It's the final power rankings of 2010!
"On Paper" Playoff Teams
American League: E=Rays, C=Twins, W=Rangers, WC=Yankees
National League: E=Braves, C=Reds*, W=Rockies*, WC=Phillies
Quick commentary: among the playoff teams, only the Giants did "make" the power ranking playoff teams. And even in that case, they were within 5 TPI points of taking their division, which is easily within the margin of error here. I'm pretty happy with that.
Another thing that might raise eyebrows is the Braves ranked ahead of the Phillies. Both were clearly very good teams, but I think the Braves look worse now because of all the injuries they suffered. That was a very good team with one heck of a pitching staff.
The only teams that seem excessively high to me are the Blue Jays and the Rockies...and until the last few week so the season the Rockies were very much in the conversation in the real standings. As for the Jays...well...honestly, I can't really reconcile what's going on with that team.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with how the rankings have turned out. It's been a fun project to do these past two years.
Under the Hood
Converting Runs to Wins
RS = Actual Runs Scored, after a park adjustment
eRS = Estimated Runs Scored, after park adjustment (see table below)
RA = Actual Runs Allowed, after a park adjustment
eRA = Estimated Runs Allowed, after park adjustments (see table below)
W% = Actual Winning Percentage
pW% = PythagenPat Winning Percentage, based on actual runs scored and run allowed totals
cW% = Component Winning Percentage, using estimated runs scored and estimated runs allowed totals. If you don't like the league adjustments or strength of schedule adjustments, click in the header and sort by this column to get an "unsullied" ranking.
SoS = Strength of Schedule. This is an iterative weighted average of the component-based winning percentages of a team's opponents. Described in this post.
cW%s = Schedule-adjusted Component Winning Percentage. Calculated by applying SoS to cW% with the log5 method, as described in this post.
xTW = Extrapolated wins. Based on current real wins to date, and extrapolated wins over the rest of the season. Extrapolations are based on an average of cW% and cW%s, as justified in this post.
LgQ = League Quality. The AL has superior talent to the NL (justification here and here, and modified most recently here. A good introduction to the topic is this post). The number shown is an estimated true talent level (in winning percentage) of the two leagues were they to be able to play one other for a large number of games. It's based on the last two years of interleague, with a small adjustment toward 0.500 to account for the fact that the leagues do play one another and thus have already had a small effect on one another's performance.
TPI = Team Performance Index, a hypothetical winning % based on cW%s, after adjustment for league quality. Think of this as the W% we'd expect teams to have if they were all in one big league and were allowed to play 10,000 games vs. every team.
Team Offenses and Defenses
RS = Actual Runs Scored
eRS = Estimated Runs Scored: HitRns + EqBRR
wOBA = The Book's statistic, but park adjusted, and using data from both HitRns and EqBRR
OBP = On Base Percentage (Times on Base / Plate Appearances)
SLG = Slugging Percentage (Total Bases / At Bats)
HitRns = Base Runs-estimated runs scored, ignoring all base running, using the equation in this post.
EqBRR = Dan Fox's composite baserunning statistics from Baseball Prospectus, minus stolen bases since they are included in wRC.
RA = Actual Runs Allowed, after park adjustment
eRA = Estimated Runs Allowed: PitRns - Field
ERA = Straight-up Earned Run Average
FIP* = Fielding-Independent Runs, based strictly on K-, BB-, and HR-rates. HR/FB rates are park adjusted using these park factors.
xFIP = Expected Fielding-Independent Runs from FanGraphs. Like FIP, but with HR/Outfield Fly Ball rates regressed completely to league average. xFIP is as predictive as any other DIPS-like stat.
PitRns = Pitching Runs Allowed, the expected runs allowed based on the average of FIP and xFIP. Described in this post.
Field = Described in this post. It is essentially an average of team UZR, DRS (minus rSB since I calculate catcher fielding separately), and BsRFld. BsRFld is just difference between FIP-based runs allowed and park-adjusted Base Runs, and is a less direct approach of measuring fielding. The fielding number also includes a catcher fielding statistic, based on SB's, CS's, WP's, PB's, E's, and this year catcher interference. The catching methods are essentially those described here. But I'm using B-Ref data this year, and so there are slight tweaks to the methodology, generally in ways that should lead to greater accuracy. If you want to know, feel free to ask!
BABIP = Batting Average on Balls In Play. Fluctuates at the team level with fielding, although park effects and chance events can have effects as well.
Q. What are the power rankings?
A. The power rankings are an attempt to rank all teams in major league baseball based on their component statistics (hitting, baserunning, pitching, and fielding), after adjustments for park and strength of schedule (including league difficulty). Unlike most power rankings, these are not based on team wins or actual team runs allowed scored and allowed. It's an alternative way of creating power rankings than you will see in most places.
Q. This seems so complicated it might as well be a black box!
A. It's really not that hard to understand. We estimate runs scored based on hitting and baserunning stats. We estimate runs allowed based on fielding-independent pitching stats, and then add in a fielding stat. Then we adjust for park, plug it into the Pythagorean equation, and apply the strength of schedule adjustments. That gives us an estimate (an estimated winning percentage) of how well a team has performed this year, and that number is what we use to rank the teams. There are a lot of details (I try to break everything down in the descriptions below the tables), but really that's really all we're doing here.
Q. You've obviously got a broken model here because it's not ranking team X like I think they should be ranked.
A. There are errors around each estimate of team performance, and so it is entirely possible for the model to miss on a few teams while still being a meaningful way of ranking them teams. That said, we are always happy to hear specific suggestions as to how to improve them model overall: most of the improvements made over the past year are due to user feedback. ... of course, it's also possible that your perceptions are incorrect and the model is ranking a team in a fair and reasonable fashion.
Q. Shouldn't we just be looking at wins? Isn't that all the matters in the end?
A. It just depends what question you're trying to answer. If you just want to know who will make the playoffs, this isn't the ranking for you (though the extrapolated wins we calculate might be of interest). If you want a look at which teams have performed the best, regardless of whether those performances have resulted in wins and/or runs, you might find this ranking of interest. Also, even if you reject the overall rankings, you may find these rankings useful as a way to check out rankings of team offenses, pitching, fielding, and strength of schedule.