Tag Archives: mlb rankings

MLB Power Rankings August 2013

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

Before the season began, I provided you with how I thought the season would play out in standings form and in power rankings form (30-2120-1110-1). Each week, I’ve updated the standings projection based on the games from the previous week, and at the beginning of every month, have synthesized that into league-wide power rankings. What follows are my MLB Power Rankings for August 2013. (MayJune, and July)

The idea is simple. I ranked the teams at the beginning of the season based on how well I thought they would perform over the entire year. I am doing the same thing here, but I just have new information to include based on what I’ve seen so far. Note that when discussing offensive rankings I will be using wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) and when discussing pitching rankings I will use wins above replacement (what’s WAR?).

30. Houston Astros (July Rank: 29)

I’ve reserved this spot for the Marlins for the last two months, but I have to make a change in August because no other club besides the Astros is so bad offensively, defensively, and on the mound. The Astros are building correctly for the future and are a well-run organization, but there is no worse MLB product on the field right now. They are 27th in hitting, 29th in defense, and 30th in pitching. Right now, their entire roster has been worth less than 1 win above replacement. For some context, Andy Dirks has been worth 1.1 WAR by himself in 2013.

29. Miami Marlins (30)

The Marlins are terrible. They have the league’s worst offense by a massive margin and only have an average pitching staff led by exciting young arms like Jose Fernandez, Jacob Turner, and Nathan Eovaldi. The Marlins are  joke of an organization, but there are some reasons to watch.

28. Chicago White Sox (28)

The White Sox are almost as bad offensively as the Marlins and as a result they are wasting the league’s 3rd best pitching staff. Normally, I’d give more weight to the pitching staff in these rankings, but the offensive is so terrible that good pitching doesn’t even help. The Sox are 40-65 and rank 23rd in MLB in WAR. This is a bad team and they just lost Jake Peavy and Jesse Crain. It’s gonna get UG-LY (read that last sentence in a Hawk Harrelson voice).

27. Milwaukee Brewers (27)

The Brewers offense ranks only slightly below average thanks to great production from guys like Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura, but with the loss of Ryan Braun and the black holes at so many spots, it isn’t enough to carry baseball’s 24th best pitching staff. There is very little hope in Milwaukee this year.

26. Minnesota Twins (26)

The Twins rank 21st in hitting and pitching, but are pulled down to 28th overall in WAR thanks to a very poor defense. This is a bad club with a better future. They have a very nice farm system and should be relevant again before the decade is out, but there isn’t much left to do in 2013 other than play spoiler.

25. Chicago Cubs (24)

The Cubs are a team with some good players, but overall hasn’t played very well. They’re 24th at the plate and 19th on the mound, but have also traded some pieces leading up to the deadline. They’re building it right, but the drought will extend at least another season.

24. New York Mets (23)

The Mets are the 20th best offense and 20th best staff in baseball and fall to 24th on this list because there just isn’t a lot of hope they’ll play any better. Matt Harvey is right in the middle of the Cy Young conversation but they’re going to back off his innings as the season wears on. There are many glimmers of hope for the Mets, but they aren’t one of the best of 2013.

23. Seattle Mariners (25)

The Mariners actually have baseball’s 16th best offense and 13th best pitching staff, but also have baseball’s worst defense that has cost them about 5 wins in the standings all on its own. The Mariners aren’t a hapless bad team, but they are firmly outside of the contending realm as well.

22. San Diego Padres (22)

The Padres can hit a little bit and are an average defensive club, but their pitching is just terrible.  I don’t have a lot else to say on the matter.

21. San Francisco Giants (14)

Talk about a free-fall. The Giants were in the top ten just two months ago but now they’re barely ahead of the Mets. The offense and defense are respectable, but the pitching continues to be poor and has yet to bounce back to the levels we expect. The clock is running out on the Giants season. I’m not sure how low they’ll finish this year, but for now it doesn’t look pretty for the champs.

20. Los Angeles Angels (17)

It still boggles the mind that the Angels didn’t spend their Hamilton money on pitching. They have baseball’s 5th best offense and 26th worst pitching staff. They completely misjudged their team and it will cost them a trip to the playoffs. They might even finish behind the Mariners despite Mike Trout being Mike Trout.

19. Colorado Rockies (19)

The Rockies offense is below average, but somehow their pitching continues to perform well. I don’t really understand it, but they haven’t played well overall since their hot start. They’re better than I thought at the start of the season, but they aren’t a good team.

18. Toronto Blue Jays (16)

The Blue Jays got bit by the injury bug, but their offense has played well coming in at 10th in MLB. The pitching, even when healthy, just hasn’t been very good. The Jays are likely disappointed, but even if they had played better, it still wouldn’t have been enough to be sure about a playoff spot.

