Sunday, December 17, 2006

Week 7 Power Rankings
Great American Pastime
Sunday December 17th
Season 2

After a 2 week hiatus, the power rankings are back for the playoff push. This week we'll try something different, lemme know whatcha guys think. Its been a long 2 weeks before I had time to get these out, got done with finals, then immediately came down with strep throat. But there's gonna be alot more time now, so not only should you look forward to better rankings, but also a better Cubs team in the coming weeks!

1. Oakland A's (82-37) LW (1)
( + ) Pick one from the lineup...Allan Hamilton, C.C. Hutton, Oscar Nunnally, Todd Linebrink, Clyde Valentin, even Jack Perry and Jon File...there isn't one player in the starting lineup that wouldn't be a star on any other team.

( - ) I guess you could say Garrett Phillips is having a bad year, with a 6.60 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP...but then again, he is still 7-4 and allowing an OAV of only .246. There really isn't a dark spot to be seen on this team.

2. Cleveland Indians (77-42) LW (2)
( + ) Latroy Franco (.286/35/121) and Yorrick Rowand (84 R/52 SB) lead this suddenly explosive offense, which seems to be the only one worthy of challenging the A's for the weekly #1 spot. Don't forget the other Yorrick, as Yorrick Brand is 28 of 31 for saves with an ERA of 2.16.

( - ) Dan Cook (.193) and Miller Roberts (.249) continue to struggle offensively for the 2nd year in a row, and Lonny Lowry (5.36 ERA) is still struggling to find his niche on the staff.

3. Seattle Mariners (74-45) LW (4)
( + ) Juan Torrealba (.316/31/89) and Bobby Ford (.307/21/78) lead an offense that is backed by one of the strongest pitching staffs in the GAP. Wes White (40 of 45 SVO) just might be in the running for the Cy Young as well...quite an accomplishment for a reliever.

( - ) Louie Manuel (5.28 ERA) looks like he's lost it after a solid Season 1, and while Gregory Barber has 21 HR and 83 RBI, his .217 Avg is not so impressive.

4. San Francisco Giants (74-45) LW (3)
( + ) Milton Jameson (.300/25 SB) is thriving in the leadoff spot, while Albert Young (25 of 27 SVO) refuses to let a game slip past him. The Giants continue to hold a solid grip on the NL West.

( - ) Gene Stevenson (.246 Avg) has a lot to learn before he can be the All-Star Giant's fans are expecting.

5. Texas Rangers (75-44) LW (NR)
( + ) If not for Wally Hunter (.304/58/140), Yannick Reboulet (.326/37/105) might be running away with the AL MVP. Too bad Hunter's already sitting in Arlington rubbing it for good luck...

( - ) Even Jeremy Henderson (6.58 ERA) is wondering why he's started 14 games...

6. New York Mets (71-48) LW (6)
( + ) One writer is still scratching his head wondering how Bosco Jefferson (10-3 / 1.99 ERA) was so bad for the Cubs in the first half of Season 1. Ralph Ryan (28 Sv/2.57 ERA) joins the previously mentioned Wes White of the M's and Albert Young of the Giants as one of the top 3 closers in the GAP.

( - ) If the pitching staff is holding this team together, it's the lineup that's trying to tear it apart. Ted Hogan (58 RBI)and Courtney Kennedy (.246 Avg) lead this group of underachievers, who, if they ever play to their potential, could get this team well over 100 wins.

7. Tampa Bay Rays (70-49) LW (NR)
( + ) A newcomer to the rankings, the Rays have surprised the league as the 7th and final 70 win team so far, led by 2B Tony Yoshii (.309/19/97) and SPs Willie Santana (12-7/3.52) and Nick Alexander (13-9/3.81).

( - ) Miguel Torres (.251/8/41) has the 3rd most ABs on the team, but not much to show for it, while Wascar Olmedo (.247/21/73) isn't quite living up to the hype.

8. Atlanta Braves (69-50) LW (7)
( + ) Since coming over from the Astros earlier in the season, Bobby Messmer (.301/13/59 in 85 G) has provided the much needed spark for Joe Linden (.310/24/87) and the Braves lineup, while Malachi Carson (12-5/2.53) has been lights out for the staff.

( - ) Joaquin Cairo (7.70 ERA) is finally back where he belongs...the minors, while Zephyr Bennett (5.81 ERA) is wondering if he might be next.

9. Milwaukee Brewers (67-52) LW (5)
( + ) Carlos Campos (.282/35/100) is hard at work defending his Season 1 MVP, while Jimmie Iglesias, Kennie Smart, Rod Duffy, Tony Iwazaki, Bret Fiore and Craig Osbourne each have over 24 HRs as well.

( - ) Benji Corbin (.230/0/7 in 114 AB) is NOT making the most of his pinch hitting opportunities, while Cal Reynolds (1.72 WHIP) can't seem to hit the strike zone.

10. Kansas City Royals (68-51) LW (8)
( + ) Jose Mota (.272)32/122) and Artie Rizzo (.300/27/97) lead a smoltering hot offense ready to make a charge in the tight AL South. Theodore Haney (.301/16/50 in 76 G) has been a force since being brought up from AAA.

