A lot of mediocrity this week…
*Stats and records through 08/02/2014
#1 – OAKLAND ATHLETICS, 67-42 (Last Ranking – #1)
The A’s simply treaded water this week (3-3), but it was a good time to do it because nearly all of the teams in the Top 10 did the same thing. The stats are deteriorating ever so slightly. They fell to 2nd in combined WAR, to 3rd in runs allowed, and to 4th best team ERA. They are still far and away the best team, and they added Jon Lester at the trade deadline.
#2 – LOS ANGELES ANGELS, 65-44 (Last Ranking – #2)
The Angles have finally overtaken the A’s in combined WAR, but they also went just 0.500 last week. Surprisingly, it was the offense that let them down, finishing in the bottom third in runs scored and team OPS. That said, I’m not worried about them. They are still the second best team.
#3 – LOS ANGELES DODGERS, 63-48 (Last Ranking – #4)
The Dodgers were fantastic this week, posting the best record in baseball at 5-1. What’s funny is that their run differential for the week was just +4. They definitely did enough to leapfrog the Nationals as they climbed to 3rd in combined WAR and in overall record as well as pulling away a little from the Giants in the NL West.
#4 – WASHINGTON NATIONALS, 59-49 (Last Ranking – #3)
The Nationals did not have a banner week (3-4), but nobody else besides the Dodgers did either so they only slip one spot. Their team ERA is still ranked 2nd, they still lead in FIP, and are still 2nd in xFIP. Pitching wins games, so I expect the Nats to keep winning.
#5 – DETROIT TIGERS, 60-47 (Last Ranking – #5)
The Tigers had a really nice offensive week (0.820 OPS), but it was sabotaged by the pitching (4.58 ERA). That resulted in a 3-3 record and kept the Tigers in the #5 spot. Never fear, however, as they landed the Belle of the Trade Deadline Ball, David Price. His acquisition would seem to solidify their playoff spot at the very least.
#6 – BALTIMORE ORIOLES, 61-48 (Last Ranking – #7)
It’s time to give the Orioles and Buck Showalter their due. They don’t wow in anything and in fact look quite middle of the pack across the board statistically, but they keep winnings games. More power to them.
#7 – ATLANTA BRAVES, 58-53 (Last Ranking – #6)
I really wanted to drop the Braves after going 2-5, as they are out of the playoff picture if the season ended today, but nobody behind them did anything. I’m starting to feel ominous about them, but I still really like the roster. I’m not dropping them just yet, but another week like this will likely change that.
#8 – MILWAUKEE BREWERS, 61-50 (Last Ranking – #8)
Well, I made one right call, at least for a week. I said last week that I was only modestly improving The Brew Crew’s position because I think there are a lot of holes in this roster, and they went 2-4 with a -1 run differential for the week. They couldn’t hit their way of a paper bag for the week, but this is still a good offense. I think they will rebound and hold this position for a while.
#9 – TORONTO BLUE JAYS, 60-52 (Last Ranking – Just Missed)
The Blue Jays had a great week (5-2), and it earned them a spot back in the Top 10. And, Edwin Encarnacion is supposed to be back sometime next week. They are one of only 7 teams to have 60 or more wins, they are 8th in combined WAR and 3rd in team OPS. That’s a Top 10 team.
#10 – SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, 59-51 (Last Ranking – #9)
Man, I really want to drop them from the Top 10, but unbelievably, their statistical support is actually better than the Pirates. So, their grip on this position is as precarious as it can possibly be.
PITTSBURGH PIRATES, 59-51 (Last Ranking – Just Missed) – They are the only team currently positioned for the playoffs not in the Top 10. The stats just don’t support the winning, so they need to do more of it to crack the Top 10.
SEATTLE MARINERS, 57-53 (Last Ranking – #10) – The Mariners falling out of the Top 10 was more about the Jays and Pirates than them.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS, 58-51 (Last Ranking – Just Missed) – The Cards traded some of their organizational depth to try to solidify the rotation with John Lackey and Justin Masterson. Dave Duncan isn’t in that club house anymore, so I’m not as confident that this will be enough.
NEW YORK YANKEES, 56-53 (Last Ranking – Just Missed) – The Yanks fumbled their momentum, but they remain in Just Missed.
TAMPA BAY RAYS, 54-56 (Last Ranking – Just Missed) – They only went 3-3 and they traded David Price, but they are 5th in combined WAR and the other teams competing for this ranking just didn’t do much to unseat them.