Tuesday, March 1, 2011

MLB Power Rankings #14-#11

I had some time today so I thought I would finish up the bottom 20 teams in my Power Rankings by doing the #14-#11 Teams. Now we are entering the area where I will likely receive the most criticism for my picks, but that's just part of the sports writing business. Well that's enough small talk, lets dive right into the Power Rankings.

#14- Oakland Athletics

1. Trevor Cahill
2. Brett Anderson
3. Gio Gonzalez
4. Dallas Braden
5. Rich Harden

CL- Andrew Bailey
SU- Grant Balfour
SU- Brad Ziegler
MR- Brian Fuentes
MR- Michael Wuertz

1. Coco Crisp-CF
2. David Dejesus-RF
3. Daric Barton-1B
4. Hideki Matsui-DH
5. Josh Willingham-LF
6. Kevin Kouzmanoff-3B
7. Mark Ellis-2B
8. Kurt Suzuki-C
9. Cliff Pennington-SS

I realize some people may think that the A's should be higher on this list, I would agree with them but I am still a bit skeptical about their offense. I am sold on their very talented young pitching staff and their very deep bullpen (maybe to deep if there is such a thing). But I am skeptical to put a team with a questionable offense to high. they could go the route of the Giants or the route of the Mariners, until the season starts we wont know with team they will be. But with the additons of Matsui. Willingham and Dejesus they will be better than the 2010 club that finished .500. So to sum things up they could very well win the world series this year but because they have the chance of collapsing and they are not as proven as some of the teams ahead of them Im ranking them at 14.

#13- Chicago Cubs

1. Ryan Dempster
2. Carlos Zambrano
3. Matt Garza
4. Randy Wells
5. Carlos Silva

CL- Carlos Marmol
SU- Kerry Wood
SU- Sean Marshall
MR- Andrew Cashner
MR- John Grabow

1. Kosuke Fukudome-RF
2. Starlin Castro-SS
3. Marlon Byrd-CF
4. Aramis Ramirez-3B
5. Carlos Pena-1B
6. Alfonso Soriano-LF
7. Geovany Soto-C
8. Blake DeWitt-2B

I have a feeling this is the pick I will get the most flack for on this post. Yes I am a Cubs fan, so maybe you think I have a bias, and maybe I do but I used a statistical system to devise these rankings and this is were they came out, so whatever bias I may have had no influence on the spots on the Power Rankings. But the Cubs have bolstered their rotation with the addition of Matt Garza and helped the pen by bringing back a true Cub in Kerry Wood. They also hope to add some pop with the Powerful yet strikeout prone Carlos Pena. With a little luck and healthy years out of Ramirez, Pena and Soriano, the Cubs could post similar offensive numbers to their 07' and 08' campaigns. They should be competitive in the division but I would not expect playoffs as the NL Central is very tough this season. The Cubs may be able to look forward to this off season though if Pujols doesn't re-sign with the Cardinals as they are well positioned to offer him a contract.

#12- Cincinnati Reds

1. Bronson Arroyo
2. Johnny Cueto
3. Homer Bailey
4. Edinson Volquez
5. Travis Wood

CL- Francisco Cordero
SU- Aroldis Chapman
SU- Nick Massett
MR- Bill Bray
MR- Logan Ondrusek

1. Drew Stubbs-CF
2. Brandon Phillips-2B
3. Joey Votto-1B
4. Scott Rolen-3B
5. Jay Bruce-RF
6. Johnny Gomes-LF
7. Ramon Hernandez-C
8. Paul Janish-SS

This is yet another pick I expect to receive some criticism. How can I put the defending NL Central Champions out of the top 10? As I have said before I ran each team through some statistical analysis and the Reds actually came out lower than this but I bumped them up because of last season. I have some serious concerns about how sustainable their success can be with this team. First lets start with the pitching staff, while they have depth they lack elite talent that can pitch you deep into the playoffs. When they do not match up against any of the elite teams in baseball in terms of their pitching staff. They do have some young arms that are on the rise but they really lack the ace at the top. I did not understand why they didn't get in the bidding for Grienke or Matt Garza. That was the main problem I have with the Reds, they basically stood pat during the offseason while their opponents reloaded. Now they do have excellent hitters in Votto, Phillips, Bruce and potentially Drew Stubbs and they do play some of the best defense in the National League. I also like Aroldis Chapman in the bullpen and it looks as if he could be one of the most dominant closers in baseball in the near future, when given the chance. But for now he will be an elite setup man. Don't get me wrong this is a very good team that is a lock to contend for the division in 2011. But unless they develop or acquire a bonafide ace or multiple ones for that matter, I don't see them ever making progress in the playoffs.

#11- St. Louis Cardinals

1. Chris Carpenter
2. Jake Westbrook
3. Jamie Garcia
4. Kyle Lohse
5. Open

CL- Ryan Franklin
SU- Kyle McClellan
SU- Jason Motte
MR- Trevor Miller
MR- Mitchel Boggs

1. Ryan Theriot-SS
2. Skip Schumaker-2B
3. Albert Pujols-1B
4. Matt Holliday-LF
5. Lance Berkman-RF
6. Colby Rasmus-CF
7. David Freese-3B
8. Yadier Molina

I think it's obvious why the Cardinals are not in the top 10. With Wainwrights injury I think this may be a generous spot to place them in the power rankings, but while they may have lost him they still have a potent lineup, solid bullpen and a serviceable rotation. I think they can stay competitive, but i don't think they can keep up in what is going to be a very tough NL Central. They are having to rely on Carpenter, a 36 year old injury prone starter, Jamie Garcia who has one solid major league year under his belt and the oft injured Jake Westbrook. They will also need Kyle Lohse to bounce back and find a suitable fifth starter if they want to compete in 2011. On the offensive side they are also relying on some injury plagued players to stay healthy. Lance Berkman will have to transition back to the outfield and try and stay healthy on some already bulky knees and David Freese needs to stay healthy as well. When this entire team is healthy, they may be able to be in this #11 spot, but more likely than not they will slip down this list as the year progresses.

Now we have completed the bottom 20 teams in the majors. Starting next week I will begin my top 10 countdown to the top team in baseball. Look out for further posts and hopefully once i complete the power rankings we can have a podcast dedicated to them.

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