FanGraphs Power Rankings – 5/9/11

Before we begin, all Indians fans reading this need to watch this clip. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Thank you. The major critics of our newly unveiled, and generally well received Power Rankings last week were Indians fans, who were up in arms about them being ranked so low, and specifically wanted the Fan Standings replaced with a different system. Unfortunately, the Indians actually fare better in the Fan Standings, which had the Tribe at 73 wins, than if we used ZiPS forecasted standings, which had them at 71. In general, I do understand the criticism of a subjective measure like the Fan Standings, but as Dave Cameron noted in last week’s comments, the Fan Standings actually have held up just as well as any other projection system. So while Indians fans aren’t going to be any happier this week, I think you all should all give yourselves some credit — the fans that have voted for our Fan Standings, i.e. you, are smarter than the average bear.

1. New York Yankees: Last week – 1, WAR% – .675 (1), FAN% – .580 (2), TOTAL% – .599
Did you hear that Derek Jeter homered? He was never likely to finish the year as bad as he started it, and he also comes home to this. In other words, you can stop pitying Jeter.

2. Boston: Last week – 2, WAR% – .537 (10), FAN% – .605 (1), TOTAL% – .591
Lost in the shuffle of the Olde Towne Team’s big ticket acquisitions this winter was Jacoby Ellsbury, who suffered through a lost season. With a 132 wRC+ so far, which places him 18th among outfielders, he is reminding folks that his return was a pretty big deal too.

3. Philadelphia: Last week – 3, WAR% – .645 (3), FAN% – .556 (3), TOTAL% – .574
Cliff Lee’s 16-strikeout performance against the Braves on Friday was so good that he actually ended up with a negative FIP and xFIP for the week. That’s, um, good and stuff.

4. St. Louis: Last week – 5, WAR% – .670 (2), FAN% – .512 (12), TOTAL% – .546
With Adam Wainwright sidelined, the Cardinals were going to need someone in their rotation to step up. So far, that person has been Jaime Garcia, whose K/BB mark of 4.0 is 12th in the Majors.

5. Tampa Bay: Last week – 6, WAR% – .575 (6), FAN% – .537 (5), TOTAL% – .545
Much of the Rays’ pitching praise thus far has focused on James Shields, and rightly so. But despite a BABIP more than sixty points higher, David Price’s has an advanced statistical profile nearly identical to that of Shields. There’s another name for such quality pitching — an embarrassment of riches.

6. Colorado: Last week – 4, WAR% – .487 (18), FAN% – .556 (3), TOTAL% – .542
Ian Stewart was summoned back to the Majors this week, and in his first five games back with the Rockies he reached base four times in 15 plate appearances, not dramatically better or worse than his teammates have fared lately. But looking for a scapegoat, Jim Tracy said Sunday morning, “With Ian, it’s time to fish or cut bait,” which might set the record for small-sample size craziness.

7. Florida: Last week – 7, WAR% – .575 (7), FAN% – .525 (7), TOTAL% – .535
Anibal Sanchez’s ups and downs torment fantasy owners more than most, with his seven inning, 11 strikeout performance yesterday the latest example. But even though I know that eventually, that 4 2/3 innings, six runs allowed performance is going to happen, I still picked him up yesterday afternoon.

8. Los Angeles of Anaheim: Last week – 13, WAR% – .633 (4), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .519
No one had a better week than the Angels, as they jumped five spots up to eighth place. That they did so in the face of the first two negative WPA starts of the season from Jered Weaver is all the more encouraging for Angels backers.

9. Atlanta: Last week – 11, WAR% – .559 (8), FAN% – .506 (14), TOTAL% – .518
Seriously, how smart did Eric Hinske make Bobby Valentine look last night? All that glowing praise and then Hinske jacks a two-run bomb, which immediately looked real important when the Phils brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the inning.

10. Texas: Last week – 8, WAR% – .490 (17), FAN% – .525 (7), TOTAL% – .517
The Rangers may not have kept Lee, but they do still have C.J. Wilson, whose 0.6 WAR for the week was just a whisker under Lee’s for second place on the pitcher leader board, so at least they’ve got that going for them…which is nice.

