THT Dartboard: Week Eightby Matthew Carruth
June 01, 2009
Welcome to The Hardball Times Dartboard, our weekly attempt to rank all the teams in baseball. The Dartboard Factor is how many wins a team would be expected to have at the end of the season if it played a neutral schedule. Next to that, you'll find the Dartboard Factor from the previous week. An explanation of our method can be found here.
#1 Los Angeles Dodgers (Dartboard Factor = 106, 109): The worst rated second place team in baseball is in the NL West, along with the best rated team. The 26 game gap between the Dodgers and the following Padres, and the 8.5 real game lead the Dodgers own over actual second place San Fran, has LA almost assured of a playoff spot as the calendar hits June.
#2 New York Mets (Dartboard Factor = 94, 94): Citi Field is proving to be quite a boon to the Mets who boast a 17-9 mark at home against their 11-12 road record. Big weeks for walks with Luis Castillo and Gary Sheffield both drawing six a piece and Angel Pagan outdoing them by garnering seven.
#3 New York Yankees (Dartboard Factor = 92, 87): A buge week from the bats and the rotation outside of Joba Chamberlain performs well. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui all exceed 1.000 OPSs on the week among regulars.
#4 Toronto Blue Jays (Dartboard Factor = 91, 96): A new week and a new way for Marco Scutaro to succeed, this time with the single as he knocks 12 of them on his way to a .485 average.
#5 St Louis Cardinals (Dartboard Factor = 91, 90): The seemingly deserving NL Central leaders used the week to close the gap a bit on the Brewers and did so with an outstanding performance from the pitching staff. The bullpen in particular which allowed a mere one run in 16.2 innings.
#6 Texas Rangers (Dartboard Factor = 91, 92): Tough week for kris Benson in the pen and the rotation had another below average week leaving one wondering how long the offense can keep the Rangers afloat in the AL West. They were stellar again though. Nelson Cruz is showing that he certainly deserved a Major League shot earlier than he got one.
#7 Detroit Tigers (Dartboard Factor = 88, 92): Edwin Jackson and Justin Verlander continue to be impressive along with some of the bullpen this week, but the offense needs to get going again.
#8 Milwaukee Brewers (Dartboard Factor = 87, 89): A week to forget for Dave Bush who in 46 batters faced, walked seven of them and gave up a home run to four others. Jeff Suppan was little better walking one and allowing three home runs to just 19 batters faced.
#9 Boston Red Sox (Dartboard Factor = 87, 86): 45.2 innings pitched by the rotation over the last eight starts and during them they have issued 21 walks. They have also allowed just four home runs and struck out 50. The 27 runs allowed are deceiving.
#10 Cincinnati Reds (Dartboard Factor = 86, 85): 5-8 now in one run games and 1-3 in extra baseball seems like it might be keeping the Reds from vying for the division lead, but in truth, they are lucky enough to be where they are. Aaron Harang was brutalized in his two starts, yielding four home runs and eleven runs total over 9.1 innings. A 9:1 strikeout to walk ratio is the lone saving grace.
#11 Tampa Bay Rays (Dartboard Factor = 84, 90): Tough week for the Rays to find base hits though they managed to hit for quite a bit of power and draw walks at the plate. Just too many lines like Carlos Pena's .167/.286/.367 to sustain much offensive thrust.
#12 Minnesota Twins (Dartboard Factor = 83, 82): Delmon Young goes 3 for 24 with 15 strikeouts and is on his way to becoming one of the bigger busts in baseball. Morneau and Mauer "cooled off" to merely 1.027 and 1.262 OPSs respectively on the week.
#13 Chicago Cubs (Dartboard Factor = 83, 85): A bit of a slip up for the Cubs, who might be feeling the pressure of what was supposed to be a waltz to another post season in the NL Central. A week to forget too for Alfonso Soriano with eight strikeouts and a .143/.200/.179 line.
#14 Los Angeles Angels (Dartboard Factor = 83, 86): The Angels get John Lackey and Ervin Santana back and might have gotten worse. Something is still very wrong with Santana who has lost a lot of velocity on his fastball. Howie Kendrick goes 0 for the week and is losing some time at second base.
#15 Kansas City Royals (Dartboard Factor = 81, 91): Ouch what a fall. Not the fault at all of Zach Greinke who puts together another pair of stellar outings with 15 strikeouts, no walks and no home runs in 16 innings. The offense went to sleep however with Mark Teahan and Billy Butler about the only hitters in the black on the week.
#16 Philadelphia Phillies (Dartboard Factor = 81, 86): Six home runs were hit for the Phillies this week. Matt Stairs had a bomber in one of his just four plate appearances. Carlos Ruiz had one as well. Ryan Howard hit four. Meanwhile, a huge start for Joe Blanton with 11 Ks in seven innings.
