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 = 119, 126): With Brandon Webb out for some time with Arizona, and already the favorites in the division, the Dodgers look to have a nicely paved path to October basbeall. It was a tough week for Clayton Kershaw, but the Dodgers offense is heating up thanks to Manny Ramirez and Matt Kemp.
#2 Toronto Blue Jays (Dartboard Factor = 117, 111): A monster week from Lyle Overbay with a pair of extra base hits and six walks in just 17 plate appearances. The rotation faltered a bit, but most of the bullpen stepped up to keep the Blue Jays ahead of the surging Red Sox in the AL East.
#3 St Louis Cardinals (Dartboard Factor = 109, 106): Albert Pujols is really doing a fine job replacing the void left by Barry Bonds atop the best hitter in baseball discussion. It was however, a less than stellar week from Todd Wellemeyer with ten runs allowed spread across two starts.
#4 Boston Red Sox (Dartboard Factor = 102, 82): Boston has extended their winning streak to double digits, but the performance out of David Ortiz is still concerning, especially after last season. Manny Delcarmen and Takashi Saito both had good weeks in relief.
#5 Kansas City Royals (Dartboard Factor = 97, 99): Zack Greinke and Gil Meche continue to steamroll opponents and Brian Bannister makes a solid debut, helping to keep Horacio Ramirez away at least for the time being. The question remains where the offense is going to come from.
#6 Pittsburgh Pirates (Dartboard Factor = 97, 101): Nyjer Morgan has just four extra base hits on the season, no home runs, but did manage to draw six walks this week against just two punch outs. It was also a good week for the elder LaRoche sibling with two home runs and six walks drawn of his own.
#7 Florida Marlins (Dartboard Factor = 93, 110): While it’s still too early to be using strength of schedule or other measures when adjusting won-loss records, it still is handy to take note of which teams are playing each other. For instance, the Marlins getting to play six against the Nationals? Worth noting. Look what’s happened since.
#8 San Diego Padres (Dartboard Factor = 93, 94): The Gonzalez brothers account for all the home runs hit by Padre hitters this week with three form Adrian and one from Edgar. That’s just twice as many home runs as that allowed by Jake Peavy over his last two starts, which also saw him walk seven.
#9 Tampa Bay Rays (Dartboard Factor = 92, 89): Dropped two of three to the Mariners, but James Shields was on the tough end of a 1-0 duel with Felix Hernandez. The bullpen is still full of questions and the lineup seemingly left their vitamins at home, swatting just three home runs all week.
#10 New York Mets (Dartboard Factor = 92, 104): Johan Santana pitches like Johan with ten strikeouts over 25 batters faced and Oliver Perez pitches like Oliver with five walks over the same number of batters and nearly 50% of his pitches called a ball.
#11 Detroit Tigers (Dartboard Factor = 86, 99): Porcello is still getting ground balls, but far too often when he misses, they end up over the wall. On the brighter side, he’s missing more bats with each successive start, though it’s still a small sample.
#12 Seattle Mariners (Dartboard Factor = 85, 87): The Mariners get Russell Branyan back from a sore back and he makes an immediate impact in their weekend series win over the Angels. Another pair of strong starts from Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard also help the Mariners to another successful week.
#13 New York Yankees (Dartboard Factor = 84, 73): Mark Teixeira may not be bopping home runs yet, but he’s doing a great job of getting on base; eight walks this week and a .500 OBP. A poor week for the rotation as A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia continue to under perform and Joba Chamberlain is not looking dominant in a starting role.
#14 Chicago Cubs (Dartboard Factor = 82, 90): Kosuke Fukudome kept it up this week with another five walks and a home run. Rich Harden is still a strikeout machine, but three home runs allowed on the week across two starts puts a damper on the 17 Ks.
#15 Atlanta Braves (Dartboard Factor = 80, 70): A big week from the bullpen along with Javier Vazquez who records 17 strikeouts against just two walks and two runs over tow starts. Jordan Schafer also has a productive week with a very impressive eight walks drawn and three doubles.
#16 Cleveland Indians (Dartboard Factor = 76, 80): After his first disastrous start, Carl Pavano has looked serviceable for the Indians in his past three turns. Fausto Carmona also finally has a vintage Carmona start this past week, generating ground balls at an insane 78% clip.
