Friday, June 29, 2012

American League Power Rankings: Week 12

Doing these rankings every Friday morning has now become a nice reminder as to how much better the AL East and AL West are compared to the AL Central. Of course, looking at the standings generally has the same effect.

If you look at the records in the American League, of the teams with the top 7 marks only the White Sox appear in the top half. Of the 9 teams in the league that are over .500 only the Sox and Indians represent the American League's heartland. Meanwhile, every team in the AL East has won more games than its lost.

But what about the rankings? Well, it's not all that different.

1. Texas Rangers (48-29): Each week the Rangers edge slightly closer to the rest of the pack, but their lead is still rather large and will stay that way if they keep having 5-2 weeks. Which is the kind of week they'll need to keep having if the Angels keep playing as well as they are. (1)

2. New York Yankees (46-29): Just like the Rangers, the Yankees went 5-2 this week and saw themselves creep closer in the rankings thanks to their pitching improving and Texas' regressing a bit. The question is whether or not the Yankees will be able to keep it up now that both CC Sabathia and Andy Pettite have both hit the disabled list. (2)

3. Los Angeles Angels (43-33): Remember when the Angels were 8-15 at the end of April? Yeah, they don't. They've gone 35-18 since then and find themselves right back in the playoff hunt where they were supposed to be. And they're doing all of this while Jered Weaver had to spend some time on the disabled list and Dan Haren is 6-7 with a 4.53 ERA. (3)

4. Chicago White Sox (41-35): Last week at this time the Sox found themselves on the edge of the top five and I thought they were on their way out. Then they went 5-2 and climbed a spot. Though I should tell you that the gap between the top three teams and the Sox in fourth is bigger than any other gap separating teams in the rankings right now. (5)

5. Boston Red Sox (40-36): The Red Sox didn't have a great week but they did take advantage of a couple teams above them having bad ones, which earns them a spot in the top five this week. A spot they should be able to keep as long as they keep Zach Stewart at Pawtucket. (7)

6. Tampa Bay Rays (40-36): The Rays went 2-5 last week and got swept in a three-game series against the Royals. Unwritten rule of the Power Rankings: if you get swept by the Royals you are going to drop a couple of spots. (4)

7. Baltimore Orioles (41-34): The Orioles are kind of like the Indians of the AL East, but with better pitching and more power. The reason I compare them to the Indians though is the fact that they're the proud owners of a run differential of -17, making them the only team in the AL East with a negative run differential. (6)

8. Toronto Blue Jays (38-38): Life in the AL East works like this. It's the end of June and your team is sitting at .500. People start asking whether you should trade guys like Edwin Encarnacion and anything that can bring back prospects. Meanwhile, if you were in the AL Central, you'd be sitting pretty. (8)

9. Detroit Tigers (37-39): May the 2012 Detroit Tigers be forever used as an example to the rest of baseball that pitching and defense still matter. This team can hit just like we knew it would be able to before the season, but it can't do much else these days when Justin Verlander isn't pitching. (9)

10. Oakland Athletics (37-40): I don't know what Oakland did to climb a spot, but they did. They still have no chance of making the playoffs, but at least having them ahead of the Indians this week will make Indians fans even angrier with me. (11)

11. Cleveland Indians (38-37): The Indians climbed back into first place last week thanks to some mediocre baseball and the Sox playing badly, but they responded by going 2-5 over the last week. With series against Baltimore, the Angels and Rays coming up before the All Star break I'm starting to think Cleveland will finally start fading in the standings. (10)

12. Kansas City Royals (34-39): The Royals continue to play decent baseball but not good enough baseball that they're able to start moving anywhere. Luckily for them they're in the division where playing decent baseball is good enough to keep you alive. (12)

13. Seattle Mariners (33-45): If Felix Hernandez can pitch every day and pitch the way he did on Thursday night then look out! (13)

14. Minnesota Twins (30-44): This team can't even win a series against the White Sox at home anymore. (14)

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