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Your Monday Morning Power Rankings

Aug 15, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

John Kruk, Darren Daulton

I’m gonna level with you: thanks to the vacation, I have no freakin’ idea what happened last week. Oh, I quickly glanced at scores most mornings, but I didn’t think hard about it or process any of it. I have a very weak grasp on who’s hot and who’s not. And, even if I can gain some insight into that from the standings and last week’s results, I really have no idea why they’re hot or not. Baseball is something with which you have to engage every day in order to really be on top of things, and I haven’t been doing that for a while.

So yeah, this week’s rankings are probably off by several degrees. Sue me. I’ll do my best to catch up this week and make the necessary adjustments for next week’s edition. In the meantime:

1. Phillies (1): Before Philly fans jump on my case for taking so long to rank them as the sole number one, know that if I would have done a ranking last week they would have been by themselves at the top then too.  That said, I presume some Philly fans will still got on my case for the above disclaimer about my vacation as evidence that I’ve slighted or disrespected them somehow. In other news, the best thing about my vacation was that I didn’t meet or interact with a single Phillies fan.

2. Red Sox (1): Stolen factoid from Gleeman’s Twitter feed yesterday morning: “There are only 25 non-Red Sox hitters in the AL with a higher OPS than the Red Sox have as a team.”  If Gleeman stole it from someone else, apologies to the whoever else it was who first observed it.  But hey, finders keepers.

3. Yankees (3): This has to go in a bathroom, right? I mean, is there anyplace else it can go apart from a largish guest bathroom? And that’s not a slam. Kate Winslet keeps her Oscars in her bathroom, and she’s pure class.

4. Brewers (7): A lot of their recent wins have come against the Astros which should barely count, but a lot of them have come against the Cardinals too, which means everything in this division at the moment. Milwaukee is getting the job done when given the opportunity.

5. Braves (4): I’m pretty sure that last week was the longest I’ve gone without watching a Braves game during the season in, like, a decade. Even on past vacations I’ve caught one or two randomly. I see they took to my neglect quite nicely. Must process this.

6. Rangers (5): Big four game set against the Halos starts tonight. Can they put the division away?

7. Diamondbacks (8): Next six games come against Philly and Atlanta. If they come through that and they’re still in first place, San Francisco — and maybe Philly and Atlanta — have a lot to think about in terms of the postseason implications.

8. Angels (10): Big four game set against the Rangers starts tonight. Can they keep the division in play?

9. Rays (11): Desmond Jennings must be all smoke and mirrors. I mean, in the past three weeks his OPS has plummeted by over 50%!  Oh, wait. It started up above 2.400?  Never mind then.

10. Giants (6): A tough series against the Braves to start the week off, but then they get 12 games against the Astros, Cubs and Padres. Seven of those 12 against the Astros, actually. Then they meet Arizona. Now would be a good time for San Francisco to win some baseball games.

11. Tigers (12): I was in northern Michigan for my vacation.  You see a lot of Tigers gear up there, worn by vacationing Detroiters. Everyone under 12 or so wears Justin Verlander stuff. Everyone over 30 wears stuff with Trammell and all of those old guys on it. I have no data, but I have a hunch that Tigers fans are a more nostalgic group than most fans.

12. Cardinals (9): Just as an FYI, they were a half game back in the standings when they traded Colby Rasmus, acquired Edwin Jackson and generally re-shuffled. Now they’re … not.

13. Reds (17): I am really sad that I missed the Yonder Alonso follies last week.

14. Indians (15): Another team taking care of divisional business when they can. And save it: while it was admirable that they took two of three from Detroit last week, I don’t think that makes them a better team overall.

15. Blue Jays (13): Unlike the Cardinals, the Jays have more or less stayed steady, at least in the standings, since the Rasmus trade. This is no sharp commentary on the trade, though. Just observin’.

16. White Sox (18): Winners of eight of ten and a series against the Tribe starting tomorrow night. Can they leapfrog into second? Is my preseason pick for the AL Central gonna actually pan out?

