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  1. Yep, I feel like the Twins and Indian are comparable at this point both so far and going forward…makes total sense.

    Comment by odditie — May 30, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

  2. “Two other teams closely resembling each other are the Braves and Phillies.” Philly is 3rd, Atlanta is 13th. Lol.

    Comment by Ryan — May 30, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

  3. “Every once in a while, a player stepping in for an injured teammate will deliver an unexpected performance that lifts his team in the face of adversity (see Brady, Tom). After going 1-for-9 with a walk in his first three starts after Buster Posey’s unfortunate injury, Eli Whiteside may not be that guy.”

    Made my day.

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen — May 30, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

  4. I just took a glance at Ryan Brauns player page and noticed he has made a career out of posting Ichiro-esque BABIPS. Not what I was expecting from a player with his skillset

    Comment by j6takish — May 30, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

  5. Uh, yeah. Projections be damned, having the winningest and losingest teams in the AL in adjacent places on the list makes no sense whatsoever.

    Comment by Ian R. — May 30, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

  6. That’s what happens when you hit the ball hard. Matt Holliday is another one similar to Braun in that regard.

    Comment by Samuel — May 30, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

  7. It’s almost as if the system was designed to produce head-scratching.

    Comment by Jay Levin — May 30, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

  8. This might sound stupid but I think the Jays are a top ten team. There record might not be as strong as other teams, but if you are over .500 in a division with 3 top 5 teams, you should be in the top 10.

    Comment by Matt — May 30, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  9. Very flawed logic here. But I’m guessing you are a Jays fan, and thus likely a major homer, so whatever.

    Comment by Nik — May 30, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

  10. hey, lay off Whiteside…he punk’d that fat boy Fielder and spiked the ball in his face…well, sort of, anyway…

    Comment by al — May 30, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

  11. Since the super-crazy-biased-against-Cleveland power rankings debuted here on the site on May 2nd, where they ranked the Indians 20th despite their 19-8 record at the time, the Indians have gone 12-11 and have been outscored by their opponents. Their pythag record over that time is 18th best in baseball.

    I’m just saying.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — May 31, 2011 @ 2:21 am

  12. Sorry for the long post but I have one suggestion that I think would improve the rankings and eliminate many complaints:

    Give WAR% a weight of: (% of season played)*2 instead of

    (% of season played)*1 (giving WAR% double the weight it has now)

    This is very similar to how Football Outsider’s phase out the preseason projections for their DVOA rankings. This method completely eliminates the projections by the halfway point of the season. This makes more sense to me because the projections don’t reflect injuries (Mauer/Twins), and teams are often very different than their projection by this point. FO and FG are both great, but I think FO’s method makes more sense.

    Giving WAR% more weight would move the Indians up and the Twins down, but not too far. I agree that it doesn’t make much sense to have them at 20 and 21, even if it’s only May 31st. Using WAR % *2 would hopefully put the Indians in the 10-15 range, and the Twins in the 25-30 range.

    I would love to see the results with this tweak, and I think a lot of FG readers would agree that this method makes more sense. I think it would make the rankings more credible and the best out there much like FO’s DVOA rankings. Anyone else agree? Thanks

    Comment by John — May 31, 2011 @ 3:09 am

  13. LMAO at the list, and now your justification for listing Cleveland as the 10th worst team. I’m not even a Cle fan, but 10th worst is preposterous.

    Comment by Nat Haniel — May 31, 2011 @ 6:49 am

  14. Cubs better than indians? C’mon

    Comment by eric — May 31, 2011 @ 8:21 am

  15. So they will just keep winning with no pitching and a weak lineup?


    Comment by descender — May 31, 2011 @ 9:55 am

  16. Ok…so they are winning at a .520 rate from May 2nd on = 84 win team.

    The Twins, one spot below them are 8-17 in that same period of time. That’s a .320 rate or a 52 win team.

    Fine if the Indians aren’t in the top 5, but they are the 10th best WAR team and are ranked next to the 30th best war team.

    Comment by odditie — May 31, 2011 @ 9:57 am

  17. Couldn’t the same be said about Philly and ATL?

    Comment by Neuter Your Dogma — May 31, 2011 @ 10:02 am

  18. I don’t like throwing out projections at the halfway point, but more weight should probably be put on this year’s results. I would use a system where you cut the rest-of-season weight in half, then weigh the rest with WAR%. For example, at the halfway point, it would be 75% results, 25% projections. It would result in similar rankings, but probably less volatile.

