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Bias MLBreakdown #2
by James Deaux (MLB)
Posted on April 29, 2006, 3:51 PM

The Bias MLBreakdown – Issue #2

Raine and I have once again ranked all 30 MLB teams. With our own separate and considerable biases, we have ranked them all with joy (Raine), bitterness (James), and sarcasm (Raine and James) intertwined all throughout. Raine posted this last time, so it's my turn. The National League is a tale of two cities holding the three top overall spots and six of the Top 10, yet also holding dominion over the Bottom 10 with seven out of those ten spots. The Mets have fallen out of the top spot, but still remain hot and firmly entrenched in the Top 5. However, taking their spot is none other than...

1. Cincinnati Reds
Season Record: 17-7
High/Low Ranking 1/10
Last Week: 10th
Story: Rocketing from the bottom of the Top Ten to the top, and winners of six straight, the Reds seem to have finally figured out how to win—with pitching. Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are as good a 1-2 punch as any in the NL at the moment. They also overcame Roy Oswalt for the first time ever. And who would have guessed Cincy would be leading the majors in saves at this point? Easily the biggest (positive) surprise team this season.

2. New York Mets
Season Record: 15-7
High/Low Ranking: 1/2
Last Week: 1st
Story: They are already starting to pull away in the NL East (6 games ahead and we aren't even out of April yet) with the horrid struggles of Atlanta and Philadelphia. Though David Wright's defense isn't exactly something to behold, his bat can silence road crowds with the best of them. (I personally know this for a fact...)

3. Houston Astros
Season Record: 15-8
High/Low Ranking: 3/5
Last Week 5th
Story: Who needs Roger Clemens when your pitching staff is led by the (nearly) indomitable Roy Oswalt (4-1/2.76/1.20)? The 'Stros need to hope Brad Lidge's struggles don't continue, though. A 1.80 WHIP? Yuck.

4. Detroit Tigers
Season Record: 15-9
High/Low Ranking: 4/12
Last Week: 12th
Story: A mammoth jump for a team that looked dead in the water last time we did this. They get the American League nod over the White Sox for going 6-3 on a tough West Coast swing, and for sharing the most wins in the AL with Chicago while enjoying a more vicious schedule. Who would’ve bet that Detroit has had better pitching than their AL Central rivals??

5. St. Louis Cardinals
Season Record: 16-8
High/Low Ranking: 5/16
Last Week: 16th
Story: Albert Pujols. That's really all that needs to be said. He's broken the April home run record and shows no signs of slowing down (as if he ever does anyway). Why do pitchers still pitch to this man?

6. Chicago White Sox
Season Record: 15-7
High/Low Ranking: 6/18
Last Week: 18th
Story: I’ve been pretty off on the Jim Thome projection thus far, but winning my pitching debate. I’d like to call it a draw. I’d also like to see Podsednik have more stolen bases than walks.

7. Chicago Cubs
Season Record: 13-8
High/Low Ranking: 7/7
Last Week: 7th
Story: The Cubs didn't go up, but they didn't lose any ground in our meaningless standings either. Even though they've lost Derrek Lee, they are still hanging in there with a very solid offense led by, of all people, Ronny Cedeno. Personal congratulations go out to Greg Maddux, who is making his bid to start the All-Star Game the way he's been pitching this season (5-0/1.35/0.87). Rock on, Greg.

8. Toronto Blue Jays
Season Record: 12-9
High/Low Ranking: 7/8
Last Week: 8th
Story: Third-highest winning percentage in the American League with arguably the hardest schedule. 15 of their 21 games (and nine wins) have been against teams with at least 83 wins last season. The team they’re tied with for the top spot in the AL East, Boston, has played 20 of their first 23 games against teams with 80 or fewer wins last year.

9. Baltimore Orioles
Season Record: 13-11
High/Low Ranking: 8/11
Last Week: 11th
Story: Up until last Sunday, it looked like Baltimore was in line for another scorching start to the season. Since then they’ve dropped a series to both New York and Toronto, but have maintained their stellar hitting (specifically Miguel Tejada). Too bad their pitching has been very Oriole-esque.