17. Kansas City Royals (21)

The Royals are an average pitching staff with an excellent defense behind them. If only they weren’t terrible hitters. The Royals are baseball’s 5th worst offense, but for some reason, still thought it was a good idea to trade Wil Myers for James Shields last winter. The Royals are playing well enough to finish around .500, but this isn’t much more than an average club.

16. Philadelphia Phillies (18)

The Phils are probably a little worse than this empirically, but they seem very steady to me. They’re 26th in MLB in WAR, but they’re also 50-57 while playing their worst baseball of the season. They seem like a team that will finish just below .500 and still have some very good arms and interesting bats.

15. New York Yankees (12)

The Yankees are the White Sox with a good defense and just enough more on offense to let the pitching staff do the work. They are 19th in WAR as a club, but it’s all coming from the pitching staff. The key for the Yankees is that they got a lot of over-performing value up front and should be getting some good production from the injured stars down the stretch. They have Jeter back and Granderson very close which should help keep them from falling apart. This isn’t a playoff team in my mind, but they are good enough to be around the middle.

14. Washington Nationals (10)

I still believe in the Nats, but the clock has pretty much run out. After opening the season in the top spot they have slid in each ranking. They are baseball’s 25th best offense and the pitching, while sold, is not enough to carry them. Unless the offense starts to click soon, the Nationals will greatly disappoint. The talent is there, but they have not executed in 2013.

13. Arizona Diamondbacks (13)

The Dbacks are only the 22nd best offense in the game and 16th best staff, but they have an excellent defense which makes everything better. They currently rank 15th in total WAR and look to be right around the middle of the league as this thing winds down.

12. Cleveland Indians (15)

The Indians have a very good offense (3rd) to no one’s surprise. The pitching is 24th best in baseball, which likely isn’t enough to get them to October, but this will certainly be one of the best teams to miss the postseason. They’re record is better than their talent, but they don’t have enough pixie dust to turn themselves into a legitimate title contender.

11. Los Angeles Dodgers (20)

Finally the Dodgers started playing well. Their offense is now a top 10 one and the pitching staff isn’t great, but it has Clayton Kershaw. Overall they are 12th in WAR and are playing better as of late while the rest of the NL West is spiraling. With Hanley Ramirez back in All-Star form, they are finally clicking on all cylinders. I don’t think they’re equipped for a deep October run, but they’re no longer the mess they were a month ago.

10. Baltimore Orioles (9)

The Orioles made some moves this month to shore up the 25th best staff in baseball, but their strength remains their offense. The Orioles are probably going to go to the mat for the last wild card, but at the very least, so one considers them a fluke anymore. This is a good offense and good defense led by a smart manager. They don’t have the arms to be a force, but they are a very solid team.

9. Texas Rangers (4)

The Rangers are slumping hard right now which pushed them back a few spots. The bats are still 12th in baseball and the pitching staff remains #2. This is a good team going through a bad stretch. They’ll bounce back, but for now they’re out of the top five.

8. Cincinnati Reds (7)

The Reds are a very good team run by a very bad manager. They’re 7th in WAR and have the 8th best record in baseball, but they are losing games they shouldn’t lose because of Dusty Baker’s decision making. He’s recently moved Cozart out of the 2 hole, but he often replaces him with another poor hitter. He can’t manage a bullpen, either. The Reds are good, but if they miss the postseason by a game or two, you will know why.

7. Atlanta Braves (5)

The Braves just ran away and hid early. They are a top 10 offense and pitching staff and haven’t really done much of note since their hot start. They have talent that is playing up to par, but they look to be the safest division leader in the sport right now.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (11)

The Pirates are still playing over their heads for my money (15th best offense, 17th best staff) but they are 11th in WAR and you can’t erase the lucky wins they’ve already accumulated. They’re a lock to finish above .500 and are a pretty good bet to at least earn a trip to the play-in game. I think they’ll slow down going forward, but they’ve done the work for 107 games and even if they play closer to my expectations the rest of the way, they are still a top 10 team overall.

5. Oakland Athletics (8)

The A’s are kind of the same as the Pirates. They aren’t as good as their record shows, but they are a top 11 and 10 offense and pitching staff who has already earned their extra wins. The A’s are in good position to make the playoffs and should slow down a bit down the stretch, even if they don’t give anything away.

4. Boston Red Sox (3)

The Sox are 4th in offense and 4th on the mound and only rank 2nd in WAR because the Cardinals rate so poorly on defense. The Sox are a good team who added Jake Peavy for the stretch run. I don’t think they win the division, but this is a very good team.