17. Mets (13): Let’s find a silver lining. How about this: there are two third place teams in baseball with worse records than the Mets, and both of them — the A’s and Rockies — were considered by many to be contenders this year. Does that make anyone feel better?

18. Nationals (22): I don’t think there has been a team that has had a higher ratio of interesting minor league news to interesting major league news than the 2011 Nationals in many years.

19. Pirates (16): Remember when everyone was on that Pirates bandwagon? Seems like a million years ago.

20. Rockies (20): Random: their first game against a divisional opponent in the month of August doesn’t come until this Friday.

21. Dodgers (24): I swear, with the exception of Philly, every single time I’ve seen a National League team on a modest win streak this season, I look up and see that they just got done playing the Astros. It’s uncanny.

22. Marlins (19): Lost in all of the Logan Morrison stuff was the fact that the Feesh also released Wes Helms.  Common denominator: Helms has also called out Hanley Ramirez in the past.  Was Ramirez somehow settling all family business last weekend?

23. Cubs (29): The funniest thing about the Zambrano stuff is that it came during a stretch of nice play by the Cubs. They had won 9 of 11 at the time of his blow up. I’ve defended Zambrano more than some folks have in the past, but really, I can’t think of anyone who is more detached from his teammates and the general vibe of the world than he is. He’s just not cut out for this whole team sports thing. His temperament is like some second-tier tennis bad boy of the late 70s.

24. Athletics (21): Apropos of nothing, Brandon McCarthy has great taste.

25. Padres (25): A 6-4 road trip ain’t bad.

26. Mariners (27): Two out of three from the Bosox ain’t bad either.

27. Twins (23): People I talked to continued to say that we gotta watch out for the Twins as recently as two weeks ago. Whatever. The Twins gotta watch out for Kansas City.

28. Royals (26): A 1-6 week. Ick.

29. Orioles (28): Sign this guy!

30. Astros (30): Seriously: how many bona fide major leaguers are on this roster right now?  I’ve seen expansion teams with more red meat.

  1. bjavie - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    My favorite part about the link to the Derek Jeter…”thing”…is the picture – and all those empty Yankee Stadium seats!!

    • vintage1496 - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM

      Well it was a pre-game ceremony. Usually not every fan has taken their seat at that point.

      But yes zomg lolz hahahaha the Yankees don’t sell out every game!

      • bjavie - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:18 AM

        Oh, certainly, but it’s JETER. I thought all Yankee fans worshipped him and his every accolade. I would have figured they put first pitch on hold for about an hour so that everyone would be there to worship the great, above average short stop.

      • vintage1496 - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        Ok he’s above-average now, but over the course of his career-… nevermind, I’m not even going to try and argue this.

      • bjavie - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:17 PM

        What about over the course of his career???? I have said it before and I will say it again – if he had played for the White Sox, or Cardinals, or Angels, or anyone else he would never have amassed the plate appearances to get 3,000 hits…at least not yet. Nor would anyone talk about him in the vain that they do now.

        Over the course of his career he has been a very, very good ball player, but I say “above average” to fooset anyone who calls him great. It makes me sick to my stomach when anyone says anything about him being great. He is not now, and never was “great.” Consistent, over a long period of time, on teams that aided all of his stats.

        Again, if he played his whole career in Chicago, or LA, or hell, over in Queens, he would be discussed in the same vain as Ichiro is – very good ballplayer, but…..

      • Ari Collins - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:41 PM

        That’s crazy talk. Jeter is a first-ballot HOF-er no matter where he plays. Yes, his defense was never great, and yes, his aura of championship grittiness hustle captaincy superheroness is kind of ridiculous. But what he’s done on the field is no creation of the NY media.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 15, 2011 at 3:08 PM

        Again, if he played his whole career in Chicago, or LA, or hell, over in Queens, he would be discussed in the same vain as Ichiro is – very good ballplayer, but…..

        Before I spend another hour researching or fangraphs, tell us why you only consider him good and not great?

