2007 MLBreakdown #2 (Week 4)
by James Deaux(MLB)
Posted on April 30, 2007, 3:37 PM
Boston remains at the top of my rankings list, but a few teams made major strides over the last 7 days (the Indians vaulted nine spots into the top 5). Six teams remained exactly where they were last week. Meanwhile, several other teams took plunges into the abyss (the Astros fell 17 spots) or just flat out continued to falter *cough*Yankees*cough*.
1. Boston Red Sox Season Record: 16-8
High/Low Ranking: 1/1
Last Week: 1st
Story: I have long held the belief that Josh Beckett is one of the most overrated pitchers in baseball. However, now that he has matured and isn't just a kid trying to blow everyone away with a 98mph fastball when he gets rattled, I think I might be forced to change my mind. He is going to give Johan Santana a good fight for the Cy Young if he keeps this pace up.
2. New York Mets Season Record: 15-8
High/Low Ranking: 2/4
Last Week: 4th
Story: John Maine is second in the majors with a 1.35 ERA and he also sports a microscopic 1.05 WHIP. Just imagine how low that WHIP would be if he didn't have 17 walks (3rd highest in the NL).
3. Cleveland Indians Season Record: 14-8
High/Low Ranking: 3/12
Last Week: 12th
Story: You really have to feel bad for Fausto Carmona. Last year, he was embarrassingly bad in every role in which the Indians placed him. This year, he has clearly improved his mechanics and has a 2-1 record with a respectable 3.76 ERA and 1.22 WHIP to show for it. But once Cliff Lee comes back, Carmona is headed right back to the minors. This guy just can't catch a break.
4. Milwaukee Brewers Season Record: 15-9
High/Low Ranking: 4/6
Last Week: 6th
Story: One huge key to the Brewers' success so far has been their closer. Francisco Cordero is 10 for 10 in save opportunities and has yet to give up a run this season. Furthermore, he allowed just seven men to reach base in 12 outings (0.79 WHIP).
5. Atlanta Braves Season Record: 15-9
High/Low Ranking: 3/5
Last Week: 3rd
Story: Tim Hudson and John Smoltz have combined for 11 quality starts out of 12 opportunities. The rest of the rotation (Chuck James, Kyle Davies, and Mark Redman) has combined for 2.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks Season Record: 15-11
High/Low Ranking: 6/14
Last Week: 14th
Story: The Diamondbacks better hope Randy Johnson looks more like he did on Sunday than he did in his first start as the season progresses.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers Season Record: 15-10
High/Low Ranking: 2/7
Last Week: 2nd
Story: Jonathan Broxton (0.66 ERA) has the stuff to be a lights-out closer for a decade or more. Once Takashi Saito has moved on, that job is going to be wrapped up on a silver platter for him in the Dodgers' pen.
8. Minnesota Twins Season Record: 14-11
High/Low Ranking: 8/8
Last Week: 8th
Story: Johan Santana had a pretty good April (3-2/3.60/1.05), and that should be a scary thought for the rest of the AL. If history has taught us anything, it's that he is nigh unhittable once May rears its ugly head. If he does what he normally does once May hits, he'll run away with the Cy Young again (with all due respect to the new-and-improved Josh Beckett).
9. Los Angeles Angels Season Record: 14-11
High/Low Ranking: 9/15
Last Week: 15th
Story: Road woes: This team is as bipolar as it gets—they are nearly unbeatable at home (11-3), but they can hardly win at all on the road (3-8).
10. San Francisco Giants Season Record: 12-11
High/Low Ranking: 10/13
Last Week: 13th
Story: I'm thinking Barry Bonds gets number 756 some time in the third week of June. In the meantime, though, the rest of the Giants' lineup will continue to hit about .240 with no semblance of power whatsoever.
11. Detroit Tigers Season Record: 13-11
High/Low Ranking: 9/11
Last Week: 9th
Story: Gary Sheffield has an anemic .191 batting average and .265 SLG% with just one home run, but he leads the Tigers with 19 runs scored.
12. San Diego Padres Season Record: 13-12
High/Low Ranking: 7/13
Last Week: 7th
Story: Hometown hero: Adrian Gonzalez tied the Padres' franchise record with 7 April home runs and broke the franchise record with 25 RBI this month. This guy is going to be a fan favorite in San Diego for a long time to come.
13. Toronto Blue Jays Season Record: 12-12
High/Low Ranking: 13/24
Last Week: 24th
Story: If Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett could pitch every game for the Jays, they'd win the World Series. As it stands, though, that isn't really a possibility.
14. Chicago White Sox Season Record: 12-11
High/Low Ranking: 10/14
Last Week: 10th
Story: No White Sox starter has more than 2 wins and the team leader in strikeouts is a middle reliever (David Aardsma). Don't even get me started on how much losing Jim Thome is going to hurt their already impotent offense that has scored the second fewest runs in the AL.
