The members of Kinsella have spoken (at least 13 of us) and by a landslide, the Seattle Mariners have been voted as the #1 team thus far, not suprising since they also own the best record. While Montreal and Arizona tie for 2nd and are the other two teams that most agree on as being one of the best with each named on 10 ballots.
Points have been calculated with 5 pts for 1st, 4 pts for 2nd, 3 pts for 3rd, 2 pts for 4th and 1 pt for 5th. I'm also indicating the number of ballots on which each team appeared, regardless of rank.
1. (T9) Seattle Mariners: Season 33-17, Points: 51, 11/13 ballots
The power of this team is in the pitching. The trio of Kordell Becker, Freddie Alston, and Rob Tolberg have been outstanding. Larry Houston has been dominant out of the bullpen setting up for the excellent James Hutton. On offense, last season's team MVP Karl Turner has been a bit inconsistent, but picking up for him have been Luis Reynoso and Brandon Curtis who have both been outstanding. The AL West is the toughest division in the AL but the M's are on the right track to dethrone the Angels.
T2. (8) Montreal Expos: Season 31-19, Points: 33, 10/13 ballots
The Expos have become an offensive juggernaut this season. With a team batting average over .300 and an OPS of almost .900, this is the closest thing out there to last season's Philly squad. Besides stars Kevin Marte and Bernard Springer who are expected to perform, they are also getting significant contributions from Trenidad Woodward, Marcus Kipling, and Miguel Pena. With a pitching staff that lacks any major standouts, the Expo pitching has been very thankful for all of that run support. It will be interesting to see if the Expos can hold off the Reds second half surge that we have now come to expect and take their first NL North title.
T2. (4) Arizona Diamondbacks: Season 29-21, Points: 33, Ballots 10/13
Similar to last season, what should be the strength of this team, their excellent pitching has been inconsistent and its their offense that has carried them so far. With Al Diaz and Bernie Delgado pitching well and the other starters not pitching to their abilities, the D'back bats have kept this team on top of what appears to be the toughest division in baseball. Significant contributions have come from annual batting title competitor Pascual Martin, Mark Wanatabe, Alan Lidge, Artie Wall, and Ivan Tolberg. Can they make it 4 division titles in a row? We shall see.
4. (1) Philadelphia Phillies: Season 28-22, Points: 16, Ballots 6/13
One of the biggest stories of this season has to be the trade of 3-time MVP Jake Clapp. It definitely took some of the luster off this team, but with as many weapons as this team still possesses they are still a force to be reckoned with. Jose Roque, who came over in the Clapp trade, has taken up quite a bit of the offensive load. Combined with Pedro Garrido, Magglio Molina, and Del Wilhelm, this team still has one of the league's better offenses. Leading the stellar pitching staff, Perry Harvey is making a strong bid to repeat as Cy Young winner. Throw in new arrival Sam Gruber and Frank Feng and the Phils have an excellent playoff rotation. While these Phillies are not quite the dominant sort from last season, expect them to repeat as division champs and make some noise in October.
5. (N/A) Chicago White Sox: Season 31-19, Points: 14, Ballots 6/13
After a one year hiatus from the power rankings, the Sox are back. The pitching is still there with Vinny Satou, Wascar Martinez, and Darren Chance, who is having a down year for him. But this season, the offense has put it together this season. With Robinson Jerzembeck, Mark Moore, and Todd Winchester putting up All-Star caliber numbers, the Sox pitching has been getting excellent run support. The Sox look like the team to beat in the tough AL North with the Tigers and Twins right on their heels.
6. (N/A) New York Yankees: Season 29-21, Points: 11, Ballots 7/13
The Yankees first appearance on the power rankings comes in large part to the arrival of the twenty million dollar man, Hayes Swann. His presence has lifted a mediocre offense into one of the better units in the AL. However, it is pitching that has kept this team competitive. While the starting corp has performed decently, the true stars have been in the bullpen. The lefty setup trio of Larry Scharein, Julio Romero, and John McCall have been instrumental for this team since the average start has only lasted 6 innings. The Yankees are aiming for their first division crown but have to contend with the bigtime slugging Orioles right on their tail.
7. (T9) Portland Beavers: Season 30-20, Points: 8, Ballots 3/13
Last season's AL Champs are back with every major contributor from last season's squad as well as new addition, Harry Reid. Along with Reid, Bobby Dawkins, Rico Ayala, and Bono Mullen have done alot in helping make the Beavers one of the better offensive teams in the AL. While the offense has risen, inconsistent pitching has been the reason the Beavers are not higher in this list. With Josias Rosado and Pepper Stearns being the only consistent starters, a bigger burden has been place on the bullpen. Leading the way has been setup man Johnny Riggs, who is having a near perfect season. The Beavers would love to defend their AL crown and they seem to be on track to have a shot at it, whether it be as division winner or a wild card, like last season.
8. (N/A) Detroit Tigers: Season 26-24, Points: 6, Ballots 2/13
Another new arrival to the power rankings, the Tigers arrive on the list courtesy of their big hitting. With Damian Chen leading off and wrecking havoc on the base paths, sluggers Lewis Forsch and Eric Brumfield have been making the most of their plentiful RBI opportunities. While the starters have been a bit shaky, Earl Patterson is having one of the best season's of any closer in the league with a perfect 14 out of 14 in save attempts. The Tigers have the talent to remain in the hunt for one of the precious playoff spots.
T9. (N/A) Atlanta Braves: Season 30-20, Points: 5, Ballots 2/13
Dee Dee Hutton's arrival to the majors has been accompanied with enough fanfare, you'd think that the Braves were celebrating a World Series victory. Unfortunately, the crown currently sits farther south in Florida, but what the Braves do have is the most fearsome trio of sluggers in the game with Hutton, Eric Roosevelt, and Dan Guerrero. The three will likely combine for over 120 homers and 360 RBI on an annual basis. Combine that with some excellent pitching, led by Alejandro Vasquez, and you have the makings of one of the new contenders for a title. The Braves look like a lock to take the weak NL South so Dee Dee should get the chance to perform on the big October stage. Will he live up to the hype?
T9. (N/A) Los Angeles Dodgers: Season 28-22, Points 5, Ballots 2/13
Another team that took a one season hiatus from the list is the LA Dodgers. Without having a single offensive player worthy of the All-Star team, this team is all about pitching. The Dodgers currently have the top performing starters in the majors in Buck Barry, Roland Covelski, Alvin Sasser, and free agent pick-up Alex Kubinski. In addition, setup man Kelvim Bennett and closer Gary Meadows have been outstanding at preserving Dodger victories. LA has a difficult road coming out of the fierce NL West, but they have the horses to win this playoff race.
Others Receiving Votes:
(7) Charlotte Knights: Season 29-21, Points 4, Ballots 2/13
(N/A) Chicago Cubs: Season 30-20, Points 3, Ballots 2/13
(N/A) Baltimore Orioles: Season 27-23, Points 3, Ballots 1/13
(N/A) San Francisco Giants: Season 28-22, Points 3, Ballots 1/13