Monday, 14 April 2008

Meaningless ego-stroking rankings

I have an idea that I'm going to get tired of doing this before the season is over because even I recognize that it is pretty much a vanity piece for me to think you really care how i rank the major league teams, and I know how easy it will be - if the Jays are as good as I think they are - to be charged with homerism. But hey, I started the thing so I'll see it through. At a minimum it gives me a chance to comment on other teams around the league which has not been my habit otherwise.

1. Arizona (12)- pretty much has to be the consensus #1, this team has been off the hook for two weeks now. Their run differential is an insane +32 after only 12 games. I should tell you that based on the number of notches the D'Backs lept to get to #1, I set an arbitrary limit of 12 on the number of places I would move a team from one ranking to the next.
2. Toronto (6)- I know, I know. but consider that only the D'Backs and the ChiSox have a bigger run differential and consider that with 22 of the 30 teams in the majors within 2 games of each other, there hasn't really been a lot of separation yet. So a lot of these rankings have as much to do with the performance of the other teams around them as the team itself. All the teams around the Jays in my previous rankings have been slow out of the gate and the ones which have done well (K.C. for instance) are too far away from the top to vault up here.
3. LA Angels (5)- Like the Jays, they played well enough to remain at the top while teams like Detroit, Cleveland, and the Mets tumbled. Ranked behind the Jays as a lingering reflection on their pitching injury woes.
4. Boston (2)- While they have not embarrassed themselves, they are clearly not hitting on all cylinders.
5. Milwaukee (16)- Honestly I think this is a bit high but the record is there and the movement of other teams sort of makes them the default choice here.
6. Chicago White Sox (18)- Again, they are playing over their head but leading the AL in runs scored makes a compelling argument.
7. Cleveland (3)- Was only right to drop both the underachieving pre-season favorites below the ChiSox.
8. NY Mets (4)- Loss of Martinez hurts that high early ranking anyway, and they haven't shown yet that they can cope.
9. Atlanta (8)- the record dissapoints to be sure but the run differential argues for them.
10. St. Louis (22)- Also likely overachieving but the record demands I give them the full 12-spot increase.
11. Philadelphia (9)- a game better than the Braves in the standings, but have given up more runs than they have scored.
12. NY Yankees (7)- I know you were smirking when I ranked them below the Jays to start the season but they are struggling and probably have a better record than their play deserves.
13. Detroit (1)- the maximum drop here, if they don't right the ship in a big way this will go lower I'm sure.
14. Chicago Cubs (13)- I know what you are thinking: they had a winning record and still dropped a spot. That's simply a function of how many teams previously below them passed them by. A quirk of the rankings.
15. Oakland (26)- I don't believe this for a minute but I have to pay respect as long as the illusion continues. They are obviously not as bad as I originally thought, but I don't think they are this good either.
16. San Diego (14)- outplaying their pythag, so I don't feel so bad about them slipping a couple of notches for the same reason the Cubs did.
17. Seattle (10)- M's fans will not be happy about this, but this is what happens when teams like Oakland and St. Louis bust out of the gate and you don't.
18. Kansas City (23)- What are the odds that the Royals will continue to have the least runs against much longer? Exactly.
19. Tampa Bay (19) - no room for upward movement, and not really an injustice that they had none.
20. Minnesota (25)- being carried by overachieving pitching which isn't likely to last.
21. LA Dodgers (11)- very underwhelming at this point.
22. Pittsburgh (24)- a little three game winning streak gives them some temporary respectability.
23. Texas (21)- playing better, particularly on the mound, but still not getting consistent results.
24. Cincinnati (17)- probably too great a drop but the movement of other teams pushes them down some.
25. Baltimore (30)- I couldn't bring myself to bump a team so clearly very bad too far up the list. I expect this illusion to fade away over the next couple of weeks.
26. Colorado (15)- Too far for them to fall? A -19 run differential is pretty compelling.
27. Houston (20)- falling behind.
28. Florida (28)- I'm not bumping a team with a -14 no matter if the do temporarily have a good record.
29. Washington (27)- Could have gone either way on the last two. . .
30. San Francisco (29)- . . .but the Giants were lower last time and there wasn't a compelling reason to switch them.


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