25 July 2007

Dodger Power Rankings

by the Power Ranker

1. Jeffrey Franklin Kent

Power rankers are a capricious, cruel lot, with the memory of a hardened relief pitcher. We don't think; we react. Analysis is for the timid! If you've been hitting a lot of home runs lately, we love you. Welcome to the top spot, Jeff Kent. Your 1.153 OPS in July is a thing of beauty. Let us create a bobble-head in your image to befit your lofty status. May it bobble until you bobble and slump, at which time the power ranker will smash in the bobblehead with a hammer.

2. Chad Ryan Billingsley

What's the reward for a complete game gem when the relief staff is groaning under the weight of injuries and faltering starters? Never mind that Billingsley didn't face a terribly fearsome lineup, or that he got somewhat lucky on balls in play in the early innings ... he did what needed to be done, by hook or luck, and the reward is the second spot. It's not as if we're talking about a formerly bad pitcher, either. Chad's season ERA is fourth on the Dodger staff, behind just Penny, Broxton, and Saito.

3. Andre Everett Ethier

The Dodgers have two right fielders who are red hot, both with an OPS above 1.000 in July. Matt Kemp is the more exciting of the two, the more talented, the more promising. He's faster and more powerful, and he has a cooler nickname. But Ethier's outfield defense is very good, while Kemp's poor outfield play recently cost the Dodgers a game. So Ethier gets the nod ... but both should be starting.

4. Wilson Betemit

Betemit can make a legitimate claim on the top spot, so good has his play been lately. In July his OPS is 1.421. The problem is one of quantity. Though it's not his fault, the power ranker can't put a position player in the top spot if he plays at most twice a week.

5. Jonathan Roy Broxton

This is a protest ranking. It is a protest against those who think Broxton can't close. It is a protest against those who would contemplate trading for Dotel so that he could be the setup man instead. It is a protest against the idea that Meloan is too raw to be given a chance this season, when Broxton was that raw prospect reliever not too long ago. It's a protest against those who would blame Broxton more than the defense for two of the games where he lost the save. Kemp is below Broxton on this list for that reason. But this is also an honest ranking. Broxton has been superb all year. He's been superb lately. Coming in at number 5, the rock of the 'pen, big bad Jon.

6. Matthew Ryan Kemp

How can the most powerful man on the Dodgers not take the top spot in the power ranking? Even now the power ranker wavers ... but defense matters. The Bison is still terrific, still one of the best Dodgers lately. He's going to be a top 5 Dodger for years to come, if all goes well. But right now, he falls a bit short.

7. Rafael Antoni Furcal

A surprise at number seven! The Dodger MVP of last season, often the forgotten man this season, as he scuffled along with his injured ankle. But Furcal has been putting together a nice July, with an OPS of 0.812. Furcal has piled up 13 multi-hit games this month, while anchoring the infield defense between "rosebush" Kent and "glass" Nomar. Furcal has been an important part of the July revival of the Dodger offense.

8. James Anthony Loney

There are whispers of doubt, suddenly, in the power ranker's ear concering the amazing James Loney. Only 4 doubles and 1 home run in July for the wonderkid ... maybe the doubts about his power are correct. Down the list he goes! There is no room for perspective or patience in the power ranker's world. Is even the eight spot too high? No, he does get on base every day he plays. The power ranker's true wrath is reserved for others.

9. Anthony Nomar Garciaparra

You say Anthony, the power ranker say Antoni, Anthony, Antoni, Anthony, Antoni, let's pretend the power ranker never ranked Nomar so high. What can the power ranker say? His July OPS is actually higher than Loney's. He's hitting well lately, even showing some power. The power ranker loves power. He looks okay at third base. The power ranker doesn't cringe when the ball is hit his way, which sadly is the standard when an old brittle player suddenly starts playing there. Welcome to the top ten, Nomar. Have a seat. But keep your shoes on. The power ranker doesn't expect you to stay.

10. Michael Scott Lieberthal

Finally, we get to the Dodger catcher. Even if he's been slumping, he surely deserves to make the top te ... hey, wait a minute, this isn't Martin! Well, Lieberthal is batting over 0.500 in July. Yes, he never plays. That's why he's temporarily ranked above Martin. It's the power ranker's way of saying that Martin needs more days off. The only way the power ranker can say things is through his rankings. It's sad, really. What if the power ranker wanted to say something unrelated to the Dodgers, such as, "Save the whales?" That would be a hard one ... maybe something involving Broxton and Saenz ... um, nevermind.

