Friday, May 25, 2012

American League Power Rankings: Week 7

The Texas Rangers are still your god, and you must bow before them and offer gifts while hoping they don't find themselves bored and in the mood to see somebody's head chopped off.

Behind them, however, there was some shifting in the rankings this week, including one team that this blog spends a lot of time thinking about climbing a few spots. Games against the Cubs and Twins will do that for you.

1. Texas Rangers (27-18): While the Rangers don't have the best record in the American League, is there anybody out there who wouldn't pick them in a seven-game series against the Orioles right now? Yeah, I didn't think so. (1)

2. Tampa Bay Rays (27-18): Joe Maddon is a damn wizard. If you didn't already know this, you should now. No matter what he decides to do with his team, or what kind of injuries he has to deal with, all the Rays ever do in response is keep winning. It's amazing. (2)

3. Toronto Blue Jays (24-21): This was a bit surprising to me to, seeing the Blue Jays pass the Orioles as well, but the Jays have been a bit stronger than their record suggests. For instance, their +35 run differential trails only the Rangers in the American League, and Jose Bautista is warming up after a slow start. (4)

4. Baltimore Orioles (28-17): They may have the best record in the league, and their pitching may be pretty solid so far this season, but the offense is a bit too dependent on the long-ball right now. While it's wonderful when the entire team is hitting bombs, the Orioles are still eighth in the AL in OBP, and that leads me to believe that there will be an offensive slump coming at some point. (3)

5. Chicago White Sox (23-22): Oh hello! The White Sox make their way back to the top five, which surprised me, but they also went 5-1 since last week's rankings which is what caused their jump more than anything. Statistically they're still in the same spots they have been. (8)

6. New York Yankees (23-21): The Yankees had a rather mediocre week, going 3-2. It's the same story that's dogged the Bombers the last couple years, as the offense continues to crush the ball but the pitching continues to be below average in the league. Which is probably something that happens when you play in a Little League park. (6)

7. Cleveland Indians (26-18): There's a reason I'm not worried about the Indians running away from anybody in the Central just yet. They're winning games, yes, but they're not particularly great at anything, and even though they're 8 games over .500 at the moment, they have a run differential of +1. That record isn't sustainable unless they begin playing better. (5)

8. Boston Red Sox (22-22): Congratulations to the Red Sox for finally reaching .500 after a slow start. That said, they're very much like the Yankees, only with worse pitching, though that does seem to be coming around over the last few weeks. Should that trend continue, this team will keep on climbing. (7)

9. Los Angeles Angels (21-25): The Angels are playing a lot better than they were to start the season, but that doesn't mean they're playing great baseball. They can pitch, yes, but that offense has been absolutely dreadful. Which is what you expect to happen after you stick Albert Pujols in the middle of your lineup.

10. Seattle Mariners (21-26): Decent pitching, terrible offense. Always and forever. (12)

11. Detroit Tigers (20-24): I don't think the Tigers are going to finish the season below .500, but the flaws with this team have become glaringly obvious through the first two months of the year. They're the same flaws we knew existed before the year began, but were hidden by Prince Fielder's impressive girth. (9)

12. Oakland Athletics (22-23): If there's a more boring team in baseball to watch, I haven't found them. Especially when Yoenis Cespedes is on the disabled list. (10)

13. Kansas City Royals (17-26): Eric Hosmer is starting to hit finally, which could be a huge boost for this team, but even then there just isn't enough here to think the Royals will be on anybody's mind come September. (13)

14. Minnesota Twins (15-29): The best thing going for Minnesota right now is that Justin Morneau seems to be healthy, which means the Twins may be able to get a nice return for him at the trade deadline. That's also the only thing going for the Twins right now. (14)

Last week's rankings can be found here.

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