Archive for 2015 Positional Power Rankings

2015 Positional Power Rankings: Wrap-Up

Hello, friends. After what would feel like an eternity of work to an ordinary fruit fly, we’ve arrived at the end of this year’s edition of the FanGraphs Positional Power Rankings. If you’re looking to have access to every post in one convenient place, here you go — that’s a link to the post category page. Browse, if you’ve missed anything. Browse, even if you haven’t missed anything. Maybe there’s a note you forgot about. Maybe you just want to further submit things to memory! The important thing is to click on our pages as many times as possible. Have you tried refreshing this post? I’ll wait.

This post is a simple wrap-up of the other posts. By now, you know what this series is about. You shouldn’t need any explanation. What’s going to follow are all of the numbers, in one convenient if slightly overwhelming sortable table. Note that these numbers might differ slightly from what shows up in earlier PPR posts — baseball is nothing if not a constant stream of transactions and injuries, and shown here is the latest data, as far as updates to the depth charts are concerned. Get ready to click feverishly on column headers!

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Relief Pitchers (#1-15)

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

2015-positional-power-rankings-relievers

Look, I understand full well this is probably the least-anticipated part of the series. This is a look at only half of the teams, and it’s looking just at relievers, who pale in perceived importance relative to starters. Also contributing to this is the idea that relievers, and therefore bullpens, are almost hopelessly capricious and unpredictable. I’ll grant you that to a certain extent, but it’s also exaggerated — we have a decent idea of reliever and bullpen talent. Relievers don’t get injured a million times more often than starters. The biggest thing is that, because of the limited single-season reliever sample sizes, there’s just room for more variation around true talent. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have good forecasts. This is a worthwhile endeavor, and sometimes a strong or weak bullpen can make all the difference to a team’s postseason chances. Come with me on a journey! It is a journey with numbers and words, where we discuss the best of the projected bullpens.

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Relief Pitchers (#16-30)

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

The rankings of power being conducted by this site have almost concluded. Today, we turn our attention to relief pitchers. We begin by turning our attention, specifically, to this graph:

RP Graph, Teams 16 to 30

Included here are the bullpens which feature the 16th to 30th most power in the major leagues. Jeff Sullivan will consider Nos. 1-15 later in the morning. Or, he probably will, at least. One oughtn’t get in the habit of assuming that everything will work out nicely. As Werner Herzog has almost certainly said at some point, disaster is inevitable.

Now, relief pitchers!

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Starting Rotations (#1-15)

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

2015-positional-power-rankings-SP

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Starting Rotations (#16-30)

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

2015_fangraphs_startingpitchers_war_projection_16-30

As we get into the back half of the starting rotations, that chart would look a whole lot better for the teams on the right side if you chose to willfully ignore that there’s 15 teams better than them not even shown here. This is where the pitching’s going to get a little dark. I’m tempted to just go with “it doesn’t matter, they’re all going to get hurt anyway and one day we’ll all be dead,” but that seems a little too bleak. Still, it’s sort of how you feel relying on any pitcher these days. Right? No? Just me? Okay, fine. Read the rest of this entry »


2015 Positional Power Rankings: Designated Hitter

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

Last week, Craig Edwards detailed the death of the long man. Another position that has been dying a slow death is the designated hitter as we know it. Many teams just rotate people through the spot these days. Last season, American League teams started an average of 10.9 players at designated hitter. Just six of the 15 teams were in the single digits, and only the Tigers started fewer than five DHs. Enough of the eulogy, let’s get to 2015:

DH

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Center Field

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

If you are interested in learning about every Major League Baseball team’s center field situation entering 2015, you have clicked your way on the internet to the right spot. Here is a graph using the FanGraphs Depth Charts ranking every team’s center field WAR as we start the season.

2015-Center-Field-Positional-WAR

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Right Field

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

As usual, we’ll kick this off with a graph of each team’s projected right fielders by WAR, while also acknowledging that 0.4 wins here or 0.3 wins there isn’t really a tangible difference.