11. Milwaukee: Last week – 9, WAR% – .502 (15), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .515
Ryan Braun has logged a negative WPA in nine straight games, and in 12 of 16 games since his extension was announced. Is it too late for the Brewers to yell ‘psyche?’ I kid, I kid…sort of.

12. San Francisco: Last week – 10, WAR% – .499 (16), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .514
In this week’s episode of “Managers Do The Darndest Things,” Bruce Bochy batted Mike Fontenot third for six straight games. What’s more incredible, this wasn’t the first time this had happened, as Lou Piniella actually batted him third three times in 2007.

13. Cincinnati: Last week – 12, WAR% – .557 (9), FAN% – .494 (17), TOTAL% – .507
After reaching base in nearly half of his plate appearances last week, including knocking two round-trippers, Jay Bruce’s season line looks a lot more like what was expected of him before the season. Now if the Reds can get Edinson Volquez and his 5.60 FIP under control, everything will be hunky dory in the Queen City.

14. Detroit: Last week – 17, WAR% – .487 (20), FAN% – .512 (12), TOTAL% – .507
On Saturday afternoon, Justin Verlander decided that he didn’t want to get into any odd pickoff situations, so he just decided to stop letting runners reach base.

15. Chicago Cubs: Last week – 15, WAR% – .502 (13), FAN% – .506 (14), TOTAL% – .505
Carlos Pena had a horrible April, but two home runs in power dampening Dodger Stadium, as well as one this weekend back at 1060 West Addison against the Reds may have temporarily staved off his execution.

16. New York Mets: Last week – 14, WAR% – .440 (25), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .502
When Troy Tulowitzki got off to a hot start, everyone sort of proclaimed him the unanimous shortstop king, which he may still be. But Jose Reyes has been dynamite so far, and his 1.8 WAR, 150 wRC+ and .394 wOBA top the shortstop leader boards and have sparked rumors across the land.

17. Minnesota: Last week – 16, WAR% – .318 (30), FAN% – .537 (5), TOTAL% – .494
The Twins only dropped one spot in the rankings this week, but no team has a bigger gulf between their Fan Standings rank and their current rank than do the Twins. Perhaps the return of Kevin Slowey can help stabilize a pitching staff that has been the worst in the Majors thus far.

18. San Diego: Last week – 19, WAR% – .484 (21), FAN% – .494 (17), TOTAL% – .492
Chase Headley’s increased patience — he currently ranks seventh in the Majors in BB% — has been a real bright spot for a Padres offense that suddenly isn’t struggling as bad as you might think.

19. Toronto: Last week – 18, WAR% – .502 (14), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .491
Speaking of BB%, Jose Bautista is the only player in the Majors right now who is walking in more than 20 percent of his plate appearances. At 25.3%, Bautista’s walk rate is currently double his career walk rate of 12.3%.

20. Cleveland: Last week – 20, WAR% – .632 (5), FAN% – .451 (27), TOTAL% – .488
The latest Indian to step up is Fausto Carmona, who has logged three straight quality starts, including his second best start of the year (.317 WPA) last Tuesday.

21. Oakland: Last week – 22, WAR% – .487 (19), FAN% – .481 (23), TOTAL% – .483
The A’s have a top-notch pitching staff, as expected strong contributors Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill have been ably flanked by Brandon McCarthy and Tyson Ross. This past week, Anderson, McCarthy and Ross all logged 0.4 WAR.

22. Los Angeles Dodgers: Last week – 21, WAR% – .461 (22), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .482
Andre Ethier’s hitting streak was a nice story and all, but last week his WAR was only 0.2, which tied him for 50th among hitters, so it’s not exactly like he was truly on fire.

23. Chicago White Sox: Last week – 24, WAR% – .461 (23), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .482
We didn’t write a “what’s wrong” piece last week on Alex Rios, since much of his problems stemmed from a .181 April BABIP. May has been kinder to Rios, who has started the month with a .430 wOBA.

