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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 7:00 AM

The big TV game Wednesday Night on ESPN is the Texas Rangers at the Boston Red Sox. We already previewed that series in the Tuesday edition of the NOTEBOOK. So, we decided to spend today getting you caught up on the best and worst offenses so far in the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

There are a variety of ways to evaluate offenses. Some better than others. We’ve always encouraged you over the years on these pages to be sure you make adjustments for home ballparks. It’s easy for an offense to create the illusion of quality when they play their home games in a hitter’s paradise. It’s easy for an offense to look mediocre or worse when they’re stuck playing in a pitcher’s paradise. The San Francisco Giants have had a better offense than realized in recent years, which is a big part of why they’ve won two of the last three World Championships.

A handy stat which does adjust for ballparks is something posted by the informative Baseball-Reference website. It’s called OPS+, which stirs up on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and ballpark effects to spit out a number for each team.

Here were the OPS+ numbers for the American League heading into Tuesday Night’s action at the Baseball-Reference website…

 

BEST AMERICAN LEAGUE OFFENSES

Cleveland 112

Baltimore 111

Tampa Bay 110

Boston 108

Detroit 108

LA Angels 106

Oakland 104

Texas 101

You’ve probably been reading a lot about the potent offenses of Cleveland and Baltimore. You need to notice that Tampa Bay has been right up there with them. That’s a surprise given the Rays’ recent history. Detroit’s cooled off a bit the past couple of weeks after sitting at the top of the league for a long time (that low scoring series in Pittsburgh hurt their numbers). A surprise here is that the LA Angels still grade out in the upper half of the league even with slumps by their sluggers. They will have a scary offense if Hamilton and Pujols start playing to their contracts.

 

STRUGGLING AMERICAN LEAGUE OFFENSES

Toronto 98

Seattle 97

Minnesota 92

NY Yankees 91

Houston 90

Kansas City 84

Chicago White Sox 74

These are all below average offenses. The biggest surprise there is the Yankees, who started out the season well even without many of their big names. But, a sustained offensive slump made the pitchers carry the bulk of the load. The Bombers are starting to get some regular names back in the lineup, which means they could outperform that number above going forward. Horrible springs offensively for the Royals and White Sox. There should never be numbers that low in the Designated Hitter league.

 

BEST NATIONAL LEAGUE OFFENSES

San Francisco 111

St. Louis 102

Atlanta 102

Arizona 99

Cincinnati 98

LA Dodgers 97

Colorado 96

Pittsburgh 96

San Diego 96

Overall numbers are lower over here in the NL because pitchers have to bat. San Francisco is showing an American League offense anyway! Playing home games in often chilly weather by the bay really hides what that team is capable of. We would guess that the Dodgers and Padres would surprise you on that list. They’re in the same boat, getting hurt in “raw” stats by playing home games in pitcher’s parks (or divisional games against themselves and the Giants!). Note that Pittsburgh’s been in a recent slump that would have them dropping below average if you only looked at the past month or so.

 

STRUGGLING NATIONAL LEAGUE OFFENSES

Milwaukee 95

Chicago Cubs 94

Philadelphia 91

NY Mets 88

Washington 82

Miami 71

The NL East is horrible this year…and that’s mostly because the Phils, Mets, Nats, and Marlins can’t hit! Washington’s a big surprise in that regard. Philadelphia spent a lot of money a few years ago to buy offense…but paid into declining veteran trends.

If you’re like most do-it-yourself baseball handicappers, you focus on the starting pitchers…then hope that the offense will kind of take care of itself. Then, you:

*Complain when your team doesn’t hit

*Complain when your bullpen blows the game!

A true complete handicapper looks at starting pitchers, the bullpen, and offensive strengths and weaknesses when finding games to bet in Las Vegas. JIM HURLEY does all that with the help of scouts, sources, statheads, computer programmers, and Wise Guy connections in Las Vegas and offshore. When you sign up for service, you can be confident you’re getting the best betting opportunities on the board!

It’s easy to take care of business. Make a few clicks here at the website and have your credit card handy. Or, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

Back Thursday with a statistical series preview of San Antonio Spurs/Miami Heat battle in the NBA Playoffs. Then we’ll mix basketball and baseball through the championship round (hoops will be on a Thursday-Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday-Tuesday rotation like usual).

In baseball and basketball…and in Saturday’s BELMONT STAKES…be sure you get the money with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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