15. Cincinnati Reds Season Record: 12-13
High/Low Ranking: 15/17
Last Week: 17th
Story: This team plays half of its games at the Great American Ballpark (read: Launching Pad) but they are 9th or worse in the National League in nearly every major offensive category (batting average, runs, RBI, OBP, and SLG%).
16. Oakland Athletics Season Record: 12-13
High/Low Ranking: 16/16
Last Week: 16th
Story: This team is so desperate for a healthy outfielder that they just traded for Ryan Langerhans, who is batting .068 so far this year (3 for 44) with 1 RBI.
17. Baltimore Orioles Season Record: 12-13
High/Low Ranking: 5/17
Last Week: 5th
Story: Had it not been for that farce of a ruling by the umpires in the Cleveland/Baltimore game on Saturday, the Orioles might be in the midst of a 7-game losing streak. Having said that, if Jaret Wright was going to be the guy they counted on to put an end to what likely would have been a 6-game losing streak coming into Sunday, then you know the O's are in trouble.
18. Seattle Mariners Season Record: 10-10
High/Low Ranking: 18/25
Last Week: 25th
Story: Signing Jeff Weaver (0-4/18.26 ERA/3.09 WHIP) to an $8.3 million contract is one of the most laughable things since Russ Ortiz was given $33 million by the Diamondbacks. I think Bill Bavasi wants Gil Meche back.
19. Philadelphia Phillies Season Record: 11-13
High/Low Ranking: 19/28
Last Week: 28th
Story: Their offensive increase of late notwithstanding, this team still has glaring problems everywhere. Ryan Howard is still only hitting .219 with 3 homers and was benched against Dontrelle Willis the other day. On the other side of the ball, Tom Gordon has already blown 3 saves in 7 opportunities.
20. Florida Marlins Season Record: 10-11
High/Low Ranking: 18/20
Last Week: 18th
Story: Apparently, having the majors' best offense can't get you a .500 record (just ask the Yankees). Not having Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco in their rotation is hurting this team a lot more than most people seem to realize. Plus, their bullpen has already thrown 94.2 innings (most in the majors) and has surrendered more runs than anyone in the NL except Washington.
21. Tampa Bay Devil Rays Season Record: 11-14
High/Low Ranking: 21/27
Last Week: 27th
Story: Scott Kazmir and James Shields are as exciting a 1-2 punch as any in the AL right now. Too bad there is practically nothing behind them in the rotation (or in the bullpen for that matter).
22. Pittsburgh Pirates Season Record: 11-12
High/Low Ranking: 19/22
Last Week: 19th
Story: With the pitching staff (starters and relievers) that they employ, this team could be a force to be reckoned with if they had any kind of home run power. Their 17 homers are tied for fourth fewest in the NL.
23. Chicago Cubs Season Record: 10-13
High/Low Ranking: 21/23
Last Week: 21st
Story: How is it possible for a team to score 22 more runs than they've allowed and be 3 games under .500? That's downright silly.
24. St. Louis Cardinals Season Record: 10-13
High/Low Ranking: 20/23
Last Week: 20th
Story: My heart goes out to the entire Cardinals organization and their fans after Josh Hancock's untimely death.
25. Texas Rangers Season Record: 10-14
High/Low Ranking: 25/25
Last Week: 25th
Story: Michael Young's mind-boggling slump (36 total bases) is one of the major reasons this team is floundering so badly right now. But it's not like many of his teammates are doing a whole lot better (.231 team batting average).
26. Colorado Rockies Season Record: 10-15
High/Low Ranking: 22/26
Last Week: 22nd
Story: The Rockies have committed just 8 errors this season (best in the majors). Along those lines, congratulations to Troy Tulowitski for turning just the 13th unassisted triple play in major league history.
27. New York Yankees Season Record: 9-14
High/Low Ranking: 23/27
Last Week: 23rd
Story: What amazes me about this team more than anything is that they have somehow scored more runs than they have allowed. They also have the second best offense in baseball (134 runs scored). But they are five games under .500. How important do you think Kei Igawa's performance was on Saturday?
28. Houston Astros Season Record: 10-14
High/Low Ranking: 11/28
Last Week: 11th
Story: Morgan Ensberg (.247/2/8) has done everything in his power to prove that his 2005 season was a total fluke.
29. Kansas City Royals Season Record: 8-17
High/Low Ranking: 29/29
Last Week: 29th
Story: Dayton Moore was criticized by everyone (including myself) for signing Gil Meche to that 5-year, $55 million contract this offseason. Well, so far Meche leads the AL in innings pitched (41.1), quality starts (6), and is second in ERA (2.18). Maybe the Royals will finally have a deserving All-Star this year.
30. Washington Nationals Season Record: 8-17
High/Low Ranking: 30/30
Last Week: 30th
Story: If it hasn't occurred to you by now, the words "run support" and "defense" are utterly foreign to this team.