THT Dartboard: August 3, 2008

Divisional Picture


Welcome to The Hardball Times Dartboard, our weekly attempt to rank all the teams in baseball. The Dartboard Factor is how many wins a team would be expected to have at the end of the season if it played a neutral schedule. Next to that, you’ll find the Dartboard Factor from the previous week. An explanation of our method can be found here.

#1 Tampa Bay Devil Rays (Dartboard Factor = 98, 99): They still keep winning, but they have to be miffed about missing out on Jason Bay at the very end of the trade deadline.

#2 Los Angeles Angels (Dartboard Factor = 97, 94): Landed a big bat in Mark Teixeira, but how much is that really going to help? They were already locks for October. Is giving up Casey Kotchman worth the improvement Teixeira provides in a handful of postseason at bats? No.

#3 Boston Red Sox (Dartboard Factor = 96, 98): Most people may not think so, but the Red Sox made out pretty well in the Manny trade. Ramirez’s defense was so bad that it really drove down his overall production and replacing him with Jason Bay is probably an improvement.

#4 Chicago Cubs (Dartboard Factor = 95, 93): Kerry Wood looks to be coming back soon and the Cubs have created some distance between them and the Brewers.

#5 Chicago White Sox (Dartboard Factor = 94, 95): Really? Ken Griffey Jr.? In centerfield? I flat out do not get this. Meanwhile, the Sox have just lost their division lead to the Twins.

#6 New York Yankees (Dartboard Factor = 90, 92): They patched up their catching hole, but did nothing to address their rotation which could remain an issue as they have to chase down two teams down the stretch.

#7 Minnesota Twins (Dartboard Factor = 89, 86): Francisco Liriano is back and the Twins now sit atop the AL Central. It’s worth noting that the wild card may come out of the Central as well leading to a possible October with neither Boston nor New York.

#8 Milwaukee Brewers (Dartboard Factor = 89, 91): CC Sabathia continues to roll, but the Brewers are now five games back of the Cubs after being swept. They still are hanging on in the wild card race though.

#9 Philadelphia Phillies (Dartboard Factor = 86, 85): Now building a lead up over the Mets, the Phillies were unable to add any more pitching support at the deadline, but neither were the Mets.

#10 New York Mets (Dartboard Factor = 85, 86): John Maine hits the disabled list and the Mets, like their cross-town rivals, face some rotation issues while having to chase down teams ahead of them.

#11 St Louis Cardinals (Dartboard Factor = 85, 84): Ryan Ludwick has a .303/.380/.602 line. He was freely available multiple times over the past few years.

#12 Toronto Blue Jays (Dartboard Factor = 84, 86): The Blue Jays were trying hard to acquire Raul Ibanez but ultimately failed leading one to wonder why they were trying in the first place. Were they trying to make the playoffs this year or perhaps trying to garner some draft picks next summer?

#13 Detroit Tigers (Dartboard Factor = 83, 84): Dontrelle Willis isn’t getting any better with his command in the minors, standing at nine walks to six strikeouts in High-A ball.

Homestretch: The 1967 AL Pennant Race, Part 3
A tight race shows no signs of letting up.

#14 Oakland Athletics (Dartboard Factor = 83, 86): Dana Eveland has lost his command and is sent back to Triple-A to attempt and recover it.

#15 Texas Rangers (Dartboard Factor = 83, 83): The Rangers now stand in second place in the AL West and is still within shouting distance of the Wild Card, but they really needed to be making a play for pitching at the deadline if they wanted to make a run in 2008.

#16 Arizona Diamondbacks (Dartboard Factor = 83, 80): Holding a two game lead in the NL West, but the team ahead of them just added Manny Ramirez.

#17 Florida Marlins (Dartboard Factor = 81, 80): Still hanging around, now in second place in the East ahead of the Mets two games back of the Phillies and three back in the Wild Card giving them a few shots at the postseason.

#18 Baltimore Orioles (Dartboard Factor = 80, 79): Matt Wieters ascension to Double-A has certainly gone smoothly. He’s posting an OPS near 1.100 with more walks then strikeouts.

#19 Los Angeles Dodgers (Dartboard Factor = 79, 78): Manny Ramirez has taken to LA quickly hammering National League pitching and continuing to loaf about on the field. It will be intriguing to follow the talks this winter about where he ends up signing.

#20 Atlanta Braves (Dartboard Factor = 77, 80): The Braves finally packed it in and sold off Mark Teixeira and it’s a good thing they did as they got a good return from the Angels and just lost Tim Hudson to Tommy John surgery so they weren’t going to do anything this year regardless.

#21 Kansas City Royals (Dartboard Factor = 75, 73): The Royals have been busting out the proverbial whooping stick of late, winners of six of their last seven and driving the White Sox out of the division lead.

#22 Cleveland Indians (Dartboard Factor = 74, 76): Do you think the Red Sox wish they still had Kelly Shoppach? He’s hitting .277/.342/.539 now.

#23 Houston Astros (Dartboard Factor = 74, 72): The Jose Valverde trade hasn’t exactly worked out as planned for the Astros especially when you factor in the trade away of Brad Lidge.

#24 Colorado Rockies (Dartboard Factor = 74, 73): The Rockies, suddenly somewhat alive in the horrid NL West, were actively trying to find a starter to add, but were unable.

#25 Pittsburgh Pirates (Dartboard Factor = 72, 71): The Pirates netted four prospects for Jason Bay including the underrated Andy LaRoche. For a team needing depth all over their system it was a pretty good deal, but if the rumors were true about the Rays being involved at the price they were, that strikes me as the better deal to have taken.

#26 Cincinnati Reds (Dartboard Factor = 72, 75): Great move by the Reds to actually get something in return for Griffey and avoid having to buy out his option this winter.

#27 San Francisco Giants (Dartboard Factor = 66, 67): Tim Lincecum has now matched his batters faced total from 2007. So how has 2008 treated him? His defense has allowed a few more hits but Tim has cut down on the homeruns and walks while increasing his strikeouts.

#28 Seattle Mariners (Dartboard Factor = 64, 64): The deadline passes and they make a good trade offloading Arthur Rhodes but Jarrod Washburn remains on the team along with Raul Ibanez, hurting their already slim chances of hoping to compete in 2009.

#29 San Diego Padres (Dartboard Factor = 62, 62): No splashy moves made by the Padres at the deadline is more of an indication that they really didn’t have anything worth selling.

#30 Washington Nationals (Dartboard Factor = 58, 59): Completing a sweep of the Reds has the Nationals seeing their lead for the first overall pick slimmed down to just a single game with both the Padres and Mariners trying to chase them down.

Divisional Picture

The playoff picture takes the above ranking and reforms the teams back into their leagues and divisions including the wild card. This is in no ways a prediction, this is an assessment of how teams have played so far this season, not how each team is going to play.

Rays – 98
Red Sox – 96
Yankees – 90
Blue Jays – 84
Orioles – 80

White Sox – 94
Twins – 89
Tigers – 83
Royals – 75
Indians – 74

Angels – 97
Athletics – 83
Rangers – 83
Mariners – 64

Red Sox – 96
Yankees – 90
Twins – 89
Blue Jays – 84
Tigers – 83

Phillies – 86
Mets – 85
Marlins – 81
Braves – 77
Nationals – 58

Cubs – 95
Brewers – 89
Cardinals – 85
Astros – 74
Pirates – 72
Reds – 72

Diamondbacks – 83
Dodgers – 79
Rockies – 74
Giants – 66
Padres – 62

Brewers – 89
Mets – 85
Cardinals – 85
Marlins – 81
Dodgers – 79

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