Going with the same formula as last week, the only change this week is that the new tiebreaking procedures, for identical scores, will reward consensus, much like the system itself. The team with the lower standard deviation on its scores will be given that rank, because more sources and rankings believe that they should hold it.
Here's the system, for those new to the site.
The rankings are determined by the sum of rankings from the following:
Third-order winning percentage from Baseball Prospectus.
- My own "computer poll" - a ranking of a team's OBP, SLG, and opponents' OBP and SLG.
ESPN's RPI, which seems like the best measure to rank a team's current performance. (This takes into account strength of schedule, winning percentage, and opponents' winning percentage).
- The rank of of team's average of 5 power rankings from various media outlets / baseball sites (none are dropped, unlike the BCS):
We're starting to get into a routine with this, I hope... I'm looking to post them every Wednesday night or Thursday morning. A lot of it depends on when the other sites release their rankings, but, for our third installment, the more things change...
(last week's ranking in parentheses)
- Orioles (1) - ... the more they stay the same. The lowest rank in any method I used for the O's was #3, and they tied with the Cardinals for #2 in the power poll averages. After losing the first two in the White Sox series, the O's earned the split and are doing what pennant contenders have to do: they're beating the Royals. They score a 5.5, the lowest we've had.
- Cardinals (4) - Systematic and effective. After a tough loss to the Mets on Friday night, they bore down and took two tough games at Shea on the weekend. Expect smooth sailing to another division crown.
- Braves (2) - They keep plugging along and have the third highest team slugging in the NL. How? May be worth an entry at some point... well, it will be.
- White Sox (3) - Actually dropped a spot this week, even though they still have the best record in baseball. Chicago's hitting has picked up the slack of late, actually; their bats have improved to league average after a very slow start.
- Marlins (5) - They're 21-16 but the numbers are unbelievable. They also just got swept by a red-hot Padres-team, and two of those games were close. Keep that 2-7 record in one run games in mind... they take two of those and they're 23-14 and a game and a half up in the division.
- Twins (7) - Moving up a spot. Fairly strong consensus across the board on the Twins. Mauer and Morneau, on the season, are hitting .338/.394/.570. It's really difficult to rely so much on the farm system to bring in the wins, but Mauer + Morneau together, so far, have been Pujols-esque in terms of youth production.
- Nationals (6) - The Nats remind me of that woman in Austin Powers 2 whom gets shot, impaled, and a few other things, but refuses to die. The injury list increases, but they're still 6 over. The polls are skeptical. We'll see.
- Padres (13) - Five more spots for the Padres, who are surging. They're now a game up on the D'Backs, but the 12-3 record in 1-run games may mean that they're a bit lucky. Then again, they have the bullpen to win the 1-run games... SI.com has them way up at #4. Other methods are more patient.
- Red Sox (8) - Dropped a spot, but more of a product of the Padres surge than anything else. Someone had to be displaced. And this fan sympathetic to the plight of the A's thanks the Red Sox for losing a couple to Oakland. Every little bit helps.
- Tigers (11) - A top 10 team! In Detroit. And, at this moment, the AL Central is a nightmarish division to play in. They're a .500 ballclub right now. I could see them finishing there. They're also slugging .425, which is well above the league average and is a big surprise at Comerica.
- Mets (10) - Another small drop from the Mets, who just haven't put it all together yet this year. The biggest positive you can draw from the Mets is that they're managing to get on-base just above the NL average, even with Reyes, Matsui, and Piazza all below .300 OBP.
- Yankees (17) - They keep winning (as of writing, they were tied with the Mariners 6-6 in the 7th inning), and their failure to lose gave them another big jump. The media isn't going crazy with its ranks, and every rank for the Yanks is in the 10-14 range. Accordingly, they're #12.
- Dodgers (9) - Another 4 slot drop for the Dodgers, who were at #5 for our first rankings. SABR is alive and well in the Dodger bats, who lead the NL in OBP. The pitching hasn't been there. Injury-wise, Gagne's ready to get back to his dominating ways; he struck out 2 last night.