24. Arizona: Last week – 25, WAR% – .523 (12), FAN% – .463 (25), TOTAL% – .475
For this week’s head scratching stat, I humbly submit Ryan Roberts and his .403 wOBA, which ranks tied for 13th among players with at least 100 plate appearances. Talk amongst yourselves.

25. Baltimore: Last week – 23, WAR% – .369 (29), FAN% – .500 (16), TOTAL% – .473
Heard this: Tickets on the Matt Wieters bandwagon are still cheap, and there’s a discount for former members. Get on quick before seats fill up.

26. Seattle: Last week – 26, WAR% – .435 (26), FAN% – .469 (24), TOTAL% – .462
A nice week from Erik Bedard (tied for 9th in pitcher WAR at 0.4) got his season WAR back to 0, but his 4.93 FIP is proof that he still has a long ways to go.

27. Washington: Last week – 27, WAR% – .434 (27), FAN% – .457 (26), TOTAL% – .452
Can you make an MVP case from the disabled list? Probably not, but Ryan Zimmerman — who is still second on the Nats in hitter WAR despite being out since April 9th — is certainly trying.

28. Kansas City: Last week – 28, WAR% – .534 (11), FAN% – .420 (29), TOTAL% – .444
Howie Kendrick and Jose Reyes had a higher BABIP last week than did Mike Aviles, but I didn’t realize that until I had already typed up the Angels’ and Mets’ comments, and since I’m lazy and didn’t want to rewrite their comments, I’m making Aviles (.545 BABIP in 21 plate appearances) this week’s BABIP’er of the week. Hey, the Royals have to win something, right?

29. Pittsburgh: Last week – 29, WAR% – .443 (24), FAN% – .438 (28), TOTAL% – .439
Joel Hanrahan, who is currently tied for 6th in WAR among relievers, has been a revelation for the Pirates this season. If only there was something else nice to say about the Pirates, maybe they wouldn’t be ranked 29th.

30. Houston: Last week – 30, WAR% – .410 (28), FAN% – .370 (30), TOTAL% – .379
The Astros’ best player last week, in terms of WAR, was J.A. Happ. When I clicked on his player page, the first article listed was “NL SP: The Overvalued Club,” a club which he was the CEO of. It’s been that kind of year for the Astros.




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Paul Swydan is the co-managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for ESPN Insider. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.

85 Responses to “FanGraphs Power Rankings – 5/9/11”

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  1. eastsider says:

    Baseball statistics and T&A. Winning combination. Why did it take so long?

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  2. Brad says:

    *sobs*

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  3. Travis says:

    You stupid idiot, there, I said it. KC is not the 3rd worse team in the league.
    They are (in the MLB) 3rd in Runs, 3rd in hits, 1st in doubles and steals , and 5th in TB, AVG, OBP. plus 6th in K% and 4th in team WAR.

    Oh yeah, they have a winning record also.

    What is your major malfunction?

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    • descender says:

      My guess? They are not actually that good. There is no reason to expect them to be this good, or continue playing like this.

      Also… pitching. They has none.

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    • Otter says:

      For a Royals fan, you appear to have missed the last 2003 season when a not that talented team started 16-3 and used that run to go 67-76 the rest of the way and finish in third place in the Central with 83 wins. This team appears to be that team only a little bit worse.

      And for the Indian fans, that ’03 Royal team was 23-13 at one point…

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      • Blue says:

        This team is much better than 2003…and in any event, the 2003 team was not the third worst team in the league even near the end of the season.

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    • Small Sample Goodness says:

      This is the worse comment.

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    • chuckb says:

      The word you’re looking for is “worst.”

      If you’re calling someone else a “stupid idiot,” you might want to at least attempt to present the argument that you aren’t one yourself.

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  4. Travis says:

    You’re a stay at home dad, why don’t you turn on the TV and splurge for the MLB network and see some Royals highlights. Get a job, hippie.

