Power Rankings – September 5

Okay, so I’m going to do my power rankings a little differently from now on, using comments made by MVN’s team bloggers in the last week. Tell me what you think about the new format! As always, rankings are based on Pythagorean record adjusted for strength of schedule.
1. St. Louis Cardinals (1) – “The Cardinals improved to 87-50 with the back-to-back wins and have now beaten Houston 11 times in 14 games.”
2. Oakland Athletics (2) – “Game One of the second of three showdown series between the Angels and A’s was a real gem. Although the A’s scored only two runs, no one should fear that their bats have returned to dormancy. Bartolo Colon was dealing, pitching some great baseball that was well matched by what might have been Barry Zito’s best outing of the year.”
3. Atlanta Braves (3) – “I’m worried about who’s going to be given a spot on the (probable) postseason roster on the pitching staff, and what role.”
4. Los Angeles Angels (4) – “Everyone knows that once you get sick, your immune system develops protection against the illness, thereby preventing you from getting that illness again. In staying with that line of thinking, perhaps the Angels needed bullpen breakdowns in order to realize that they have a problem and that they should do something to inoculate themselves for the future.”
5. Chicago White Sox (6) – “If the [White Sox] are going to do any damage in the playoffs it’s going to be because of their rotation. Sure their offense will need to get hot at the right time, but even if they are hot, they won’t be carrying the team for the duration of it.”
6. New York Mets (5) – “I think it’s evident enough that the main reason this team loses games is because they can’t score runs, and they should have changed this line up a month ago.”
7. Boston Red Sox (7) – “Please tell Jose that we are not down to the ‘[Foulke] sucked playing against bad players, so all he needs is to play against better players argument.’ This is the baseball equivalent of the couple who, struggling mightily to make a relationship work, decide that getting married will probably make things better. Of course that is still better than the struggling married couple who decide that having a child will improve the marriage.”
8. Cleveland Indians (8) – “Playoff caliber teams just don’t do this kind of stuff. Get it together boys. Apparently this is too much to ask. FOUR throwing errors on the Indians defense in a span of recording 9 outs. That’s pitiful.”
9. New York Yankees (9) – “I try to be positive when I post but one thing that I have not put a positive spin on was Leiter’s presence in the rotation. Even when he pitches good and the Yankees win, watching the game is like going to the dentist and have 5 drills burning through your teeth at once.”
10. Houston Astros (12) – “So now we STILL 1/2 game back of Philly, who we just happen to be having a series with right now. We GOTTA win here.”
11. Toronto Blue Jays (10) – “Compete to lose, in fact, hardly describes the kind of ball the Birds are producing these days. Gone is the hustle and energy, the scrappiness. In it’s place is an apathetic front running team that is hoping not to lose, not grabbing the opportunities to win.”
12. Minnesota Twins (11) – “A Google search of images related to ‘inept’ returns a picture of the Twins. That’s not a joke.”
13. Philadelphia Phillies (14) – “The Phillies passed the first test of September by finally beating the Mets at Shea stadium, and winning a series in their own division. They’ll head to Washington to open a series tomorrow night 3.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves and in second place in the NL East, and 1 game ahead of the Houston Astros and in first place in the NL Wild Card race.”
14. Florida Marlins (13) – “The Marlins have put themselves in a position where they control their own destiny. Teams play the whole season to put themselves in that position. Few actually accomplish it. The Marlins are that chosen few, and they’ve earned it.”
15. Milwaukee Brewers (15) – “The Crew split (yet another) series, this time their 4-game home series against the Padres. Although it didn’t help one iota in gaining ground in the NL Wild Card race, it does prove that Milwaukee can compete with at least one division champion. The Brewers’ are clinging onto 3rd place in the NL Central, a full 20 games back of the Cardinals. The Crew is also 6th in the NL Wild Card race, 6 games in back of the Phillies. Oh, yeah, and their record is 67-70, requiring them to go 14-11 over their last 25 games to hit that oh-so ever elusive .500 mark.”
16. Texas Rangers (16) – “So an ugly end to a four game set in Kansas City, but ongoing into Minnesota on Monday night the Rangers starting pitching looks like they’ve rebounded nicely and have gone 8-2 with a 2.67 ERA over the past 13 games.”
17. Chicago Cubs (17) – “So as the Cubs were losing yesterday, the Cubs rookies (Matt Murton and Ronnie Cedeno) were stewing on the bench. All I have to say is, PLEASE PLAY THEM DUSTY! I think they have earned a right to show that they are major league stars in the making.”
18. Washington Nationals (19) – “This is it. The Nats Alamo so to speak. They need to win today or face the prospect of having to win both the Atlanta and Florida series at home to stay in the race. Things are breaking down. (Surprise, Surprise Guillen is unhappy) They can only get worse with a loss today.”
19. Seattle Mariners (20) – “I can put up with a lot of things as a fan. Cheating is not one of them. [Ryan] Franklin got caught, denied everything, served his time, and has pitched like someone who does not use steroids but desperately needs them.”
20. Detroit Tigers (18) – “Being late in the year I found that two things are nearly guaranteed. First, the Tigers will be pretty much out of playoff contention and second, I will not be able to find much to write about.”
21. Cincinnati Reds (21) – “And now the Reds are back to 8 games under .500 and 2.5 games out of 3rd place – the two goals many have set for the home squad.”
22. Baltimore Orioles (22) – “I’m elated over the news of [Ponson’s] dismissal. His tenure with the Black and Orange could have been a time of magnificence…But given numerous opportunities to display that talent, Ponson never showed a serious effort to prove what he could do.”
23. San Diego Padres (23) – “Pedro Astacio may not be Jake Peavy but he has been a nice addition since being signed to a minor league deal on June 30th and then brought up in mid-July. The 14 year veteran had gone 2-8 with a 6.04 ERA for the Texas Rangers but has allowed less then two runs in four consecutive starts with San Diego while posting a 2-2 record.”
24. Pittsburgh Pirates (25) – “The Good: umm…nothing”
25. Los Angeles Dodgers (24) – “Three in a row from the Astros and Cubs after losing 3 in a row. Yet another turn on the sick cycle carousel that is this season.”
26. San Francisco Giants (26) – “What’s that thing where a team scores more runs than the other team for like more than two days in a row? Oh yeah. Winn…wingggg…..winning streak! Haven’t said that all season. The Men in Orange and Black have rattled off five in a row topped off by today’s 3-2 victory over the Diamondbacks completing a sweep and vaulting the Giants a game and a half above third place.”
27. Tampa Bay Devil Rays (27) – “I believe there is a cancer in the current Rays Clubhouse and his name is Lou Piniella. I honestly can say that he’s to blame for just about all that has gone wrong this season, more than LaMar and more than Naimoli.”
28. Colorado Rockies (29) – “For the first time since 2001, the Rockies finished the month of August with a winning record. Despite dropping the final two games of their nine-game road trip, the Rox come back to Coors Field off of a 5-4 record on the trip and a 15-14 record for a month that has historically given them trouble. The Rockies are 19 games under .500 over the course of their first 13 Augusts (168-187) and have had a winning record in the month just three times.”
29. Arizona Diamondbacks (28) – “Okay, I suppose the past two series we’ve been doing a bit better- 3-3 across six games, only outscored 35-30 for that span. But average play? Not enough. Especially when we drop 2 out of 3 to the Padres, fall 6.5 games back, and in to 3rd place.”
30. Kansas City Royals (30) – “These Royals stink. And now we have the records to prove it.”