( - ) The pitching staff could use a little work if these Royals are going to make a push for the playoffs. Starters Diego Samuel (5.83 ERA) and Joe Faulk (5.55 ERA) need to step it up if KC wants to prove they're for real.

Monday, December 4, 2006

GAP Week 5 Power Rankings

Week 5 Power Rankings
Great American Pastime
Monday December 4th
Season 2

An exciting week here in the Great American Pastime World. We have a new #1 for the first time in weeks, and some streaking teams in both directions, providing what should make for one interesting 2nd half of the season.

1. Oakland A's (55-28) LW (2)
The reigning GAP champs get the edge over the streaking Indians even though their record is one game worse. Their 15 game win streak just came to an end (dexoo, can't you just see another one starting right back up?). This is one dreaded lineup. C.C. Hutton exploded this week, and his numbers are starting to look more like the "out of this world" numbers we saw last season. Through 70 games, he is hitting .307 with 34 HRs and 84 RBI.

2. Cleveland Indians (56-27) LW (3)
If it weren't for the A's, this team would be a no brainer at the #1 spot. They just finished an 8 game win streak, and followed that one loss with a couple of convincing wins (albeit over the Mounties). The Indians are proving themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the AL, with Latroy Franco leading the way. Hutton better watch out, as Franco's #s are frighteningly similar (.307/26/92). The only problem I can see in this teams future is a drop off in the drive department, as they already hold a 20 game lead in the AL East.

3. San Francisco Giants (53-30) LW (6)
The Giants are out to prove to the AL that the NL is not going to take it lying down. They are only 5-5 after a 14 game win streak, but still hold a commanding 10 game lead in the NL West. Clarence Cooke and Albert Young are holding the staff together. Cooke is 11-4 with an ERA of 2.82, while Young has converted 17 of 18 save opportunities.

4. Seattle Mariners (52-31) LW (1)
A steep fall this week for the team who had held the #1 spot for so long. It's not like the Mariners are playing poorly, they just happen to be in the same division as the A's. It may be too early to say, but it looks like the AL West has changed guard this week, and the M's know it. Frustration is starting to take effect, as "oh shut it train"s are heard resonating in Safeco Field. The bright spot? Brandon Freeman is 11-2 and Harry Wilfredo owns a 2.99 ERA.

5. Milwaukee Brewers (50-33) LW (4)
The NL North is going to be a dogfight all year long, but if talent proves victorious, the Brewers should come out on top. Reigning MVP Carlos Campos has "struggled" to a .299 AVG and 26 HRs already. But in this writer's opinion, success lies in the right hand of Jeffrey Banks. Banks is 13 of 14 in SVO, and sports an amazing 0.47 ERA and a WHIP of only 0.78! Critics last year called for his retirement, but Banks has responded in the most impressive of fashions.

6. New York Mets (51-32) LW (8)
The epitome of "small-ball", the Mets have been on a tear lately. The pitching staff has been mentioned every week, but it's time for some of the unsung heroes to be noticed. Nipsey Morris is batting .359, and with a little more of an opportunity, could prove to be the best leadoff man in the business. Oh, and Jeff Cuyler and Ted Hogan are starting to heat up. Watch out for the Mets, because they won't give up more than a couple runs a game, and now that they're hitting, they're gonna be hard to stop.

7. Atlanta Braves (51-32) LW (7)
The Braves fell behind the Mets this week, even though for the 2nd week in a row, they've had the exact same record. They seemed to have leveled off a bit after an impressive turnaround in the past couple weeks. Still, this team has the potential for greatness, with sluggers Joe Linden and Mark Moore leading the charge. Linden has been very impressive in not only hitting 17 dingers, but hitting .314, swiping nearly 30 bases, and scoring 70 runs.

8. Kansas City Royals (48-35) LW (10)
What is there to say about Jose Mota? The man's a beast! He is 2nd in the majors with 92 RBI to add to 25 HRs and 72 runs scored. His protection isn't too shabby either. There are 6 players on the team with 55+ RBI, and all 6 have over 93 hits. Even the pitchers are starting to put it together, as Tony Hudler has 8 CGs and owns a record of 12-5. If the rest of the staff adds things up and starts playing to their potential, this could be a 100 win team in the making.

9. Florida Marlins (45-38) LW (9)
They may not score many runs, and they may not win pretty, but what the Marlins know how to do is simply win baseball games. The unsung hero on this team has to be Tomas Prieto. Only given 7 SVO, he has converted 6, and is holding opponents to an average a shade over .200. Given an extended opportunity to close games is all he has needed to prove he belongs with the big boys.

10. Chicago Cubs (45-38) LW (NR)
Okay, so I had alot of teams to choose from for the 10th spot this week, and in the end, it came down to the Rangers or the Cubs. This writer may be a little biased, but the Cubs have done alot to prove themselves as contenders after narrowly missing the playoffs in season 1. Yesterday, Larry Charlton sent a message to the NL that he has arrived, smacking 2 HRs and driving in 6 in his first game as a Cub. But the men holding it together this year have to be Victor Parra and Jerry Boudreau. Respectively hitting .336/29/74 and .290/21/79, these two men have sparked an offense that is making up for a dissapointing performance from the pitching staff. Especially reigning ROY Travis Seabol, who is 4-10 with a disgusting ERA of 5.55 and a WHIP of 1.67.