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    • Jason B says:

      What are you, seven? Do you need (another) run-through of the ranking methodology? Would you be quite so very upset if it wasn’t your precious team getting picked on by the mean, mean man? No? I didn’t think so.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        Actually, since he used the term ‘hippie,’ he’s probably seventy and really upset about things not being the way they used to be.

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      • Curmudgeon McSourbritches says:

        Travis and I are best pals. We’re waiting for that calendar to roll back to 1956 anyday now…

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    • chuckb says:

      Temper tantrum often?

      It’s time for Travis to take his toys and go home. He’s not Paul’s friend any more!!!

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  5. Big Jgke says:

    Could we declare an end to references to Bautista’s stats in light of his career numbers? He broke out, he’s freakin’ awesome now; isn’t it clear by this point that his numbers ‘then’ have little relevance to his numbers ‘now’?

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  6. mike says:

    San Diego is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too high. Their lineup is probably the worst in the majors.

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  7. odditie says:

    It isn’t that the fan standings should be replaced with ZiPS, it is that what we thought 2 months ago is not a proper way of evaluating how good a team is.

    It’d be like combining the November election results with the Gallup polls so we didn’t overrate one of the cadidates based on how they were doing today. Things change over time.

    Baseball has a large portion of luck involved in the results and I’d hope that fangraphs would find a way to rate a team based both on their actual results and their expected results by stripping luck out of their performance instead of using some irrelivent rankings from before the season started to help keep teams grounded.

    There also MUST be some sort of evaluation on how a teams roster is made up. The Yankees are in a better situation then their performance if they trade for Felix Hernandez. It cannot be power rankings without thought or it is no better than the rest.

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    • theonemephisto says:

      The problem is that luck doesn’t just manifest itself in BABIP, HR/FB%, or wins above pythagorean, whatever. Luck exists everywhere. If a historically bad pitcher throws 3 gems in a row, even if those gems are peripheral-supported, that doesn’t mean that he transformed into a great pitcher.

      How I think of it, there’s (at least) two kinds of luck, peripheral vs results luck, and performance luck. If I strike out 16, walk none, but give up 5 runs, that’s probably peripheral vs. results luck. But if I strike out 16 and walk none, that’s also luck, as that also assuredly isn’t my true talent.

      Using pre-season evaluations is attempting to adjust for the latter kind of luck, while using WAR% is attempting to adjust for the former. You can’t just strip out luck due to under or over-performing their peripherals, because the peripherals themselves have luck in them.

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      • DJG says:

        I get what you are saying. I use the terms “luck” and “positive (or negative) variation” to differentiate between these two phenomenon.

        The former is used to describe a situation like if Rob Johnson hits a weak pop up off Roy Halladay that the fielder loses in the sun so it falls in for a “double”. The latter is used when Rob Johnson has a rare moment and laces an opposite field double off the wall off Roy Halladay.

        By explaining it in terms of positive or negative variation, you can avoid all sorts of moot philosophical arguments about what truly is luck, while still getting the point across, that both the above scenarios are deviations from the norm.

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  8. CubsFan says:

    My understanding of the methodology is that the Fans Standings will be weighted less and less as the season goes on. The Red Sox, Twins, Indians and Royals all seem to be a little bit out of place in these rankings. I’m very interested in seeing how the order changes as the season goes on and more emphasis is placed on actual performance instead of preseason speculation.

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    • Paul Swydan says:

      That is correct. And the thing everyone needs to keep in mind is that we’re still less than a quarter of the way through the season.

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      • jswede says:

        instead of linking that clip, perhaps you should touch on this at the top… and no, you don’t.

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      • Blue says:

        I’d say that your ranking system right now is sufficiently at odds with the observed universe that you ought to start questioning your methodology.

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      • Nat Haniel says:

        We’re far enough along to conclude that the Red Sox aren’t all that good and the Yankees cannot possibly remain as a top team with their pitching staff. Now, both of those facts may change, but for right now there are certainly better teams.

