August 20, 2012 at 11:57 am by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
The Braves came in at third for ESPN’s power rankings today. The only teams ahead of them also play in the NL, the Nationals and Reds. I do the SI rankings and I believe the Braves came in at 8th if I remember from what I did last night. Something around there either way.
Here’s Franklin’s quote from the article if you don’t feel like going to the rankings:
After addressing the pitching rotation, the Braves now find themselves occasionally struggling to score runs, scoring zero, one and two runs in their three losses over the last week (a period in which they went 4-3). Chipper Jones continues to be the best hitter on the team in his farewell season, boasting an incredible 147 wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created plus).
Bill from The Score had a good article on the new wildcard spot and how its looking this year. Particularly, he wanted to note how this season, it sucks for the Braves.
2. It sucks to be the Braves. My biggest criticism of the system is that it seems to me that the single most important thing it does is unfairly punish a team that does run away with the #1 wild card. The clearest example of this system being horribly unfair is the 2001 American League. The 2001 Athletics finished the season 102-60, the second-best team in the American League, seven games better than the third-best Yankees. They just happened to play in the same division as the 116-win Mariners, though, which left them with the wild card. Hadthis system been in place, they would have had to play a single game for their playoff lives against the 85-77 Twins. The A’s were seventeen games better than the Twins over the course of the season, yet the two teams would get basically identical chances to move on.
These Braves aren’t those A’s, but it’s set up to be a similarly rotten deal. BPro’s simulations have the Braves averaging out to 93.5 wins, four and a half behind the Nationals, but just 2.2 behind the Central-winning Reds for the second-best record in the NL, and more than four better than the fourth-best (a tie between the Cardinals and Dodgers). They could easily emerge as the second-best team in the league, right behind the Nats. It doesn’t matter, though; they’ll still have to play just one game against the plainly inferior Dodgers or Cardinals or Pirates or Giants, just because the #1 team happens to play in the same division. The system (even more than the old wild card system, with which I had that and other problems) arbitrarily doles out rewards and punishments based on nothing but geography. That struck me as really dumb back in November, and apparently it still does.