Beyond the Box Score Power Rankings: Week 8

The Red Sox finally break through above the jump, switching sections with the Royals. The #1 club stays the same for yet another week - we'll see how long the Cardinals can hold off the Indians.

Just as a reminder: some of the things that go into these rankings include runs scored and allowed, run distributions, wOBA, wRC, FIP, xFIP, DRS, UZR, etc., Base Runs, BABIP and HR/FB% adjustments, and our guts.

Rank Team Wins Losses Comments
1 Cardinals 27 20 Albert Pujols hasn't hit a home run in a month? No problem. The Cardinals lead the NL in scoring even during that span, as everyone from Yadier Molina to Nick Punto has produced at the plate.
2 Indians 28 15 The Indians have 7 position players with at least 1 fWAR - most in the majors. It's been a team effort putting together baseball's best record, led by Asdrubal Cabrera and his (already) career high 9 home runs.
3 Yankees 24 20 Take away Curtis Granderson's 16 home runs - good for second in the majors - and the Yankees still have a longball edge over every other team. That's made them the AL's best offense despite a .274 BABIP.
4 Phillies 28 17 Perhaps the return of Chase Utley will help jump-start one of the league's worst offenses. Which is kind of scary, given that when the Phillies score even just 2 or 3 runs, they're 11-6.
5 Reds 25 21 The pitching still looks a little shaky - has Travis Wood really been the team's most valuable starter? - but the position players can not only slug but help out with run prevention as well.
6 Rangers 23 23 Josh Hamilton is coming back, and just in time. The Rangers' offense has struggled recently, and the pitching staff has been fortunate to give up as few runs as they have (they have the majors' largest FIP - ERA).
7 Blue Jays 23 22 Maybe Aaron Hill (0 HR after years of 36 and 26) is just loaning Jose Bautista his power. 70+ homers between the two of them would still be quite good for each, after all, even split 60-40.
8 Brewers 23 23 Zack Greinke is back, and the team is on a roll - showcasing perhaps the league's best pitching over the past couple weeks. Plus, they have the league's best offense, led by Jonathan Lucroy's 3 home runs (and .407 BABIP).
9 Red Sox 24 21 Carl Crawford has taken a lot of flak, but Dustin Pedroia hasn't hit a ton either and his strike-outs are way up. Luckily Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis have been two of the league's best hitters.
10 Braves 26 22 Eric Hinske is leading the team in wRAA. Joe Mather is second. Their combined BABIP of close to .500 will surely come down - probably directly transferring to Dan Uggla (.197 BABIP).
11 Rockies 23 21 Huston Street is 14 for 16 on saves, and yet has a 4.85 FIP and -0.2 fWAR. Only closer with 10+ saves to be below replacement level so far (by that metric). But hey, Jason Giambi hit 4 HR in 11 AB last week.
12 Marlins 26 18 Losing Josh Johnson hurts, but Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco can help cover the loss. They just need some help from the offense, and Javier Vazquez's recent shutout not being a complete fluke would be nice.
13 Athletics 22 24 Of pitchers with at least 5 starts, Gio Gonzalez has the A's highest FIP... at 3.22. Former prospect Brandon McCarthy (2.0 fWAR) has made the loss of Dallas Braden seem not so severe.
14 Tigers 22 23 Reliever Al Alburquerque is tops amongst all pitchers (min. 10 IP) with a strike-out rate of 15.3/9. Awesome name? Check. More K's than baserunners allowed? Check. That's how you become a fan favorite.
15 Rays 25 21 Many considered the Rays' bullpen a weakness coming into the season, and though they have a 3.22 ERA, they're striking out fewer than 6 per nine while walking more than 4.

 

 

16 Giants 26 19 Madison Bumgarner has made the rotation four quality arms deep going forward, and Ryan Vogelsong has even been effective since filling in for Barry Zito (~$18 M cheaper, no less).
17 Royals 22 23 Jeff Francis - 1-5 record aside - is having a fine season for KC. Can he really be the best starter on a contender, though, when the team's best hitters are Jeff Francoeur and Wilson Betemit?
18 Mets 22 23 They're among the MLB leaders in both walks and stolen bases, but the offense is middle of the pack and their starting pitching has been the NL's worst (by a fair bit, too)
19 Angels 23 24 Jeff Mathis (.216 wOBA) has as many plate appearances as Hank Conger (.311 wOBA). Meanwhile in the outfield, Vernon Wells' and Torii Hunters' OPSs combine for a nice 1.193 - just ahead of Lance Berkman.
20 White Sox 21 26 The return of Jake Peavy strengthens an already solid Chicago staff. The guys who were expected to produce offensively (Dunn, Beckham, Rios) need to pick it up - each still has as many HR as Brent Lillibridge.
21 Diamondbacks 22 23 I wonder how much people's impressions of Armando Galarraga are colored by the almost perfect game? He's getting torched this year, but will people think he's still a better pitcher than he is? Was the "almost" a bonus to that?
22 Pirates 22 23 No production from the infield corners, but the Tabata-McCuthcen-Jones outfield is producing. They're all working free passes well, giving the club a walk rate unseen from a Pittsburgh team in years.
23 Cubs 20 24 The three top BABIP offenses are in the NL Central, with the Cubs just ahead of the Cardinals and Astros at .325. Baserunners will be a little scarcer when that comes down, since they rarely walk.
24 Dodgers 21 26 Chad Billingsley has a higher wOBA (.319) than most of the team's starting position players. He has as many walks (2) as second-baseman Aaron Miles. Maybe Bills should play first-base on his off-days.
25 Mariners 21 24 Ichiro has more walks than strike-outs this year, but is showing virtually no power and the lowest BABIP of his career (.304). That's not a great sign - and neither is Adam Kennedy being their 2nd best hitter so far.
26 Nationals 21 24 Wilson Ramos: 1.3 rWAR for the Nationals (mostly this year, as he added a plus bat to his glove). Matt Capps: 1.0 rWAR for the Twins (more than all of it last year). Pretty nice trade.
27 Orioles 20 24 The O's have been the most "successful" base-stealing team in the majors (19 for 21). That helps a lot in those game when you're down 17-5 or 13-2, you know? At least Brian Matusz's return is imminent.
28 Padres 19 27 Chase Headly's UZR - which drove his 2010 fWAR breakout - is back down. And even with all the walks, that plus the lack of power (he has as many homers as Mat Latos) is depressing his value. 
29 Astros 16 30 I apologize in advance for this... the team's lefty specialist has been Abad this season (7.43 ERA). Fernando has a 1.74 FIP vs. LHH and a 12.74 FIP vs. RHH. Maybe making him even LOOGY-er?
30 Twins 15 29 Even with Joe Mauer's injury and Fransisco Liriano's regression (also injury?), it still hard to believe the Twins have been this bad. But they have been. Probably the easiest team to rank in the majors.

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