FanGraphs Power Rankings – 6/20/11

This past week was all about positivity, as more teams than ever — 13 — moved up in the rankings. The most notable of those teams was the Detroit Tigers, who cracked the top ten for the first time. This is a bigger deal than it would seem to be on its face. Before this week, the eighth, ninth and tenth spots in the rankings have been occupied by eight different teams, but they have more or less been the same eight teams each week. The Tigers are the first new team to crack the top 10 since Cincinnati did so back in the fourth week. Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta are among the top players at their respective positions, Brennan Boesch has played well, and Al Alburquerque and his 1.74 FIP has been a big surprise, making the Tigers more than just a three-man show. And that’s to say nothing of the below-expectations-but-still-positive contribution from Max Scherzer. In other words, it took Detroit eight weeks to crack the top ten, but they may make themselves comfortable.

1. Boston: Last week – 1, WAR% – .656 (2), FAN% – .605 (1), TOTAL% – .627
Josh Beckett may not be better than he was last season, but Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz certainly are, and that’s just fine with the Nation.

2. New York Yankees: Last week – 2, WAR% – .677 (1), FAN% – .580 (2), TOTAL% – .622
Unexpected wOBA star Curtis Granderson has been leading the Yankee offense, and has been a true triple threat, as he leads the team in UBR and is fourth among Yankee regulars in UZR.

3. Philadelphia: Last week – 3, WAR% – .578 (3), FAN% – .556 (3), TOTAL% – .566
Shane Victorino is marvelous, and was on fire last week, with hits in each of his first six games and multiple hits in five. So naturally he went hitless when I selected him in Pick Six yesterday (seriously, I can’t believe you’re not playing Pick Six yet).

4. Colorado: Last week – 7, WAR% – .529 (13), FAN% – .556 (3), TOTAL% – .544
Maybe Carson was right about Charlie Blackmon

5. Milwaukee: Last week – 5, WAR% – .568 (5), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .541
Brandon Phillips has been good, but Rickie Weeks has been the best second baseman in the National League, and deserves to start in the game.

6. Tampa Bay: Last week – 8, WAR% – .535 (11), FAN% – .537 (5), TOTAL% – .536
True fact: Casey Kotchman’s 2011 wRC+ is almost equal to his wRC+ in his last two seasons combined.

7. St. Louis: Last week – 4, WAR% – .561 (6), FAN% – .512 (12), TOTAL% – .534
Lance Berkman has been a drag on the Cardinals defense, even with liberal defensive substitutions — he has been removed in the seventh, eighth or ninth in more than one-third of the games he has started. This could lead to some interesting tactical decisions when games and races get tight in the second half, though he now gets a temporary reprieve.

8. Texas: Last week – 6, WAR% – .544 (9), FAN% – .525 (7), TOTAL% – .533
It seems like only yesterday, the Rangers were overflowing with catching prospects. Now, 95% of their innings behind the plate are going to Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba.

9. Detroit: Last week – 12, WAR% – .556 (7), FAN% – .512 (12), TOTAL% – .532
Justin Verlander is so hot right now — his worst WPA in his last five starts was .269 — that even the Human Torch is jealous.

10. San Francisco: Last week – 11, WAR% – .527 (14), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .522
Manny Burriss got worried when he saw ‘Manny’ instead of ‘Emmanuel’ on the scoreboard this past weekend. His main concern should really be that it appears on a scoreboard in any form, as while he was once drawing comparisons with Elvis Andrus, he has yet to make good on the promise he showed in 2008.

11. Atlanta: Last week – 9, WAR% – .536 (10), FAN% – .506 (14), TOTAL% – .520
Jordan Schafer isn’t going to make anyone forget about Willie Mays, or even Willie Mays Hayes at the dish, but for a defense-starved Braves squad, he’s been a god-send.

12. Los Angeles of Anaheim: Last week – 13, WAR% – .547 (8), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .514
Tyler Chatwood has been the very definition of boom or bust this season, as he has allowed no more than one run in six starts and five or more runs in four. With Scott Kazmir now gone for good, the Halos will need more of the former.

13. Arizona: Last week – 15, WAR% – .574 (4), FAN% – .463 (25), TOTAL% – .513
Five of the nine most valuable position players in the NL have been outfielders, and that doesn’t even include Matt Holliday, who has missed out on some bulk due to injury. That sets up a scenario similar to last year, where a player could get left off the All-Star team, but end up an MVP candidate. Last year it was Carlos Gonzalez, this year it could be Justin Upton.

14. Cincinnati: Last week – 14, WAR% – .533 (12), FAN% – .494 (17), TOTAL% – .512
If you’re looking for a closer to sell high on, look no further than Francisco Cordero, who is currently sporting a .174 BABIP. Considering Coco’s BABIP has been between .294 and .316 every year since 2003, his regression to the mean could be imminent.

15. Chicago White Sox: Last week – 16, WAR% – .526 (15), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .505
After being the second-worst hitter in the Majors in wSL/C the past two years, Carlos Quentin seems to have figured out how to hit sliders, which could be one of the reasons why he is reprising his banner 2008 campaign.

