Ok, it’s time for the NL rankings. Remember, I ranked pitching based on a 5 man rotation using starting pitchers with at least 750 MBF’s. Relief was based on the top 4 relievers. A pitcher could not be rated at both. Pitchers were divided into BBW pitcher grades (25-30, 20-24, 15-19, 10-14, 5-9) and given a rank value for each grade,…so a grade 25 got the same rank as a grade 30.
The hitting rankings were based on OPS. For me, you need runners to be on base (OB%) to score runs and you need hits to score them. Because different grade pitchers turn different hit numbers into outs, AND since ALL hit numbers EXCEPT the power numbers 1 and 0 get changed, that makes SLG an important category for me,…therefore I used OPS. Again, you can rate and rank the teams in any way you want. I just did it this way. It may not be right, but it may not be wrong,…it just is what it is…a simple way for my non mathematical mind to put order to something that I wanted to order.
So, here it goes, We’ll get to the NL EAST in a bit, but first a few comparisons between the AL and the NL. When it came to pitching, last year it appeared the NL was loaded in top grade pitchers. At least to me anyway. Felt like I was always facing a grade 19 or better at least twice in every series. And when it came to facing the NL WEST. Forget it! They were LOOOOOOOO – DED!! This year the NL may still have an edge over the AL but it doesn’t appear to be big:
NL Starters score 213
NL Relievers score 184
AL Starters score 199
AL Relievers score 195
Pretty dag gone close if you ask me (which you didn’t, but…)
In the hitting department last year it appeared to be just the opposite. The AL was really loaded. When you played in the AL you knew your team ERA was going to be high,…and it was for most teams..They had some big boppers in the AL. This year?…yeah, it hasn’t changed.
NL Hitters 126
AL Hitters 172
A BIG difference! That’s a 46 point difference! A BIG, BIG difference. Thank god we don’t have inter-league play, well, for the NL anyway. Caveat: this doesn’t mean the AL is better than the NL. No,…it just means they will probably beat most teams in the NL. : )
Okay. On to the NL EAST
I’m probably going to jinx Nik here, but Climax far and away has the best numbers in the NL EAST and the NL! Climax rated a really good score of 44. That was 2 points better than NL WEST Division San Tan and 4 points better than the best teams in the AL. Let’s take a look at the pitching numbers. The starting rotation (20-20-16-13-13) scored a nice, solid 15…tops in the NL EAST. Climax also scored a solid 13 in the bullpen. With a group of 15’s for long relief and a 19 and 20 to close, Climax has plenty of protection for their two 13 starters. The hitting area is where they stand out. With a score of 16, only the AL’s Jack Street has a better score. Climax has 2 players with an OPS between .800-.900, 4 players with an OPS between .900-1.000 and 2 players over 1.000. UGH! And I have to play him. That’s about 14 losses I can count on. Oh, well.
Coming in behind Climax by 6 points are Charm City and Coastline. They both claimed a rating of 38. Charm City has the better front end of the rotation (18-17-16-14-14) but Coastline’s back end (16-16-15-15-14) gave them a 1 point edge in the starting rotation score (14-13), even though Charm City technically has a higher grade rotation. When it comes to the bullpen, they both scored a 13. But Coastline technically has the higher grades in his bullpen,…and knowing Brian, I know he knows how to use the pen to his teams’ best advantage. The hitting scores for both teams were also close,…Charm City-12, Coastline-11. Both teams will put a little pressure on Climax, but barring injuries, Climax should take the Division.
Behind Charm City and Coastline are two teams who could be pains in the rear for the top three. Kirk
Weber’s old car Detroit team came in with a score of 37,…1 point higher than Virginia’s 36. However, Detroit has the playoff experience that Virginia lacks. Detroit and Virginia had identical scores in the pitching ratings. Both had a 13 rotation and a 14 bullpen for a pitching staff rating of 27. Along with Coastline’s 27, these three teams came in 1 point behind Climax’s 28. Again, technically, Virginia had the higher graded rotation (19-18-17-13-13) compared to Detroit (17-15-15-13-13). However, when it comes to bats? Virginia, evidently, doesn’t know what they are or where to find them. Detroit scored a 10 compared to Virginia’s 9, but Detroit has 6 batters with over an .800 OPS whereas Virginia only has 4.
The Fantomz and Pigtown followed Detroit and Virginia. Both had scores of 34,…just 2 points behind. With each team having a 12 rating in the rotation, Pigtown (19-16-13-13-11) appears to have a slight pitching grade edge over Fantomz (17-16-13-13-13). Pigtown scored a 13 on their bullpen, however and Fantomz a 10. This gave Pigtown a 25 to 22 edge in pitching. Fantomz hitters made up the difference with a 12 score compared to Pigtown’s 9. Detroit, Virginia, Pigtown and Fantomz are going to be interesting to watch (well, maybe not Virginia). Kirk, Tim and Gordon are all experienced managers with good teams. If things go their way they will have something to say about who gets to the playoffs.