        1, 2 are simply East Coast bias. I’d choose Tampa as the best team in the AL East, for starters.

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      • Paul Swydan says:

        jswede, this is a late reply, but I did mean to touch on that at the top, and forgot. I also meant to note that it was interesting that the top 3 and bottom 5 teams didn’t change from last week, but forgot to do that as well. i’ll try to do better next week!

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      • Jason B says:

        “We’re far enough along to conclude that the Red Sox aren’t all that good”

        Whaaa? We are?!? Because teams that underperform during the first fifth of the season never come back and do well?!? I think we’re *far* from concluding that, although *you* may have concluded that.

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      • Jason B says:

        “1, 2 are simply East Coast bias.”

        And yes, any time that anyone thinks these two teams are good, or compelling, or likely to win a game, a series, a pennant, or a championship, it’s ALWAYS the dreaded East Coast bias…EVERY TIME. EVERY. TIME. *Face palm*

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      • B N says:

        Yah, there’s totally east coast bias. Because like… if we dropped down those stupid Yankees and Red Sox, we’d have an entirely NON east-coast team at the top! Wait… wait no.

        The East Coast Bias in these power rankings isn’t due to the author- it’s due to the teams that their markets support. Except for Tampa Bay. They do voodoo and just have the team without the market. It’s weird.

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  9. MikeS says:

    Why do people get upset about their team being ranked lower than they think it should be? These are not won lost records, they are a statistically based opinion on how good each team is as compared to the rest. Even the author would be the first to tell you which is more important. Please don’t throw a fit over something that really doesn’t matter.

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  10. Brett says:

    In case it got lost in last week’s comments, I’d like to again suggest that the season so far and the preseason projections should be weighted differently. While I don’t specifically have a problem with where the Indians are ranked (not an Indians fan–just picking a team with a large discrepancy between projections and performance), I think most fans would now expect them to be better than a .451 team based on what we’ve seen so far this year. Rany Jazayerli did some research on how expecations should change as the season progressed back in 2003 (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1818).

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  11. Bookbook says:

    I get that this methodology isn’t for everyone. What I don’t understand is why so many folks think it’s a good idea to whine and moan and be mean and rude instead of going to read the nice SI power rankings that are based fully on the past 72 hours that they prefer.

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    • joe says:

      I think the problem is that the term Power rankings does not fit the rankings displayed here. Power Ranking suggests an ordered list of the best teams in baseball at this moment. The fangraphs Power rankings are trying to show some sort of rational win expectation for the end of the season, That’s not what Power Rankings mean in the world of sports media. I’m aware of sound marketing practices to call this series of articles Power Rankings but the tool you are applying is not suitable to the task.

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  12. Bookbook says:

    Full disclosue: I don’t think the methodology here is perfect either. I’d like to see how it plays out over at least one full season before suggesting variants, however.

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  13. Arjun says:

    A suggestion and perhaps a compromise – why don’t you also list the power rankings (in a table maybe, without the commentary) for just team WAR?

    On a related subject, I’m not sure if there’s been any posts on it recently, but it would be cool to see a comparison of team WAR to actual wins to see if teams are performing up to their stats (you see this with players a lot, but not teams).

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    • theonemephisto says:

      You can pretty much do that by just clicking on “teams” on the top bar. You might have to do some addition, but’s it’s literally like 2 min of excel work to get there.

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  14. matty says:

    its so cliche to bag on the pirates. they’re five hundred and you still took a cheap shot in your comments. btw, no way are daves mariners better than my bucs. sorry homer

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    • Jason B says:

      I like that he’s a “homer” for the Mariners even though his bio says he worked in the Rockies’ organization. I don’t think that word means what you think it means…

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    • Jason B says:

      …and if you think the Pirates will finish at or above .500, I will wager any amount of money you would like to on that premise. ANY. AMOUNT.

