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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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FanGraphs Power Rankings: September 12–18

A bit of an abbreviated power rankings this week since I’m in the middle of moving. There isn’t much movement in the standings to report on anyway; the best teams continue to coast into the playoffs, and just a handful of teams are still fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive.

A reminder for how these rankings are calculated: first, we take the three most important components of a team — its offense (wRC+) and its starting rotation and bullpen (a 50/50 blend of FIP- and RA9-, weighted by IP share) — and combine them to create an overall team quality metric. New for this year, I’ve opted to include defense as a component, though it’s weighted less heavily than offense and pitching. Some element of team defense is captured by RA9-, but now that FanGraphs has Statcast’s OAA/RAA available on our leaderboards, I’ve chosen to include that as the defensive component for each team. I also add in a factor for “luck,” adjusting a team’s win percentage based on expected win-loss record. The result is a power ranking, which is then presented in tiers below.

Tier 1 – The Best of the Best

Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Dodgers 101-44 -5 122 81 78 6 183 100.0%
Astros 96-51 0 114 83 77 22 183 100.0%

The Astros joined the Dodgers as the second team to clinch a postseason berth last week and could lock up the AL West as soon as today. They might not be on the Dodgers’ level right now, but a few of their key players are heating up at exactly the right time. Justin Verlander made his return to the mound on Friday and pitched five scoreless innings against the A’s with nine strikeouts. In that same game, Yordan Alvarez blasted three home runs; he’s collected 14 hits and six homers in his last seven games. They have plenty of strength throughout the roster, but those two players will likely carry the team deep into October if Houston is going to make a run at another World Series appearance.

Tier 2 – On the Cusp of Greatness

Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Mets 93-55 3 114 88 92 10 166 100.0%
Braves 91-55 1 110 87 83 4 159 100.0%
Yankees 88-58 -7 115 89 82 10 173 100.0%

The Mets bounced back from an ugly three-game sweep at the hands of the Cubs to sweep the Pirates in four games over the weekend. That allowed them to maintain their narrow lead in the NL East over the Braves. Meanwhile, Atlanta swept the Phillies and will get another shot at dealing a blow to Philadelphia’s Wild Card hopes next weekend. Unfortunately, a day after getting Ozzie Albies back from his lengthy absence, he fractured his right pinky finger and will miss what’s left of the regular season — and perhaps the postseason as well.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders

Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Cardinals 87-61 0 115 98 97 15 156 99.9%
Blue Jays 83-64 2 115 95 98 8 152 99.5%
Mariners 80-65 0 106 98 93 7 132 98.9%
Rays 82-64 1 104 90 99 5 128 98.2%

The Blue Jays and Rays leapt ahead in the AL Wild Card race after the Mariners lost three in a row to the Angels over the weekend. It was the first time Seattle had lost more than two in a row since its first series after the All-Star break. The lineup is getting beat up at exactly the wrong time, too; first, Eugenio Suárez fractured the tip of his right index finger on Friday, then Julio Rodríguez was sidelined with lower back pain on Saturday. Luckily, Rodríguez’s injury seems to be pretty minor, but Suárez’s required an IL stint. That’s too bad, because he had been carrying Seattle’s offense for most of the summer.

Tier 4 – The Melee

Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Padres 81-66 4 101 97 95 18 126 87.8%
Phillies 80-66 0 106 89 96 -26 119 82.5%
Guardians 79-67 3 97 100 86 15 115 86.1%
Brewers 78-68 2 104 98 99 1 114 29.7%

The Padres took advantage of the Phillies’ misfortune to leapfrog them in the NL Wild Card standings, winning three of four in Arizona, and the Brewers kept their playoff hopes alive with a series win against the Yankees. Even more importantly, Juan Soto showed some signs of life on Sunday, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a double; all three of his batted balls were hit with triple-digit exit velocities. He’s been in a deep funk since moving to San Diego, and the Padres desperately need him to show up if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs.

After a hiccup toward the end of August, the Guardians have gotten back on track at exactly the right time. They’ve won 11 of their last 14 games, with six of those coming against the Twins. After leading the division for nearly the entire regular season, Minnesota’s postseason odds are on life support.

Tier 5 – The Long Shots

Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
White Sox 76-71 2 103 98 99 -18 93 15.1%
Twins 73-73 -2 108 103 101 -5 106 1.2%
Orioles 76-69 3 98 108 90 0 88 1.0%

After crushing the Twins, the Guardians will turn their attention to the White Sox, who have barely managed to keep pace in the AL Central. Those two teams will meet in a big three-game series this week, the last opportunity for Chicago to make up ground in the division.

The struggles of the Mariners have allowed the Orioles to stick around in the Wild Card race despite losing two of three to the Blue Jays over the weekend. A series against the Tigers is Baltimore’s last respite until a string of playoff teams ends the regular-season schedule, beginning with the Astros this weekend. It will be a good test to see how far the roster has come in the second half of this season; Adley Rutschman has already been a smashing success and has made the AL Rookie of the Year award race much closer than expected.

Complete Power Rankings

Rank Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
1 Dodgers 101-44 -5 122 81 78 6 183 100.0% 0
2 Astros 96-51 0 114 83 77 22 183 100.0% 0
3 Mets 93-55 3 114 88 92 10 166 100.0% 0
4 Braves 91-55 1 110 87 83 4 159 100.0% 1
5 Yankees 88-58 -7 115 89 82 10 173 100.0% -1
6 Cardinals 87-61 0 115 98 97 15 156 99.9% 0
7 Blue Jays 83-64 2 115 95 98 8 152 99.5% 1
8 Mariners 80-65 0 106 98 93 7 132 98.9% -1
9 Rays 82-64 1 104 90 99 5 128 98.2% 0
10 Padres 81-66 4 101 97 95 18 126 87.8% 1
11 Phillies 80-66 0 106 89 96 -26 119 82.5% -1
12 Guardians 79-67 3 97 100 86 15 115 86.1% 0
13 Brewers 78-68 2 104 98 99 1 114 29.7% 0
14 White Sox 76-71 2 103 98 99 -18 93 15.1% 0
15 Twins 73-73 -2 108 103 101 -5 106 1.2% 0
16 Orioles 76-69 3 98 108 90 0 88 1.0% 2
17 Diamondbacks 68-78 -2 93 102 110 35 90 0.0% -1
18 Red Sox 71-75 1 103 103 108 -5 84 0.0% -1
19 Giants 69-77 -3 98 91 106 -25 81 0.0% 0
20 Angels 64-82 -3 92 92 109 3 81 0.0% 0
21 Rangers 63-83 -8 101 113 101 -5 77 0.0% 0
23 Marlins 60-87 -1 87 100 106 0 60 0.0% 0
22 Rockies 64-82 3 86 110 99 2 58 0.0% 0
24 Cubs 62-84 -1 97 107 108 -23 48 0.0% 0
25 Tigers 55-91 2 79 118 93 10 59 0.0% 0
26 Royals 58-89 1 91 117 117 8 51 0.0% 0
27 Reds 58-89 -3 87 112 105 -15 36 0.0% 0
28 Nationals 51-95 -1 95 134 103 -38 37 0.0% 1
29 Pirates 55-92 4 82 112 110 -13 27 0.0% 1
30 Athletics 53-94 0 84 122 115 -5 19 0.0% -2

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