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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Gordy’s baseball rankings

Published: March 11, 2011
Section: Sports

This week’s rankings are broken up by spring training leagues. Since all teams have played between 10-14 games it makes sense to pay some attention and see what teams are doing. The records are valid as of 10 p.m. March 9.

Grapefruit League (Florida)

1. Washington Nationals (7-3): Surprisingly, to me at least, the Nationals are ahead of Texas and Minnesota; two teams originally based out of D.C.

2. St. Louis Cardinals (7-4): Albert Pujols and the Cardinals are going strong with wins against different teams including the Twins and the Braves.

3. Atlanta Braves (7-5): The Braves are currently among the leaders in the Grapefruit League and after a high energy run to the postseason last year, they seem set to threaten the Phillies’ dominance during the regular season.

4. Boston Red Sox (7-5): The Red Sox have beaten the Twins twice, the Yankees once, and the Orioles once. With a one-win lead over the Yankees, they will need to work hard to stay ahead of their biggest rival.

5. Detroit Tigers (8-6): It should come as no surprise that the Tigers are doing so well. The real question is whether they can make a good run during the regular season. Three years ago they were in third place, two years ago they lost a tie-breaking extra game and last year they once again dropped to third place in the AL Central.

6. Minnesota Twins (6-5): The Twins have been playing consistently well despite a handful of injuries and the lack of Justin Morneau’s skills at the bat.

7. New York Yankees (6-5): While the Red Sox have beaten five different teams, the Yankees have only beaten four. The Yankees have succeeded in overcoming the Phillies, Pirates, Braves and Astros, but no other teams.

8. Philadelphia Phillies (7-6): The Phillies are never a team to count out of the running, so their current record should not be taken as a sign of things to come during the regular season.

9. Baltimore Orioles (5-5): The AL East, located entirely in the Grapefruit League for spring training, simply has not been very impressive. No team has more than six wins and last year’s worst team, the Orioles, are leading among AL East teams with a slightly better record than the Red Sox and Yankees.

10. Florida Marlins (5-5): The Marlins have been surprising fans with wins against top teams, such as the Red Sox, the Braves and the Cardinals.

11. Pittsburgh Pirates (6-7): The Pirates are getting a temporary reprieve after being placed in the bottom of their division last week.

12. New York Mets (5-7): The Mets can take solace in this simple fact: As of Wednesday, they have the same amount of wins as the Yankees.

13. Tampa Bay Rays (4-7): After plowing to the top of the AL East last year, it seems that Tampa has truly fallen from grace. While they managed to hold the Yankees to a tied game last week, their wins have been against Pittsburgh, last year’s worst team, and Toronto. They have lost to the Twins, Phillies and the Orioles among their many losses.

14. Toronto Blue Jays (4-7): Toronto has been somewhat surprising. The Blue Jays started off with four straight losses, including three against Detroit. More recently, however, they have had a four-win streak against teams such as Tampa Bay, Atlanta and even Detroit.

15. Houston Astros (3-10): Houston is floundering with only three wins and currently placed at the bottom of the Grapefruit League.

Cactus League (Arizona)

1. San Francisco Giants (10-4): The Giants are solidly ahead of the competition in the Cactus League. While I don’t expect them to lead the NL again, they certainly don’t seem hung over from their World Series victory last year.

2. Cincinnati Reds (8-4): With the exception of the Royals, the Reds have yet to beat a team with a winning record, even though most of their division rivals are in the Grapefruit League 3. Kansas City Royals (8-4): The Royals have been surprising me with their eight wins. I’ve never considered the Royals a threat in their division (AL Central), but if their season goes anything like their pre-season, I may have reason to.

4. Seattle Mariners (6-4): The Mariners have had an interesting schedule so far having played nine different teams in the course 11 games (one game was a tie). Considering that last year they were ranked by ESPN as 30th (last) in the four main batting stats, they seem to recovering well.

5. Texas Rangers (7-5): The Rangers have been playing well in the Cactus League along with their previous World Series opponents the Giants. While I recognize that Cliff Lee didn’t singlehandedly carry the team last year, I am still surprised by how well they are doing without him.

6. Colorado Rockies (7-5): The Rockies may have seven wins, but three of them are against the Diamondbacks.

7. Milwaukee Brewers (7-5): Like the Reds, the Brewers’ trip to Arizona places them in training without many of their division rivals.

8. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (6-6): The Angels are another team that is exactly where I’d expect them to be; holding a close third behind Texas among AL West teams.

9. San Diego Padres (5-6): The Padres are only beating a few of their fellow NL West opponents. They will need to maintain this if they hope to do well in the season.

10. Oakland Athletics (5-7): Oakland’s spring training has been very hit-or-miss so far. While it’s a good thing to avoid losing streaks longer than two games, it is muted by a lack of winning streaks beyond two.

11. Cleveland Indians (4-7): The Indians are right where I’d expect them to be­—a few games shy of a split record.

12. Los Angeles Dodgers (5-8): In almost half of the Dodgers’ wins so far, they have managed to keep opponents to zero runs and in four of the five wins they have kept opponents to one or fewer points.

13. Chicago White Sox (3-7): The White Sox may very well be an example of a team that benches its starters too much during spring training. With the exception of the 2009 season, during the last few years the White Sox have consistently put up a good obstacle in the way of outright Twins domination for the AL Central.

14. Chicago Cubs (4-8): The Cubs are doing better than their cross-town rivals the White Sox in terms of wins, but they are also losing more often. At least the regular season will not follow the same path.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (5-10): Arizona sits at the bottom of the Cactus league not because of the fewest wins, but because of the most losses.

Ricky Rosen contributed to this article.