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      • matt w says:

        I’m not going to say that the Pirates will finish above .500, but I do think Paul’s snark is inept. The reason the Pirates are ranked 29th isn’t because there’s nothing nice to say about them besides that Joel Hanrahan is good (which shouldn’t be a revelation; he was good last year too). The reason is largely that the fans predicted better seasons for the Twins, O’s, Nats, Mets, and Mariners than they did for the Pirates. That’s what’s driving the ranking.

        And if I were a betting man, I would bet you that the Pirates finish better than at least one of those teams, quite likely two.

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      • Jason B says:

        Now that I wouldn’t necessarily disagree on – I think they could finish equal to or better than some combination of the Nats, Mets, M’s, and O’s. Definitely think they should finish ahead of the Astros.

        And snark aside, I think there are certainly some things to be positive about as a Bucs fan. The lineup is not exactly scary yet (in a good way), but it’s not scary bad either, and is at least proficient in most slots. Some good young talent with McCutchen, Tabata, Walker, et al. If they can find some fixes for the rotation, the future could be brighter still. Definitely looks better going forward than the long, dark period over the past 15-20 years.

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  15. Bookbook says:

    To Matty

    Cliche to bag on pirates? They r terrible every year and have been since they traded Carlos Beltran . They deserve to be bagged on.

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  16. Otter says:

    Frankly, as a Sox fan, I’m upset that they’re 23rd… way way way too high for that sorry sack of wannabe Cubs.

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  17. mlstarr says:

    Wow, the Astros have outperformed expectations so far.

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  18. B says:

    Why does pre-season fan expectations factor into play to this point?

    I mean all power rankings are silly things, but I can’t understand how a team like Boston has been mediocre at best to this point are ranked #2, and Cleveland who are playing great are ranked #20 in supposed weekly or monthly power rankings.

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    • Jeff says:

      Don’t think about it. Just don’t come back to this site for power rankings. Their other articles are pretty good but this is just a joke that requires no statistical analysis at all.

      This article is the main problem with stat geeks ; using only statistical analysis (albeit flawed in this case) with little to no physical analysis at all (i.e. watching the games).

      I think this pretty much sums it up: Minnesota Twins – last in WAR, last in run differential (-63), 2nd worst record in the league with numerous injuries including to their star player and yet they’re higher than the Indians who have the best record and run differential in the league (even with injuries to 2/5 of their starting rotation).

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      • dave says:

        But what you’re asking for isn’t more physical analysis (i.e., watching the games): it’s more statistical analysis (higher weighted WAR, run differential, or use of the current standings). You condemn Fangraphs for relying on statistics and then support your own point with… statistics.

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  19. Keith_Allen says:

    What a great way to celebrate the Yankees and Red Sox. The Yanks I can understand. For the Red Sox, I thinks it’s great that some people can reward popularity and mediocrity.

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    • JohnOrpheus says:

      Yeah, I’ve been sick of the Sox ever since ESPN officially began rooting for them. I must admit they’re the only MLB I actively root against.

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      • Keith_Allen says:

        I didn’t start hating the Red Sox until the Mitchell Report came out. It stated that Theo Epstein knew that Gagne was on roids, but he traded for him anyway. GM’s like Epstein have no moral compass at all. They’ll do anything to Win. He’s the scum of the Earth.

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  20. Mike says:

    Injuries are a good reason to rank the Twins far below their ZIPS or fan projections. They’re not the same team that deserved that higher power ranking and they should be closer to the bottom with Mauer, Nishioka, and Thome out. When one or more of them come back, the team will more closely resemble the opening day roster and they can jump back up in the rankings. Right now, they should be ranked on available, playing talent.

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  21. Jason F says:

    “In this week’s episode of “Managers Do The Darndest Things,” Bruce Bochy batted Mike Fontenot third for six straight games…” during which he compiled an OPS of 1.023. Just sayin’…

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    • Anon says:

      And would you consider it a good idea if Bochy batted Tim Lincecum 4th during his next start, and Lincecum went 3-3? Just because it worked out doesn’t make it a good idea.

