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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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.
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.
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:
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!
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 »
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.