We continue our series of team-by-team reviews through the lens of the BtB Power Rankings with the American League Central. Below, W% = true winning percentage, pW% = pythagenpat winning percentage, and cW% = component W% (the basis of these rankings). All of the data I reference can be found in the final Power Rankings post of 2009.
10. Chicago White Sox. TQI = 0.529
The ChiSox beat out both the Twins and Tigers in our on-paper rankings, though what had been a sizeable lead became very close by the end of the season. We're really not rating them much higher than their true winning percentage: 0.502 cW% vs. 0.488 W%. The issue is that the power rankings see the Twins and Tigers as "overachieving." As a team, the White Sox were pretty similar to the Cubs if perhaps a bit more extreme: they had excellent pitching, but a weak offense. They also weren't very impressive in the field (-27 runs overall).
See commentary on the other teams below the jump!
12. Minnesota Twins. TQI = 0.524
We're within the margin of error here, but the Power Rankings think that, given a choice between the Tigers and Twins, the right team won game 163. Nevertheless, we have the Twins' cW% at an even 0.500, which is a fair bit shy of their actual and pythagorean marks of 0.534 & 0.532. Estimates of offense are dead on with reality. Defensively, though, we estimate that a typical team with the Twins' stats will allow 50 more runs than the Twins actually did. It's hard to say why exactly, but you'd expect a team with below-average fielding like the Twins have a disparity between ERA and fielding-independent measures of pitching. Instead, here are the Twins ERA, FIP, and tERA, respectively: 4.50, 4.51, & 4.50. So they got "lucky," whatever that means.
13. Detroit Tigers. TQI = 0.515
The Tigers lost a heartbreaking game 163 last week, but the power rankings don't even think they should have been there: cW% was 0.490, compared to a 0.499 pW% and a 0.528 true W%. The Tigers were a good fielding team--and they justifiably got a nice boost to their numbers when I started including catcher defense--but their offense was just average and pitching was below-average. Cabrera and Verlander are legitimate stars, but the Tigers needed more than those players' contributions to get themselves back to the playoffs. I want my 2007 anderson" class="sbn-auto-link">Curtis Granderson back.
18. Cleveland Indians. TQI = 0.481
The Indians were ranked well above their actual W% for the entire season, and at one point even looked like they might contend for the on-paper AL Central division lead. The thing is, cW% closely matches straight-up Pythagorean w%: 0.457 vs. 0.446. I'm not usually one to blame the manager for such things, but during Eric Wedge's tenure, the team consistently underperformed Pythagoras. Via Baseball Reference, they've fallen short six of his seven years with the Tribe, totalling 27 wins below their Pythagorean record--that's almost 4 wins per season. I'm sure someone has talked about that before, but my goodness that seems like a lot.
22. Kansas City Royals. TQI = 0.445
What a bizarre team. They had Greinke, obviously. And he, plus a few others, including a resurgent Brian "I used pitchf/x to make you my bitch" Bannister, made for a slightly above-average pitching staff (they started the season far better than that). But aren't you supposed to have position players too? The Royals had the worst wOBA in the American League at 0.318, as well as the worst fielding--by far--of any team in baseball at an estimated -75 runs. I mean, how impressive is Greinke given who was playing behind the guy?!? All three of their shortstops, plus their DH and RF, posted sub-replacement level performances. At least Billy Butler finally started to hit a bit...