16. Florida: Last week – 10, WAR% – .474 (t-19), FAN% – .525 (7), TOTAL% – .502
It’s too bad that the Marlins got their new ballpark approved. The Loria-“led” Marlins make me sad, but a Loria-less Santo Domingo Leones or Tigres, now that could be something. I mean, would they really draw less than the Marlins do? I say no.

17. Toronto: Last week – 18, WAR% – .513 (17), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .499
Toronto’s catching tandem of Jose Molina and J.P. Arencibia has quietly been very formidable, as the duo is cumulatively fifth-best at the position in wRC+ and is tied for tenth in WAR.

18. New York Mets: Last week – 17, WAR% – .473 (21), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .498
There are currently 14 players who have walked more times than they have struck out this season (minimum 150 plate appearances), and thanks to his recent resurgence, Angel Pagan is now one of them.

19. Minnesota: Last week – 19, WAR% – .435 (28), FAN% – .537 (5), TOTAL% – .493
The Twins needed some sunshine in the worst way. How about Scott Baker recording his third-ever double digit strike out game, Francisco Liriano having a 2.20 ERA since April ended, Joe Mauer returning to action and a seven-game winning streak? Yup, that’ll do.

20. Cleveland: Last week – 21, WAR% – .525 (16), FAN% – .451 (27), TOTAL% – .483
Mama said there’d be days like this: After socking six homers in his first 18 games, Grady Sizemore has launched just one in his past 21.

21. Chicago Cubs: Last week – 23, WAR% – .443 (25), FAN% – .506 (14), TOTAL% – .479
Do you think that Jim Hendry is worried that Carlos Zambrano — as a hitter — has a higher WAR than Kosuke Fukudome? Oh right, Jim Hendry has never heard of WAR. But hey, as long as his job is safe, Cubs fans have nothing to worry about, right? Right?!?

22. Los Angeles Dodgers: Last week – 20, WAR% – .461 (22), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .475
Second base is a deep position these days, but that hasn’t stopped 37-year-old Jamey Carroll from being both a top-10 second baseman and one of the Dodgers’ few bright spots this season.

23. San Diego: Last week – 24, WAR% – .439 (27), FAN% – .494 (17), TOTAL% – .469
This week’s BABIP’er of the Week goes to Chase Headley, who clocks in with an utterly fantasticly ridiculous mark of .800. The same can’t be said for the Pads and their mounting losses, but with so many close losses they are not affected here. In fact, they moved up a spot.

24. Baltimore: Last week – 22, WAR% – .425 (29), FAN% – .500 (16), TOTAL% – .468
Adam Jones, start of Major League career through July 2010 — .24 BB/K. Since, it’s .29. It’s not much, but it’s an improvement.

25. Oakland: Last week – 25, WAR% – .448 (24), FAN% – .481 (23), TOTAL% – .467
I guess Brian Fuentes isn’t allergic to pitching outside of the ninth inning after all…

26. Washington: Last week – 27, WAR% – .476 (18), FAN% – .457 (26), TOTAL% – .465
Danny Espinosa has had “just enough” power, and while the homers might not last, the recently activated Ryan Zimmerman should pick up some of the slack.

27. Seattle: Last week – 26, WAR% – .452 (23), FAN% – .469 (24), TOTAL% – .462
If you combined the Mariners’ pitchers with the Royals’ position players, you would end up with a team whose WAR% of .590 would rank third overall. Conversely, if you combined the Mariners’ position players and the Royals’ pitchers, you would end up with a team whose WAR% of .342 would rank last by about ten (Edward) furlongs.

28. Kansas City: Last week – 29, WAR% – .474 (t-19), FAN% – .420 (29), TOTAL% – .444
Shake and bake, Golebiewski, ‘cause that just happened — last week’s leader in wOBA and wRC+ was none other than Alcides Escobar.

29. Pittsburgh: Last week – 28, WAR% – .440 (26), FAN% – .438 (28), TOTAL% – .439
Can the Pirates really not do better than Lyle Overbay at first base? He’s not even fielding well this year.

30. Houston: Last week – 30, WAR% – .414 (30), FAN% – .370 (30), TOTAL% – .390
Have you noticed all the work the Dave’s are putting in? Appelman just updated the menu bar, and Cameron turned out three articles today! The least you could do to say thank you is to buy a t-shirt. They don’t ask for much. Oh right, Astros…if you missed Maury Brown’s work on Jim Crane last week and its effect, please take a minute and catch up.

We hoped you liked reading FanGraphs Power Rankings – 6/20/11 by Paul Swydan!

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Paul Swydan used to be the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for Boston.com and The Boston Globe. Now, he owns The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, an independent bookstore in Acton, Mass. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan. Follow the store @SilUnicornActon.

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Jason
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Jason

If Upton doesn’t make the All-Star team when it’s in Arizona, where Right Field is named Uptown after him, then screw baseball altogether.
No RFer has close to the talent that he does, and he’s been very productive this year.