Yeeeeah! Late night ideas!
Note/Disclaimer: This is in no way based on anything even remotely scientific. I have no formulas or anything. Statistics are not that important to me here. I'm power ranking the Orioles for the love of pete.
If you aren't familiar with the concept of power rankings, it basically amounts to dudes coming up with reasons why a team that is 27-14 is better than a team that's 31-10.
1. Miguel Tejada, SS
Why: Because he's our best player. No one is as consistently good as Tejada is. And Tejada is having his best offensive season to date, rather quietly. Actually lots of guys around the league are having really marvelous years and not getting a lot of pub for it.
But...: He is a little lazy.
2. Chris Ray, RP
Why: He's 18-for-18 in saves.
But...: He doesn't get the ESPN hype that Papelbon does for two reasons: (1) Papelbon's team is in first place, and (2) Papelbon is a little better. Dude has a 0.25 ERA. As good as Ray is (3.07/1.13), Papelbon has been pretty outrageous and is having an historically great closer's season. Dennis Eckersley won an MVP award in 1992 having a season that Papelbon's 2006 so far spits on. Papelbon's 2006 so far spits on Eck's 1990, too, when he had a 0.61 ERA.
3. Brian Roberts, 2B
Why: 'Cause he's cool. Look, he's never gonna hit 18 homers again. He may not hit 10. I thought he would, but he's clearly not going to. However he can play on my team and lead off my lineup if he hits 0 home runs, because he gets on base and is an actual effective base stealer. Plus he's got guts and heart and vigor and what have you. Brian Roberts is a ballplayer.
But...: Come on, Brian, even Kris Benson has a homer.
4. Corey Patterson, CF
Why: Corey Patterson is your daddy, that's why. Yeah, baby! Yeah, baby! Stolen bases! Competent batsmanship! Decent glovery! YES! COREY PATTERSON FOR THE ORIOLES HALL OF FAME! FLANAGAN YOU GENIUS! OR WAS IT DUQUETTE? OR WAS IT BEATTIE? OR WAS IT... WHO RUNS THIS TEAM?
But...: I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm terrified that dude's car is gonna turn into a pumpkin sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I'm enjoying Corey.
5. Melvin Mora, 3B
Why: If I'm ever going to believe in intangibles, Melvin Mora will be the player that I defend on their account.
But...: That's because -- and let's be honest, there is no argument against this -- Melvin is declining. Fast. And we've given him an extension. Which I support in the hopes that he'll basically steady out at the level he's at for a few years, because it's quite likely that we'll not have anyone ready to take over at third base, and who wants to trust our FO to not sign someone worse if we let him go? But, really, Mora's got a .783 OPS this year, down from .821 last year, down from .981 in 2004. He's 34 years old. There's a chance this could get ugly by the end of his deal.
6. Razor Ramon, C
Why: Hey yo. Razor's gone into a bit of a slump, but he was probably due for that, and I'm not that worried about it. He's worked hard this year and hasn't had a whole lot of days off. Getting Javy Lopez in as Rodrigo Lopez's personal catcher should benefit not just the Lopez & Lopez law firm (it is a law that Rodrigo must suck, apparently), but should help in keeping Ramon fresh for the rest of the year. Either way, he's been a good pickup.
But...: I dunno. What the hell am I gonna complain about? He's come in and done his job. I already talked about the slump.
7. Brandon Fahey, 2B/LF
Why: Brandon Fahey is not here because he's any good. Really, he's quite bad. Brandon Fahey is here because I'm pretty sure everyone knows he's not ready to be in the majors, but you'd have a hard time convincing HIM of that. Even if he looked at his numbers, he'd probably just be like, "You're right. I'll make those better!" He's awesome. He has no business in left field but he's making a go of it. And everyone seems to like him. How could you not?
But...: He really isn't ready to be in the majors and he has no business in left field.
8. Kevbo Millar, 1B
Why: I honestly believe that Kevin Millar can be beneficial to a team without being all that good of a player. He's another guy whose intangibles I can be persuaded into believing. I had started to hate Millar in Boston, but I like him again, so I think it just speaks more to me hating the Red Sox, because it's not like he's been good for us, really. But he does get on base (.355 OBP, which is third on the team behind Tejada and Roberts, tied with Mora). Listen, I'm not going to try to convince you that Kevin Millar is the ideal No. 2 hitter, but when he's passed over for Fahey, who I suppose can bunt (.307 OBP), or freaking CONINE (.306 OBP and a .375 OPS when he bats second), I want to see Millar hitting second.
But...: I sure wish he would hit for more power. And maybe a better average. With the way he's working counts this year, he could be having a stellar year if he'd start hitting as well as batting. But I suppose you can't really push your luck. Millar is what he is at this point: A guy who can get on base and not a lot else.
9. Kurt Birkins, RP
Why: I could have him higher, really. Easily. He walks too many people, his K-to-BB sucks, and he's likely going to come back to earth soon enough. But for the time being, Kurt Birkins has a 1.27 ERA and 0.94 WHIP because no one can get a hit off of him.
But...: I'm sorry, but I only have so much to say about Kurt Birkins.
10. Kris Benson, SP
Why: DONG OFF OF PEDRO.
But...: Who are we kidding - this is our best starter? As much as I am totally OK with Benson, that's not very good for the state of everything else.
And the rest!
11. The Todd, RP (If I don't have faith in The Todd to turn it around, why bother rooting for the Orioles at all?)
12. Chris Britton, RP (All the naturally fun fatness of Sidney Ponson with 298% less bullshit.)
13. Javy Lopez, DH/C (Exactly what anyone should have expected out of him this year.)
14. Daniel Cabrera, SP (He's still fun to watch.)
15. Jay Gibbons, RF (Being on the DL hurts, but I'm still just not a Gibbons fan. I prefer him to the other RF options, but that isn't saying much.)
16. LaTroy Hawkins, RP (Hawk might net us a B- prospect, so for that I salute him.)
17. Howie Clark, 1B/OF/DH (I'd rather have him on this team instead of Conine every single day of the week.)
18. Erik Bedard, SP (Why do you taunt us so, you diabolical foreigner?)
19. Bruce Chen, RP/SP (I have this strange feeling that Chen is going to wind up back in the rotation and will finish out the year on a decent roll. It's not realistic or anything, no.)
20. Nick Markakis, LF/RF (Another kid that just isn't ready, but God bless him, he's out there gutting it out every day. I still think he's going to be really good.)
21. Adam Loewen, SP (Tall and left-handed. Also, Canadian.)
22. Sendy Rleal, RP (17-to-12 BB-to-K so far. Maybe work on that.)
23. Ed Rogers, SS/2B/"LF" (The ball got stuck in his shirt.)
24. Jeff Conine, 1B/LF (You're a good guy, Niner, but go away.)
25. Rodrigo Lopez, SP (Shut up, Rodrigo.)
26. Luis Matos, OF (Ugh.)
Pass: All those guys on the DL.