>TOP 10/ BOTTOM 5 (after 28 games)
1. Chicago Beast- last ranking #9- record 19-9 (L10 8-2)
Does anyone routinely score more runs than the Beast? 2nd in the NL with 181 runs Chicago is 14-4 since the last poll with series wins versus Kansas City, Salem, and Memphis. It’s early yet, but the NL North may be a one-horse race.
2. Trenton Thrashers- last ranking #2- record 23-5 (L10 6-4)
What can you say about the job tmf12 has done in Trenton? A ridiculous start has gotten them the best record in baseball and they scored 4 in the 9th to beat the defending World Series Champs in the opener of a huge series at home. Can they keep it up? An organization yet to make the playoffs will have to learn how to be the hunted, but right now they show no signs of going away.
3. Salem Timberhawks- last ranking UNRANKED- record 18-10 (L10 7-3)
Another unbelievable rebuilding job, this time by buffalowade. He has Salem at the top of the ultra-competitive NL West and with young hitting and Lenny Singleton leading the rotation, they are here to stay.
4. Los Angeles Robins- last ranking #10- record 17-11 (L10 8-2)
A 2 game winning streak coupled with a L3 by Anaheim has the Robins back atop their perch in the AL West. Strong pitching (AL best 3.35 ERA) will have the Robins in the mix until the end. They have had a fairly easy schedule to date but they have the arms to continue winning when the schedule gets tougher.
5. Memphis Maniax- last ranking UNRANKED- record 17-12 (L10 8-2)
3rd best team ERA (4.12) in the league and in the middle of a 5-game winning streak. They are also 2nd in homeruns (47) to Trenton. With a series sweep of perennial power Kansas City has the Maniax looking to win their 6th NL South title in 7 seasons.
6. Sacramento Terrible Two’s- last ranking #1- record 17-11 (L10 4-6)
Their ranking would be even lower if the bats didnt awaken to the tune of 13 runs on 17 hits in game #2 versus Trenton (after closer Zephyr Johnson blew his 2nd straight save opportunity in the 9th inning of game #1) snapping a 5-game losing streak. The defending World Series Champs have the offense and the pitching to repeat, but with the National League as tough as it is, they must hold onto late leads like their playoff lives depended on it (oh wait…they do!!!)
7. Boston Colonials- last ranking #6- record 16-12 (L10 7-3)
Their 127 runs given up is the 3rd fewest in the AL while their 170 runs scored is tied for 2nd. That pretty much sums it up for Boston. They can hit, they can stop teams from hitting thus, they will win and slowly pull away from Norfolk in the AL East.
8. Anaheim Natural Disasters– last ranking #8- record 16-12 (L10 6-4)
If it wasnt for their current 3-game losing streak they would be higher in the rankings. This is a team whose win/loss record is not indicative of their success. They are 5th in the AL in runs scored and have given up a miniscule 116 (2nd in AL) runs so far. Their 2-7 record in 1-run games can be cited as the culprit (as well as their 2-3 record with free baseball). If they can find a way to win the close games they could easily be looking down at Los Angeles with their first ever AL West crown stashed neatly away.
9. New Britian Block Heads– last ranking UNRANKED- record 17-11 (L10 5-5)
If all their games could be played at New Britian Stadium then Verd would have his first ever division crown and first ever playoff berth. But they are playing out the ol’ cliche, win your home games (11-5) and split your road games (6-6). Will it hold up for 162 games? They rank 3rd in the AL in team ERA (4.24) and if you allow me another baseball cliche, “Pitching wins championships.”
10. Fargo Roughriders– last ranking #5- record 15-13 (L10 4-6)
Some may be surprised to see carpediem33’s bunch still in the Top 10 but this is a team that finds a way to win. They have almost half their wins (7) by 1-run or in extra innings (3-0) and those close wins could mean the difference between watching the playoffs or a wild card. Also, in a league where a lot of teams have been outscored by wide margins, the Roughriders are a +32 in run differential. This will lead to wins as the long season unfolds. Look for Fargo to slowly climb the rankings as the season progresses.
Kansas City Kangaroos
Philadelphia Dead Milkmen
Richmond Poor men
28. Philadelphia Dead Milkmen- last ranking #4- record 13-16 (L10 4-6)
I know, I know, this is a very controversial ranking. How does a team go from AL Champions, to a #4 ranking, to the Bottom 5? First, let me say that there is no way I see the Milkmen (dead or otherwise) staying in the Bottom 5 for very long. But for now, after starting 7-3 they are only 6-13 since. They have given up 187 runs which is 2nd worst in the American League. A once pitching rich team, they are sitting 2nd worst in the AL with a 6.40 team ERA. And after all that, they are only 4 1/2 games out of 1st.
29. Las Vegas Muckers- last ranking UNRANKED- record 13-16 (L10 5-5)
They have played .500 ball after starting 8-11 but the Muckers have a fatal flaw, their lack of pitching. They are dead last in team ERA (7.21) and have given up 219 runs so far which is far and away the worst in the AL. They are also 6-0 in 1-run games and 1-0 in extra inning games but would be only 6-22 if not for those close wins. Something has to give, if the pitching staff continues to give up that many runs there will not be many 1-run games to win.
30. Pawtucket Patriots- last ranking #32- record 8-20 (L10 5-5)
A 3-15 start put them in a huge hole early and they are the first team in the AL to post double digit losses both home and on the road. Combine this with a tough AL East and they could be looking up at Boston, Norfolk, and even Washington D.C. most of the season. The offense has to do better than what they have shown so far (only 116 runs which is 2nd worst to Iowa City’s 115) if the Patriots have any chance of reaching the .500 mark.
31. Iowa City Shuckers- last ranking UNRANKED- record 9-20 (L10 0-10)
The current 10-game losing streak has turned a team fighting to get above .500 to one fighting to get out of the cellar. Granted, they have played 19 of their first 29 on the road, so it will get a bit easier once they begin their long homestands. Unfortunately, they have to play in the AL South and at this point in time Jacksonville, Richmond, and El paso are just better teams.
32. Wichita Weed– last ranking #31- record 6-22 (L10 3-7)
What a mess oldave was left with. But he has done a very good job of beginning to rebuild and stock the minors with talent. It will be a few years but I have no doubt that oldave will get it done. Richie Morton (acquired from Salem) has the tools to become an MVP candidate. Antone Hines (acquired from Chicago) has the stuff to be a solid closer eventually. Joe Rhodes (acquired from Vancouver) should be in the running for the Cy Young every full year he pitches in the bigs. Cyrus Curtis (acquired from San Diego) will become a legitimate #2 starter and a potential All-Star. As you can see, there is plenty of talent in the organization, and plenty of light at the end of the tunnel (it’s just a very long, very dark tunnel).
Charlotte Queen’s Men
Colorado Springs Coyotes