It's Monday so we have fresh Power Rankings and maybe my best YouTube thumbnail to date? Bordering is important guys but not the point of the blog.
The Panel ranks the 12 playoff teams 1-12 based on who is most likely to win the World Series in our consolidated opinion. We're not repeating 538 simulations or cherry picking vegas odds. It's a sincere effort based on what we think from what we've seen. Some observations (full list below):
- The best series in the playoffs should be the ALCS. There's so much more parity in the American League that we find ourselves considering the Astros as the 2nd best team despite an extremely lackluster season by their standards. It's been a roller coaster of a year trying to plot the Orioles against their pitching. But it hasn't slowed despite so many chances, and now we start the playoffs with no room to poke holes. The Orioles are the #1 team but the Astros are still the boogeyman. A perfect world has them needing 7 games to decide the AL World Series representative. In that case, I'm absolutely taking the Orioles in a historic late-inning duel based purely on instinct.
- The biggest discrepancy between our rankings and experts will be the Dodgers. We have them 7th best odds to win the WS based purely on their lack of starting pitching. They have such limited options from an already thin staff. It would take 6+ runs a game from their lineup in back-to-back 7-game series to win a World Series. And while the lineup is elite, Dodger Stadium rocks and they've all done it before - we still think the pitching blows and that's way more important.
- Opposite that - the Brewers starters + closer combination have them 4th. They're a nightmare matchup for the Dbacks and the Dodgers. We like them in the NLCS a whole lot, which is the winner of the Braves/Phillies/Marlins quadrant. Maybe the Braves get knocked out early again? Maybe not. Either way Brewers don't have to confront them until 7-games where the starting pitching depth can add some leveling to a lopsided matchup. If the Brewers somehow manage the pennant, they'd be playing as a coin flip against the AL's best.
- Worth noting = The Astros path is probably the easiest, so they're 3rd because they have a bye and then play the winner of Twins/Blue Jays. That's pretty favorable, all things considered. But remember - the pitching has regressed and the team just isn't as good as it was this time last year. Same jerseys down to the name on the back. But they're just not the same club, which is why the Orioles are clearly ahead at #2 overall.
- Camden Yards should be an impossible venue for opposing pitchers. Anything less will be personally disappointing given the suckfest Orioles fans hosted all summer.
- I have no idea what to think of the Rays/Rangers series but it's my #1 regardless. There's an infinite amount of possibilities with only one major certainty - the Rangers have NO starting pitching after Jordan Montgomery. Klemmer hammers this point repeatedly. They're in big trouble - but are the Rays that much better right now? On paper, yes. In playoff practice, not really.
- Texas/Tampa overs?
- Yes. Texas/Tampa overs.
- The Worst World Series we could dream up is Marlins vs. Twins based on ratings and general interest. There's a less than 1% chance of that happening, but still worth acknowledging. The Twins haven't won a playoff game since George Bush's 1st term while the Marlins have never lost a playoff series when fans are allowed to attend postseason games.
- The Diamondbacks have the hardest path to the WS but are better equipped than the Marlins. If that makes sense. I couldn't update the graphic template but it's
- The Braves should win the World Series this year in 5 games, convincingly. Like the late 90's Yankees. That's the gap between them and everybody else.