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      • Jason B says:

        Like “Kicking Rocks”, I think “Just because it worked out doesn’t make it a good idea” makes for an excellent recurring column around here…

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      • Jason F says:

        With the injuries that the Giants have had, it really isn’t that ludicrous a notion to bat Fontenot third. Huff has been terrible and judging by last postseason, everything that Bruce Bochy touches turns to gold, apparently. It just seems remarkably convenient that these writers get a free pass to somewhat mock managers’ moves regardless of the result (not to mention ignoring the result altogether). I know this community likes to toss aside the idea that players get hot/cold, and that everyone will just perform to their true talent level over time, but baseball has long been a game of streaks. With the construction of his team as it is, Bochy has shown a knack for and willingness to playing the hot hand, which is exactly what he did in batting Fontenot third for a week…and will probably do again tonight. Of course managers should make informed decisions, but isn’t that what Bochy is doing when he says to himself, “I don’t have a competent 3 hole hitter right now, but my little person shortstop is hitting quite well, so why don’t I stick him there.”

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      • Jason B says:

        “it really isn’t that ludicrous a notion to bat Fontenot third.”

        Yeah…yeah, it is. He’s a spot-starter on a full, heathy roster. Granted with the Giants’ injuries (and Tejada’s total ineptitude) he’s been pushed into a full-time role for now, but hitting third? Lawd.

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      • Jason F says:

        Small sample size be damned, is it really that crazy to bat the guy who currently has the best wOBA of any active player on the team third? Really?!?!?! Who else would you suggest? Seriously, how would you construct what you think would be the most effective lineup for the Giants? Don’t Posey and Burrel have to be in the 4 and 5 spot, respectively? How can you defend putting Huff in the 3 hole with how he has performed thus far? I think the research done by much smarter people than myself suggests that lineup construction can account for 2 wins at most over the course of a season. That said, Bochy’s insane 6 game decision could have possibly cost him less than one hundredth of a win? Gasp! How dare he? Oh, wait, you say his decision worked to his advantage, also? That’s just crazy talk…

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      • Jason B says:

        “Small sample size be damned” – you answered your own question with your first five words. As Anon said, just because you bat Lincecum third and he goes 3-3 doesn’t mean it was the best idea ever.

        (Although that sounds more like something LaRussa would do…)

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      • Jason B says:

        “is it really that crazy to bat the guy who currently has the best wOBA of any active player on the team third? Really?!?!?! Who else would you suggest?”

        I mean, just think about the logical extension of your thought experiment. Let’s say after three games, Fontenot has three hits, Tejada two, Posey, Sandoval, and Huff none apiece, and Burrell and Sanchez just a single hit apiece. Lincecum and Cain each got a hit in their starts. Even scrappy Nate Schierholtz and Aaron Rowand came in and picked up a couple of hits as well.

        Well, if sample size be damned (your words, not mine), I think you should definitely bench those slackers Posey, Sandoval, and Huff, for starters; they’re definitely not pulling their weight. Fontenot batting cleanup, Tejada third, relegate Sanchez to eighth and Burrell to seventh, get Schierholtz and Rowand in there every day, probably batting second and fifth in some combination, and get this offense GOING! Maybe bring in Lincecum and Cain to play the field on their days off, they’re obviously better hitters than Posey et al.

        Obviuosly a ludicrous scenario, but one that logically follows from your “if it works it must be the right decision!” thought process.

        What Bruce’s experiment *should* teach us is that even thought Fontenot is no great shakes at the dish, he still is probably an upgrade both hitting AND fielding over zombie Tejada at this point…

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  22. 28 this year says:

    For a stat based site, no one seems to understand that statistical analysis is best used to PREDICT the future, not necessarily to suggest results. The fact is, things need to play out, stats just provide a good PREDICTION as to what will happen. These rankings aren’t really a testament to what happened as to what WILL happen. Only later in the season will they actually refer to what people are looking for. But for those who want the rankings to fit their minds, just look at the WAR% number in parenthesis and tell yourself those are the rankings. End of argument.

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    • neuter_your_dogma says:

      But they partially are based on what happened last year.

