THT Dartboard: Week Fiveby Matthew Carruth
May 11, 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): Obviously the big news is the Manny Ramirez suspension. Still, the NL West is in such poor shape right now that LA should not have much of a problem getting through. How about James McDonald, Jonathan Broxton and Ronald Belisario this week? 6.1 innings and seven strikeouts with no walks and no line drives allowed.
#2 Toronto Blue Jays (Dartboard Factor = 99, 102): How does Marco Scutaro keep drawing walks? Another six this week. Another usual start from Roy Halladay and Brett Cecil comes in and does a fabulous job of missing bats, 14 times in 96 pitches.
#3 Kansas City Royals (Dartboard Factor = 97, 93): The Royals are not going away quickly. The offense is still suspect and didn't do much on the week aside from some good patience from Jose Guillen and Coco Crisp, but the rotation aside from Kyle Davies and Gil Meche was fantastic allowing just two runs over 20.1 innings. And as a whole, the bullpen yielded just three runs over 17 innings.
#4 St Louis Cardinals (Dartboard Factor = 96, 104): Good outings from the majority of the relief corps is about all the cheery news from St. Louis on the week of play, though Ryan Ludwick continues to draw walks.
#5 New York Mets (Dartboard Factor = 95, 90): Big weeks from the big studs in Flushing with Carlos Beltran (four home runs) and David Wright (five XBH) head the bats and Johan Santana (ten Ks, no runs) the pitchers. Jon Niese has a solid season debut as well with no walks and five strikeouts over six innings.
#6 Milwaukee Brewers (Dartboard Factor = 89, 85): Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy and Prince Fielder help power the offense with ten extra base hits between the trio. Dave Bush gave up four home runs over two starts but managed to limit the damage to just five runs total.
#7 Tampa Bay Rays (Dartboard Factor = 88, 93): Evan Longoria keeps pulverizing the American League making the case for best player in baseball in the non-Pujols division a handicapped race. Four more home runs and three double leads to a .357/.394/.893 line for the week.
#8 Texas Rangers (Dartboard Factor = 87, 77): A sweep over upstart Seattle has Texas sitting atop the AL West for the first time in while. Do they have the firepower to stay up there? They're going to need it because the pitching shows little sign of improving.
#9 Chicago Cubs (Dartboard Factor = 86, 75): An all or nothing week for Alfonso Soriano who hit a pair of home runs and a double but also whiffed ten times and walked just once. Carlos Marmol righted himself with four great innings this week.
#10 Boston Red Sox (Dartboard Factor = 85, 88): David Ortiz gets just five hits on the week but did draw eight walks keeping his overall line respectable. Jason Bay meanwhile smacked four dingers. The rotation had a rough week however, highlighted by Jon Lester's 11 runs allowed in two starts.
#11 Detroit Tigers (Dartboard Factor = 85, 78): Miguel Cabrera has a solid week at the plate thanks to two home runs and a number of singles, but the offense as a whole was not up to snuff. Lucky for them that Edwin Jackson (14 Ks, 13 IP) and Justin Verlander (22 Ks, 16 IP) were.
#12 Los Angeles Angels (Dartboard Factor = 83, 79): The Angels are creeping back up the standings and are close to getting John Lackey and Ervin Santana back which is wonderful news for them. The offense scuffled this week in a big way with little power and almost no patience. Torii Hunter was the only hitter to draw multiple walks.
#13 Cincinnati Reds (Dartboard Factor = 81, 76): Jared Burton, Nick Masset, Mike Lincoln and Francisco Cordero combine to toss 13 innings of shutout relief this week with 12 strikeouts and just four walks.
#14 New York Yankees (Dartboard Factor = 81, 90): Johnny Damon's reinvention as a power hitter seems to be going along well as he matched up four home runs with four doubles. Alex Rodriguez returns with a bang to start and then little after that. Mark Teixeira likewise was noted for some home runs but contributed almost nothing aside from them.
#15 Colorado Rockies (Dartboard Factor = 79, 72): Todd Helton's not dead yet continuing to get on base and adding a pair of doubles and a home run this week. Jorge De Le Rosa gave up eight runs but did strike out 15 over 13.
#16 Cleveland Indians (Dartboard Factor = 78, 76): Mark DeRosa posted the highest OPS amongst regulars on the week at just .833. Not a good week for the bats. The rotation and bullpen were not overall great either and yet somehow the Indians climbed two spots this week. Go figure.
