By The Common Man
It’s time for another round of ESPN Power Rankings, which means it’s time for TCM to expand on the comments he submitted for the uncovered AL squads in Los Angeles and Chicago. As a quick primer, TCM wants to reiterate that he does not have anything to do with the actual rankings as presented by the ESPN overlords. If your problem is with where your team ranks (and really, why would anyone actually care about that?), complain elsewhere. If you want to complain about the comments, brother, you’re in the right place. OK, on to the Angels and White Sox:
Los Angeles Angels - "Jeff Weaver's incredible April is just a memory, as he's 0-4 with a 5.25 ERA in May with 16 Ks in 24 innings. Its mostly his luck evening out though. Weaver's still a heck of a pitcher, just not a superhuman one."
None of us thought that Jared Weaver would escape 2011 unscathed. Through the end of April, Weaver had won all six of his starts with a 0.99 ERA in 45.2 innings. He had struck out 49 batters, and opponents had hit .163 off him with a .220 BABIP. Obviously, that was unsustainable. In the four starts since then, he is 0-4 with a 5.25 ERA in those starts. What happened? Well, his strikeout rate has dropped and the BABIP he has allowed has stabilized to a much more normal .305. So not only are a higher rate of singles and doubles dropping, but there are more of those balls in play that have a chance of falling. It’s a fairly standard fluctuation and probably nothing to get too bent out of shape about. After all, his velocity still looks good according to the Pitch F/X data on Fangraphs. He’s still an excellent pitcher, and (despite Dan Haren’s continued dominance) should be considered the Angels’ ace. But he’s human.
Chicago White Sox - "Silver Lining! Alexei Ramirez (.273/.342/.419) is having his best season to date both offensively and defensively, and is probably one of the best three shortstops in the AL. Looks like he's finally learned a little plate discpline, and he Konerko and Quentin are the only parts of the Sox offense that are working as advertised."
Actually, it’s even better than the stat line TCM quoted above. After last night’s 4-for-5 performance (including a homer, two doubles, and five RBI), Ramirez is now at .288/.354/.458. The Cuban Missle has been especially hot in May, hitting .320/.400/.560 in 84 plate appearances. He’s also played in 46 of the Sox’ 48 games so far. As good as Asdrubal Cabrera has been in 2011, if The Common Man had to pick one AL shortstop to have for 2012, it would absolutely be Ramirez, who has a solid track record, is still relatively young, and looks to have taken a step forward this year both in terms of his plate discipline and his defense.