    Comment by LeeTro — May 31, 2011 @ 11:21 am

  19. That makes a lot more sense. From the get go I thought the pre-season rankings were too heavily rated as well.

    Also, I would have to imagine that for the most part sample size related abnormalities will have corrected themselves by the halfway point (defensive stats aside).

    Comment by Balagast — May 31, 2011 @ 11:26 am

  20. So the problem isn’t the Indians’ ranking, probably, but the Twins. The Indians are probably ranked correctly, and the Twins probably ranked incorrectly.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 31, 2011 @ 11:30 am

  21. It’s a amazing how many people look at these rankings and have absolutely no idea how they were created.

    Comment by Matt — May 31, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  22. I like your idea too LeeTro. I think we almost all agree that more weight should be given to WAR%, whether it’s 2X more or 1.5X more.

    Yes there will be small sample issues by eliminating the projections halfway, but I think it is still a better method than giving 50% weight to preseason projections halfway through the season.

    The Indians are 10th in on-field play (WAR%), and the Twins are 30th. Yet they are 20 and 21 two months into the season because we thought the Indians would be bad, and we thought the Twins would be good. I think most readers would agree preseason rankings shouldn’t count that much.

    You can always look at the WAR% rank in parentheses to see the on-field portion of the ranking, but I think many readers would like the overall rankings tweaked to make them more interesting and credible.

    Comment by John — May 31, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  23. The Twins are “eighth overall in positional player WAR for the season”. Considering that their starting lineup has a lower ERA than in 2010, I’d take this as a criticism of position player WAR.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — May 31, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  24. That comma after the “2.6″ means that you need to continue reading to comprehend the author’s complete thought.

    Comment by 5th Grade Teachers Everywhere — May 31, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  25. Well, that’s because those two resemble each other like a gorilla resembles an orangutang. While there may be significant similarities, I think we all know which one would win an arm wrestling contest… You can make up your mind which one is the 800 pound gorilla.

    Comment by B N — May 31, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  26. I don’t know, I suppose it depends how one defines power. If “power” represents playing ability and raw talent, I could entirely imagine the Jays in the top 10. If “power” represents the power to get into the postseason, the Jays are definitely in the bottom 10. Maybe even the bottom 5. Tough breaks for the Jays and the O’s, all told…

    Comment by B N — May 31, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  27. It may also be the result of the inexplicable statement that the Phillies have a below average offense. (Did I miss something? Since when did Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Rollins, Victorino, Polanco, and Ruiz all die? Because last I checked, they were all plus offense for their positions… Clearly, I missed a memo somewhere)

    Comment by B N — May 31, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

  28. “the Twins probably ranked incorrectly.”

    This. Without Liriano, Mauer and Nathan, the Twins are missing three of their front teeth in the 2011 AL Central brawl already. Of those 3, only Mauer can be reliably expected to return to form this season.

    I like the Twins, and their division is still a free for all, but unless at least two out of that bunch return to form, they’re going to be hamstrung. And unless all of them return, they’re almost a lock to be bounced in the first round of playoffs if they get there.

    Comment by B N — May 31, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

  29. With the methodology and performance (if it stays the same), Cleveland will have to wait until late August or early September to be top 15?

    Due to their FAN projections they can never be “top 10″ (with the 10th best WAR).

    I don’t have any real issues with them not being a top 5-8 team. But they should be 10-12 at least.

    It’s not unlike NCAAF rankings where a surprise team in a weak conference has to wait until late in the season to get a decent ranking.

    I do think. At this point, 2 parts performance, 1 part projections would produce a “more accurate” ranking.

    The issue simply is the result of the weighting (50/50?). I think by end of May, we should be around 65/35 (WAR/FAN) and each passing month (or so) adds 5 points to performance, 70/30, 75/25, 80/20, etc.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 31, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

  30. That’s an interesting thing, but I’m not sure if it makes a lot of sense. Most of the things that are projected don’t change all that much during the season. Just because a pitcher has a bad first half doesn’t mean we should then assume his second half will follow that exactly, for example- a lot of the projections are still valid for your second half stats.

    I do definitely think there should be some adjustment for injuries though. I mean, let’s say Wainwright made it to the season start, then blew out his arm. Shouldn’t we then immediately scrap all his WAR for the season? Otherwise, the Cardinals ranked as if they’ll have Wainwright for the rest of the season forever. It just doesn’t make much sense. Likewise, I think trades have to be taken into account somehow.

    As it stands, even if the Yankees were all killed in a terrible bathhouse accident and their team was replaced with AAA players, they’d still hold a top 4 ranking probably. On the other hand, if Houston was sold to a billionaire who was able to trade/buy every Boras client, they’d still be ranked poorly.