3. St. Louis Cardinals (1)

The Cardinals are so well rounded that despite the present slump, it’s hard to see anything that can actually deflate their season. Except for losing Yadier Molina. Uh oh. The Cards are 6th at the plate and 7th on the mound, but they performed very well in high leverage spots to push their record above their performance overall. I don’t think that’s a predictive skill, but much like the Pirates and the A’s they have already won those games. If Yadi is out for a while, the Cardinals could be in trouble, but they’ll sit at 3rd for now until we know more.

2. Tampa Bay Rays (6)

I didn’t bail on the Rays when they started slow and I feel really good about that now. They have the league’s 2nd best offense, 3rd best staff, and one of the top defenses in the game. This is a well rounded team that always plays above their skill level thanks to excellent management from Joe Maddon. The Rays are on fire now, but look build to stay warm the whole way.

1. Detroit Tigers (2)

I don’t mean this to be a homer pick, but there isn’t really a case I can make against the Tigers based on how I do these rankings. They have the best offense in baseball. They have the best pitching staff in baseball. They lead all of MLB in WAR. They are only 3.5 games back of the best record overall. And it seems like they can play better than they did in the first half. So long as Cabrera doesn’t need a long DL trip and Iglesias can play good enough defense to fill in for Peralta’s bat, this is baseball’s best team.

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Thoughts on the list? Let us know in the comments section.

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Dynamic Standings Projection (July 3, 2013)

In case you missed it, in April we launched our Dynamic Standings Projection feature on New English D. A full explanation of the methodology can be found here or by clicking the tab at the top of the page. This project seeks to provide a reasoned and cautious approach to updating our beliefs about the baseball future. You can find a summarization of the original projections here. You’ll notice a column on the far right that indicates the difference in projected wins from the preseason prediction. Positive numbers mean teams are now projected to win more games and negative numbers mean a team is now projected to win fewer games. You’ll notice a series of graphs below the standings section that track how the projections have evolved over the course of the year.

This Dynamic Standings Projection is updated through the July 2 games.

3-Jul W L PreDiff
TB 88 74 0.543 -3
NYY 87 75 0.537 2
BAL 86 76 0.531 4
BOS 85 77 0.525 8
TOR 84 78 0.519 -3
W L PreDiff
DET 92 70 0.568 -2
CWS 77 85 0.475 -6
CLE 77 85 0.475 6
KC 76 86 0.469 0
MIN 70 92 0.432 5
W L PreDiff
TEX 92 70 0.568 1
OAK 88 74 0.543 4
LAA 80 82 0.494 -8
SEA 73 89 0.451 -2
HOU 60 102 0.370 0
W L PreDiff
ATL 92 70 0.568 2
WSH 88 74 0.543 -7
PHI 81 81 0.500 -3
NYM 73 89 0.451 -5
MIA 59 103 0.364 -4
W L PreDiff
STL 94 68 0.580 6
CIN 93 69 0.574 1
PIT 90 72 0.556 8
MIL 74 88 0.457 -5
CHC 68 94 0.420 0
W L PreDiff
SF 86 76 0.531 -5
ARZ 85 77 0.525 3
LAD 81 81 0.500 -7
SD 79 83 0.488 1
COL 72 90 0.444 9

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MLB Power Rankings July 2013

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

Before the season began, I provided you with how I thought the season would play out in standings form and in power rankings form (30-2120-1110-1). Each week, I’ve updated the standings projection based on the games from the previous week, and at the beginning of every month, have synthesized that into league-wide power rankings. What follows are my MLB Power Rankings for July 2013. (May and June)

The idea is simple. I ranked the teams at the beginning of the season based on how well I thought they would perform over the entire season. I am doing the same thing here, but I just have new information to include based on what I’ve seen so far.

30. Miami Marlins (June Ranking: 30)

No one in baseball hits worse than the Marlins (71 wRC+) and despite a reasonably good defense (11.3 UZR), the 24th ranked pitching staff (5.1 WAR) isn’t enough to keep them out of the cellar. By WAR, they rank 29th in baseball with 6.5, but they play easier competition than the Astros and are downright embarrassing as an organization.

29. Houston Astros (29)

The Astros aren’t really much better than the Marlins, but they get points for actually trying to produce a good team while the Marlins ownership is just sitting on their yachts collecting revenue sharing dollars. The Astros have the 26th best offense, a very poor defense, and the 29th best pitching staff in baseball. Nothing about them is good, but they remain slightly less terrible in my book because they play tougher competition than the Marlins. Without question, the Marlins and Astros are baseball’s two worst teams.

28. Chicago White Sox (22)

The White Sox actually have a very good pitching staff. They rank 3rd in WAR with 11.6, but the offense is so atrocious that it hasn’t really mattered. The White Sox have baseball’s second worst offense and the worst among those who don’t bat the pitcher 9th. They’ve won just 32 games, fewer than all but the Marlins and Astros, and are showing no real signs of improvement. They’re likely to sell hard at the deadline and have yet to play any of their nearly 20 games against the Tigers. The Sox have a solid staff led by Chris Sale, but when your ace is 0-5 in June despite a dominant month, it probably doesn’t bode well for your chances as a team.

