Below is a "quick" end of season power ranks
10. Minnesota- Previous Rank (8), First Rank (9) Record: 88-72
After just missing the playoffs last season Stazrunner takes home the AL North title and makes his first playoff appearance in second Hunter season. As predicted in the last power rankings Minny put the divison to bed relatively early and should have a fresh team that's ready for the unenviable challenge of having to try and knock off either SF or KC in the 1st round.
9. Las Vegas- Previous Rank (6), First Rank (7) Record: 94-64
At one point this season it looked like Las Vegas was destined for a bye but unfortunately for the Sinatras they were leap frogged by Little Rock, Philly and now Baltimore in the NL. As mentioned previously Iain had a busy off-season and those off-season improvements have added atleast 4 wins to their total (90 wins last year). The difference between the 3 seed and the 4 seed in the NL is barely perceptible since Seattle and LA are similarly talented. The same cannot be said in the AL, with no offense to Atlanta, avoiding KC/SF in the 1st round was a huge carrot for the AL 3-seed.
8. Atlanta- Previous Rank (NR), First Rank (NR) Record: 88-72
Below is a direct quote from the owner himself " Still can't figure out how trading Bob Creek, Brian Burnett, Josh Mays, and Virgil Kraemer results in a net increase in wins. Really bizarre season. Will say my team defense was top notch. That helped." As a fellow AL South owner I can't figure it out either, I will admit in the pre-season I saw Atl go into rebuild mode and breathed a sign of relief figuring I'd cruise to the divison title......well I'll win the divison but the only place where my rocky season would qualify as cruising is off the coast of Italy, where capsizing cruise ships are on the menu. Louisville-Atlanta are destined for an AL South cage match in the first round.
7. Baltimore- Previous Rank (8), First Rank (NR) Record: 95-65
The Baydogs keep rising, it looks like it will come down to the last game of the season but they are in the cat bird seat for the 3-seed in Quadruple A.....ummm.....I mean the NL......this is akward :). As I mentioned earlier I have a soft spot for the Baltimore franchise and would like to tip my cap to Duff, for his first 90 win season in Hunter & improving the Baydog record win total by atleast 8 games.
6. Louisville- Previous Rank (3), First Rank (5) Record: 92-68
This has been the weirdest season I've ever experienced in Hunter. The injury bug hit hard in Slugger country this year. Losing Wendall Kinkade & Timothey Ducey for the season early in the year (combined 3 Cy Youngs), however the team absorbed their losses without much issue. Less than 30 games ago it still appeared LOU would take the 2-seed, but the loss of 5th starter Tim Larkin seemed to be the straw that broke the camels back, his loss for the season through the team into a tail spin. Things got so bad on the injury front, I had two "plug" pitchers go on the DL that I had to sign guys at the end of the year to be able to rest my starters. Then all of a sudden the Sluggers are riding high going into the playoffs (7 straight wins), I don't know what to make of this team. As the owner I am clinging to hope based on two things 1. We have the 3rd highest exp. Win % in the entire world (behind KC & SF) 2. IF we can get there Wendall Kinkade should be able to return in round 2.
Post Script: At this point I would like to give a big sloppy man kiss to Flip McCall the only one of my big 3 to stay injury free for going 18-0 with a AL leading 2.55 ERA, he likely single handedly saved not only the divison title but the Slugger playoff streak.