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FanGraphs Power Rankings – 8/1/11

My stars, what a trade deadline we just had. With all the fascinating deals and hard-hitting analysis that came with it, both here and elsewhere (but especially here!) over the weekend and today, there has been so much trade-deadline talk that I tried as hard as possible to ease up on that score (though it’s just so hard…must…talk…about…trades!!!!). There were some big movers this past week, and one series in particular seems to have been key — the Reds whitewashing of the Giants over the weekend in Cincinnati. Entering the series, the Giants had won two of three for the week, and the Reds had lost their four for the week. But after the dust settled from the sweep, the Reds had vaulted six spots and the Giants had dropped six, the two nearly exchanging spots in the Rankings. Part of that has to do with the fact that the seven teams that occupy spots seven through 13 in the Rankings are only separated by .008, and part of it is due to the fact that the Reds so badly laid the smackdown on the G-men. Even after the series, where they outscored the Giants by 15 runs, the Reds are still thoroughly underperforming this season, but it’s still too early to write them off completely.

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

1. Boston: Last week – 1, WAR% – .684 (1), FAN% – .605 (1), TOTAL% – .657
If Jose Bautista is Mr. Plow, does that make Dustin Pedroia — who now only trails Bautista in the WAR race by 0.2 — the Plow King? We might not know until this winter, when he’ll have a chance to do a duet with Linda Ronstadt at the next Hot Stove, Cool Music.

2. New York Yankees: Last week – 2, WAR% – .670 (2), FAN% – .580 (2), TOTAL% – .639
The 2011 overshadowing of CC Sabathia continues unabated, as he can’t even net the highest Game NERD score for tonight.

3. Philadelphia: Last week – 3, WAR% – .616 (4), FAN% – .556 (3), TOTAL% – .595
In yesterday’s win over the Pirates, Raul Ibanez piled up a .761 WPA. It was his second-best game by WPA in the past 10 years (.850 on 7/21/02), and the 12th time in the past decade he had a game with a WPA greater than .500. And it also cemented his never-ever-ever-ever-to-be-replaced status in the Phillies’ lineup, no matter how many crappy games he subsequently strings together.

4. Texas: Last week – 4, WAR% – .622 (3), FAN% – .525 (7), TOTAL% – .590
In looking at Heath Bell on Friday, there seemed like there were enough red flags that his price tag was going to outstrip his value, and in acquiring Koji Uehara and Mike Adams instead of Bell over the weekend, it would seem that the Rangers saw some of those same red flags as well.

5. St. Louis: Last week – 5, WAR% – .580 (6), FAN% – .512 (12), TOTAL% – .558
While no one expected Matt Holliday to steal 28 bases a year like he did in 2008, his subsequent decline to 14, nine and now zero steals is a bit surprising, as are his matching declining Speed Scores.

6. Milwaukee: Last week – 7, WAR% – .5674 (7), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .551
Mark Kotsay knows that whether you play half the game or the whole game, you still get a whole snow cone at the end of the game. So he’d rather play half game, he’d rather play half game!

7. Cincinnati: Last week – 13, WAR% – .5673 (8), FAN% – .494 (17), TOTAL% – .543
Joey Votto is apparently not ready for Cincinnati’s season to be over.

8. Arizona: Last week – 12, WAR% – .581 (8), FAN% – .463 (25), TOTAL% – .542
I wish Joe Paterson would hurry up and throw more innings so we could tell for sure if his run this year is for real or not.

9. Los Angeles of Anaheim: Last week – 8, WAR% – .563 (9), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .5382
I’m not sure who was more disappointed, Angels fans who had hoped for a trade this weekend, or Lost fans after its series finale, but at least the creators of Lost can laugh at themselves.

10. Colorado: Last week – 9, WAR% – .5293 (t-13), FAN% – .556 (3), TOTAL% – .5381
While it’s way too early to call him legit, Juan Nicasio has been pretty good so far — his 3.17 K/BB is 25th best in the Majors among starters who have thrown at least 70 innings.

11. Atlanta: Last week – 11, WAR% – .553 (10), FAN% – .506 (14), TOTAL% – .5375
Congrats to Freddie Freeman, this past week’s BABIP’er of the Week. Freeman outdistanced the pack with a .652 BABIP last week.

12. San Francisco: Last week – 6, WAR% – .546 (11), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .5368
In dealing a potential future ace for Carlos Beltran, Brian Sabean made it crystal clear that he adheres to Tracy Jordan’s world view.

13. Tampa Bay: Last week – 10, WAR% – .534 (12), FAN% – .537 (5), TOTAL% – .535
Many expected B.J. Upton to be traded this past weekend, but it doesn’t seem all that shocking that Tampa held on to him. Yes, he could get expensive in the very near future, but if the Rays can float the cost, Upton is a better option than Sam Fuld. Fuld was a nice story, and he has a nicer glove, but 83 wRC+ players are fourth outfielders, not starters.

14. New York Mets: Last week – 16, WAR% – .527 (15), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .5245
While I appreciate R.A. Dickey’s competitive fire, perhaps he should complain about the Mets’ front office less and thank them for resuscitating his once-flagging career more.