27. Milwaukee Brewers (20)

The Brewers have a middle of the road offense, but a terrible pitching staff (ranked 16th and 28th respectively) and Braun remains on the DL. The Brewers seem like obvious sellers and probably shouldn’t be expected to do much in one of baseball’s toughest divisions. They have a couple elite hitters on their team, but everything else is kind of barren.

26. Minnesota Twins (28)

The Twins have a respectable, mediocre offense (97 wRC+), but have played poor defense and have a decidedly below average pitching staff. They certainly aren’t among the comically bad, but there isn’t much on this team that makes me think they’re anything but a bottom five club.

25. Seattle Mariners (26)

Felix and Iwakuma are worth the price of admission but they’re below average at the plate, on the field, and everywhere else in the pitching department. They’re starting to turn things over to the prospects, but the front office and coaching staff is likely on the way out after the season. But hey, 2 out of 5 days they are very watchable and they feature New English D comeback favorite Jeremy Bonderman. Things could be worse.

24. Chicago Cubs (25)

The Cubs are pretty much performing exactly as expected. They have a below average offense (89 wRC+) and an above average pitching staff (7.1 WAR) to go along with a solid defense. The Cubs are likely better than their record, but they are also likely to sell off their valuable pieces during a rebuilding effort, so that should balance out come later September. The Cubs are the Cubs, but they’re worth paying attention to as the NL Central will likely be decided on their terms.

23. New York Mets (24)

The Mets are pretty much a carbon copy of the Cubs, except they can’t play defense. David Wright is having a strong season and Matt Harvey would be my pick to win the Cy Young at the halfway mark, but other than that there have been few bright spots. They’re two good outfielders short of relevance, but Harvey and Wright are doing a nice job making them watchable for now.

22. San Diego Padres (27)

The Padres are quite difficult to pin down and have bounced around these rankings all season long. The offense and defense have performed quite well despite few household names, but the pitching has been awful and is the worst in the league by WAR (-1.6). They’re an unbalanced team, so it’s unclear which direction they will fall but I can’t see anyway in which they finish the season as an above average team in my book.

21. Kansas City Royals (23)

The Royals have a great defense with a league best 37.8 UZR, but the offense is terrible (88 wRC+) and the pitching staff is just average. The ERA looks good, 3.57, but their FIP is 4.15 which lines up with the idea that the defense is great. The pitching staff isn’t bad, but it’s middle of the pack and defense can’t carry a club very far on it’s own. They prevent runs well, but they cannot score them at all. If only they had a young power hitter like Wil Myers on their roster….

20. Los Angeles Dodgers (19)

Puig and Kershaw are awesome. That’s clear. But everything else about the team is underwhelming and they’ve looked more like a MASH unit than a baseball team. Once again, I’ll remind national writers that money doesn’t make a team good. You have to have good players who aren’t hurt.

19. Colorado Rockies (21)

The Rockies are slow climbers on this list, but they are climbing after I pegged them for the cellar at the open. The offense is solid, but the pitching has been surprisingly good. I still can’t figure that out, but it’s working so far. I’m still skeptical, but they’ve earned some respect and we cannot undo their 41-42 record to date.  I see them finishing right below .500 this season.

18. Philadelphia Phillies (18)

The Phils are just slightly below average across the board. They have some good players and some bad ones, and Cliff Lee is always fun to watch. Cole Hamels is pitching better than the numbers indicate and Chase Utley remains one of baseball’s most underrated players, but the Phils should be sellers this month and shouldn’t expect to play much better than this pace the rest of the way.

17. Los Angeles Angels (17)

The Angels have a very good offense, and their defense will likely be better than it has been to date (-15.6 UZR), but their pitching staff is bad and their “best” starters (Weaver and Wilson) are wildly overrated as it is. They should score runs thanks to Trout and co., but they’re going to allow quite a few. With the Rangers and A’s ahead of them out west and no more games against the Tigers (whom they have owned this year), I can’t see a path for the Angels to be much better than average this season.

16. Toronto Blue Jays (16)

Everything I thought would go wrong with the Blue Jays did early in the season, but they’ve started to get healthy and get back on track as we head into July. I still think it’s probably too late for them to recover from the hole they dug, but they should definitely be relevant as the season wears on. The offense has been solid (99 wRC+), but the pitching staff (5.6 WAR) has left a lot to be desired. The question is how much of a correction they can make before the clock runs out.