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    • Blue says:

      There are ways to fit prior probability distributions and new data together, typically using Bayes Rule.

      Let’s just say this approach fails massively at doing so.

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  23. DebbieDowner says:

    Good thing you were here to tell me that Cleveland sucks. And here I was getting excited about a team with a strong rotation, young talent, veteran presence, solid defense and timely hitting! Thanks, FanGraphs!

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    • Jason B says:

      “strong rotation”? You lost me.

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    • Jason B says:

      Don’t forget that “veteran presence!” Travis Hafner just being there, not even playing, is worth three or four wins alone. They did lose some VPW (veteran presence wins) when they lost Kerry Wood though, so that may subtract one or two.

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  24. williams .482 says:

    “On Saturday afternoon, Justin Verlander decided that he didn’t want to get into any odd pickoff situations, so he just decided to stop letting runners reach base.”

    This is pure gold, right here.

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  25. JC says:

    What a worthless article and ranking. You realize last years stats don’t count right? Cleveland and KC deserve much higher rankings until proven otherwise. Minnesota and Chicago have dug such huge holes they may not be able to dig themselves out.

    Your rankings should reflect where teams are right now not where you expect them to be, otherwise you look like an idiot.

    -9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Dave Cameron says:

      On May 9th, 2010, the Phillies were 19-12 while the Braves were 13-18. Only an “idiot” would suggest that the two teams would play equally over the rest of the season.

      May 10th, 2010, through end of season:

      Philadelphia: 78-53
      Atlanta: 78-53

      It’s almost like one month’s worth of games is not enough information to tell you what will happen over the rest of the season.

      +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Blue says:

        No, but a month and a half worth of games should be enough to shift your conditional probabilities quite substantially, considering that some 20 percent of the season is in the books.

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      • Jimmy the Greek says:

        You’re right, and the guy above is wrong.

        To be fair, though, his point about digging too big a hole to get out of is kind of confirmed by your example, no?

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  26. CircleChange11 says:

    If it were Indians fans that were up in arms, there would have only been 2 replies.

    FG knows that Jaime Garcia was good in 2010, right?

    Everything else aside, Carlos Pena has an awesome home run swing.

    Instead of pointing out 1 team that started hot and then finished with a little better than winning record (that’s still good, right), can’t we look at all teams that have had such a lead at this point in the season to see how they could reasonably project to do?

    They can be mediocre for the remainder of the year and still finish very well in their division. FWIW, Im not an Indians fan.

    Yes, I know they’re just power rankings. I’m just discussing. I’ll still be able to function this week.

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  27. CircleChange11 says:

    As for Andre Ethier’s 0.2 WAR for the week … wouldn’t that project to a 5 WAR season?

    isn’t that good?

    I think everyone understands that he’s not Joe Dimaggio, but it almost seems as if 0.2 WAR for the week is brought up to illustrate that he’s not doing well. If there’s 30 weeks in a season that type of performance adds up to something rather impressive.

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  28. scoops callahan says:

    looks like a lot of 12 year olds posting on here.

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  29. TheGrandslamwich says:

    Even though it is still early in the season, I still consider 30+ games to be significant (though I haven’t run a t-score or z-score or whatever it is you would use in this scenario. It’s been too long since I took statistics, and I’m lazy). A win in April or May still has the same value in the final standings as a win in August. I feel like the FAN% is over-weighted in these rankings.

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  30. Ratto's Pants says:

    In other news, the Colorado Rockies showed this weekend why they will continue to run away with the NL West crown.

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  31. Bleachers says:

    Not buying these rankings. Boston has 10th ranked WAR% yet are ranked 2nd b/c of the top ranked FAN %. I didn’t know that a strong fan base had anything to do with predicting the future success of a team. I was excited to see Power Rankings on this site. This is the first and last time I’ll be checking them out.

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  32. kick me in the GO NATS says:

    travis maybe a moron, but he has a valid point. The Royals are playing extremely well.

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  33. air jordan says:

    thank you for the informative post and keep up the good work….

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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