September 30, 2011
It's become somewhat of a Stew tradition to take a collective vote before the start of the postseason to determine a seeding that will never be employed past our little flight of fancy. It's far from perfect — we had the Chicago Cubs at No. 1 in 2008 and the San Francisco Giants at No. 6 in 2010 — but it's fun. The system is simple. Each of our writers ranks the teams with the highest seed getting an "8" and the lowest a "1." The number to the right of each team name is their total score. (Note: The Rangers and Rays tied under our six-man system, but the Rangers were listed higher than the Rays on more ballots.)
1. Philadelphia Phillies (47)
"102 wins speaks for itself. It's their World Series to lose." - Mark Townsend
"They made the regular season look like a mere exercise. Now comes the real test." - Kevin Kaduk
"The low team slugging percentage (.395) and fewest total home runs among playoff teams spells trouble." - Rob Iracane
* * *
2. New York Yankees (38)
"It's boring to pick the Yankees -- but it's also hard to beat them." - A.R.
"Can the Yankees' lineup (and ballpark) overcome the weakest starting pitching among the four AL playoff teams? Yeah, probably." - Ian Casselberry
* * *
3. Detroit Tigers (30)
"The Yankees better be ready to get Fistered." - Dave Brown
"Verlander might have been the best pitcher in baseball this year and Miguel Cabrera(notes) might be the best hitter on the planet not named Albert Pujols(notes). But will the guys behind them produce when it counts?" -A.R.
"Serious contender or just a neighborhood bully in a weak division? Jim Leyland hates that last label and now he'll get a chance to prove it wrong." -K.K.
"One bandwagon I have no interest in hopping aboard." - J.P.
* * *
4. Milwaukee Brewers (29)
"They don't lose at home. Miller Park is like a latter-day Metrodome." - D.B.
"The Brewers can afford to drop a game at Miller Park as much as I can afford to drop seven dollars on one of the beers there." - M.T.
"Not much depth due to a paper-thin minor-league system, but they have power pitching and power hitting. Built more for the playoffs than the regular season." - A.R.
* * *
5. Texas Rangers (26)
"Monster bullpen, monster power, deepest rotation in the AL leads to a pennant." - J.P.
"Sneaking suspicion they're still the best team in the AL, but they're ranked here to cover my butt." -D.B.
"The pitching staff is just heating up with 219 strikeouts in their last 221 innings pitched." -R.I.
"If everyone like the Rangers so much and finds them dangerous, why are they ranked so low? This postseason could do a lot in boosting Texas' image." - K.K.
* * *
6. Tampa Bay Rays (26)
"The bullpen is assembled out of spare parts and assorted Farnsworths" - R.I.
"Never underestimate the wild card that caught fire at the exact right moment of the season — call it the Marlins effect. But they've run out of gas in previous Octobers." -A.R.
"Hey, who let them in here?!" - D.B.
"Did the Rays use up all their juice to win the AL wild card? They scored runs during their mad dash to the postseason, but Rangers pitching staff will issue a tough test." -I.C.
* * *
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (12)
"Ian Kennedy gets a shot to prove all the skeptics wrong." -K.K.
"Kirk Gibson will have to give back all of the players' electronic toys if they win the Series." - D.B.
"Sorry, Kirk Gibson — the D-Backs don't get to play anymore NL West teams in the postseason. And the Brewers are really good at Miller Park." -I.C.
"How the hell did they win 94 games?" - J.P.
* * *
8. St. Louis Cardinals (8)
"The team is most similar to the Red Sox — all offense with a questionable pitching staff — except the Cardinals actually made the playoffs." -R.I.
"No more Atlanta Braves to hand over gifts, no more easy schedule down the stretch. But they were 6-3 against the Phillies in the regular season and they'll need to remember the recipe if they want to stand a chance." -I.C.