FanGraphs Power Rankings – 10/3/11

Welcome to the 23rd and final edition of the 2011 FanGraphs Power Rankings! As Dean Pritchard would say, it’s been quite a journey. We’re going to close out the season in three parts — one today, two after the postseason. First, your final end of the regular season Power Rankings, with some end of season awards sprinkled in (note — awards are totally made up by me and may or may not be prestigious (read — are not at all prestigious)). One quick note on the Rankings this week — in the final three games of the season, 20 teams moved up or down, including the Rangers, who vaulted over the Yankees and Red Sox with an incredible finishing kick.

After the postseason, I will delve into some graphical views of the 2011 Rankings, and last, but not least, I’ll crowdsource for ways the Rankings can improve moving forward, as I know many of you have opinions on the matter, and I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to be heard. But for now, let’s put a capper on the season. Since FAN% is now weighted at zero, WAR% and TOTAL% have become one in the same, so in place of the usual broken out WAR% and FAN%, I’ve included ranks for position player (POS) and pitcher (PIT) WAR. Also, just so I don’t have to type it 30 times, know that each of the team blurb sentences start with the words “Congratulations to.”

(As always click here to check out the methodology behind the Power Rankings.)

1. Texas: Last week – 3, POS – 2, PIT -5, TOTAL% – .658
Ian Kinsler, who led the Majors in BB/K this year at 1.25, easily the best showing of his career. Of course, did this stop TBS broadcaster Buck Martinez from calling him a “very aggressive hitter” this weekend? No, no it didn’t.

2. New York Yankees: Last week – 1, POS – 3, PIT – 3, TOTAL% – .654
Brett Gardner, for not only leading the Majors in UZR for the second-straight season, but for becoming the first player in the UZR-era to tally consecutive seasons with 25+ UZR.

3. Boston: Last week – 2, POS – 1, PIT – 7, TOTAL% – .651
Adrian Gonzalez, who tallied a .380 BABIP this season to become the co-BABIP’er of the Year along with Matt Kemp.

4. Philadelphia: Last week – 4, POS – 12, PIT – 1, TOTAL% – .602
Ryan Howard, who led the league in Chris Cwik’s, which is swinging on 3-0 counts — he did so 16 times. Look for some research from Chris on this topic in the near future. See how I just committed you to finishing that article, Chris? Ain’t I a stinker?

5. Milwaukee: Last week – 5, POS – 6, PIT – 11, TOTAL% – .599
Ryan Braun, whose .433 wOBA was a career high and led the National League.

6. St. Louis: Last week – 7, POS – 4, PIT – 19, TOTAL% – .584
Kyle Lohse, who led the league in first-strike percentage this year, at 67.7%. That mark tied Carl Pavano in 2009 for the 17th-best F-Strike% of the past decade.

7. Detroit: Last week – 8, POS – 9, PIT – 8, TOTAL% – .583
Brad Penny, who tallied the lowest SwStr% of the season among qualified pitchers at 4.6%. It also tied for the seventh-lowest total of the past decade.

8. Arizona: Last week – 6, POS – 8, PIT – 14, TOTAL% – .577
Diamondbacks fielders, who led the Majors in UZR, and are the only team to tally 50+ UZR in each of the past two seasons.

9. Tampa Bay: Last week – 9, POS – 7, PIT – 18, TOTAL% – .569
David Price, whose average slider was almost a mile and half per hour faster than the second-fastest (Chris Carpenter).

10. Los Angeles of Anaheim: Last week – 10, POS – 11, PIT – 9, TOTAL% – .554
Jered Weaver, who led the Majors’ in QS% at 85%.

11. San Francisco: Last week – 14, POS – 22, PIT – 4, TOTAL% – .537
Matt Cain, who took his xFIP confounding ways by leading the Majors in HR/FB with a lowly 3.7%.

12. Los Angeles Dodgers: Last week – 12, POS – 13, PIT – 13, TOTAL% – .535
Kenley Jansen, whose 16.1 K/9 is now the highest K/9 for a qualified reliever in Major League history, beating the 15.99 high that Carlos Marmol established last year.

13. Chicago White Sox: Last week – 11, POS – 27, PIT – 2, TOTAL% – .533
Carlos Quentin, who really earned his HBP title by ranking first in what I like to call the Pain By Square Inch metric, which is really just HBP divided by PA. Quentin got hit in 4.76% of his plate appearances this year.

14. Cincinnati: Last week – 13, POS – 5, PIT – 7, TOTAL% – .531
Drew Stubbs, for wresting the strikeout title away from Mark Reynolds this year, making 2011 the first time in four years that Reynolds has not led the Majors in strikeouts.

15. Kansas City: Last week – 16, POS – 10, PIT – 21, TOTAL% – .525
Royals hitters, who with a 7.1 BB% were the least patient team in the American League.