10. Colorado Rockies
Season Record: 13-10
High/Low Ranking: 4/9
Last Week: 4th
Story: Their pitching's weaknesses are catching up to them a bit, but they remain in first place in the NL West. No sardonic comment here. We wish the best of luck to Todd Helton in his recovery from that very scary stomach ailment that no one could figure out.

11. Boston Red Sox
Season Record: 13-10
High/Low Ranking: 2/11
Last Week: 2nd
Story: They’ve been out-scored 50-25 in their past seven games (coincidently, those games included match-ups against two of the toughest teams they’ve faced), have gone 2-5, Beckett has been lit up twice, and even Curt Schilling was hit around by Cleveland. A tougher May could expose this squad.

12. Cleveland Indians
Season Record: 13-10
High/Low Ranking: 3/12
Last Week: 3rd
Story: They’re behind Boston in the AL standings because they’ve had an even easier schedule. Victor Martinez is doing wonders for my fantasy team, while Cliff Lee doesn’t make me seem so insane for picking him as my Cy Young winner. Other than Jason Johnson, the rest of the staff has to pick it up if they want to compete in the Central.

13. San Francisco Giants
Season Record: 13-10
High/Low Ranking: 13/13
Last Week: 13th
Story: They haven't wowed anyone, but they are right up there in the NL West race. Barry Bonds is heating up and that is very bad news for everyone who plays the Giants in the next month or so. You know, before Bonds' knees crumble apart.

14. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Season Record: 12-10
High/Low Ranking: 14/15
Last Week: 15th
Story: Traveling all over the United States in the first three weeks of the season won’t do a lot of good for a ball club. Of course, neither is having two starting player’s batting under .200. Casey Kotchman is getting a bit too long in the tooth to be playing like this.

15. New York Yankees
Season Record: 11-10
High/Low Ranking: 15/19
Last Week: 19th
Story: Alright, it’s not the significant jump in the rankings I said they’d make two weeks ago. Somehow they’re leading the American League in ERA, with Randy Johnson pitching like he should on a regular basis. Even with a poorly planned West Coast road trip to start the season, however, this team should not have ten losses.

16. Texas Rangers
Season Record: 11-12
High/Low Ranking: 16/23
Last Week: 23rd
Story: Solid hitting, mixed with erratic pitching and an inconsistent schedule makes this team an interesting subplot in the AL West. They’ll need to improve their record against Oakland and Anaheim for that to become a reality. Maybe trading Chris Young away wasn’t such a good idea.

17. Los Angeles Dodgers
Season Record: 11-12
High/Low Ranking: 17/19
Last Week: 17th
Story: This team might be the biggest enigma in the National League at this point. You look at them on paper and you wonder how they can be a game under .500 when J.D. Drew is batting at a .329/4/17 clip and has reached base in every game this year. The pitching staff as a whole has a respectable 3.80 ERA, as well. There is, however, a considerable lack of power (only 18 HR as a team) there.

18. Oakland Athletics
Season Record: 11-12
High/Low Ranking: 14/18
Last Week: 14th
Story: A solid home record against quality teams puts them where they should be, although May sees two difficult road trips (one featuring the Yanks and Jays). Esteban Loaiza shouldn’t be allowed to pitch outside of a contract-year.

19. Milwaukee Brewers
Season Record: 11-12
High/Low Ranking: 9/19
Last Week: 9th
Story: They've fallen off the pace a bit in the tough NL Central, partially because their defense has been absolutely dreadful. Rickie Weeks has seven errors already and an alarming .918 fielding percentage. His bat isn't opening any eyes, either (.246 BA).

20. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Season Record: 10-13
High/Low Ranking: 20/25
Last Week: 25th
Story: A tough past two weeks isn’t getting any easier early in May. On the bright side, the Delmon Young bat throwing incident was fantastic viewing.

