This week the members of Kinsella (15 of us) had a very clear view on what five teams belonged at the top of these rankings. The "Power 5" were named on 67 of a possible 72 ballots.
Current Rank (Previous Rank)
1. (1) Montreal Expos: Season 69-37, Points: 61, Ballots 15/15
The Expos continue to roll with the best record in baseball and Kevin Marte continues to be one of the most feared hitters. With one of the best offenses and an upper third pitching staff, the Expos appear destined to wrestle away the Reds stranglehold on the NL North and make a serious title run.
2. (2) Portland Beavers: Season 67-39, Points: 45, Ballots 14/15
The Beavers continue to play solid baseball, with their only recent blemish being a 3-1 series loss to the New York Yankees. Harry Reid has been a great addition for this team which looks superior to the team that was an eyelash away from a championship. With the Mariners on the decline, the Beavers appear headed for their first AL West title.
3. (T5) Atlanta Braves: Season 65-41, Points: 41, Ballots 13/14
Dee Dee is having a rookie season for the ages and fellow all-star sluggers Eric Roosevelt and Dan Guerrero are having stellar seasons as well. This fearsome trio has already combined for 115 home runs and 311 runs batted in and we still have 56 games left in the season. The only questions left for the Braves this season are by how many games will they win the division and will Dee Dee break the single season home run record?
4. (4) Charlotte Knights: Season 65-41, Points 35, Ballots 14/14
The Knights have taken command of the AL South this season by having the highest scoring team in baseball. Adam Martin, Jose Mondesi, Earl Jorgensen, and BC Javier are the most potent quartet of hitters in the AL and have helped this team rise one place in the standings each season with this season's first AL South Division title seemingly a lock.
5. (T5) Philadelphia Phillies: Season 63-43, Points: 26, Ballots 11/14
Flying high now! The arrival of Rocky Balboa seems to have lifted this team's spirits and their bullpen woes have gotten under control. Although they still lead the majors in blown saves (16), the margin has shrunk as the frequency has decreased. With the division title already appearing to be a foregone conclusion, the arrival of ace Darren Chance makes the Phillies and even stronger title threat.
6. (7) Cincinnati Reds: Season 61-45, Points 6, Ballots 3/14
With a surprising shake-up in the front office, the Reds performance on the field appears to be unaffected. The Reds are a team of sluggers with 5 players with 20 or more homers (and their GG caliber SS with 19) and with one of the worst team on base percentages, they score many of their runs by means of solo homers. Fortunately, their pitching staff is top notch and makes them a tough team to face in the playoffs, this season as a wild card entry.
7. (3) Seattle Mariners: Season 60-46, Points: 5, Ballots 2/15
The Mariners continue to have one of the best pitching staffs in the game. However, their offense is not keeping pace and providing those great pitchers with the run support they need. Luis Reynoso, Brandon Curtis, and Richard Ishii have all slid downward from their early season performances. If someone does not step up soon, the Mariners may find themselves out of the playoffs.
8. (N/A) Minnesota Twins: Season 54-52, Points: 4, Ballots 1/15
The young Twins emerged late last season as a strong bet to become an annual fixture on this list. This season they find themselves in a dogfight for the AL North with the also young and talented Detroit Tigers. Led by young sluggers Pat Decker and Sam Kubinski, the Twins offense has carried this team through some inconsistent pitching performances, especially in the bullpen. This division is still completely up for grabs, so who is going to grab it?
T9. (8) Arizona Diamondbacks: Season 62-44, Points: 1, Ballots 1/14
With a well balanced offense and a superb pitching staff, the Diamondbacks continue to stay on top of the NL West, despite the Dodgers best efforts. The NL West race looks like it will go down to the wire and the strong veteran presence on this squad seems determined to raise a fourth straight NL West championship banner.
T9. (N/A) New York Yankees: Season 60-46, Points: 1, Ballots 1/14
The Yankees appear to be on the rise with their improved offensive performance and the recent addition of second baseman Randy Hodges. Despite their top level pitching staff performance, the Yankees lack a dominant starter and appear to be at risk for an early playoff exit.
Others Receiving Votes: None