15. Cleveland Indians (14)

As I’ve been saying for the last two months, the Indians are a good not great team. They can hit (110 wRC+), but their 26th in pitching WAR and there is no reason to think they’ll get much better in that department. I think they can finish above .500 and have a respectable season, but that’s the ceiling in Francona’s first season.

14. San Francisco Giants (11)

The Giants are scuffling and despite the league’s 10th best offense (100 wRC+), they aren’t getting help from their pitching even if the defense (24.1 UZR) is doing excellent work behind them. Their pitching should get better, but so far it hasn’t and I’m not sure how long you wait before you adjust those expectations. I still think the Giants can pull off a division title, but it’s very close and it isn’t going to be easy.

13. Arizona Diamondbacks (12)

The Dbacks are a below average offense (90 wRC+) and a mid level staff (6.7 WAR), but great defense (21.7 UZR) helps push those ranks up a little overall. They’re 42-39 and in position to win the West, but nothing about them makes me think they aren’t vulnerable to assault from the Giants. Whoever manages to avoid the most brawl related suspensions is the team I’ll bank on for the postseason.

12. New York Yankees (8)

The Yankees are finally feeling the correction from the early season scrubs become stars routine and now have the league’s 28th (!) ranked offense. Their pitching remains strong, but with Teix out for the season, Wells back to his old ways, and Jeter and Grandy still on the shelf, it’s hard to think they’re going to be a powerhouse down the stretch.

11. Pittsburgh Pirates (15)

Here come the Pirates, who are all but assured a winning record for the first time in two decades. But they have the 18th best offense and 19th best pitching staff in baseball. The defense has been good enough to help out, but they are playing over their heads. I don’t think they’ll fall back into oblivion, but I don’t think they’ll have the best record in baseball for the entire season. They’re a borderline wild card team for me, but there’s no shame in that.

10. Washington Nationals (7)

I still believe in the Nats despite an 85 wRC+ and -13.3 UZR. The pitching staff has been good with 8.7 WAR (9th in MLB), but I’m banking on the bats to get going. There is too much talent on the roster for them to hit this poorly, especially as Harper returns this week. I had the Nats as the best team in baseball entering the season, so this is actually a serious drop, but I’m not ready to give up yet.

9. Baltimore Orioles (13)

The O’s have a bad pitching staff, but they can smack the ball and play excellent defense (108 wRC+ and 23.4 UZR) so I’m enough of a believer in their staying power. I don’t like their chances in a short playoff series, but for the remainder of the season, Machado, Davis, and co. should be able to slug their way to another very good finish.

8. Oakland Athletics (10)

The A’s have the league’s 8th best offense and 10th best pitching staff to go with a solidly average defense. Nothing about them is impressive, except for the fact that they are this good despite almost no financial resources. Over the full year, no one has been better and they look poised for another exciting September.

7. Cincinnati Reds (5)

Despite the presence of Votto, Choo, Frazier, and Bruce, the Reds aren’t getting as much out of their offense as they should thanks to Dusty Baker insisting on batting his worst hitting 2nd and killing a great deal of rallies. The defense is solid and the bats are close to average overall (95 wRC+), but the deep pitching staff (9.4 WAR) make the Reds one of the better rounded clubs in baseball. They have a race on their hands, but this is a very good team.

6. Tampa Bay Rays (6)

The Rays, yes those Rays, have the league’s 4th best offense (109 wRC+) and the pitching staff is starting to come around (now ranked 15th in MLB) and will get David Price back this week. Overall, they are 6th in MLB in WAR, which is right where they sit on this list. Their division is good, but I’m a believer in their staying power as they chase the O’s and Sox.

5. Atlanta Braves (4)

The Braves can hit (103 wRC+) and are a solid pitching club (8.1 WAR). They strikeout a lot, but they built themselves a nice cushion in April and have been steady ever since. There are flaws in this team when it comes to success in October, but it’s hard to imagine they fall apart before then.

4. Texas Rangers (3)

The Rangers only fell because of a team who came charging up the rankings. The Rangers are actually a touch below average with the bat (95 wRC+), but with solid defense and great pitching (13.9 WAR), they rank 4th in MLB in total WAR and have the record to prove it. The Rangers are a good all-around team despite the pitchers they have sitting on the DL. Despite what everyone said after the offseason, I told you the Rangers would be fine.

3. Boston Red Sox (9)

The Sox can hit (league best 113 wRC+) and have a solid pitching staff (7th best at 9.6 WAR). Together, they rank as the 2nd best team in baseball by WAR and they too have the record to prove it. They have a tough division to win and Buchholz’s injury is a concern, but this is a well built team with good depth and should be a contender until the end, even if they can’t hold on in the East.

