With 2/3 of the season history, it's coming down to crunch-time for some of the teams that are fighting and jockeying for position. Some teams seem to be in cruise control, and other teams are scratching their collective heads wondering 'What the hell do we do NOW?!?!?!' With that said, below are the AL Power Rankings:
1. Las Vegas Dealers (76-36, 1st Place West) - jcallali once again has this team primed and ready for another WS run. Their BA is 2nd worst in the league, but don't let that fool you into thinking you can outslug them to victory. They are 2nd in the league in HR and SB, so they know how to score runs when they do get on base. They also lead the AL in Pitching ERA with 3.56, which is pretty astounding considering where they pitch and that they are an AL team. The pitching is also aided by the best defense in the league, boasting an excellent .992 fielding percentage.
2. Charlotte Chickens (70-42, 1st Place South) - Probably the best competition Las Vegas has at the moment. They are 2nd in the league in ERA at 3.59. However, unlike Las Vegas, they also know how to play a little offense as well, sporting the 2nd best BA in the league. Ideally, the ALCS matchup would be ideal to see these 2 teams square it off.
3. New York Mutuals (65-47, 1st Place East) - The turnaround continues in New York. piratestros continues to improve this team in every category. This season, the biggest turnaround has been fielding, as players are playing positions they are more comfortable at. The result? Leading the East for the better part of the season. Looks to be a 2 team race for this division with Norfolk and should be fun to watch for the rest of the season.
4. Norfolk Phanatics (64-48, 2nd Place East) - This team has the best record percentage in ratatat's 4 seasons, yet stands 2nd place in the division. Have to give this team credit for doing so well despite the loss of Chip Huson to Vancouver. Youngsters are playing their part and, hopefully, the pitching doesn't fall apart.
5. Cleveland Indians (61-51), 1st Place North) - Another team who will actually be battling for the crown until the end, barring his competition doesn't stay in hiatus and the fatigue factor sets in. ajb's squad is producing good offensive numbers, but can the pitching improve to guide them to postseason play? Stay tuned....
6. Syracuse Comics (57-55, 2nd Place North) - If edwzipper was ACTUALLY paying attention to this team, he might be in 1st and could argue being the 3rd best team in the league. Hope all is well and he returns soon. Otherwise, this could be Cleveland's division to lose.
7. Iowa City Independence (58-54, 2nd Place West) - The last 2 seasons, IC has finished in 3rd place in the division, yet represented the final WC in the playoffs. That shows the competition level in the West. The Independence has been the most consistent non-winner in this league the past 3 seasons. He is poised once again to grab one of the 2 Wild Card spots and will do so with their pitching and defense. A better offensive performance wouldn't hurt either.
8. Salem Argonauts (56-56, 3rd Place West) - The Argonauts lead the league in HR, Runs, RBI, SLG, and OPS. They HAVE to considering that they are near the bottom of the league in giving up HR, Runs, RBI, SLG, and OPS.
9. Tampa Bay Crowns (52-60, 3rd Place South) - You may see this originally and think to yourself 'Why is this team ranked ahead of Richmond?' I think that Tampa Bay's record had a lot to do with not having Blaine Prince at the beginning of the season. Prince missed approximately 8 starts, which would have probably converted into a few more wins. TB started the season 12-29, which is roughly the span the Prince did not play in. Since he has returned to the lineup, TB has gone 40-31. Not merely a coincidence.
10. Richmond Rattlers (58-54, 2nd Place South) - Richmond stands tied with Iowa City for the final Wild Card spot with 50 games to go. Can Richmond's offense wake up in time to provide ANY help to the pitching that has been productive so far this season? They will need to in order to keep pace.
11. Boise Bats (52-60, 3rd Place North) - Question: What do you get when you have a below average offense, a below average defense, and below average pitching? Answer: Boise Bats.
12. Seattle Pilots (45-67, 4th Place North) - We begin the bottom quarter of our standings with the only team that seems to still be effectively managing his squad and avoiding the End of Season fatigue factor. Barring any rash of injuries, this team will be rebuilding quite nicely and probably boost themselves by the final ranking.
13. Monterrey Cucarachas (47-65, 4th Place South) - Seems the Mexican sun is wreaking havoc on the players' fatigue. Unless the fatigue is managed better, don't expect many more wins from this squad for the rest of the season.
14. Vancouver Asteroids (41-61, 4th Place West) - A Wild Card team last season, it's hard to believe the fall from grace this team is experiencing. Not saying it isn't easy to understand (overspending on older players, no farm system to help fatigue, no money to help relieve situation). Unless brooklynpunx can perform a miracle, this squad may be near the bottom for seasons to come.
15. Pittsburgh sluggers (41-71, 3rd Place East) - Unlike Norfolk and New York, this team has been tailspinning to the bottom since larr100 has taken over this team. They did lose 3 of their starters to major injuries (Bartolo Lee, Jeff Richard, and Red DiSarcina).
16. Philadelphia Phillies (39-73, 4th Place East) - bball10 made a plethora of FA signings before the season began, and what looked to be an improving squad had all the makings. However, the worst defensive fielding percentage in the league (averaging 1 error per game), has deterred this team from making the strides to improve over last season. This has led to 71 unearned runs so far this season -- tied with Monterrey for that dubious mark.