Sunday, March 25, 2012

AL Breakdown 3/25

Instead of power rankings this time around, let's dig a little deeper into FACTS instead of OPINIONS...

Currently leading the AL is the Oakland A's. There is no question that they are the unquestioned leader in the AL at this point of the season. Domi's guys have scored 642 runs (5.73 rpg) while allowing a league low 442 (3.94 rpg). With a 12 game lead at this point in the season, you can expect the A's to beat down the league and earn either a 1 or 2 seed going into the playoffs.

The other team that should walk into the playoffs is jnew's White Sox. The south side sluggers have scored 553 runs (4.93 rpg), and allowing (4.45 rpg). They hold a 9 game lead for the division. Neither Toronto or Minnesota should challenge for the division.

The AL South is a little more open than people think. Texas has led from the beginning. But akg's boys have shown occasional signs of weakness. While having a solid offense, their pitching has allowed 609 runs (5.4 rpg). The door is open for tk's Kansas City club as they rebounded from a very poor start to be only 6 games back. If their offense can pick up, they could close that gap even more. Even though the Rays have climbed out of a BIG hole to start the season, don't expect them to make a run on the division.

And now the most exciting division, the AL East. It's been a three way battle between crabman's Orioles, oe's Yankees, and jclark's Red Sox. Let's spend some time and break down the three teams:
Strengths: solid defense, high number of K's from pitchers, hits a lot of HR
Questions: allow a lot of HR (150), 13 blown saves, allow a LOT of walks, lowest amount of steals (10 vs 8 caught)
Strengths: A lot of successful steals (131 w/79% success), best fielding team in the AL (98.9% FP, 274 double plays), highest number of saves (43)
Questons: below average in hitting HR/2b, very high # of strikeouts (worst in AL), below avg OBP, 16 blown saves, lowest strikeout rate
Red Sox:
Strengths: Saved 35 of 45, worst of the 3 teams in defense (still 98.7%), Currently leading the three teams in runs scored (over Orioles by 1 run), Best OBP of the three (.342)
Questions: Most stolen bases, but not a good caught % (73%), only hit 122 hr.

Summary: the three teams mirror one another on paper. They are built the same way and very little separates them.

Wild Card Teams:
New York Yankees (would currently get 1st wc)
Boston Red Sox (would currently get 2nd wc)
Seattle Mariners - Only one game out. Better than expected offense. Potential 40/40 man Craig Frazier leads James Hunter, Rodney Magee, and Rodrigo Marin. Pitching staff questionable.
Kansas City Royals - Three games out. A team coming on strong and could even take their division. Inability to score runs consistently has been a problem. Great pitching.
Toronto Blue Jays - Six games out. Best offense outside of Texas. One of the worst pitching staffs.
Minnesota Twins - Eight games out. Pitching is a HUGE concern. Has allowed 42 more runs than they have scored.
Tampa Bay Rays - Eight games out. The ultimate dark horse. A team that played in the .300 range and had the worst...well...everything. Suddenly ranking with the best. A lot of teams stacked on top, but the talent that can overcome. Bullpen still a concern.

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