11. Russell Nathan Coltrane Martin

The power ranker feels such remorse. How can a man with such a cool name not be in the top ten? The power ranker almost wishes we could convert to the duodecimal system of numbers, in which twelve would be ten, if you know what the power ranker means. Probably you don't. Martin was blazing hot to begin July, and has been ice cold the last week. He hasn't had a multi-hit game since San Francisco. He hasn't drawn a walk in the last week. He hasn't hit for the cycle in the past month. No four home run games either. Bum.

12. Bradley Wayne Penny

He's fallen on hard times recently, just like all those smug sabremetric people said he would. Don't take this characterization personally, sabre-people. Power rankers are the most judgemental, smug people there are and we always project our own faults onto other people. This power ranker was actually impressed that Penny was able to "man up" and pitch well in his last game after struggling early. That was almost as inspirational as Lincoln doing Civil War stuff. ( You know, because Lincoln is on the penny, and power rankers have no perspective and think sports are just like war. )

13. Takashi Saito

If you're taking up a roster spot but not pitching, your ranking will suffer. It's not fair, but that's how the power ranker rolls. Originally down at 18, he was bumped up to the halfway point at 13 as a sign of respect for his willingness to be careful with an injury, and also because it wasn't right to have him below Tomko and Pierre.

14. Juan D'Vaughn Pierre

Before you rip the power ranker a new one for having Pierre so high, just know that the competition for this spot was Tomko and Beimel. Yeah. So get off your high horse. Pierre gets the call here because in general it's been the Dodger offense leading the way so far, and Pierre has really done fairly well lately.

15. Brett Daniel Tomko

Remember, power rankers have short memories. Tomko has given the Dodgers two good starts in a row. All those awful relief appearances might as well have not happened. He'll be back in the bottom spot soon enough!

16. Joseph Ronald Beimel

Someday there's going to be a major leaguer named after Ronald Reagan. But not Beimel: he was born in 1977. ( Though come to think of it that doesn't mean he wasn't middle-named for Ronald the actor or governor ... ) The power ranker struggles to explain why Beimel ranks so low, since he's been pretty good lately. It's just hard to trust Beimel. The power ranker grades not only on results, but by how much you make us worry. Beimel is the king of making fans worry before wiggling out of a jam with an inexplicable comebacker or lucky lineout.

17. Eric Eugene Hull

Well, where should a man with just two innings pitched be ranked? Anyway, even though his ERA is 0, his strikeout to walk ratio is 1:1, which will never get it done in the long run. Yes, the power ranker has no qualms about making absurd projections from tiny sample sizes.

18. Dennis Sean Houlton Jr.

An innings-eater who remembers to flush, if you know what the power ranker means. In other words, he pitches the innings the Dodgers need him to pitch without leaving too foul a smell behind.

19. Derek Christopher Lowe

Hard times for Lowe. Too many walks lately, with some home runs mixed in. He hasn't sniffed the seventh inning lately, after regularly going deep into games earlier in the year. He'll turn it around.

20. Luis Emilio Gonzalez

This is the Gonzo we all feared the Dodgers were getting. In July his OPS is under 0.700. He has one home run and two doubles this month. Right now, the best outfielder to bench would be Gonzalez, not Pierre. There's no reason to play him over Kemp or Ethier regularly.

21. Ramon E. Martinez

It's nothing personal, Ramon. But you're a utility infielder who hits like one. The bottom five is your home. Deal with it.

22. Mark Allan Hendrickson

He'd be last if this was a ranking based on each player's swing.

23. Rudy Caballero Seanez

The home runs are back. Bad Seanez is back. 5 home runs in his last 5 innings. It's time to acknowledge that Rudy is no longer a viable option in a close game. There's only one reliever the power ranker trusts less right now.

24. Olmedo Saenz

This one hurts. But Saenz looks done.

25. ------ ---------

The power ranker refuses to write out his name, or acknowledge that he was ever a Dodger.

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