8 Responses to Power Rankings – September 5

  1. Doug says:

    Why Pythag? Pythag is a model, nothing more, and it doesn’t have a lot of predictive value. What matters is winning, not who should be winning; besides, there’s no adjustment for the diminishing value of runs scored in blowouts. You can’t seriously believe that the 17th run in the Rangers-Royals game on Sunday meant, well, anything…

  2. site admin says:

    I love it. Very entertaining.

  3. David Gassko says:

    Pythagorean record is the best proxy for how well a team will perform, and in a sense, how it HAS performed as well. Take, for example, two teams, one that has scored 450 runs and allowed 450 runs in 100 games, while the other has scored 500 runs and allowed 400 runs in 100 games. Knowing nothing else about them, which do you think is better? Does the fact that the first team has a better record change that? It shouldn’t. Teams generally don’t outperform (or underperform) their Pythagorean by much, so it isn’t that big a deal at the end of the season. But the less games that have been played, the more important using Pythag becomes.
    Think about it another way: what are you more likely to use to judge who should win an MVP? Runs Created or R + RBI – HR? Since you’re reading my blog, I’m going to guess it’s the first. But the second formula is a sort of literal runs created; how many runs a player was responsible for crossing the plate. The two will actually correlate relatively well, but the first better models his performance.

  4. Andy Wink says:

    Great idea to take the comments from each MVN blog. Some of them are really funny.
    -Andy Wink
    Twins Blogger

  5. Chris says:

    I love the idea of including other blogger’s comments. Links to the quotes would also be great.
    Dave – read your Ichiro article today. What about a third possibility – pitchers could be pitching him differently? For example, it seems like pitching Ichiro up in the zone would help prevent him from hitting so many ground balls. I haven’t seen him play much this year so I can’t really comment any further on that but maybe a knowledgeable Mariners fan could.

  6. David Gassko says:

    Chris, there was a great Primer thread on this:
    Seems that Ichiro had an abnormally large amount of ground balls up the middle last year and an extremely strange amount of those went for hits.

  7. Rob Bonter says:

    Doug makes an excellent point as regards” the diminishing value of the 17th run.” This is not to disparage the Pythag, either, the most accurate predictor (usually within three games over a full season) of a team’s W-L record, any of us has ever seen.
    There is a way to take the diminishing value syndrome into account. That is by maintaining percentile
    scoring records, game by game, for an entire league, or broken-down by teams, or even by ball park, which makes a lot of sense with a scoring range from Shea Stadium’s poor lighting cavern to Coors “Lighter Than Air” Field’s video-pong scoring imitation, in the mix.
    What I discovered by maintaining percentile figures and grappling with the attendant values was that
    in the days when the average MLB scoring potential was four runs per game per team, is that a team
    winning a game by a 6-2 score has won more impressively than a team winning by a 4-0 score, and has won more impressively than a team winning by an 8-4 score. This is because the team winning by
    6-2 has recorded an unofficial “double win,’ that is, has beaten par, in this case four runs, both offensively and defensively. And Doug is right, the higher the scoring above about eight runs in a game, the more sharp the decline in the value of the lop-sided scoring tally. Championship teams do not win a glut of games by 10-7 or 3-2 scores, they “double win” vs. par on a percentile basis more than the competition. Right on, Doug!

  8. […] Sorry, I forgot to link to my last two Hardball Times articles. One is a new feature we’re calling the THT Dartboard, which is a modified version of the Power Rankings I did here last year. There was some nice discussion of the Dartboard up on Baseball Primer. The other article, which was published Friday was called DIPS, Again, and in it I discussed two recent theories on what types of pitchers might fall outside of the influence of DIPS theory. It’s somewhat technical, but I think the conclusions are quite exciting. A good thread on this can be found at Fanhome. […]

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