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FanGraphs Power Rankings – 5/30/11

Posted By Paul Swydan On May 30, 2011 @ 4:00 pm In Daily Graphings,Power Rankings,Teams | 41 Comments

The American flag still may not contain the word “Jordache,” but we are still proud of those who have served our country in the armed forces. Thank you to those who serve, who have served and especially to those who have died in service to our country.


Looking at this week’s rankings compared to our first edition on May 2nd, we see that 17 of the 30 teams are within one spot of where they started at, but we are seeing some teams move significantly in one direction or the other. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the team that has moved the needle the most is the resurgent and now first-place D-backs, who have jumped seven spots, from 25th to 18th. Four other teams have moved at least four spots in one direction or the other — the White Sox (+5), Blue Jays (+4), Padres (-5) and Twins (-5). Spots eight through 23 have been fluid each week, and this intuitively aligns with real life. On any day, or for any small stretch, most teams can play like champions, but you need an extended good run to get into the upper echelon permanently, and vice versa, and extended bad run to end up on the bottom for good.

1. Boston: Last week – 2, WAR% – .586 (5), FAN% – .605 (1), TOTAL% – .599
Matthew Carruth offers a perfectly logical and simple explanation for why Red Sox and Yankees games take forever. In what will come as little surprise to any keen Sawx fan, J.D. Drew is tops on this list among Red Sox.

2. New York Yankees: Last week – 1, WAR% – .629 (2), FAN% – .580 (2), TOTAL% – .596
It seems as though people rarely talk about CC Sabathia anymore, but he’s still just as good as ever. In fact, his FIP and FIP- marks, if they stayed constant throughout the season, would represent his best marks in a Yankee uniform.

3. Philadelphia: Last week – 3, WAR% – .588 (4), FAN% – .556 (3), TOTAL% – .566
Another pitcher in the midst of a hallmark campaign is Roy Halladay.

4. St. Louis: Last week – 4, WAR% – .658 (1), FAN% – .512 (12), TOTAL% – .561
The Cardinals’ outfield WAR total of 9.6 dwarfs every other outfield by at least three wins, and is a higher total than all position players for 22 of the other teams in baseball. Their wRC+ mark of 163 laps either field, just outfielders or all position players. And while Matt Holliday (177 wRC+), Colby Rasmus (140) and Lance Berkman (196) have been huge, the lesser-known Jon Jay (157) and Allen Craig (153) have been more than formidable.

5. Tampa Bay: Last week – 5, WAR% – .569 (7), FAN% – .537 (5), TOTAL% – .547
Evan Longoria was inserted as the Rays’ leadoff hitter for the first time in his career on Saturday and Sunday, and responded by reaching base in seven of his 10 plate appearances, including mashing one homer. Is there anything he can’t do?

6. Colorado: Last week – 6, WAR% – .526 (t-15), FAN% – .556 (3), TOTAL% – .546
The Rockies battered and bruised Jaime Garcia on Saturday, but were just 6-9 in their last 15 games at home. That spells trouble, and to make matters worse, they now embark on a big divisional road trip.

7. Milwaukee: Last week – 8, WAR% – .573 (6), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .536
The BABIP’er of the Week Award goes to Ryan Braun, who clocked in at .643 for the week.

8. Florida: Last week – 7, WAR% – .560 (9), FAN% – .525 (7), TOTAL% – .536
Mike Stanton was supposed to provide lightpower, but after a two home run April, fantasy owners (including yours truly) were a touch concerned. A nine homer May has allayed those fears.

9. Texas: Last week – 12, WAR% – .548 (12), FAN% – .525 (7), TOTAL% – .532
Another player who might be ready to get hot is Ian Kinsler, who tied for eighth among position players this week with 0.6 WAR, has a six-game hitting streak and (arbitrary endpoints alert!) is hitting .299/.413/.448 since May 9.

10. Los Angeles of Anaheim: Last week – 11, WAR% – .593 (3), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .523
Vernon Wells was brought in to hit for power, wasn’t he?

11. San Francisco: Last week – 9, WAR% – .526 (t15), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .521
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.

12. Cincinnati: Last week – 10, WAR% – .564 (8), FAN% – .494 (17), TOTAL% – .517
Jay Bruce sees Mike Stanton’s May power surge and raises him, and provides a good example of the fallacy of early-season analysis to boot.

13. Atlanta: Last week – 13, WAR% – .530 (14), FAN% – .506 (14), TOTAL% – .514
Last week, Dave Cameron wrote about how alike the A’s and Mariners are. Two other teams closely resembling each other are the Braves and Phillies. Both have marvelous moundsmen, and below average offenses and defenses. Right now, they are the only two teams in the bottom 10 in UZR with above .500 records.