2. Detroit Tigers (1)

The Tigers have the leagues second best offense (112 wRC+) and the best pitching staff (16.6 WAR) to given them the best WAR of any team in baseball by more than 3 full wins. Their record is a bit out of sync with those numbers, but that’s due in large part to a poorly run bullpen and an insistence on using Jose Valverde for 20 games in May and June. The Tigers are the best team on paper and haven’t yet had the chance to play the bumbling White Sox.

1. St. Louis Cardinals (2)

The Cards are a great team (108 wRC+, 10.9 pitching WAR) and trail only the Tigers and the Sox in total WAR. They have one of the best records in the league and have the deepest all around team in MLB. They have an excellent farm system to replenish any injuries and have some of the most underrated players in baseball on their roster. For now, the Cardinals are the team to beat.

Sound off on the list in the comments section!

Dynamic Standings Projection (June 12, 2013)

In case you missed it, in April we launched our Dynamic Standings Projection feature on New English D. A full explanation of the methodology can be found here or by clicking the tab at the top of the page. This project seeks to provide a reasoned and cautious approach to updating our beliefs about the baseball future. You can find a summarization of the original projections here. You’ll notice a column on the far right that indicates the difference in projected wins from the preseason prediction. Positive numbers mean teams are now projected to win more games and negative numbers mean a team is now projected to win fewer games. You’ll notice a series of graphs below the standings section that track how the projections have evolved over the course of the year.

This Dynamic Standings Projection is updated through the June 11 games.

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Dynamic Standings Projection (May 29, 2013)

In case you missed it, last month we launched our Dynamic Standings Projection feature on New English D. A full explanation of the methodology can be found here or by clicking the tab at the top of the page. This project seeks to provide a reasoned and cautious approach to updating our beliefs about the baseball future. You can find a summarization of the original projections here. You’ll notice a column on the far right that indicates the difference in projected wins from the preseason prediction. Positive numbers mean teams are now projected to win more games and negative numbers mean a team is now projected to win fewer games.

This Dynamic Standings Projection is updated through the May 28 games.

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Dynamic Standings Projection (May 15, 2013)

In case you missed it, last month we launched our Dynamic Standings Projection feature on New English D. A full explanation of the methodology can be found here or by clicking the tab at the top of the page. This project seeks to provide a reasoned and cautious approach to updating our beliefs about the baseball future. You can find a summarization of the original projections here. You’ll notice a column on the far right that indicates the difference in projected wins from the preseason prediction. Positive numbers mean teams are now projected to win more games and negative numbers mean a team is now projected to win fewer games.

This Dynamic Standings Projection is updated through the May 14 games.

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Dynamic Standings Projection (May 8, 2013)

In case you missed it, last month we launched our Dynamic Standings Projection feature on New English D. A full explanation of the methodology can be found here or by clicking the tab at the top of the page. This project seeks to provide a reasoned and cautious approach to updating our beliefs about the baseball future. You can find a summarization of the original projections here. You’ll notice a column on the far right that indicates the difference in projected wins from the preseason prediction. Positive numbers mean teams are now projected to win more games and negative numbers mean a team is now projected to win fewer games.

This Dynamic Standings Projection is updated through the May 7 games.

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MLB Power Rankings May 2013

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

Before the season began, I provided you with how I thought the season would play out in standings form and in power rankings form (30-21, 20-11, 10-1). Each week, I’ve updated the standings projection based on the games from the previous week, but I have yet to address how that changes the way I see the teams within leaguewide rankings. Today, and at the beginning of every month, that’s what you’ll get. What follows are my MLB Power Rankings for May 2013.

The idea is simple. I ranked the teams at the beginning of the season based on how well I thought they would perform over the entire season. I am doing the same thing here, but I just have new information to include based on a months worth of games and injuries. You’ll notice a couple teams have big jumps, but most are very close to where they started because I don’t believe in dramatically altering my opinions one sixth of the way through the season.

30. Miami Marlins (Preseason Rank: 29)

The Marlins are really terrible and will now miss at least a couple weeks of Stanton, and possibly more. It’s a toss up to decide which of the bottom two teams is the worst, but the Marlins are a bad team going in the wrong direction and the Astros are a bad team going in the right direction.

29. Houston Astros (30)

Would you believe the Astros are slightly above average offensively so far? It’s true, they have a wRC+ of 102, which can hardly make up for their  5.33 ERA, 5.17 FIP, and 29th best -0.7 pitchers’ WAR. This isn’t a good team, but they have had their moments and, I’m starting to think, won’t totally embarrass themselves this year. Don’t get me wrong, they’re going to lose a lot, but I think they’ll be good enough at the plate to avoid 110 losses.