      • vintage1496 - Aug 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM

        Because he’s not very intelligent.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    “In other news, the best thing about my vacation was that I didn’t meet or interact with a single Phillies fan.”

    Ouch, Craig. That hurts me at my core. Seriously though, the 9-1 road trip was put them over the top in my opinion. I for one never argued with a dual Red Sox/Phillies #1 ranking. I’d actually make it Red Sox/Phillies/Yankees as triple #1 as those 3 teams are far and away better than anybody else by far and I would not be shocked if any of the 3 win the World Series. If none of them did…THAT would be a shock.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 15, 2011 at 3:10 PM

      Nah, Yankee offense isn’t as good as the Sox, and the pitching isn’t as good as Philly. Don’t deserve to be a 3 way tie. But I do agree that they are head and shoulders above everyone else.

  3. funkygoorilla - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    Welcome back Craig! HBT just wasn’t the same without you.

  4. kopy - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    Well, the Twins were 7 games back two weeks ago, but yes, they are done now. Congratulations. Only a couple months after you said they were dead!

  5. heyblueyoustink - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    Craig, I honestly did miss your quirky insight last week, ended up reading way too much serious news.

    But man, like Fiorentino said: Ouch, that carte blanche shot at all Philly fans is, um, a little on the harsh side, dude.

  6. jimbo1949 - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    Kate Winslet keeps her Oscars in her bathroom, and she’s pure class.
    Tony Kornheiser keeps his Emmy in the guest bathroom as a toilet paper holder.

  7. kiwicricket - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Craig- You have literally robbed many readers out of potential amusement by not ranking the Philly’s #2 or lower. Poor form.

  8. Jonny 5 - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    “In other news, the best thing about my vacation was that I didn’t meet or interact with a single Phillies fan.”

    I’m sure your family just loves knowing THAT was the best part of the vacation you had together. SMH……

  9. pheagles - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Craig, just because you didn’t interact with us on your, “vacation” doesn’t mean we weren’t there, waiting and lurking in the shadows ready to pounce. I am sure there were those moments when you felt us watching. You felt the chills late at night when you heard the whispers- “wooooo. Phillies deserve first alone in your rankings. Wooooo.”

  10. halladaysbiceps - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    First of all, thanks Craig for the nice photo of Kruk and Daulton in today’s rankings. I’m sure most Phillies fans, including myself, appreciate it. I had to get out of that Ryan Howard thread. I thought I was going to get beat over the head with a “metric” stick. I had fears of the nuns and their ruler abuse when I was in Catholic school.

    Anyway, the Phillies are the deserving #1 team as they had the best week of any other team, in my estimation. They continue to play great ball.

  11. Lukehart80 - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    I like that in your comment on the Indians you wrote: “And save it:” to try and keep their supporters from getting worked up over their ranking; because the very small number of Tribe fans who comment on here are just CONSTANTLY up in arms over your slandering of the team and chronic underrating of Ryan Howard.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      Yeah, kind of silly with respect to the Indians. Not a very vocal fan base around here. But I often get the “how can you rank X below Y, when X just took a series from Y last week?” kind of comment, and I wanted to head it off at the pass.

      • Lukehart80 - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM

        No, I understand that the better team doesn’t always win a short series. Just look at the ’95 World Series for proof.

      • marinersnate - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:46 PM

        “But I often get the “how can you rank X below Y, when X just took a series from Y last week?” kind of comment, and I wanted to head it off at the pass”

        Craig, since Boston is ranked #2 and the Mariners just took a series from them this weekend, shouldn’t the M’s be ranked……..

        BTW, welcome back.

  12. philly56 - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    I like how you suggest you hate Phils fans because of their passion and then put a picture of Kruk up in this post – the same guy who said in his wof induction speech that all the media and players who deride Philadelphia for it’s passionate sports fans simply don’t have the guts to play here or appreciate the best fans in the United States of America for what they are. An inspiration to the game of baseball and the country as a whole. 