16. Atlanta: Last week – 15, POS – 21, PIT – 6, TOTAL% – .523
Brian McCann, who by posting 3.7 WAR this season became the only full-time catcher to post better than 3.0 WAR in each of the past three seasons.

17. Florida: Last week – 18, POS – 18, PIT – 15, TOTAL% – .510
Randy Choate, who tied Trever Miller for the least pitches thrown per relief game, with just eight.

18. Colorado: Last week – 17, POS – 17, PIT – 17, TOTAL% – .507
Dexter Fowler, who narrowly edged out Corey Patterson to be the least effective base stealer of the season (min. 20 SB attempts), as Fowler was only successful on 57.14% of his stolen base attempts.

19. Toronto: Last week – 19, POS – 16, PIT – 23, TOTAL% – .493
Rajai Davis, for winning the Most Opportunistic Base Stealer Award. Davis successfully stole a base in 41.46% of his 82 stolen base opportunities this season. If only he could steal first base…

20. Washington: Last week – 21, POS – 19, PIT – 20, TOTAL% – .491
Jordan Zimmermann, who had the least effective pitch in the Majors this year (per 100 pitches) among qualified pitchers — his wCH/c was -9.05, which edged out Ricky Romero’s wSL/C of -8.71.

21. New York Mets: Last week – 20, POS – 14, PIT – 26, TOTAL% – .486
Jose Reyes, not for winning the NL batting title, but for topping the Majors in Speed Score at 8.4. Interestingly enough, the total is actually only the fifth-highest of Reyes’ career, and was a below-average year for him.

22. San Diego: Last week – 24, POS – 15, PIT – 25, TOTAL% – .483
Cory Luebke, who led all starters with less than 110 innings pitched as a starter in K/9, with 9.92 K’s per nine innings.

23. Chicago Cubs: Last week – 23, POS – 20, PIT – 22, TOTAL% – .481
Alfonso Soriano, who really is the 21st century Pedro Cerrano. Soriano not only saw the highest percentage of curveballs among qualified hitters, but also the highest percentage of sliders as well.

24. Oakland: Last week – 25, POS – 28, PIT – 10, TOTAL% – .471
Gio Gonzalez, whose 4.13 BB/9 was the highest in the AL among qualified pitchers.

25. Cleveland: Last week – 22, POS – 25, PIT – 16, TOTAL% – .470
Carlos Santana, whose 27 homers were the most for any catcher who started at least 60 games this season.

26. Baltimore: Last week – 27, POS – 24, PIT – 27, TOTAL% – .425
Orioles pitchers, who take home the Suckiest Bunch of Sucks That Ever Sucked Award for allowing 10 runs or more in a game a Major-League leading 16 times this season (they were also the only team to allow 10 or more runs in three straight games, as they did so July 6-8). You won’t believe this, but Baltimore was 0-16 in those contests.

27. Seattle: Last week – 26, POS – 30, PIT – 12, TOTAL% – .423
Mariners relievers, who tallied the least amount of meltdowns on the season, with 50.

28. Pittsburgh: Last week – 28, POS – 26, PIT – 29, TOTAL% – .417
Jeff Karstens, who led the Majors in games started in which the pitcher threw less than 80 pitches, with nine. Interestingly enough, Karstens worked six or more innings in three of those starts, and allowed three runs or less in five of them, but his outing on Aug. 15, in which he allowed nine runs in 3 1/3 innings, kicked his ERA for those nine starts up to 5.71.

29. Houston: Last week – 29, POS – 23, PIT – 30, TOTAL% – .415
Jason Bourgeois, who in just 388 plate appearances is already tied for 35th on the Astros’ all-time stolen base leaderboard. Next stop, Richard Hidalgo!

30. Minnesota: Last week – 30, POS – 29, PIT – 24, TOTAL% – .412
Nick Blackburn, who tied Matt Harrison for the AL lead in batters who reached on an error with 15.




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Paul Swydan is the managing editor of The Hardball Times and a writer and editor for FanGraphs. He has written for the Boston Globe, ESPN MLB Insider and ESPN the Magazine, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.


26 Responses to “FanGraphs Power Rankings – 10/3/11”

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  1. Jerome S says:

    Texas leapfrogs to the front at the end of the season? YCPB.

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  2. Omar says:

    Nothing that comes out of Buck Martinez’s mouth surprises me. As a Jays fan I’ve been subjected to some of the most insanely stupid commentary I’ve ever heard.

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    • Big Jgke says:

      I don’t know why he keeps getting jobs. Its like that BS folksy syrupy voice of his just lulls people to sleep.

      Although, he does have serious stones for being on the ugly end of the worst on-field injury in jays history.

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  3. futant462 says:

    Your Rajai Davis comment makes no sense to me. Am I daft? He was 34/45 for 76%. Not 34/82. I have no idea where such numbers are coming from.