28. Chicago Cubs (25)

The Cubs are an average pitching staff (3.82 FIP) with a terrible offense (85 wRC+), which is pretty much exactly what I expected from them this season. They have fallen on this list only because the teams I had behind them have slighlty exceeded my expectations.

27. Minnesota Twins (27)

The Twins are a respectable 11-11, but they have 5th worst offense (89 wRC+) and worst defense (-16.0 UZR) in the league. Their pitching has carried this far with a 3.41 FIP and 3.3 WAR, but that doesn’t seem sustainable to me over the long run. Their pitching is probably a touch better than I expected, but it isn’t good enough to overcome the offensive deficiencies.

26. San Diego Padres (22)

I was a bit bullish on the Padres going into the season, but their below average offense and league worst -1.4 pitchers’ WAR doesn’t have me feeling great about that pick. They missed Headley for a couple weeks, but there just isn’t enough on this roster to keep them from sliding 4 spots.

25. Colorado Rockies (28)

A three spot bump for the Rockies might not seem like enough to you given their 16-10 record and first place standing in the NL West, but just couldn’t bring myself to think they’re any better than this. The offense has been a league best so far (116 wRC+) which isn’t a giant shock, but I’m not buying the 7th place pitchers’ WAR (3.3). The staff will regress and the offense won’t lead the league for the whole season. It’s important to note that they have played a total of 3 games against teams above #14 on the present list and went 1-2 in those games. The Rockies have 16 wins, but most are against average or below average clubs. They aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be, but they aren’t good.

24. Seattle Mariners (24)

The Mariners just plain below average. The offense (94 wRC+) and pitching (4.10 FIP) aren’t awful, but they aren’t good at anything. Felix Hernandez is a great pitcher, but there isn’t much else on this team that screams more than 78 wins.

23. Cleveland Indians (26)

My original rankings had the Indians 26th, but they came out prior to the Bourn signing, so they realistically should have gotten a bump already. As expected, the offense has been the bright spot (113 wRC+), but the pitching is not so good (4.48 FIP, 0.8 WAR). This is pretty much exactly what we expected from the Tribe.

22. Chicago White Sox (16)

No team fell more in the rankings than the White Sox, but that shouldn’t surprise me. They’re a fickle team to predict. I didn’t want to underestimate them after they overperformed last season, but it doesn’t look like they’re due to match that  performance. Only the Marlins have been worse at the plate (76 wRC+) and the pitching (3.81 FIP, 3.5 WAR) can’t really do much more to help. They’re 10-14, which is by no means a deep grave, but if they don’t start hitting, it’s not going to get easier.

21. Kansas City Royals (23)

The Royals are a respectable 13-10 on the young season, which is enough to bump them up two slots in the rankings. I was outspoken this offseason about my lack of enthusiasm for their rotation overall, not because it didn’t help, but because it didn’t help as much as people thought it would help. Their offense, which could have used some attention, is 22nd in the league with 92 wRC+ and the pitching is only 11th best with 2.9 WAR and a 3.65 FIP. The bullpen is great and the rotation is fine, but they need more offense if they’re going to actually contend.

20. New York Mets (18)

The Mets have a perfectly average 100 wRC+ and a perfectly dreadful 0.7 pitchers’ WAR. They have the incredible Matt Harvey, but the rest of the rotation has been very bad. I think that will even out, but I’m not nearly as sure as I was when the season started.

19. Milwaukee Brewers (19)

The Crew are 13th in wRC+ and 24th in pitcher WAR, which lands them somewhere in between at 19th on the list. They’ve been a streaky 13-11 so far and have what I think is an average type team. They could really use one more mid-level bat and one really good arm.

18. Philadelphia Phillies (13)

I’m not worried about Halladay, who looks like he’s getting back on track, but Hamels hasn’t been that good either. They rely on the big three arms and they haven’t gotten enough from them to offset the 25th best offense in the game (90 wRC+). They’ll be a decent team, but their talent falls off a lot after their top few players.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates (21)

The Pirates are doing it again. Good first half, collapse in August. Well I’m not sure about the last part yet. But they’re 20th in wRC+ (93) and 27th in pitchers’ WAR (0.6). They deserve some credit for their 15-11 record, but I just can’t see them keeping it up if they don’t play better.

16. Baltimore Orioles (17)

The O’s are on a mission to show us last year wasn’t a fluke, and they’re doing a decent job at it with a 15-11 record. Their 102 wRC+ is 8th best in baseball but the staff is 20th at 1.7 WAR (4.49 FIP). I’m certainly comfortable with them as a relevant team for most of the season, but it’s hard for me to buy into them as a really good team.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (15)

Arizona made weird choices this offseason, but I won’t rehash them. They have the 23rd best offense in the league (91 wRC+), but the staff is 5th best with a 3.4 pitchers’ WAR. 15-11 so far this year is good, but they need to hit more if they’re going to move up the list. Don’t worry though, a couple teams ahead of them are falling fast.

