We continue our series of team-by-team reviews through the lens of the BtB Power Rankings with the National League East. 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.
11. Philadelphia Phillies. TQI = 0.525
The Phillies rank as the third-best team in the National League this season according to the power rankings, despite just missing the top-10. They're not quite the offensive juggernaut that postseason announcers hype, but they do have an above-average offense even after accounting for park effects (wOBA = 0.338). Coupled to that, however, is a plus-fielding team (+31 runs ranks 3rd in the league) with average-to-above-average pitching. Their cW% (0.550) comes in a tad below their actual W% (0.574) and pW% (0.568), due to a 27 run "overestimate" of runs allowed. Not sure on the cause--ERA is appropriately lower than FIP & tERA given the teams' plus fielding, and DER is actually fairly average indicating a little bit of bad luck.
The acquisition of Cliff Lee this summer was huge, turning a middling rotation into a genuinely excellent one. As a result, like the Cardinals (see tomorrow), the Phillies are probably a win or two better than their seasonal data indicate. This would negate the difference between cW% & actual W%, so I'm ok with using their W% (after league adjustment) as a measure of their true talent level.
See the rest below the jump.
15. Atlanta Braves. TQI = 0.508
While I don't think they ever claimed first place in the actual standings, there was a time that the Braves led the NL East in our on-paper rankings. The reason, of course, is that pitching staff. By tERA, they rank fourth in the NL. But by version of FIP, they rank first in the league. Unfortunately, as was the case (to a more severe degree) with the Royals, the Braves couldn't get much in the way of position player production to support those players. Fielding rates as a tad below average (-9 runs), as does offense (wOBA = 0.326). Baserunning was apparently a big problem for them, as they rate last in the NL according to BPro's EqBRR statistic (-16 runs). The Braves' are a bit strange in that their W% and cW% match very well despite a major difference in estimated runs allowed (we estimate 42 more runs allowed than actually occurred--if we used FIP instead of tRA, it wouldn't be nearly as high). Perhaps they got lucky? Or, perhaps, my home brew version of tRA isn't handling their staff particularly well this year.
20. Florida Marlins. TQI = 0.481
The Marlins Fan who reads BtB got upset at how the power rankings saw the Marlins earlier this season, but their cW% was almost an exact match for their pythagorean W%: 0.505 vs. 0.504. The Marlins were an average team: slightly above-average offense, slightly above-average pitching, and below-average fielding. Still, that's quite an accomplishment for a team with a $37 million payroll. Future looks bright, if they can keep their players. Hey, did you realize that Hanley Ramirez is still just 25? And, apparently, is actually an average-fielding shortstop now? Wow.
25. New York Mets. TQI = 0.424
There was a time earlier this season when the Mets ranked at the top of the NL East in our on-paper rankings and in the actual standings. And then they fell off a cliff. Injuries to many key players were a big factor in their decline--especially in terms of their weak offensive numbers (wOBA = 0.322). But they were also a below-average fielding team (-22 runs), which made their average pitching staff look worse than it was. Our cW% (0.450) matched up well to pW% (0.444), which were both a tad higher than their actual record (0.432). So they probably did get a bit unlucky. And with some of their good talent on the mend, perhaps they will recover next season. The NL East isn't an incredibly strong division, so I think they have a chance to compete next year.
29. Washington Nationals. TQI = 0.388
Earlier this season, around the time that Ryan Zimmerman was streaking, the Nationals were producing like they were one of the better offenses in the National League. Despite their awful defense, this led to a relatively respectable rating for this team despite just a handful of real wins. But as the summer wore on, the Nationals offense cooled down quite a bit, ending up below-average. And the pitching & fielding remained awful...as a result, the Nationals just missed the #30 ranking. Overall, our cW% (0.412) is very much in line with the Nat's Pythagorean W% (0.402), both of which are a decent amount above their true winning percentage (0.364). Maybe they got a bit unlucky--you almost have to be unlucky to lose 103 games, right? I blame Adam Dunn for all of their troubles: that's what we did in Cinci!