry, catchers cringe, and crowds stand on their feet. He has stole 46 bases already and has only been caught once (by San Juan's Mark Broome). He has also crossed the plate 40 times this year, which easily gives him the team lead. However that's about it offensively for the Hokies this year. 16 year vet Tom O'Donnell (1-1 2.38 era) has been a nice FA addition to the struggling starting rotation, however he only has logged 22 plus innings in 7 appearances and 6 starts. The bullpen has been able to carry this club early, but will need some help if the Hokies are gonna make any noise this year.

9. Jacksonville (27-26) They have a narrow lead in the very competitive AL East, where all 4 teams are separated by only 3 games. But they do have the lead and may be the team to beat with Kansas City unable to to find any consistency. Leading the charge for the LEGENDS is ROY candidate LF Bill Piersol (.312 avg 18 HR 38 rbi). Barry Feller is 9-2 with a 3.49 era and Andy Barkley has been worth every penny so far as he is 2-0 with 8 saves and a 0.43 era. Despite a winning record, this team has been outscored by its opponents and must correct that stat if they are to be taken seriously this year.

10. Indianapolis (26-27) This team has been searching for a top pitcher for as long as I can remember. And while his splits don't appear to be elite, FA pickup and former reliever, 33 year old Norberto Trinidad has pitched his heart out this season for the contending Wildcats. He is 5-0 with a 4.19 era, while holding opposing batters to an impressive .231 avg. Is he the ace they've been dieing to acquire here in Hoosierville? 2nd year man and 2 time AAA all star Blake Freeman is hitting .332 to lead this team. Despite Trinidad's great year, this pitching staff has allowed more runs then anybody else on the AL Power 10 Rankings. They may need to find another pitcher to compliment Norberto if they are gonna challenge for the AL East.

No comments: