Welcome to our weekly ranking of all the MLB teams! In this ranking, we use aggregate team 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 teams 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.
The table is sortable if you click in the header. All data are park-adjusted when possible. A legend is below the table, followed commentary about five teams: Red Sox, Cubs, Rockies, Royals, and Cardinals. I have also added a table this week comparing actual vs. expected run scored and run allowed totals, as well as actual vs. expected winning percentages.
BtB Power Rankings
Offense = wOBA (park-corrected), eRS (estimated runs scored; wRC from FanGraphs, then park adjusted)
Pitching = tRA 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)
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):
Offense (wOBA): Yankees, Rays, Red Sox*
Pitching (tRA): Royals, White Sox, Red Sox
Fielding (Fld): Rangers, Tigers, Rays*
Offense (wOBA): Phillies, Dodgers, Mets*
Pitching (tRA): Braves, Rockies*, Cubs*
Fielding (Fld): Brewers*, Pirates, Reds
"On Paper" Playoff Leaders (asterisks indicate new leaders):
American League: E=Blue Jays*, C=Tigers, W=Rangers, WC = Rays
National League: E=Phillies*, C=Cubs*, W=Dodgers, WC =Mets
Commentary below the jump!
Some teams of note:
Winning 6 of their last 8, the Red Sox surged up the power rankings this week thanks to the third-best pitching and now the third-best offense in the league. The only thing they haven't done well thus far is field (rank 25th of 30 teams). With the Red Sox' ascent, we now have the top four slots in our power rankings filled by AL East teams. There's just no getting around the fact that these are all exceptionally good teams, and they play in an absurdly competitive division...which, if anything, means they are probably better than these rankings indicate. As a Reds fan with deep-seeded prejudices against the rich teams of the AL East (I'm writing this while grudgingly watching yet another the Yankees/Red Sox game on ESPN), I can't tell you how upsetting this is to me.
The Cubs are distancing themselves from a disastrous 8-game losing streak, and now are on an 8 for 12 streak and are back in the pack with the other competitive NL Central teams. Compared to last week, we see improvements in pitching and fielding, Many had the Cubs favored to win the division again this year, and it may be that they're starting to find themselves. Their hitting continues to be below-average, however, and they might need to find their offense before they can hope to take this division. Or maybe not: they are now our on-paper leaders in their division.
The Rockies have had a tough time of things, but this week surged by eight spots in the ranking while posting an 6-game winning streak. The first three games in the streak were won by 7, 7, and 9 runs (in away games, no less!), which is a big part of the reason we saw improvements in offense, pitching, and fielding. Was it really Clint Hurdle keeping them down, or are they just a good team that has been playing badly? Well, their pitching, after park corrections, now rates as the second-best in the league, so there's that. And they have the second-best Pythagorean record in the NL West, four games better than their actual record. These rankings think they've underperformed as well, with an expected winning percentage in the NL of 0.535. But is it too late to compete for the wild card this year? The Dodgers don't appear catchable...
On May 7th, the Royals were 18-11, leading their division by three games. In the 27 games since then, they are 6-21. This past week, despite a win to break the losing streak up, has been particularly brutal, with a pair of blowout losses and several other losses by at least four runs. While we don't base these rankings on runs scored and allowed, teams that lose as much and as badly as the Royals have of late do not tend to have good aggregate statistics either. The result is the Royals falling away from the leaders, where they previously had been holding strong despite their actual record. I know they're having a nice blowout win tonight, but they will really have to turn things around to get back in the AL Central race.
Remember the Rockies' win streak mentioned above? Four of them (and two of the blow-outs) came at the expense of the Cardinals. This past week, we've seen drops in both their offense (Pujols' wOBA this past week is 0.276) and especially in their pitching, and those games are a big part of the reason why. The Cardinals always seem to be in the hunt, despite bleeding away talent every offseason. Their piching has some depth, but the offense begins and ends with Pujols this year. Pujols is a superstar among superstars, but is he good enough to carry an offense single-handedly?
Actual vs Expected Performances
Below are actual vs expected winning percentages, runs scored, and runs allowed. When a team's ranking deviates substantially from their actual performance (e.g. the Giants), this table will hopefully help you see why.