14. Toronto: Last week – 16, WAR% – .539 (13), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .504
Corey Patterson put together a .455 OBP last week, which may mark the first time that venn diagrams for “Corey Patterson” and “OBP greater than .400” intersected.

15. Detroit: Last week – 14, WAR% – .482 (18), FAN% – .512 (12), TOTAL% – .503
Don’t look now, but Jhonny Peralta is top three among qualified shortstops in wOBA, wRC+ and WAR.

16. Chicago Cubs: Last week – 15, WAR% – .480 (19), FAN% – .506 (14), TOTAL% – .498
After hitting .326 in April, Darwin Barney did manage to hit .303 in May, but his wOBA dropped from .348 to .290, and the bloom may be off his rose soon.

17. New York Mets: Last week – 19, WAR% – .445 (25), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .495
Never one to strike out in bunches, Jose Reyes is striking out at a career-low rate this season. He hasn’t struck out in a game since May 16.

18. Arizona: Last week – 20, WAR% – .558 (11), FAN% – .463 (25), TOTAL% – .494
Zach Duke had a great 2011 debut for the red-hot D-backs, pitching seven innings of shutout ball. Granted, it was against Houston, but he was efficient, throwing more than 70 percent of his pitches for strikes.

19. Chicago White Sox: Last week – 17, WAR% – .504 (17), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .493
This past week, Mitchel Lichtman introduced the stat Ultimate Base Running, and you can now find it on player pages and leaderboards under “Bsr.” This past week, six players compiled 0.4 Bsr, and two of them — Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez — were White Sox.

20. Cleveland: Last week – 18, WAR% – .560 (10), FAN% – .451 (27), TOTAL% – .484
Cleveland fell back to the pack in WAR% in a big way this week, dropping out of the top five for the first time back to tenth. That will happen when you play the Red Sox and the Rays, who outscored the Tribe 35-14 in six games this week.

21. Minnesota: Last week – 21, WAR% – .364 (30), FAN% – .537 (5), TOTAL% – .483
At eighth overall in positional player WAR for the season at 2.6, Denard Span is quietly having an outstanding season.

22. Oakland: Last week – 23, WAR% – .475 (20), FAN% – .481 (23), TOTAL% – .479
With an ERA of 2.84 and an FIP of 3.30, the Oakland pitching staff has the second-lowest E-F score at -0.46, a potentially troubling sign for a team that is being carried by its pitching. Silver lining: Texas’ -0.81 mark is the one that’s worse.

23. Los Angeles Dodgers: Last week – 24, WAR% – .460 (22), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .4784
Casey Blake came off the disabled list this week, and was immediately slotted back in as the two-hole hitter in hopes that he can help revive a struggling Dodgers offense. Only the Twins, Giants and Padres have scored fewer runs per game than the Dodgers.

24. San Diego: Last week – 21, WAR% – .444 (26), FAN% – .494 (17), TOTAL% – .4776
There are still some mixed signals in Mat Latos’ 2011 performance record, but aside from a constant xFIP, Latos had a much better May than April.

25. Baltimore: Last week – 25, WAR% – .409 (28), FAN% – .500 (16), TOTAL% – .471
So…is it okay to label Mark Reynolds’ 2009 season a fluke yet?

26. Seattle: Last week – 26, WAR% – .447 (24), FAN% – .469 (24), TOTAL% – .462
Justin Smoak has cooled off considerably since I took a look at him in early May, but he is still leading the Mariners offense in just about every relevant category.

27. Washington: Last week – 27, WAR% – .440 (27), FAN% – .457 (26), TOTAL% – .451
Danny Espinosa has been contributing across the board, as he has positive fielding and base running marks, and has a wRC+ that is just about league average (98). In another season that might not be that spectacular, but so far it’s been a down season for rookie position players, and Espinoza’s 1.4 WAR leads the group.

28. Pittsburgh: Last week – 28, WAR% – .453 (23), FAN% – .438 (28), TOTAL% – .443
As a steals guy (tied for eighth) who scores runs (top 60) and gets on base at a decent clip (.358 OBP, .334 wOBA), Jose Tabata has become both a pretty decent real and fantasy player in his first full Major League season.

29. Kansas City: Last week – 29, WAR% – .472 (21), FAN% – .420 (29), TOTAL% – .437
Thanks to a devastating slider, Aaron Crow has been one of the season’s most pleasant surprises.

30. Houston: Last week – 30, WAR% – .382 (29), FAN% – .370 (30), TOTAL% – .374
The Astros got some good ink on FG this week, with Eric Seidman laying down a convincing case for why the Astros should not pursue a long-term extension with Michael Bourn, and Marc Hulet highlighting some good ‘Stros farmhands.


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