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 = 109, 105): Manny who? Juan Pierre cannot hit for power, but his .320/.452/.400 line coupled with likely better defense is not much of a fall off, if any, from the total package that Ramirez offers. Despite just two home runs on the week, the offense drew 34 walks and maintained their stranglehold on the NL West division.
#2 Toronto Blue Jays (Dartboard Factor = 96, 100): The Red Sox and Yankees are inching ever closer. The Blue Jays got a tremendous week from Roy Halladay (14 Ks, 2 BBs, 14 IP) but Brett Cecil negated that with his five home runs allowed in 4.2 innings.
#3 New York Mets (Dartboard Factor = 94, 95): Good week from the Mets rotation, including another great Johan Santana start, but the offense took the week off aside from David Wright who did at least so his part to draw nine walks. Just two home runs though, one from Gary Sheffield and the other being the dramatic Omir Santos shot.
#4 Texas Rangers (Dartboard Factor = 92, 94): Swept at the hands of Detroit, the Rangers go down to Houston and sweep the Astros to keep their comfortable cushion in the AL West. Still, signs of falling back to earth as the offense was mostly dormant and the rotation is not improving.
#5 Detroit Tigers (Dartboard Factor = 92, 85): Welcome back Dontrelle Willis? It appears so. He’s still having some trouble throwing strikes, but getting absolutely anything out of his is pure gravy for Detroit now. Also worth noting, take a look at Ramon Santiago, who’s been posting ridiculous offensive numbers for the better part of half a season now.
#6 Kansas City Royals (Dartboard Factor = 91, 91): The Royals are not going away, but they did get leapfrogged by the Tigers. Zack Greinke continues to be the early season Cy Young front runner with another strong six innings.
#7 St Louis Cardinals (Dartboard Factor = 90, 88): A week of holding court in St. Louis with Albert Pujols and his eight walks being the most noteworthy performance. The return of Chris Carpenter might help, but who knows for how long.
#8 Tampa Bay Rays (Dartboard Factor = 90, 83): Jason Bartlett is going bananas. 12 hits on the week, three doubles, two triples and a home run included, to go with four walks gives him a 1.362 OPS at short stop. Also torching the ball, Akinori Iwamura (.978 OPS), Ben Zobrist (1.102 OPS), Willy Aybar (1.285) and Carlos Pena (1.034 with 11 walks to make up for just four hits).
#9 Milwaukee Brewers (Dartboard Factor = 89, 95): A week to forget for Bill Hall. He went 1 for 23 with 11 strikeouts and no walks drawn. Ouch. Ryan Braun however went 10 for 24 with seven walks drawn and just one strikeout, nearly balancing out Hall’s terribleness.
#10 New York Yankees (Dartboard Factor = 87, 82): Huge week from the bats. Four home runs from Mark Teixeira, five from Alex Rodriguez. It helps to have been playing at the new launching pad of baseball, Yankee Stadium.
#11 Philadelphia Phillies (Dartboard Factor = 86, 73): Raul Ibanez is still not even remotely close to cooling off, with another four home runs on the week, though he only had six total hits. Jamie Moyer had a much needed start as well with six innings of three run ball.
#12 Los Angeles Angels (Dartboard Factor = 86, 88): Stellar week from the pitching staff with just three home runs allowed total between the rotation as bullpen.
#13 Boston Red Sox (Dartboard Factor = 86, 81): Tim Wakefield and Brad Penny of all people lead the rotation this week with solid performances. David Ortiz finally hits a home run, but was still just .158/.238/.368 on the week.
#14 Chicago Cubs (Dartboard Factor = 85, 91): Five consecutive games scoring one run or fewer cannot have Lou Piniella too pleased. Derrek Lee was the only hitter with a meaningful positive offensive contribution on the week.
#15 Cincinnati Reds (Dartboard Factor = 85, 89): The rotation serves up six home runs and walked 17 to just 25 strikeouts over 36.1 innings this week.
#16 Minnesota Twins (Dartboard Factor = 82, 78): Big weeks from Kevin Slowey (12 strikeouts, no walks), Justin Morneau (seven walks, 1.230 OPS) and Joe Mauer (three home runs, 1.380 OPS). Sound familiar?
#17 Atlanta Braves (Dartboard Factor = 81, 84): The best kind of starts: Javier Vazquez throws 71 pitches, misses 14 bats, strikes out six, walks just one and eight of the eleven batted balls were on the ground. You just cannot beat that.
#18 Colorado Rockies (Dartboard Factor = 78, 77): Bad turn for Jorge De La Rosa yielding seven runs in 3.2 innings with five walks and just a lone strikeout. The rest of the rotation did well though.
#19 Pittsburgh Pirates (Dartboard Factor = 77, 79): Another poor offensive week from the slugging department in Pittsburgh with just four home runs total.
#20 San Diego Padres (Dartboard Factor = 75, 68): The Padres win out on the week, but still sit well behind the Dodgers. Jake Peavy declines to move to Chicago and tosses 18 strikeouts in 15 innings.
#21 Arizona Diamondbacks (Dartboard Factor = 73, 68): Four home runs for Mark Reynolds gives him a 1.304 OPS and the Diamondbacks moved up despite a roundly mediocre week for the rotation allowing 24 runs in 39.2 innings.
#22 Houston Astros (Dartboard Factor = 70, 75): Miguel Tejada goes 10 for 23 on the week with a walk and no strikeouts, but there was little else at the plate for Houston who drops a few more games behind.
#23 Seattle Mariners (Dartboard Factor = 69, 68): The bullpen has been roughed up this week and the offense is just horrid at generating any kind of attack outside of Russell Branyan.
#24 Florida Marlins (Dartboard Factor = 69, 73): Cody Ross nets five doubles and six walks on the way to 1.208 OPS for the week. Dan Uggla tops that with a 1.221 OPS thanks to five walks and four home runs. Ricky Nolasco is rather unfairly demoted thanks to his large BABIP.
#25 Cleveland Indians (Dartboard Factor = 68, 78): Ryan Garko goes an unimpressive 0-12 on the week and Kerry Wood was shelled for four runs on two dingers in three innings. The good news was Fausto Carmona 15 ground balls out of 20 batted balls.
#26 San Francisco Giants (Dartboard Factor = 68, 69): Two runs over eight innings seemed good for Barry Zito, but both runs coming off home runs plus four walks and a host of line drives allowed indicate that it was a very poor outing.
#28 Washington Nationals (Dartboard Factor = 64, 67): Massive week from Nick Johnson with nine hits, four for extra bases and a whopping ten walks giving him a .409/.594/.727 line.
#30 Oakland Athletics (Dartboard Factor = 62, 69): The bullpen had been the strength of the A’s to date, but it let them down this week and the rotation continues to struggle. Adam Kennedy had a wonderful week at the plate though.
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 – 96
Rays – 90
Yankees – 87
Red Sox – 86
Orioles – 66
Tigers – 92
Royals – 91
Twins – 82
Indians – 68
White Sox – 64
Rangers – 92
Angels – 86
Mariners – 69
Athletics – 62
Mets – 94
Phillies – 86
Braves – 81
Marlins – 69
Nationals – 64
Cardinals – 90
Brewers – 89
Cubs – 85
Reds – 85
Pirates – 77
Astros – 70
Dodgers – 109
Rockies – 78
Padres – 75
Diamondbacks – 73
Giants – 68