Friday, June 22, 2012

American League Power Rankings: Week 11

Bad news, Sox fans. It turns out that losing series after series eventually catches up to you and not only knocks you out of first place in your own division, but also out of second place in the power rankings.

How far did the Sox fall? Well, they're still in a good spot, but points-wise, the difference between them and the team ranked two spots behind them is razor thin. Which means another couple of losses will send them down even further.

So let's get to it.

1. Texas Rangers (43-27): Last week was the first time all season that I did these rankings and the Rangers didn't have the best record in the league. Well, things are back to normal. The Rangers went 6-0 this week and after the Yankees had closed the gap a bit in these rankings, the Rangers have blown it right back open. (1)

2. New York Yankees (41-27): While it was fun watching the Orioles and Rays battling it out for the AL East lead, order has been restored in baseball's best division. The Yankees are back on top and having won 8 of their last 10, they've put some distance between themselves and the rest of the division. Well, as much space as you can in a division where nobody is below .500 (other fun fact: the top 5 teams in the AL in slugging percentage are the AL East teams).

3. Los Angeles Angels (38-32): Yep, they're finally here. After a very slow start to the season that had people questioning their decisions to spend so much money over the winter, it turns out that the Angels are still a good team. The offense is still improving, but the pitching staff is one of, if not the best in the league right now. (5)

4. Tampa Bay Rays (38-31): How does a team that went 3-3 during the week move up two spots? It's not easy, but it helps when the two teams you've passed had worse weeks. The Rays offense continues to be held together by paper clips and rubber bands, but the pitching staff is doing more than enough to keep this team in the hunt. (6)

5. Chicago White Sox (36-33): You know, losing two of three to the Cubs should send you plummeting further than two spots, but apparently the Sox' cushion going into the series was big enough to soften the blow. Still, the way things are going with this team and the teams around them, the Sox will need to improve quickly or else they're going to keep moving down this list. (3)

6. Baltimore Orioles (39-30): It seems strange to me that the Orioles would be below so many teams that have worse records than them, but even after double-checking the data, this is the case. The reasons behind this are that the O's pitching is just about league average, and the offense, while having a lot of pop, doesn't get on base a whole lot. (4)

7. Boston Red Sox (36-33): Going 5-1 this week wasn't enough to get the Red Sox out of seventh place in the rankings, but it was enough to put them on the verge of doing so.  In fact, if the Red Sox have another week like the last one, they may climb up to fourth place. (7)

8. Toronto Blue Jays (35-34): At 35-34 the Blue Jays would find themselves 1.5 games out of first place in the AL Central. In the AL East that record leaves you 6.5 games out of first and puts you in last place. At least Joey Bautista is hitting bombs all over the place at the moment. (8)

9. Detroit Tigers (34-35): Wait a second, we haven't gotten to the Cleveland Indians yet. Both the White Sox and Tigers are ranked ahead of the team that is in first place in their division? Yep. While it's still not great, the Tigers pitching is improving every week, and as long as that keeps happening then this team cannot be written off. (10)

10. Cleveland Indians (36-32): Yes, Indians fans, I am DISRESPECTING you. I'm just a HATER. GO LEBRON. Seriously, you're pitching is terrible and your offense gets on base but lacks power. Also, you're in first place but you're 9-9 in June. So have you played your way into first base or did the White Sox? (9)

11. Oakland Athletics (34-36): Oakland's pitching is so good that, even though the Athletics offense has scored only 265 runs this season (the Royals are the only team in league to score less) they're one of the nine teams to have a positive run differential this season. The Angels are the only team that have allowed less runs. (11)

12. Kansas City Royals (31-36): The Royals aren't exactly playing great baseball, as their spot in these rankings would tell you, but they're fortunate to be in the right division. They're 5 games under .500 yet only 4.5 games out of first place. Yep, the Royals are a 5 or 6 game win streak away from being right in the thick of things. (12)

13. Seattle Mariners (30-41): The Mariners don't even have good pitching to cling to anymore. (13)

14. Minnesota Twins (27-41): Don't worry, Twins fans. You have a series with the White Sox coming up. Those are always good for the ol' self esteem. (14)

Last week's rankings can be found here.

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