    I find it weird that we can’t do simple updates based upon known transactions. It’s not like there are so many transactions that this would be impossible to pull off.

    Comment by B N — May 31, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  31. I’m think they are equally off because of a broken system.

    Comment by odditie — May 31, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

  32. 1) Who knows
    2) This list’s 2nd best team also has no pitching, or at least pitching that should be projected as very bad.
    3) Dave uses the fact that Cle is 12-11 since their 19-8 start. I’m not inclined to look it up, but I assure you that 20 other teams do not have a better record in that timespan.
    4) If FIP is supposed to be predictive (not saying it is, just play along), than 3.28, 3.68, 4.21 and 4.42 ain’t bad at all. For comparison sake, this list’s best team’s starters FIP is 2.84, 4.20, 4.74, 4.58 and 4.63
    5) Even with 2B Cabrera having damn-near his worst season ever, Cle, “up the middle”, is as good as any in baseball.

    It’s not a bad team. I’m sure their depth sucks, and I’d also agree that their payroll will not in the foreseeable future be conducive to consistent winning, but their starting 9 and pitching + record do not in any way suggest they’re the 10th worst team in baseball.

    Comment by Nat Haniel — May 31, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

  33. Not only do I think the use of weekly WAR is ridiculous, I also think it’s damn near sacrilegious too. The following is the digression of the usage of WAR:

    1. Of no use in small samples
    2. Not much use with less than 600 opportunities
    3. Let’s judge players yearly with WAR, of which defense is a component of.
    4. Let’s create FG “Power Rankings” which rank teams weekly on their defense, and other stats.
    4. No, let’s make WAR real-time instead, so last nights single game defensive performances can assist in properly valuating players.

    in·con·sis·tent (nkn-sstnt)
    1. Displaying or marked by a lack of consistency, especially:
    a. Not regular or predictable; erratic: inconsistent behavior.
    b. Lacking in correct logical relation; contradictory: inconsistent statements.
    c. Not in agreement or harmony; incompatible: an intersection inconsistent with the road map.

    Comment by Nat Haniel — May 31, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

  34. “Usage of UZR”. not WAR. ouch

    Comment by Nat Haniel — May 31, 2011 @ 10:41 pm

  35. He is way faster than he is given credit for. Until Roenicke came in he wasn’t allowed to run, this year we are seeing it.

    I also agree with Samuel that he does hit the ball hard and that helps.

    Comment by Dustin — May 31, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

  36. Go back and read the methodology. That’s exactly what we’re doing.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — June 1, 2011 @ 1:19 am

  37. Against a tougher than average schedule. 17 of their last 25 games came against teams in the upper half of your rankings. 12 against the top 10. So the Indians, despite having some injury issues, have managed to keep their head above water against a pretty tough stretch. Sounds like what any 20th best team in the league would do.

    Comment by Steve — June 1, 2011 @ 9:28 am

  38. Never any love for Reynolds. Don’t think he gets does 40/20 again but 33/15 seems doable. By this point it should be understood he’s not a great 3B, but can be an adequate 1B. Dude is still just 28.

    Comment by Phil — June 1, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  39. When I typed the comment about weighting methods, I knew that it gradually shifts the emphasis toward performance.

    I was typing from my phone, so looking up the exact weighting at that time wasn’t easy.

    But looking at CLE’s rankings of 10 and 27 resulting in an overall of 20, we’re still at the point where projections are counting for more than half, and the point I wanted to make is that by June I would prefer to be at the point of 70/30 or 75/25 in favor of WAR … Putting CLE’s overall somewhere around 15. 20 is still bottom third of the league.

    The methodology will eventually get there. My comments were whether the weighting was aggressive enough. Accurate ratings in September seems sort of “too late to the party”.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — June 1, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

  40. I totally agree CircleChange. I know FG doesn’t want to put too much stock into small sample sizes, which is probably why this 50 50 weight at the halfway point was chosen. But I think the fact that the 10th best team in on-field play (Indians) and the 30th team (Twins) are 20 and 21 after 2 months is all the evidence you need to prove WAR% should be given more weight. This is mainly because the projections don’t factor in injuries and breakout players.

    I agree it just doesn’t seem right for the Indians to have to have to wait until August to even get into the top 15.

    Comment by John — June 1, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

  41. But here’s the fatal flaw in your reasoning: you’re assuming that Cleveland IS a top 15 team, and so will eventually (positively) regress to that level. When recent evidence suggests that they are not remotely close to that level, and in fact have been accurately ranked all along.

    Comment by Sam — June 4, 2011 @ 2:15 am

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