Finally we have West Michigan. Sorry Kevin. Just remember,…numbers mean nothing. You’ve been to the playoffs so I know you can do better than this.. Manage like you did last year and you’ll be fine. West Michigan had a rating of 30. Rotation (16-15-14-14-14) was 12 and bullpen 9 for a total of 21. Hitting was a low 9, tying with Virginia and Pigtown. I like to call teams like this “Spoilers” because they get overlooked,… like the 1991 Twins who went from worst to first and surprised many people.
Now we take a look at the Division that has a smidge less pitching and a not so good hitting rating. This Division has six teams rating in single digits for their hitting compared to 3 in the NL EAST. Most teams here will rely on pitching and try to get enough runs to allow their pitching to hold on. It’s the NL. Strategic managing of one’s players can go a long way to assuring victory.
San Tan takes top honors in this Division with a score of 42. Just 2 points below Climax, San Tan claims the second highest score in LEG. San Tan’s starting rotation of a 13 score (16-15-15-13-12) is a number shared by 6 other teams in the NL. Adding a bullpen score of 15 (a NL high) gives San Tan a NL tying top rating of 28,…tied with Climax. What helps to put San Tan at the top of the NL WEST is their hitting. With 8 hitters having an .800 to 1.000+ OPS, San Tan scored a Division high 14. If the San Tan bullpen can hold up the starters, they should do well.
If San Tan slips, always a possibility in a game based on probabilities, look for Iowa and Clockwork to make a push for the top spot. Both teams were rated as having the best rotations in the NL. Iowa’s rotation, (21-18-17-16-15) is strong from top to bottom and gives them a score of 16. A bullpen score of 14 added to the rotation gives Iowa a NL leading pitching score of 30 (tied with Las Vegas in the AL for tops in LEG). A weak hitting score of 9 gives Iowa a total score of 39. But with their pitching, don’t sleep on Iowa. Jim knows how to get the most out of his team and with that pitching, Iowa is gonna be tough. So is Clockwork. The reigning World Series Champs may have slipped a little, but Ken is not planning on giving up the title that easily. Clockwork’s manager is knowledgeable about the game and what it takes to win, so be prepared for Ken to have a say in who finishes where. Clockwork’s rotation (20-20-16-15-13) also scored a 16 and with their two 20 grade Aces, has a little bit better top end rotation than Iowa. However, the bullpen only rated out at 11 to give Clockwork a pitching score of 27. Add a low 9 score for hitting and Clockwork totals out at 36, 3 points below Iowa.
Right behind Clockwork is Steel City with a solid score of 35. If Clockwork stumbles, Steel City could move up quickly. The rotation is okay with a 15-15-14-13-12. for a score of 12. And the bullpen rated a 13 which gives Steel City a 25 pitching score. Their hitting score of 10 is second best in the NL WEST and makes Steel City a team that could make the playoffs. They could also miss the playoffs depending on how their hitting does against the lower teams good pitching.
Motown and Hoboken trail Steel City by 7 and 8 points respectively. Motown (I still love that name) scored a total of 28. Starters (16-15-15-14-13) were rated 13 (not bad) but the bullpen only 9, which gave them a 22 pitching score. A weak hitting score of 6 doesn’t bode well for a strong year for Motown. Their gonna need a little help in the pen and the hit department in order to shake things up. Hey Greg,…Papa may have a brand new bag but if he ain’t got any bats and relievers in it, it won’t help Motown. Hoboken was right there with Motown getting a total score of 27. Hoboken’s starters (18-18-17-17-16) scored a very good 15, but a bullpen score of 7 gave them a 22 pitching score. I like the starters but with a hitting score of 5, Hoboken’s starters may not get much run support. We’ll have to wait and see if Joel makes any moves to get some bats.
Wainwright and Fire Lake round out the NL WEST. Both scored a 26. Neither one really has what you would call bad starters. Wainwright’s 19-16-15-13-13 is a very solid 13 score. They just need help in the bullpen. A 9 score in the pen puts any help for the starters in jeopardy. Wainwright’s hitting score of 4 doesn’t help either. They gotta get some help. Fire Lake’s 19-14-13-13-13 gives them the lowest score in the NL for starters,…an 11. Which is kind of deceiving given they have a grade 19 at the top of the rotation. Followed by 4 solid double digit starters, it gives them a staff that should keep them in games. But, with a bullpen score of 7 it gives the starters little help and gives them a lackluster 18 pitching score. Again, help in the pen could make things a lot different. Fire Lakes hitting score of 8 could use a boost as well. They need some pop.
And that concludes the NL and for that matter BOTH leagues. Please remember that this is all in fun and is not to be taken seriously,…well, unless you want to, that’s up to you. Once you put the human variable in the scenario, it changes everything. So, let’s wait for the season to begin and see what happens.
TEAMS RATING SCORE
Charm City 38
West Michigan 30
San Tan 42
Steel City 35
Fire Lake 26