We now turn our attention to the AL West. As a reminder, you can access all of the data I'm citing in the 2009 end of season power rankings.
7. Los Angeles Angels. TQI = 0.549
The Angels are sort of the opposite of the Cleveland Indians (see yesterday's post), in that they always seem to overperform their component statistics. In this case, we're estimating their component W% at 0.525, compared to their true record of 0.599. The reason is a large disparity on both offense and defense. Our estimated runs scored total is 32 shy of their actual total, while estimated runs allowed was a whopping 50 more than reality. Why? The run scored disparity matches up well to FanGraphs' team clutch score of +26 runs (though that's because, in part, I'm using some of the same data). And on defense, tERA is 0.2 runs higher than actual ERA (FIP is intermediate), despite the Angels having slightly below-average fielding (due to the catching). I don't know what to believe--the power rankings, or the Angels' record. My guess is that their true talent is somewhere in between. What I do know is that this is a different kind of Angels team--they have an outstanding offense, but are actually a bit below average in pitching and fielding.
8. Texas Rangers. TQI = 0.543
The Rangers battled all year, and ended up well shy of the Angels' near-0.600 mark. In the power rankings, they essentially swapped spaces every other week, ending the season just shy of of the Angels' mark. We actually estimated their cW% slightly below their actual winning percentage. Our runs scored estimate was 33 shy of reality. But we also estimated that they'd allow 14 runs fewer than they did, which keeps their cW% close to the actual mark. This is the first Rangers team I can remember that is built more for pitching and fielding than offense. Their hitters were just average, at least after park adjustments. But their pitching was also average, which, with their plus fielding, resulted in an above-average team.
9. Oakland Athletics. TQI = 0.533
Somehow I didn't noticed that the Athletics had crept all the way up to 9th in the power rankings, just behind the Rangers. Early in the year, the Athletics were near the bottom of the American league, both in the power rankings and in the actual standings. From about the time they traded away Matt Holliday, however, the A's started to rise in the rankings a few places at a time. And then, in September, they posted a brilliant 0.630 winning percentage, shooting up the rankings in parallel with the Mariners. The 2009 Athletics were an average hitting team with slightly below average fielding. Their pitching, however, finished very strong, led by rookie of the year candidates Brett Anderson and Andrew Bailey.
17. Seattle Mariners. TQI = 0.487
The Mariners were the best-fielding team in the major leagues this year. I have them at +80 runs above average, including catching, which is actually a bit conservative--UZR has them at +85 runs, without even including their plus catching. The number that's most striking to me about this is their pitcher's BABIP--just 0.280. Their pitchers, however, were slightly below average overall (despite King Felix), and their hitting was well short of the mark. As a result, like their pW% (0.464), their cW% (0.461) is quite a bit shy of their actual record. I know they're feeling excited in Seattle right now, but my feeling is that some of that is unfortunately a mirage.