14. Los Angeles Dodgers (11)

So losing Greinke for two months was a freak thing, but losing like every other pitcher didn’t make it any easier. They’re 19th best in wRC+ (94) for all their spending and they’re 16th in pitchers’ WAR with 2.1. They’re playing like a very average team despite high expectations. I was skeptical, and so far that looks right.

13. Los Angels Angels (9)

I gave it to the Angels this offseason for spending money on Hamilton when they needed pitching in bad way and that looks like a smart call. Hamilton has been terrible and the pitching staff is 28th in baseball with a -0.3 WAR and 4.64 FIP. They have some good bats, but they got worse this offseason and it could get worse before it gets better.

12. Toronto Blue Jays (8)

I doubted the Blue Jays as division favorites and they’ve struggled early. Their 88 wRC+ is 27th best in the league and the staff is only ranked 17th in pitchers’ WAR. The Reyes injury hurts, but they need more from the star pitchers if they’re going to contend. They’re 9.5 games back on April 30th, so this too could get worse before it gets better.

11. Boston Red Sox (20)

The Sox have made a meteoric rise on the charts thanks to great pitching from their top two. I was worried about Lester and Buchholz’s ability to return to form, but they have done so in a big way. The Sox are 4th in wRC+ and 3rd in pitchers’ WAR and have jumped out to a 18-7 record. I don’t think they’re quite as good as their record shows, but they are better than I thought going into the season. If they look like this for another month, they’ll crack the top ten no problem.

10. New York Yankees (12)

I ranked the Yanks 12th before all the injuries, but somehow, they’re still doing it. They have the 7th best offense and 10th best pitching despite running out a lineup that doesn’t look anything like a Yankee lineup should. Heck, they’ve made it this far without their stars and those guys will slowly come back throughout the year. I just can’t justify keeping them out of the top ten for now.

9. Oakland Athletics (14)

Oakland hits. A 113 wRC+ makes them 2nd in the game and their staff has done good work at 2.6 WAR which is 12th in the league. They’re well managed and they play to their strengths, but the record also reflects the underlying numbers as they are 15-12 through 27 games.

8. St. Louis Cardinals (10)

I was really surprised to see the Cards only have a 90 wRC+, but Wainwright is carrying the staff to 9th in the league at 3.2 WAR. I like the offense to regress upward and the staff is for real in my book. They’re only a half game back of first and Dave Cameron at Fangraphs recently wrote a piece regarding their well-timed hits that produce more wins than the underlying numbers might suspect. I’m not sure if it’s predictive, but I think this is going to be a good offense.

7. San Francisco Giants (7)

14th in offense and 21st in pitching. That doesn’t scream 7th best team, but they’ve been consistently good for years and guys like Cain are underperforming, so I’m just going to stay the course with this one until I see some more data. The Giants are the Giants.

6. Cincinnati Reds (6)

They have the 16th best offense and 8th best staff, but I love their depth in the rotation and some of their offensive players are elite guys. Choo has been great and Votto is the best in the game. If Zack Cozart wasn’t hitting second, they might even score more often! The Reds are a very complete team.

5. Tampa Bay Rays (3)

They’re an average offense (100 wRC+), but the defense (10.6 UZR) has been great as usual. The staff has been surprisingly middling at 1.9 WAR and 3.89 FIP, but they have a good staff and I’m sticking with them. I’m not keeping them in the top 3, but this is one of the best teams in the league.

4. Texas Rangers (5)

Average offense so far, 2nd best staff. I told you so. The Rangers did not get worse this offseason. They are good.

3. Washington Nationals (1)

The Nats were my pick at the beginning of the season, but they haven’t quite looked as good as I thought. I still have them third, but the 93 wRC+ is a little worrisome and the pitching is 15th in WAR so far. They’re underperforming, so question, but 30 games of not meeting expectations is enough for me to drop them two spots.

2. Detroit Tigers (2)

The Tigers are 14-10 so far, which isn’t eye poppingly good, but they’ve lost a couple extra inning games too, so it looks a little off. They’re 6th in baseball with a 106 wRC+ and are far and above the best pitching staff with a 2.66 FIP and 6.3 WAR. Tigers fans will probably even tell you they’re underperforming too, so this could get even better.

1. Atlanta Braves (4)

Honestly, I don’t think the Braves are the best team. 5th best offense and 13th best pitching. But it’s working and it’s working without Jayson Heyward. It’s working with a lot of guys not playing up to career norms. They’re 16-9 and just got swept by the Tigers, but for now they get the top spot because of what they can be if they play up to their potential after they have already jumped out to a great start.

What do you think? How would your list look different?

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