Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Cubicle GM MLB Power Rankings. These rankings are a collaboration of some of the brilliant minds that make up the brain trust over at Cubicle GM. Each participating member gives their individual rankings, and the combined average makes up where we see the balance of power in the majors today.
Going forward, every Tuesday the CGM rankings will contain more trend analysis and detail behind teams moving up and down the board. For the first post, since none of that applies yet, I took a detailed look into some of the behind the scenes info about our rankings for this week.
There was no doubt about which two teams were the best in their respective leagues, as everyone ranked the Dodgers and the Red Sox at either No. 1 or No. 2. The league was split on who was at the top however, and since they don’t play each other this year, the Dodgers get the nod this week since they currently have a better record.
There was also no questioning the bottom team in the rankings, as all four of us put Washington at No. 30. The Nats hold the distinction of being the only team to get such a consensus ranking from the entire group.
There were quite a few teams that varied significantly from one contributor to another. Our good friend Gideon took a unique approach to his rankings, using run differential and weighting it based off opponents’ winning percentage. As such, there were some major differences between his rankings and the rest of ours (myself, Mickey and Joey), including:
St. Louis Cardinals (17) – Gideon 23, Mickey 6
Minnesota Twins (11) – Gideon 4, Jacob/Mickey 15
Chicago Cubs (10) – Gideon 11, Mickey 21
Pittsburgh Pirates (10) – Gideon 15, Joey 25
Arizona Diamondbacks (10) – Gideon 19, Jacob/Mickey 29
Finally, the AL East was easily the best-ranked division with an average rank of 9.25, as three teams finished in the top six overall. Its counterpart in the National League did not fare so well, as the Nationals’ consensus No. 30 ranking put the NL East at the bottom with an average rank of 19.40.
For all the detail behind this, check out the backup data here. Now, onto the rankings. I’ve only gone into detail about the Top 10, so if you want some more info on your team, tell them to play better so they can move up the ladder.
1. Dodgers–The Dodgers are the best team in the majors at 21 games over .500, and will only get better with the return of Manny Ramirez.
2. Red Sox–Boston holds the best record in the AL by 3.5 games, and is second in run differential at +74. Sox manager Terry Francona made an interesting decision to bat J.D. Drew leadoff, and it’s paying off so far.
3. Angels–After losing a season-high three straight games last week during interleague play, Anaheim has bounced back to win six in a row going into Tuesday night. The latest win came thanks to a 21-year old rookie starter.
4. Yankees–The Yankees have certainly benefited from playing half the games in their new home park, but a large portion of their success comes from having the second best road record in the AL at 22-18. Jayson Stark points out some fun facts about Mariano Rivera’s 500th save and first career RBI, which of course happened in the same game.
6. Rays–The Rays lead the league in runs scored with 438, ahead of the second place Yankees by 23. That’s one reason they’ve won their last six, but a big part is their pitching, giving up four runs or less in each game. The Rays beat Roy Halladay on Monday, thanks to a big effort by Jeff Neimann.
7. Brewers–Milwaukee holds a slim lead in the NL Central, and all six teams are within six games of the top. Former Cub Casey McGehee is making the most of his chance with the Brew Crew.
8. Rockies–After losing their first three games in June, the Rockies won 17 of 18 to give them a 20-7 record for the month to date. While that’s all well and good, they need to capitalize on their chances against the first-place Dodgers to have any chance at the division crown.
9. Twins–Minnesota and Chicago are tied for second in the AL Central with .500 records, yet the Twins finish eight spots ahead of the White Sox in the rankings. A big part of that is Joe Mauer, who is batting .386 as the calendar turns into July.
10. Blue Jays–The Jays have been the surprise team of the AL this season, as they sit at four games over .500 and just 3.5 games out of a wild card spot (is it still too early for that?). Although Toronto has lost three in a row and four of five, they got a big boost with Roy Halladay’s return from the DL, even in a losing effort.
17. White Sox