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    • Jason says:

      I think, 82 times he found himself in a position where he could steal a base, and 41% of the time he did. So, he attempted steals more than 50% of the time that he could have. ….if Im reading it correctly….

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    • Hoof says:

      Base stealing opportunities: on first or second with the next base open.

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    • Jacob says:

      Stolen base opportunities not attempts

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  4. JG says:

    Surprised you couldn’t at least find something good to say about each playoff team.

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    • Paul Swydan says:

      Fair enough. I had Miguel Cabrera led the Majors in OBP, but I took it out because I thought it was too obvious. Then I thought about including the bit about them crushing changeups, but I included that in my ALDS preview. So I went with Penny. How’s this? Justin Verlander’s wCB total of 14.2 made it the most valuable curveball in the American League.

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      • JG says:

        That was one of the stats I was expecting to see.

        Sorry, I was just confused about Brad Penny being there because he really means almost nothing to the team at this point.

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  5. Travis says:

    The Yankees and White Sox had better pitching than the Giants? What?

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    • buddy says:

      All 6 of the White Sox starters accumulated at least 2.9 WAR. The Giants had 3 with 4.4 or more, 1 with 2.4, and nobody else of any significance.

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    • cwendt says:

      The difference between the Yankees & Giants is .8. Yankees had top heavy SP (Sabathia) & a better BP.

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  6. Eminor3rd says:

    Man, I’m not mocking, I’m genuinely interested in who is going to be #6org next year. First two years #6 ended up #30! Crazy.

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    • Bill says:

      To be fair, these aren’t org ratings, they’re power ratings. To your point though, it does seem that the #6 spot is cursed. I mean it’s only two years worth of data, but I think we have a new madden curse.

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  7. Sultan of Schwwinggg says:

    What a clusterfuck.

    If your #3 Sox waged a 100 game playoff series against your #26 Orioles, they would lose 80 of those games. They were that bad at the end. And those Orioles, winners for the month versus the top teams in the AL, were actually that good. I hope that continues on to next season for no better reason than it would be different.

    So because Texas chose to exit the season with dignity, unlike the Yankees who appeared to purposely lose games, they earn massive WAR. Oh, wait. I guess that’s right.

    Your 9th ranked team will win the WS. Afterwhich, you will resort to your SABR ‘luck’ ticket, reporting, ad naseum, how they actually aren’t very good and their BABIP and ERA/xFIP is unsupportive. You will hope people care.

    Colorado? yep, still one of the worst teams in baseball, unlike Cleveland.

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  8. Gadfly says:

    Doesn’t seem right to me to see the Jays sitting in 19th place in power rankings.

    They finished the season at 81-81 and played that way all season, never falling below 5 games under .500 or 4 games over .500. That alone would make you think they deserve to finish around the middle of the pack in the power rankings but then you have to consider that the Jays played what is probaly the toughest schedule in MLB.

    The only other team that could make a case for a higher ranking due to strength of schedule is the Orioles as they have to play all the AL East powerhouses but don’t get to play themselves but on the other hand the Jays had a tougher Interleague schedule.

    In my opinion, the Jays are a top 10 team in the league and would be a contender if they played in any other division.

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    • JG says:

      Yeah, they’re easily a top 10 team in the league, which contains 14 teams.

      In terms of both leagues, they’re probably middle of the pack, no matter what you want to say about difficult schedules. Their divisional splits don’t suggest that they would be a powerhouse in any other division.

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  9. Mike B. says:

    “Brett Gardner, for not only leading the Majors in UZR for the second-straight season, but for becoming the first player in the UZR-era to tally consecutive seasons with 25+ UZR.”

    Though Andruw Jones did come very close in 2004 and 2005, when he accumulated 24.3 and 26.4 respectively, an average of 25.35.

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    • BoSox 4 Life says:

      Carlos Lee has the 2nd best UZR for LF’s. That fact alone makes UZR completely unreliable and utterly worthless.

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  10. JKB says:

    Boston at #3 completely baffles me, I guess the whole is greater than the sum of its parts :-)

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  11. JKB says:

    Now I understand why Boston fired Tito, there is no excuse for the #3 ranked team to miss the playoffs :-) must be Tito’s fault.

    Meanwhile back in Boston, Theo is salivating at the thought of signing Pat Burrell to a long term deal. No amount is too high.

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  12. May Fangraphs Commenter says:

    Omg where does FG find these writers??? Did your mothers all put antifreeze in your infant formula???

    How are the Indians not in the top 5? Can’t you pinheads see how many games they won?

    Dumbest. List. Ever.

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    • Gary York says:

      Perhaps you could think of the comments following each ranking as 30 somewhat off-the-cuff, bits of quasi-trivia instead of 30 papal bulls.

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  13. cwendt says:

    As a measure of talent, these rankings probably UNDERSELL the talent level of the Rangers, since they added two very good relievers (Uehara and Adams) who accumulated WAR with other teams.

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