#17 San Diego Padres (Dartboard Factor = 80, 75): Great week for Adrian Gonzalez and the Padres. Adrian knocks three dingers and draws six walks on the way to a .294/.478/.882 week. The Padres reach .500, but still sit nine games back fo the Dodgers.
#18 Atlanta Braves (Dartboard Factor = 78, 81): Jeff Francoeur strikes out ten times in 30 trips to the plate this week. Meanwhile, Brian McCann comes back from his eye troubles to post a .476/.522/.810 line.
#19 Cleveland Indians (Dartboard Factor = 78, 68): A resurgent bullpen and big lines from Ben Francisco (.393/.485/.643) and Ryan Garko (.333/.417/.762) help get past some mediocre starting pitching and pull the Indians up ten marks this week.
#20 San Francisco Giants (Dartboard Factor = 76, 68): Randy gets win number 299 and Tim Lincecum rolls again with eight Ks in eight shutout innings. The Giants still have problems scoring runs, but the pitching is getting to the level expected of them at the beginning of the season.
#21 Pittsburgh Pirates (Dartboard Factor = 76, 77): A bit unlucky so far this season, and with the possibility of a weakened Cubs team, the Pirates might yet get to that magical .500 mark. What a week for Freddy Sanchez with 14 hits in 22 at bats.
#22 Colorado Rockies (Dartboard Factor = 76, 78): A 3-9 mark in single run games is keeping Colorado in the NL West cellar, not that there is much to be said for trying to compete with the Dodgers this year. A mammoth week from Brad Hawpe in short duty as nine plate appearances yielded five hits, three of them doubles, one a home run and a walk as well giving him a .625/.667/.1.375 line.
#23 Baltimore Orioles (Dartboard Factor = 74, 66): Matt Weiters makes his debut, but Luke Scott stole the show this week with six home runs making him worth a whopping seven runs over the average hitter in just a week's worth of at bats.
#24 Arizona Diamondbacks (Dartboard Factor = 72, 73): Interestingly enough, the Diamondbacks are sporting a .500 record on the road, but come home to Arizona and they are just 12-19. In that case, it might be a good thing that 31 of their first 51 games have been at home and thus a vast majority of their remaining games are on the road.
#25 Chicago White Sox (Dartboard Factor = 72, 64): Good turns for the rotation and enough offense to sustain it move the White Sox up this week. Aside from John Danks, Chicago's other four starters combined to strike out 27 batters and walks only 3 all week. Danks walked eight in 11.1 innings however.
#26 Houston Astros (Dartboard Factor = 71, 70): Lance Berkman, Jeff Keppinger, Edwin Maysonet. Those where the three home runs hit for the Astros this week. Meanwhile, their pitches allowed eight, with three a piece to Mike Hampton and Felipe Paulino.
#27 Seattle Mariners (Dartboard Factor = 70, 69): Close to netting a four game winning streak and keeping their slim playoff hopes afloat, the Mariners collapse on Sunday from an 8-1 lead. The bullpen is getting a lot of credit by locals for their low ERA, but their core stats are quite bad. Ichiro Suzuki ends May with 49 hits, one shy of his first 50 hit month since 2004.
#28 Florida Marlins (Dartboard Factor = 67, 69): Andrew Miller certainly has not delivered the results yet to date that he was projected to have after his collegiate career. Instead of being a dominant ground ball pitcher, he has walked nearly as many as he has punched out and his ground ball rate is marginally above average.
#29 Oakland Athletics (Dartboard Factor = 66, 62): Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi still are not hitting much, but they did at least draw walks this week, seven for Giambi and eight for Holliday. Russ Springer's five runs allowed in two innings is not going to help Beane move him later this month or July.
#30 Washington Nationals (Dartboard Factor = 59, 64): 0-6 in extra inning games and an absurdly dismal 13-36 overall, the Nationals are well on their way to a second consecutive first overall draft pick next June.
The playoff picture takes the above ranking and reforms the teams back into their leagues and divisions including the wild card. This is in no ways a prediction, this is an assessment of how teams have played so far this season, not how each team is going to play.
Yankees - 92
Blue Jays - 91
Red Sox - 87
Rays - 84
Orioles - 74
Tigers - 88
Twins - 83
Royals - 81
Indians - 78
White Sox - 72
Rangers - 91
Angels - 83
Mariners - 70
Athletics - 66
Mets - 94
Phillies - 81
Braves - 78
Marlins - 67
Nationals - 59
Cardinals - 91
Brewers - 87
Reds - 86
Cubs - 83
Pirates - 76
Astros - 71
Dodgers - 106
Padres - 80
Giants - 76
Rockies - 76
Diamondbacks - 72
Matthew Carruth is an editor for The Hardball Times. He welcomes any and all sorts of communication at his email.