BtB Power Rankings: Through Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Welcome to our weekly ranking of all the MLB teams!  In this ranking, we use aggregate team hitting, pitching, and fielding statistics--not team wins, losses, runs scored, or runs allowed--to evaluate the performance of teams to date.  You can think of the estimated winning percentage (eW%) below as how we'd expect things to fall out if we threw teams with these aggregate statistics into one big league and let them battle it out for thousands of games.  They don't replace your actual standings, but they give you something different to consider when thinking about team performances.

New this week: Baserunning!  In all previous editions of the power ranking, the only baserunning information was the SB/CS data that is included in wRC from FanGraphs.  This week, after many weeks of vague promises to do so, I've added Dan Fox's Equivalent Base Running Runs, which includes SB/CS's, but also includes that player's advancement on ground balls, fly balls, hits (e.g. going first to third), and other circumstances (advancing on wild pitches, passed balls, & walks).  The result does help a few of the teams we've routinely ranked lower than their true or pythagorean records would predict (especially the Giants).  In other cases, the difference our estimated winning percentages and actual winning percentages became even larger (e.g. Rays and Reds).  Nevertheless, I think it's a nice improvement to our rankings.


The table is sortable if you click in the header.  All data are park-adjusted when possible.  A legend is below the table, followed by commentary.

Beyond The Boxscore Power Rankings

Rank Chg Team wOBA wRC BRR eRS tERA tRns Fld eRA eW%lg LgAdj eW%
1 +1 TB 0.354 686 7 693 4.38 587 33.7 553 0.613 15.7 0.637
2 -1 NYA 0.362 750 -7 743 4.45 603 4.7 598 0.599 15.7 0.621
3 0 BOS 0.343 650 2 653 3.97 537 -23.9 561 0.575 15.7 0.599
4 +2 COL 0.332 590 8 598 3.56 482 -2.8 485 0.605 -15.8 0.578
5 -1 LAN 0.336 639 -7 632 3.89 539 28.0 511 0.592 -15.8 0.567
6 +2 TOR 0.333 596 9 606 4.25 575 1.9 573 0.535 15.6 0.560
7 +2 LAA 0.354 689 3 692 4.86 649 -6.7 655 0.529 15.6 0.552
8 -1 TEX 0.333 585 -4 581 4.44 591 38.6 552 0.521 15.6 0.546
9 -4 CHA 0.325 564 -7 558 3.83 515 -13.5 529 0.518 15.8 0.545
10 +2 PHI 0.340 634 -4 630 4.31 580 15.7 564 0.549 -15.4 0.525
11 -1 CLE 0.341 641 1 642 4.66 626 -21.3 647 0.497 15.7 0.520
12 -1 MIN 0.339 631 6 636 4.55 617 -32.5 649 0.494 15.8 0.519
13 +3 OAK 0.320 527 11 538 4.17 563 -10.2 573 0.480 15.7 0.507
14 +1 DET 0.328 570 -2 568 4.56 609 18.7 590 0.481 15.7 0.506
15 -1 ATL 0.327 586 -10 575 3.81 518 -14.8 532 0.527 -15.7 0.501
16 +3 STL 0.329 576 0 576 4.05 551 -1.3 553 0.519 -15.9 0.493
17 -4 ARI 0.318 549 -5 544 3.92 535 14.7 520 0.516 -15.8 0.489
18 0 FLA 0.334 605 1 607 4.36 589 -11.8 601 0.506 -15.7 0.481
19 +1 SEA 0.319 536 -5 531 4.70 642 48.6 594 0.444 15.8 0.470
20 -3 CHN 0.319 550 -14 536 4.00 535 5.8 529 0.494 -15.4 0.468
21 +1 SF 0.308 472 8 480 3.94 535 43.0 492 0.496 -15.8 0.467
22 +1 MIL 0.336 621 -9 612 4.91 654 12.7 641 0.471 -15.7 0.447
23 -2 BAL 0.325 584 -19 565 4.64 624 -29.5 653 0.419 15.8 0.443
24 0 KC 0.312 504 -11 493 4.19 557 -47.5 604 0.399 15.7 0.424
25 0 NYN 0.323 547 4 551 4.37 588 -34.4 622 0.446 -15.8 0.420
26 0 WAS 0.333 614 -7 607 4.92 656 -25.5 682 0.440 -15.8 0.416
27 0 HOU 0.322 539 0 539 4.38 589 -22.4 611 0.440 -15.7 0.415
28 0 PIT 0.317 508 -3 506 4.61 603 20.7 582 0.433 -15.4 0.407
29 0 SD 0.320 545 -9 537 4.78 656 -13.6 670 0.391 -15.9 0.367
30 0 CIN 0.301 465 -8 458 4.61 622 25.1 596 0.376 -15.6 0.350
Offense
wOBA (park-corrected, includes all baserunning)
wRC (wRC from FanGraphs, with baserunning removed, then park adjusted)
BRR (Equivalent Base Running Runs from
Baseball Prospectus)
eRS (estimated runs scored) = wRC + BRR

Defense
Pitching = tERA and tRns are a home-brew version of Graham MacAree's statistic.
Fielding = Fld: average of bUZR (from FanGraphs) and THT's batted balls statistic (converted to runs)
eRA (estimated runs allowed) = Pitching - Fielding

eW%lg = estimated winning percentage within the specific league (AL or NL).  Compare this to true winning %!
LgAdj = league adjustment (bonus to AL teams, penalty to NL teams, because the AL has superior level of play)
eW% = estimated winning percentage if all teams were in one league (after league adjustment)

Methods provided in more detail in the first post in this series

Team Leaders (asterisks indicate teams improving in specific ranking):

American League

Offense (wOBA): Yankees, Angels, Rays
Pitching (tERA): White Sox, Red Sox, Athletics
Fielding (Fld): Mariners, Rangers, Rays

National League
Offense (wOBA): Phillies, Brewers*, Dodgers
Pitching (tERA): Rockies, Braves, Dodgers*
Fielding (Fld): Giants, Dodgers, Reds

"On Paper" Playoff Leaders (asterisks indicate new leaders):

American League: E=Rays*, C=White Sox, W=Angels*, WC=Yankees
National League: E=Phillies, C=Cardinals*, W=Rockies*, WC=Dodgers


This Week's Movers

For the first time all year, the Dodgers are not ranked first in the NL West!  The Rockies have been an unbelievably good team since firing their previous manager.  But I never would have guessed that they'd catch the Dodgers, as they always just seemed so far ahead.  Nevertheless, based on component statistics, the Rockies are now ranked as the best team in the NL West, based on their year-to-date performance.  The addition of baserunning stat is important here--there is a 15-run difference between Dodger and Rocky baserunning.  The Dodgers still have a three-game lead in reality, but they have to be terrified at this point.

We also see changes in three other on-paper division races, all of which can also be traced to the baserunning statistics.  The Rays are once again ranked over the Yankees, in large part thanks to their 14-run baserunning advantage.  The Angels have pulled ahead of the Rangers, barely, thanks to their 7-run baserunning advantage.  And the Cardinals pull ahead of the Cubs, who are the worst baserunning team in the league at -14 runs.  Small run differences can mean a lot in some of these tight races.

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