#17 Texas Rangers (Dartboard Factor = 75, 77): Michael Young goes deep three times this week but accompanies that with ten strikeouts and just one walk. The entire pitching staff sans Scott Feldmen melted down, though the Rangers still managed to pull off some wins thanks to the bats.
#18 Chicago White Sox (Dartboard Factor = 73, 83): Less than stellar starts from Bartolo Colon, Gavin Floyd and Jose Contreras coupled with a strikeout prone offense and the White Sox tumble down the Dartboard this week.
#19 Milwaukee Brewers (Dartboard Factor = 72, 62): Monster week from Ryan Braun with three dingers and more walks (six) than strikeouts (five). Yovani Gallardo‘s seven-strikeout, no-walk start makes it two good ones in a row for him, essential for the Brewers in the tough NL Central.
#20 Cincinnati Reds (Dartboard Factor = 70, 57): 12 walks is not a good number, even over a pair of starts, but 14 strikeouts helps to take a bit of the sting out of it as Edinson Volquez looks back to missing bats at least. Next step, stop missing the strike zone quite so often.
#21 Los Angeles Angels (Dartboard Factor = 68, 71): Torii Hunter continues to mash with another three home runs this week, but the lack of starting pitching is really starting to show as Darren Oliver lands on the DL. A very poor week from Scot Shields doesn’t help the last place Angels either.
#22 San Francisco Giants (Dartboard Factor = 66, 46): What a difference a week makes, especially early in the season. Still just 22nd on the Dartboard, the Giants do jump 20 wins worth of value though. Tim Lincecum has looked stellar in his last two outings and even Barry Zito looks renewed. Look out once that rotation is all firing.
#23 Colorado Rockies (Dartboard Factor = 65, 70): One for 21 out of Troy Tulowitzki this week, but he did manage to draw some walks, the offense could really use the 2007-version of Troy and the 1997-version of Todd Helton.
#24 Houston Astros (Dartboard Factor = 65, 62): Carlos Lee had a big week with four home runs and Felipe Paulino is showing some real strikeout ability. And uh, well, Russ Ortiz didn’t allow a home run! That’s something. Oh and Chris Sampson righted the ship this week with no walks and three strikeouts.
#25 Philadelphia Phillies (Dartboard Factor = 65, 60): Cole Hamels had a great start interrupted by a line drive off his shoulder. That’s the sort of week it was in Philadelphia, who also saw the Flyers eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by cross-state rival Pittsburgh. Ouch.
#26 Minnesota Twins (Dartboard Factor = 61, 60): Great turns from Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins do not do much to help the Twins increase their lot this week. The offense is still missing Joe Mauer.
#27 Arizona Diamondbacks (Dartboard Factor = 61, 64): Brandon Webb is shut down for an extended period of time now and that’s a huge blow to Arizona’s chances. They’re going to need Max Scherzer and the rest of the back end of the rotation to really step up now.
#28 Washington Nationals (Dartboard Factor = 61, 61): Welcome aboard Jordan Zimmermann, try not to let Daniel Cabrera (eight walks, one strikeout over two starts this week) leech any talent off you on his way out.
#29 Baltimore Orioles (Dartboard Factor = 57, 53): The pitching is still an issue, but not so much this week as it was mostly the offense that took the week off. Still, Mark Hendrickson allowing five home runs between a pair of starts is no great feat.
#30 Oakland Athletics (Dartboard Factor = 56, 76): The offense is continuing to sputter badly and Trevor Cahill looks like he needs more seasoning in the minors while the whole starting rotation is missing the strikeout ability of Rich Harden.
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 – 117
Red Sox – 102
Rays – 92
Yankees – 84
Orioles – 57
Royals – 97
Tigers – 86
Indians – 76
White Sox – 73
Twins – 61
Mariners – 85
Rangers – 75
Angels – 68
Athletics – 56
Marlins – 93
Mets – 92
Braves – 80
Phillies – 65
Nationals – 61
Cardinals – 109
Pirates – 97
Cubs – 82
Brewers – 72
Reds – 70
Astros – 65
Dodgers – 119
Padres – 93
Giants – 66
Rockies – 65
Diamondbacks – 61