Every weekend throughout the season I’ll be separately assessing the fortunes of teams in the NL and AL, and ranking them accordingly. Standings aren’t dependent on record alone and factor in such elements as injuries, strength of competition, and acquisitions, amongst other things. Yesterday, in a shorter-than-usual edition of The Senior Class: Week 2, I ordered the NL. Today, in a similarly abbreviated post – I’ve a city to explore, and a Warriors @ Trail Blazers game to watch – it’s the turn of the AL. It’s The Designated 15 – Week 2! (All records correct as of Sunday morning).
- Detroit Tigers (2-3 last week, 6-3 overall) → The Tigers have the league’s best record, and split a throughly entertaining two game series with the Dodgers this week. After such an appetizer, would anyone mind those two facing off again in October? Now Justin Verlander has secured the first two hits of his career, I’m sure he won’t object.
- Tampa Bay Rays (3-3, 7-5) → Matt Moore will apparently try throwing some more in an effort to avoid Tommy John surgery. I’m getting sick of typing that name next to those of young, talented pitchers this year.
- Oakland Athletics (5-1, 7-4) ↑ Sure they’ve been forced to move Jim Johnson out of the closer role, it’s not like Oakland – with their wealth of quality relief pitching – were especially reliant on him anyway. The A’s have rolled on regardless of the change, and have now won 5 of their past 6, jumping out atop the AL West early.
- Seattle Mariners (2-3, 6-4) ↑
- Boston Red Sox (3-4, 5-7) ↓
- Cleveland Indians (3-4, 6-6) →
- New York Yankees (4-3, 6-6) ↑ I was very harsh on The Evil Empire last week, perhaps too much so. Since then (barring the Ivan Nova/Vidal Nuno implosion on Tuesday against the Orioles), the Yanks have looked much better. Whether his performance has been boosted by pine tar or not, Michael Pineda has continued the promise of his spring, and along with Masahiro Tanaka, provided a welcome boost to a rotation which can no longer rely on the slimmed-down C.C. Sabathia. If the bats come around – like they did yesterday against the Red Sox, when behind Brian McCann‘s performance N.Y. tacked on 5 home runs to their season total of 7 – the East might well provide both AL Wild-Cards this year.
- Toronto Blue Jays (3-3, 6-6) →
- Kansas City Royals (2-4, 4-6) ↓ C’mon KC offense – pick it up and reward my faith in you! Scoring 29 runs through your first ten games isn’t exactly a winning formula, nor is it going to convince James Shields to stick around (not that I’m thinking anything will) past this season. All you needed was one measly run to pick up Yordano Ventura and give him a win in his electrifying 2014 debut, but you came up with nothing. The guy is throwing 102.9mph out there – help him out a little!
- Baltimore Orioles (4-2, 5-6) ↑
- Chicago White Sox (4-3, 6-6) ↑ Credit to GM Rick Hahn, he’s apparently crafted quite an offense – across the whole ML, the south-siders rank 1st in runs (76) and OBP (.359) and second in batting average (.285) and slugging (.456). Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton, both brought into the fray by Hahn this past offseason, have been particularly responsible for such an outburst; the former had himself two multi-homer games this past week and is quickly looking like a bargain, whereas the latter is so far batting .354/.448/.521 atop the lineup (and thanks to his mates, leading the Junior Circuit in runs). Now if only there was someone else aside from Chris Sale determined to keep runs off the board – the Sox have so far given up 73 (also tops in the AL), hence their middling run differential (just +3), and lowly ranking.
- Los Angeles Angels (3-3, 5-6) ↓ Just when things were looking up for Anaheim, Josh Hamilton had to go and (stupidly) slide head-first into first base – tearing the UCL in his thumb in the process. He will now be out for between 6-8 weeks. How many times does it have to be said: diving is not quicker than simply running through the bag!
- Texas Rangers (3-3, 5-6) ↓ The hits just keep on coming – now it’s Adrian Beltre down with a sore quad. It’s feeling more and more like a lost season in Arlington…
- Minnesota Twins (3-3, 5-6) → Hey Joe Mauer homered!
- Houston Astros (3-4, 5-7) → At -20, the Astros still have some way to go before their 29th-worst run differential challenges bottom placed Arizona (-30). So there’s that at least.
Thanks for bearing with me as I write while traveling – I’ll be done gallivanting around Portland by Tuesday, so my Power Rankings will return more fully by next week.