Thursday, February 8, 2007

Cooperstown Power Rankings Week 2

A tumultuous week of tests, hockey games and drinking have led to a day late power rankings, but the important thing is I finally found the free time to concentrate on HBD! There was quite a shakeup this week, although that’s to be expected in the early weeks. All the talk of the AL dominance, and the NL simply runs away with the top spot (not to mention the entire top 3)…ENJOY!~Greg

1. St. Louis Saint Iffs (40-16) LW 3

Jay Chapman seems a little lost in St. Louis, “I really don’t fit in here, and if something doesn’t change, it looks like I may be on my way out…” Not that Chapman is horrible by any means, but a 5.29 ERA on the Iffs staff sticks out like a sore thumb. The next lowest? 4.20 and 4.17. Then comes the big drop, as EVERYONE else on the St. Louis staff has an ERA of 3.00 or under. With a team ERA of 2.78, no one in the league wants to go up against the Iffs, especially when facing the top of the rotation, as Fred Scmidt (10-2 1.57 ERA) and Patrick Patterson (8-4 2.33 ERA) are near un-hittable.

2. Detroit Pink Slipped (35-21) LW 2

It’s all in the eyes. Ernest Truman is the first Cooperstown player to experiment with a new kind of contact lenses first used by MLB 2B Brian Roberts. The contacts work as a sun block, which in turn help him see the ball much better than before. I caught up with Truman earlier this week, “I can see the stitches as a 100 mph fastball screams to the plate. How many guys can say that?” Since their approval in the preseason, Truman has flew out the gate, hitting .352 with an astonishing Bonds-like OBP of .480. This writer’s best guess? The common fan may start to notice a few more red eyes in Cooperstown in the coming months.

3. Trenton Thunder (34-22) LW 7

Stuck behind the Iffs in the NL East, many disregard the storm brewing in New Jersey. Closer Theo Woods put it best, “We don’t get ANY respect! But it’s really not a big deal, people will notice when we refuse to simply fade away…” Woods is doing all he can to prove Trenton’s worth, saving 13 of 14 games with an impressive ERA of 1.53. In what is becoming known as the best bullpen in all of Cooperstown, Woods and his crew now have their sights set on the NL East title, which is far from impossible, but should not be considered anything less than a "Stiff" challenge.

4. Louisville Lemurs (34-22) LW 4

The Lemurs and Red Sox look to be battling it out for AL East superiority all season, but for now, the Lemurs have sat atop for two straight weeks, enough for near-certain All-Star Anthony Rehfield to be excited, “I know we’re only a third of the way through the season, but we’re a confident bunch, and we know we have it in us to make a serious run at a title.” With an all-everything star like Rehfield (.341/.593/1.043), these house cat-devouring tree dwellers should be in it for the long haul.

5. San Jose Siliconites (35-21) LW 9

A recent three game winning streak and a solid first third of the season has earned the Siliconites a place in the top half of the rankings, somewhere they could start to settle into. Slugger Johnny Poole continues to simply smash the ball, hitting 16 HR with 65 RBI thus far. But the true gem has been the emergence of rookie staff anchor Vance Brooks (7-2 2.99 ERA). After a couple of rough early-season outings, Brooks has responded to give up only 8 runs in his last 6 starts.

6. Boston Red Sox (33-23) LW 8

Second place isn’t usually the favored standing, but fans in Boston have quite a bit to look forward to, especially in the coming years. Led by stud-rookies Terry Perez and Bubby Cosby, the Sox are amazingly sitting only one game behind Louisville, and are positioning themselves well for the playoff run (even if it may be for the wild card).

7. Durham Delirious Dukes (33-23) LW 6

With the rankings based in Boise, Shigetoshi Aoki is guaranteed to be mentioned, as he just crushed the Bomb Squad in their recent series. Aoki barely missed the “85 Club”, but that’s not to say he’s not some kind of amazing baseball specimen. Leading the Dukes with 17 HR and 54 RBI, Aoki has brought Durham into Cooperstown prominence, and is looking to keep it that way.

8. Little Rock Travelers (33-23) LW 1

A big drop from last week’s #1 ranking, the Travelers are still sitting atop what is coming to be known as “Murderer’s Row” (also commonly referred to as the AL South). Since escaping Boise, Devon Thomson has seemed to complete the Little Rock lineup, providing a little more pop to a potent roster, hitting .301 with 10 HR and 39 RBI in 43 AL games. Combine Thomson with Benjamin Liniak and Rafael Fuentes, and the Travelers are in good position to hold of Charleston’s “Charge” (as it looks to be a constant battle up until game 162).

9. Charleston Charge (33-23) LW NR

Numbers 8 and 9 seem to be interchangeable, and may be all year, as these two bitter rivals look to be locked together in a classic pennant battle. These teams are nearly a mirror image of each other, both posting a team ERA just over 4.00 and hitting the ball with a good consistency. The big surprise in Charleston is journeyman rookie Mark Lee, who toiled eight long years in the minors before being given a chance in the bigs. He has responded quite remarkably, hitting .354 with 21 HR and 56 RBI, and should be a lock for making the AL ROY voting.

10. San Diego Fighting Pandas (31-25) LW 5

These road warriors seem to like it better away from Petco, sleeping in disgusting hotel beds and constantly battling jet lag to a tune of a 15-8 road record. Future “85 Club” member Iago Powell has been simply dynamite, smacking 14 HR and driving in 45, but the pitching staff is where this team really shines. C.J. Heiserman is providing an early rival for Cy Young favorite Fred Scmidt, going 7-2 with a miniscule ERA of 2.01.

Dropped Out: San Antonio Stars (LW 10)

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