2015-right-field-positional-war

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Left Field

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

Did you know the saying “out of left field” most likely came from base runners being surprised by a throw from left field that gunned them down at home when they were trying to score? You keep being out of left field, Yoenis Cespedes. Onto the power rankings! First, a chart:

2015-left-field-positional-power-rankings

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Third Base

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

There are a lot of words below, some on every single team in fact, but first a graph. Here is the FanGraphs Depth Charts projected WAR for every single team’s third base production in 2015. How Braves fans must long for the days of Chipper Jones.

2015-Third-Base-Positional-WAR (1)

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Shortstop

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

It’s time now to continue the rankings of power being conducted by this site. Today, we turn our attention to shortstops. We begin by turning our attention, specifically, to this graph:

SS Graph

Some teams (Colorado) have very good shortstops; others (Miami) have less good shortstops. Every team has shortstops. In what follows, the author examines how much power the shortstops possess and then ranks them according to that power.

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Second Base

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

Positional power rankings! Second base! Let’s do this. Here comes a graph of projected team WAR:

2bWAR

Well, would ya look at that. Robinson Cano is still good at baseball. For the third consecutive year, Robinson Cano’s team lands atop the second base rankings of power. There’s a pretty defined top three, a pretty defined top 10, and then the rest. You can see that. Let’s talk about it.

Wait — really quick before we begin, the disclaimer: decimal points of WAR really don’t matter. Team X with 3.0 WAR isn’t demonstrably better than Team Y at 2.7 WAR. It’s less about an exact order and more about visualizing, roughly, where each team falls within the landscape of the league. Okay, now with that in mind, let’s begin.
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2015 Positional Power Rankings: First Base

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

Time to rate the sluggers! Your first base depth chart in bar form:

FirstBaseDepth

Oh Philadelphia. Our heart goes out to your slugging slugger and the slugs he used to slug. Maybe your team actually would be better without Ryan Howard, though. Let’s focus on the positive, at least at first. The two studs at the top have a lot going for them.

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Catcher

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

As we kick off the 2015 Positional Power Rankings with catchers, let’s start with a chart of the projected WAR totals, and…

2015catchers_positional-power-rankings

…and good lord, Giants and Diamondbacks, for two entirely different reasons.

Immediately obvious: Buster Posey isn’t just the best catcher in baseball, he’s the best by a considerable amount. Also equally obvious: It’s going to be a really, really long season in Arizona. In between, you’ve got some pretty clear tiers of 4-6 teams apiece, and that’s far more important than the actual rankings themselves. After the Giants, the next 10 teams break down easily into two blocks, and then beyond that, starting with the Mets at No. 12, there’s a soft decline from “acceptable” to “poor” to, well, the Diamondbacks.

Remember, please, that there’s just not a lot of meaning in tenths of a point of WAR, so while (for example) we have the Mets and Rays separated by nine spots, they’re only 0.4 WAR from one another. Remember, also, that our WAR formula doesn’t currently account for pitch framing, which has been pretty well acknowledged here and elsewhere as being a real thing that exists. You’ll just need to mentally account for additions (or demerits) for those catchers well-known to be valued (or avoided) based on that skill. Read the rest of this entry »


2015 Positional Power Rankings: Introduction

Over the last three years, we’ve previewed the upcoming season by going position by position around Major League Baseball, looking at the how teams stack up to their various competitors at each spot on the diamond. This format provides a bit of a different look than a traditional team or division based preview, and gives us the ability to do some things that you might find in other outlets. For instance, by starting at the position level, we can see exactly where a team’s strengths and weaknesses lie, and identify some areas of for potential upgrade as well.

Additionally, by not just focusing on the starter at each position, we’re able to compare and contrast different strategies for manning a particular position on the field. How will one team’s everyday player compare to a left/right platoon? Or is a team with a hot young prospect on the way up in line for a second half upgrade once the service time issues are out of the way? What teams have enough depth to sustain quality performance in case of an injury? These are the kinds of things we can readily identify through this series.

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