Welcome to the latest feature here at FanGraphs – our take on the Power Rankings that nearly every website in existence publishes, only with our own little twist.
In an effort to make this quantitative (that’s what we do around here, after all), we’re combining objective measures of 2011 performance with some subjective wisdom from our FanGraphs crowd. To this end, we’ve created a weighted system based on three factors — a WAR-based 2011 winning percentage (essentially, WAR/G shown as a winning percentage, or WAR% for short); the preseason Fan’s Standings determined from readership input ( which we’ll call FAN% for short); and the number of games each team has played. The two winning percentages are combined to create TOTAL%, on which the Power Rankings are based.
A team’s WAR% is given weighting equal to the percentage of 2011 season that the team has played. Right now, teams fall in the 15-18% range, as they have played between 26 and 29 games. As the season progresses — and we learn more about each team’s true level of talent — the WAR% will receive a greater weight with the FAN% receiving less weight. This system essentially acts as a built-in regression for current performance so that we don’t overreact to small samples of data, but it also allows for how teams have done to influence our evaluations of their abilities.
We think that our system can avoid doing crazy things like anointing the Indians the third-best team in baseball (where they score this week in WAR%), when the crowd initially thought Cleveland would be the 27th best team in the game. We’ll still acknowledge that the Indians’ performance has improved over the team’s expected performance going forward.
Our week will be Monday through Sunday, so expect each new installment on Monday afternoon. As always, we want to know what you think, so be sure to let us know in the comments.
1. New York Yankees: WAR% – .682 (2), FAN% – .580 (2), TOTAL% – .596
Despite quietly getting off to a great start — thanks to some unlikely contributions — those covering the Yankees still want you to think that the sky is falling.
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