- Blue Jays (12) - Quietly descending away from contention. Blue Jays fact: Both Roy Halladay and Gustavo Chacin have allowed BABIPs of .270 exactly.
- D'Backs (16) - At some point, either the numbers are going to pick up or the wins are going to stop for this team. I'll bank on the latter because they're overachieving their conventional Pythagorean record by 6 wins ALREADY, which is almost unheard of.
- Rangers (18) - The AL West's highest entry moves up two spots from last week. They're 2.5 back of the Angels. Big positive here: opponents are only slugging .405 against the Rangers, who play in the AL's version of Coors' Field. .405 is slightly below the league average.
- Brewers (14) - The NL Central is very, very top heavy; this is the second ranked team from that division. The Brewers have lost 4 of 6 and are cooling off a bit. Not having Ben Sheets in the rotation has hurt their chances of really turning heads, but considering all the unexpected performances that this group has received from guys like Turnbow and Brady Clark, I guess it balances out.
- Cubs (21) - Abuse catching up to the Cubs, unfortunately, and Zambrano is a victim. With few exciting prospects (Felix Pie is a big exception) and one productive bat right now, 2003 seems like a long, long time ago.
- Indians (22) - Dead last in the AL in runs scored. Behind the Royals. The 11-29 Royals. The highest OPS from a starter is Travis Hafner's .861. Jhonny Peralta has hit recently, too, but otherwise, there's little to no offense here. Victor Martinez's .198/.271/.294 can't keep up, but such an awful start from a critical component can be devastating.
- Giants (15) - Falling fast. Cue the Rolling Stones: "What a drag it is getting old..." Bonds will agree.
- Angels (19) - The most interesting team on our list. They're in first place in the AL West, leading by 3 in the loss column. 4 power rankings put them in the Top 10, at 6, 6, 7, and 8. The stat-based ones are much more pessimistic. Pythagenport puts them at #28, and Scotto score puts them at #27. This is by far and away the biggest variation of the young season. I'll favor my system again simply because I do not think it is possible to win any sustained amount of games with a .297 OBP, which is what the Angels are bringing. Something's gotta give.
- Phillies (20) - Bobby Abreu's hot streak over the last week has been unimaginable: he's hitting .559/.636/1.382 since May 7. That's worth 19.4 extrapolated runs. His VORP is up to 28.2. And yet, the Phillies still lost two spots in the rankings in the last week. Their failure to capitalize on this stretch is frankly unacceptable for a team considered to be potentially the class of the NL East.
- Astros (25) - Berkman's not hitting at all (.167/.306/.300 since his return), which is just compounding the problems of the already abysmal offense. In other news, they moved up two slots. It's progress.
- Pirates (26) - They cracked the top 20 in SI.com's poll, and, unfortunately, they managed to be ranked equal with their lowest ranking in any system: 24 (Prospectus and RPI agree). Still, at 17-21, it's better than many expected.
- Mariners (27) - Here's to show how the progress is going: the Mariners just ended the Yankee winning streak. They're back to 25, after a drop to 27 last week. Ichiro's hitting .337/.391/.479. The rest of the team? .238/.303/.363. That includes Sexson, who hasn't been bad.
- Devil Rays (24) - One of these years, it's going to come together for Tampa. I'll put my money on 2008, if everything breaks right.
- A's (23) - They stopped the bleeding today with a 13 run outburst after finding every possible way to lose a game. These next two months and change might be Beane's most interesting ones in a long time, considering that the division is weak and, for all of the A's struggling, they're not completely out of the race.
- Rockies (28) - You gotta love their stability. Aaron Miles continues to be the world's worst .300 hitter.
- Reds (30) - Mets return the favor from Opening Day with a sweep this week, and the Reds still move up. Why?
- Royals (29) - Well, the Royals forced the Reds forward, as Jose Lima blew a 6-run lead against the Orioles very quickly. 60 games would be an accomplishment for this team at this point, especially once they trade Sweeney.