#17 Pittsburgh Pirates (Dartboard Factor = 78, 87): Andy LaRoche gets going with a .364 average and .481 OBP but brother Adam has just a lone single and walk on the week leading to a .122 OPS. The rotation had a mediocre week on the whole.
#18 Atlanta Braves (Dartboard Factor = 77, 86): A poor week for the Braves as Jo-Jo Reyes and Derek Lowe get slapped around and Javier Vazquez yields five home runs over two starts. The bullpen performed admirably though.
#19 Florida Marlins (Dartboard Factor = 76, 83): Hanley Ramirez smacks four home runs to go along with three doubles and six walks, good for a 1.747 OPS on the week. The bullpen blanks the opposition completely on the week aside from Hayden Penn's three runs in two innings.
#20 San Diego Padres (Dartboard Factor = 75, 77): Chris Burke finds his way back from purgatory, somewhat with three doubles in just nine plate appearances. Peavy knocks out 12 over seven innings, but Edwin Moreno had a horrid week in the pen with five walks issued over just ten batters.
#21 Minnesota Twins (Dartboard Factor = 74, 72): Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau do their thing in the middle of the Minnesota order and the bullpen continues to be a strength. Just five runs allowed this week over 19.1 innings.
#22 Philadelphia Phillies (Dartboard Factor = 74, 75): Jamie Moyer drew another walk this week and Jayson Werth knocked four balls out of the park which was one more than Moyer allowed while on the mound for just 2.1 innings.
#23 Arizona Diamondbacks (Dartboard Factor = 72, 72): Bob Melvin gets axed in Arizona due in part to the massive offensive struggles of the team. Mark Reynolds, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero were the only hitters to get a home run this week.
#24 San Francisco Giants (Dartboard Factor = 72, 72): Speaking of power outages, the Giants relied on Bengie Molina for the totality of their long balls (3) this week. Lucky for them, Barry Zito, Matt Cain and Time Lincecum came to pitch, allowing a collective three runs over 26 innings this week.
#25 Chicago White Sox (Dartboard Factor = 70, 74): A meager four home runs from the offense in total and some unremarkable pitching aside from Mark Buehrle's gem and D.J. Carrasco's yeoman work in the pen knocks the White Sox down some spots.
#26 Seattle Mariners (Dartboard Factor = 70, 83): A six game losing streak drops the Mariners all the way from first to third in the division and the main culprit was the offense. Lone bright spots include Franklin Gutierrez pairing great plate discipline with his tremendous glove and Mike Sweeney knocking a pair out of the park.
#27 Washington Nationals (Dartboard Factor = 70, 64): Another good start from Shairon Martis with six strikeouts and just two walks. Meanwhile, one has to wonder how long Daniel Cabrera has left with a five walk, five runs allowed outing.
#28 Houston Astros (Dartboard Factor = 69, 67): A .480 BABIP propels Carlos Lee to a week of batting .462 but that was mostly singles. Mike Hampton did a solid job missing bats, but couldn't find the strike zone enough.
#29 Oakland Athletics (Dartboard Factor = 69, 69): Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi both knock two home runs on the week, but for Holliday that's about all he did as he finishes with just a .603 OPS. They're still searching for answers in the rotation and bullpen as well and falling a lot of games behind all three other teams in the AL West.
#30 Baltimore Orioles (Dartboard Factor = 61, 56): The Orioles improve by five games this week but they're still last by a whopping eight games. The offense was potently powerful with 13 home runs but the starting pitching is still a big weakness.
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.
Blue Jays - 99
Rays - 88
Red Sox - 85
Yankees - 81
Orioles - 61
Royals - 97
Tigers - 85
Indians - 78
Twins - 74
White Sox - 70
Rangers - 87
Angels - 83
Mariners - 70
Athletics - 69
Mets - 95
Braves - 77
Marlins - 76
Phillies - 74
Nationals - 70
Cardinals - 96
Brewers - 89
Cubs - 86
Reds - 81
Pirates - 78
Astros - 69
Dodgers - 106
Rockies - 79
Padres - 75
Diamondbacks - 72
Giants - 72
Matthew Carruth is an editor for The Hardball Times. He welcomes any and all sorts of communication at his email.