21. Atlanta Braves
Season Record: 9-13
High/Low Ranking: 21/21
Last Week: 21st
Story: Talk about a Jekyll and Hyde season. First it was horrid pitching and an unbelievably powerful offense. Now, the pitching is fantastic and the hitters are swinging at everything within a mile of the strike zone. Atlanta is dead last in the majors in batting strikeouts with 181 and as a team they are batting a pitiful .245. Jeff Francoeur is leading this dubious charge with a .193 BA. Can you imagine how bad this team's record would be if they hadn't had that offensive explosion early in the season?

22. Arizona Diamondbacks
Season Record: 11-12
High/Low Ranking: 22/24
Last Week: 24th
Story: When you have Russ Ortiz as your #4 man (or any other number, really) in your rotation, you know things can't be going well for your franchise. He refuses to go to Tucson for a DL stint/minor league rehab assignment. Whether or not the club feels his calf muscle pain is really DL-worthy or if it's just to save face and cover up their feelings of his atrocious pitching is anyone's guess. This team is so poorly operated it defies description.

23. Philadelphia Phillies
Season Record: 9-13
High/Low Ranking: 22/23
Last Week: 22nd
Story: The NL East sure looks pitiful this year doesn't it? The Phillies' ace, Jon Lieber still doesn't have a win, but it's not like the rest of the pitching staff has been much better (5.33 ERA and 1.61 WHIP as a whole).

24. Minnesota Twins
Season Record: 9-13
High/Low Ranking: 6/24
Last Week: 6th
Story: They have Toronto’s schedule, minus the success, although it gets easier to close this month and into next. The Twins better hope Johan Santana improves along with them.

25. Washington Nationals
Season Record: 8-15
High/Low Ranking: 25/30
Last Week: 30th
Story: Losing John Patterson to the DL is without any shadow of a doubt the worst possible thing that could have happened to this club. It's going to expose how extremely thin their starting pitching is because after Livan Hernandez (who hasn't pitched well at all) and Tony Armas, Jr., they have virtually nothing. And the bullpen has been giving up leads right and left. Looks like yet another long year for fans of this franchise.

26. Seattle Mariners
Season Record: 9-15
High/Low Ranking: 26/20
Last Week: 20th
Story: I could look past their schedule that saw them play five teams who’ve made the playoffs one of the past two years, but their pitching and offense have been dreadful. They’ve been shut out four times this month.

27. Florida Marlins
Season Record: 6-14
High/Low Ranking: 27/29
Last Week: 29th
Story: They've had to face some tough teams (Houston and Chicago), but that doesn't make up for the fact that not a single pitcher on their staff has more than one win, especially given that they've played teams like the Nationals, Phillies and Padres. Joe Girardi, what have you gotten yourself into?

28. San Diego Padres
Season Record: 8-14
High/Low Ranking: 26/28
Last Week: 26th
Story: Second worst in the majors in runs scored and average (80 and .228, only to Oakland and Kansas City respectively). Being dead last in the NL West anymore, especially after winning it the year before, is really telling. After Peavy on the pitching end and Barfield and Giles in the lineup, this team has absolutely no depth anywhere.

29. Pittsburgh Pirates
Season Record: 6-18
High/Low Ranking: 27/29
Last Week: 27th
Story: You really have to feel bad for fans of this team. All offseason, they had reason to hope that this year would show major promise for years to come. The Pirates were really looking like they would make a statement this year. Actually, they have made one. But unfortunately, that statement is, "We have no pitching that can be spoken of."

30. Kansas City
Season Record: 5-16
High/Low Ranking: 28/30
Last Week: 28th
Story: Anyone else getting the feeling they should’ve traded Mike Sweeney a very long time ago??

James Deaux
E-mail: oratoryjames@gmail.com
AIM: Mad Hatter Jim

Raine Daniels
E-mail: oratoryraine@hotmail.com
AIM: YourGoldfish

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