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Navy SEAL that shot Bin Laden in the face was a Phils fan – with that kind of passion only one team would do, the Philadelphia Phillies.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:28 AM

      I’ve never said I hated Philly fans for their passion. I’ve frequently said that I admire them for it and that I wish that fans of my team had a fraction of the passion Philly fans do. Passion is good.

      What I don’t like is Philly fans’ tendency to allow their passion to totally overwhelm their rationality and perspective. And to cause them to lash out at people for perceived disrespect at every turn.

      • hateradeonrocks - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:13 PM

        good god are you an idiot craig. you make 1 article a week bashing a phillies player.

      • FC - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:15 PM

        I’m sure every team has those kinds of fans. As a test, make a post about how Jeter is not really a great shortstop…

      • FC - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:17 PM

        @hateradeonrocks. He does it because he KNOWS he’ll get tons of comments and hits. It’s all in good fun. It’s good natured ribbing. I’m sure he’d love to have as many Braves fans on the site being just as vocal and nutty.

      • loungefly74 - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:31 PM


        …which is fair. who doesn’t like to beat their chest when their team is in a golden age of winning?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM

      John Kruk is such an inspiration he has the distinction of being the only person to ever retire from MLB in the middle of the game. Dedication my ass.

  13. su1982 - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    WOW CRAIG!!!

    Kinda getting old! All you writers need a new gig about Philly!!!

    Next your going to say well you did BOOOO Santa!!!! In 1968 and they were not directed at SANTA it was the ownership for dismantling the team..

    Why dont you give credit where credits do, they deserve it and keep the fans out of your mouth…

    If you met a Phillies fan on your vacation he could have helped you with some new material for your $H!TTY articles about Philly!

    best of Luck

    • cur68 - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      Way to prove the point, su’. Angry much? Certainly don’t spell, punctuate or grammar much. Oh wait, you’re the Philly Phan that gives the other Phans that bad name, thus justifying all the ‘bashing’ Craig does. Carry on…

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:10 PM

        I like that you spelled fan with the “ph”. You would be a welcome addition to the phanbase if you ever decide to jump ship.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:13 PM

        Good Doctor,

        The good cur68 is a Halladay lover, just like us. He wishes nothing more than for the Phillies (other than the Jays aka Beavermen) to win it all to get the Holy One a ring.

        cur68 is an honorary Phillies fan for his love of the Doc.

      • cur68 - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        This year, every time I see “Santa” on TV, I’m going to boo him, just to be like you guys. I’d throw batteries but I hate to be branded a litterbug (damn my social conscience: keeping me a social outcast since 1968).

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:20 PM

        First of all, the Santa thing was blown out of proportion. People always think it was an on the field Santa, but according to people who were at that game it was a drunk guy in the stands dressed as Santa causing problems. No defense for the batteries.

      • cur68 - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        See? I still can’t fit in. Didn’t even have the right demographic of Santa to jeer at. Ok, then. I’ll boo all drunk fan-Santas.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

        Cur, you are good people. We are glad to have you on board with us to watch the magic of the Holy One and the Phillies.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:52 PM

        Don’t throw the batteries at the Santa on TV. First, the TV probably set you back a good chunk. Second, you need something to power the Taser.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 15, 2011 at 2:01 PM

        LOL!!! What’s up, Hair. Did you see the Ryan Howard thread. What a mess!

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 15, 2011 at 2:38 PM

        I steer clear of those cluster$#%^s. People arguing that an RBI leader is just lucky because he has runs to bat in is just mind boggling.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 15, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        Guys (and Craig, if you are reading this). I want to give dirtyharry1971 an award for the best commenter on HBT. Is there something we can do for him? Maybe put his name in gold print every time he comments? There must be something.

  14. rjmarrella - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Why wasn’t Philadelphia listed at least twice in the top five! NO FAIR!

  15. spudchukar - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Was it Nirvana or Xanadu, you took your family to for a week?