15. Detroit: Last week – 14, WAR% – .5293 (t-13), FAN% – .512 (12), TOTAL% – .5237
The Edwin Jackson and Ubaldo Jimenez trades made more headlines, but Detroit’s acquisition of Doug Fister was just as significant. Fister has a 3.0 WAR for the year that is tied for 22nd among qualified pitchers — a hair under Jackson and more than a half-win better than Jimenez — his xFIP numbers show no home-road split whatsoever this season and as Zach Sanders noted, he won’t be arbitration-eligible until 2013.

16. Florida: Last week – 15, WAR% – .520 (18), FAN% – .525 (7), TOTAL% – .522
Chris Volstad is full of mystery. In his fourth Major League season, he would seem to be a veteran, yet he is just 24. And his 5.58 ERA would seem to paint him as an underachiever, but SIERA paints a much more encouraging picture of the Florida right-hander.

17. Toronto: Last week – 17, WAR% – .526 (16), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .513
Hey Colby Rasmus, we get that you’re eager to both impress your new team and show Tony La Russa how wrong he is about you, but Bubballa, you don’t need to swing at every pitch in order to do so. Relax.

18. Chicago White Sox: Last week – 18, WAR% – .525 (17), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .512
Over the past calendar year, the only shortstops who have been more valuable than Alexei Ramirez are Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes. Chicago’s Ramirez has been worth 1.4 more wins than Florida’s Hanley Ramirez.

19. Los Angeles Dodgers: Last week – 19, WAR% – .505 (19), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .499
Nothing like a little National League pitching to make Juan Rivera look like a Major League hitter again.

20. San Diego: Last week – 21, WAR% – .474 (23), FAN% – .494 (17), TOTAL% – .4804
Small sample-size hilarity — in 37 plate appearances at PETCO Park this season, Jesus Guzman has a 333 wRC+. But in all seriousness, Guzman has done incredibly well at the dish since his call-up — his 289 wRC+ last week was tops in the NL — and if he doesn’t embarrass himself with the leather he just may stick around awhile.

21. Chicago Cubs: Last week – 20, WAR% – .466 (24), FAN% – .506 (14), TOTAL% – .4796
Overheard in Jim Hendry’s office this weekend: “What is Ed Wade doing down there in Houston? The Astros were contenders, just like we are!”

22. Minnesota: Last week – 24, WAR% – .445 (27), FAN% – .537 (5), TOTAL% – .476
If there was one persistent trade rumor that just didn’t make any sense, it was Denard Span to the Nationals for Drew Storen. It didn’t make sense that the Twins wanted to trade their starting center fielder and arguably best player of 2011, and it made even less sense that the Nats were balking at including the closer on their non-contending team that might throw 80 innings this season.

23. Kansas City: Last week – 26, WAR% – .500 (20), FAN% – .420 (29), TOTAL% – .473
The Royals are one of just three teams (the Reds and Rangers are the others) that have a wRC+ of 100 or better, as well as positive marks for both UZR and Bsr.

24. Washington: Last week – 22, WAR% – .479 (22), FAN% – .457 (26), TOTAL% – .472
I bet you didn’t know that Jonny Gomes, Gene Freese, Jeff Francoeur, Don Hurst, Matt Kemp, Travis Lee, Ryan Ludwick, Jerry Lynch, Craig Monroe, Bob Robertson, Shannon Stewart and Marcus Thames are all tied for 638th place all-time at home runs with 115, did you?

25. Oakland: Last week – 25, WAR% – .465 (25), FAN% – .481 (23), TOTAL% – .4702
Jemile Weeks has had a pretty nice start to his Major League career, but the very-early returns on his hitting from the right side are less than stellar (43 wRC+).

26. Cleveland: Last week – 23, WAR% – .480 (21), FAN% – .451 (27), TOTAL% – .4698
The Indians decline continues, as their WAR% has fallen all the way from .673 in the Rankings’ first week down to .480, nearly a 200-point collapse. Ubaldo will only be able to do so much.

27. Pittsburgh: Last week – 27, WAR% – .457 (26), FAN% – .438 (28), TOTAL% – .450
Hey Neil, where’s the beef? Since 2007, Neil Walker had posted ISO’s of at least .167 at any place he stayed more than 20 games, but this year his ISO is a measly .129.

28. Baltimore: Last week – 29, WAR% – .414 (30), FAN% – .500 (16), TOTAL% – .445
Searching for something nice to say about the Orioles…hey, remember when they would show Camden Yards on The Wire? That was cool and junk.

29. Seattle: Last week – 28, WAR% – .429 (28), FAN% – .469 (24), TOTAL% – .443
Pitching has been the Mariners’ biggest strength all year, but after trading 40 percent of their starting rotation this weekend, things could get pretty ugly in Seattle the last two months of the season.

30. Houston: Last week – 30, WAR% – .427 (29), FAN% – .370 (30), TOTAL% – .408
When one stolen base threat leaves, another blossoms in his place. Grab Jason Bourgeois now before one of your enterprising league-mates does.