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BTB Power 30

I made one change to the rankings this week - I experimented with Base Runs as the ranking mechanism for my part of the formula. Otherwise, the same 5 power rankings, RPI, and Pythagenport are making the calls.

So, without a great introduction and without further ado:

  1. Cardinals (1) - Their 31-10 record against their division skews the standings a bit, but the Cardinals are, by far, the best team in the NL Central. Albert Pujols is the best hitter in the game. Carpenter's emerged as a legitimate ace. I don't know how much longer they'll be the class of the NL, but they certainly are this year. Anything less than an NL pennant would be a disappointment.
  2. Red Sox (2) - Best contract in the league, from someone who isn't making near the minium? How about David Ortiz, man of a .327 EqA with a $5.25 million salary? He's locked up through 2006 with an option for 2007, and the contract never gets too absurd. It's gotta be either Ortiz or Hafner these days...
  3. White Sox (5) - As much as the Cardinals have beaten up on the NL Central, the White Sox are one-upping them, with a 31-7 record in the division and a 19-18 record against the rest of the league. I can't explain this, but my hunch is that it has something to do with the fact that the best lineups remain in the other divisions...
  4. Orioles (8) - There was once a time where the Orioles were in first place... it seems like so long ago. Palmeiro's going to the HOF, and I hope he gets in. We need to tighten up the HOF's standards a bit because of all the qualified players who will be fighting for "limited spots" (Dan McAvoy wrote a good piece on this a few weeks back), but Palmeiro's not the place to start.
  5. Yankees (9) - There was once a time where Jason Giambi's health and abilities were doubted, but, my God, has he gotten hot... his season's line is at .284/.437/.502, and he's just been on fire. Maybe there's something to patience...
  6. Angels (3) - This time minus Guerrero is just disastrous, offensively, and maybe that's good enough for another MVP. They've gotta get more production from somewhere in that lineup, though, because if Guerrero goes down again or he starts to tail off, we could be looking at a division champion a couple hundred miles north.
  7. Braves (7) - Hanging around at 7. Toolsy Jeff Francoeur isn't walking yet, but he's got a .409/.409/.864 line in 22 at bats. They've been stalking the top spot in the division for about a month, now, and it's about that time of the year....
  8. Rangers (4) - All quiet on the Texan Front in terms of trade. The yearly rumors about Soriano to the Yankees or Mets have started up again, but I don't  see it happening. Their pitching needs help, though... Rogers and Young are starting to fall back to more expected levels, and the suspension to Rogers isn't helping.
  9. A's (11) - I've noted where the Rangers stand in terms of pitcher-VORP from the starters, but you can't be doing much better than the A's have in terms of rotational balance. Their 5 leading starters have combined for a VORP of 99.4, Harden's looking primed for an amazing second half, and, all of a sudden, the A's have a 15% chance to take the division. Hey, it's better than nothing.
  10. Indians (6) - I love the Dubois addition, but that's not going to get the Indians to the playoffs. They're in it, but it's going to be a tough race.
  11. Twins (10) - A couple of dramatic wins against the O's might have turned their season around, but let's face it - you've gotta score runs to win games, and they're not doing it. Bret Boone and Bill Mueller aren't the answers - more production has got to come from the young guys.
  12. Cubs (16) - Your current Triple Crown leader: Derrek Lee, with a .372-31-78 that leads the league in all 3. I'm pulling for him, mostly because I doubt it can happen, but it would be sweet to see it (he's on pace for .372-51-133, and I think that would do the trick).
  13. Mets (13) - Finally have gotten over the .500 plague; they're now starting to be a factor in the wild card and divisional race. Since the break, David Wright has been on fire, hitting in every game and sporting a .393/.433/.786 line. He hasn't struck out at all over that stretch, either. Whatever that means.
  14. Nationals (12) - I don't understand Livan Hernandez's blowup, but it's probably the worst thing that could have happened to the Nationals short of losing Cordero, Wilkerson, Nick Johnson and John Patterson in a freak accident at a local diner.
  15. Phillies (19) - Shut out today by the indomitable Odalis Perez, the Phils are fading. Tough to look at it this way, but outside of a 12-1 homestand, the Phils are 37-46. Call it a combination of bad pitching and a tough ballpark, but this team just isn't going to meet expectations, again.
  16. Blue Jays (14) - Alright, I'm buying. The Blue Jays are for real, assuming Halladay comes back as strong as he was. Their run differential is 57, which is just two less than the Red Sox. I was as shocked as you are.
  17. Marlins (15) - I'm failing to see why so few GMs are willing to take a flyer on Mike Lowell, especially ones with some money. He'd been mind-numbingly consistent before this year; I've called him an exercise in easy projection in the past.
  18. .276/.346/.471
  19. .276/.350/.530
  20. .293/.365/.505
  21. .230/.281/.351
That's an awfully steep drop, and he's only 31. I'd give him a shot...
  1. Tigers (17) - Break out the forks. Time to call these guys done.
  2. Astros (20) - Take out the forks. Time to call these guys back in the race... well, not really. It's a tough climb and they've gotta hit a bit more, but they've certainly exceeded my very negative expectations.
  3. Padres (18) - Collapsing? They got hammered by the Mets in their most recent series and didn't look good doing it. If Arizona were actually good and Los Angeles hadn't been bitten by some mutant injury bug, this wouldn't even be a race.
  4. Brewers (21) - I don't know how much the Brewers expect to get for Overbay, but they're playing the waiting game. I do agree with this decision, more because of the service clock than anything else and more because I think that Fielder could use some more seasoning in AAA. The man can hit, but let's be fair. He's not exactly obliterating AAA with his impressive-but-not-overwhelming .256/.364/.511 (for example of obliteration, see: Conor Jackson).
  5. Mariners (22) - Start the flames. I'm at least partially worried that Felix Hernandez hasn't had great control this year; he's walking almost 5 per 9 innings. Yeah, I know how high up he is for his age, but all we hear about is how great this guy's going to be. Someone's gotta give the other side, and as much potential as he has, things can go horribly wrong for pitchers.
  6. Diamondbacks (25) - Yep. All 5 of the NL West's pathetic teams are in the bottom third of the power rankings. And yes, the Diamondbacks still have at least a semblance of a chance to take this division.
  7. Dodgers (23) - You know, in three years, the D'Backs and Dodgers could be battling for the NL West in a great division race (see: prospects), but it's not so great yet. I have confidence in Paul DePodesta and am legally bound to praise his moves as a stathead writer, but there were some mistakes this year, I think.
  8. Giants (26) - 12 under .500. Pack 'er in... I'd be surprised if Vizquel weren't shopped or dealt.
  9. Reds (27) - Aaron Harang has quietly put up a very nice year here, and I'm not sure if I've mentioned it yet. He has a DIPS ERA of 3.46 and a Component-ERA of 3.11. Otherwise, they pretty much can't pitch.
  10. Pirates (24) - The line is here between "acceptable" and just awful (although Cincy will be back at some point). Inspiration for our hapless 3 follows:
  11. Royals (29) - "You've gotta have heart. All you really need is heart. When the odds are saying you'll never win, that's when the grin should start..."
  12. Devil Rays (28) - "You've gotta have hope. Musn't sit around and mope. Nothing's half as bad as it may appear, wait 'til next year, and hope!"
  13. Rockies (30) - "When your luck is batting zero, get your chin up off the floor. Mister, you Can be a hero. You can open any door, there's nothing to it but to do it."