  16. spudchukar - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Let me do a lil’ observin’ of my own. Rasmus’ numbers since the deal that sent him to a hitter’s park: In 59 ABs his line is .220/.356/.602 with 1 HR, and 12 Ks. In fairness, neither Patterson nor Dotel nor Jackson have excelled, none have totally sucked either. Dotel, much to my surprize has actually been effective and if he doesn’t wear out (he has already appeared 9 times) may become the 8th inning dude.

    We ain’t missin’ you at All, Colby.

    • Ari Collins - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:48 PM

      That confused me greatly until I realized that was BA/OBP/OPS. I was like, “What are you talking about? That slash line is fantastic!”

      I’m not sure why you’d list it that way. Not only confusing, but if you already have OBP, then SLG is actually more useful than OPS, which is a terrible statistic.

      • spudchukar - Aug 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        BA is a terrible stat. OPS, much like Total Bases is a pretty reliable stat for offensive production.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 15, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        It’s good in a napkin math type of way. It’s bad in that it combines two numbers with different denominators (PA vs AB) and it highly overvalues SLG compared to OBP (which is shown to be more important).

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 15, 2011 at 3:16 PM

        Damnit hit reply too fast. [OPS] Also isn’t park or league adjusted.

      • FC - Aug 15, 2011 at 3:47 PM

        I’ve soured a bit on SLG recently, Singles are included, and hitting singles isn’t my idea of slugging. Triples are worth 50% more than SLG. And if you use ISO, triples are worth TWICE as much as doubles. It can be improved.

      • spudchukar - Aug 15, 2011 at 4:20 PM

        The problem with park adjustments as I see it is that it doesn’t factor in the ineptitude or excellence of the team playing in it.

      • Ari Collins - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        Actually, park factors DO adjust for quality of the teams (that’s actually pretty simple to do). The handedness of the players can affect things, though, which is when you need to check into park factors that go a bit deeper. For example, the basic NYY park factor will be slightly skewed by the general left-handedness of their lineup But more in-depth park factors can tell you, say, that Fenway plays well for average and doubles but actually suppresses HR power, especially for LHBs.

  17. xmatt0926x - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    Actually, Craig has been pretty light with his Philly baiting this season. Last year it was every day. This year he seems to be saving it for just the right times and it likely just built up in him since he was on vacation and didn’t blog for the whole week. Craig is a master baiter!! Ok, that was old and lame. I just couldn’t resist.

  18. loungefly74 - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    rankings look good to me. and BTW, love how rankings can stir the debate pot.
    good perspective on what the Giants need to do to stay relevant.

  19. dirtyharry1971 - Aug 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    check out the picture in this article, what was going on there in philly? a weight watchers convention? Or were they honoring the 1993 team? You know the team that LOST the world series? Leave it to philly to honor LOSERS!

    • halladaysbiceps - Aug 15, 2011 at 2:50 PM

      Hey, Dirtyharry, how’s it going? Glad to see you here today.

  20. bozosforall - Aug 15, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    “Before Philly fans jump on my case for taking so long to rank them as the sole number one…”

    No, it’s way too obvious that you are a Red Sox fan, Calcachumpa. So not a surprise at all.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 15, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Actually he’s a Braves fan, but nice nickname.

  21. pgn5001 - Aug 15, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Craig your a freaking sports write get your shit together, your better then this

    a Phillies fun

    p.s. braves can suck it

    • kiwicricket - Aug 15, 2011 at 7:21 PM

      Clearly, you are not.

  22. veryindifferent - Aug 15, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Based on these rankings, if the Angels can go 2-4 every week for the rest of the season they could challenge for the #1 spot.

  23. natstowngreg - Aug 15, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    *This is a Phillies-Free Comment*

    Yes, the Nats are having an interesting season. Some of it is interesting in the ancient Chinese sense. like getting eaten by a dragon.

  24. pete8880 - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    It’s sad when a writer can’t be objective because of comments on his articles. A writer with no objectivity is a writer with no credibility.

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