FanGraphs Power Rankings – 7/11/11

In the past couple of weeks, commenters have pointed out that the Rockies have been ranked too high and the Pirates too low in the Power Rankings. This week, the readers proved ever-prescient, as the Rockies fall a Power Rankings-record seven spots, and for the first time, they landed outside of the top ten. The Pirates meanwhile, climbed out of the bottom five for the first time. That’s still likely too low for some reader’s tastes, as they were ranked 14th by ESPN this week. The Bucs have been one of the best feel-good stories of the first half, and seeing the electric atmosphere at PNC Park this weekend was a sight to behold. But outside of Andrew McCutchen, no Pirate finished the first half with a WAR higher than 1.7. Part of that is due to numerous injuries that have forced the team to look for contributions from a number of different players, but that’s certainly not all of it. None of that takes away from the fact that the Bucs are four games over .500 and have a legit shot at the playoffs, but it’s important that we temper expectations, even in July.

1. Boston: Last week – 2, WAR% – .682 (1), FAN% – .605 (1), TOTAL% – .648
At the break, three of the top seven position players in the game are Red Sox, and Kevin Youkilis isn’t far behind (tied for 22nd place). The quartet may need to keep up that pace if guys like Kyle Weiland end up being responsible for too many second-half starts.

2. New York Yankees: Last week – 1, WAR% – .668 (2), FAN% – .580 (2), TOTAL% – .628
A sincere congrats to Derek Jeter on joining the 3,000 hit club. Check our great looks at him here from Dave Allen and Steve Slowinski.

3. Philadelphia: Last week – 3, WAR% – .616 (3), FAN% – .556 (3), TOTAL% – .589
The Phillies have received some excellent pitching this year, but over his past four starts, it’s been hard to beat the work of Vance Worley.

4. Texas: Last week – 6, WAR% – .587 (4), FAN% – .525 (7), TOTAL% – .560
Walking more than he’s striking out for the first time in his Major League career — though he was close last year — Ian Kinsler has been the Rangers’ best player and could end up having a stealth career year.

5. Milwaukee: Last week – 5, WAR% – .571 (8), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .548
It’s not that Rickie Weeks is a bad choice for the Home Run Derby — he’s 20th in the National League in ISO. It’s just that the reasoning for choosing him — that he’s Prince Fielder’s best friend — is a little lacking. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but it seems like a local guy like Justin Upton or Wily Mo Pena, or a guy who is a little more well known for mashing like Lance Berkman or Mike Stanton would have been a better pick.

6. St. Louis: Last week – 7, WAR% – .573 (7), FAN% – .512 (12), TOTAL% – .547
With a 133 wRC+, David Freese has been the best offensive third baseman in the NL when healthy. And when his power comes back — he’s only slugged .386 since he came back as opposed to .471 before his injury — he could get even better.

7. San Francisco: Last week – 8, WAR% – .567 (9), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .546
The Giants have maintained their division lead despite receiving very little consistent play this season on the offensive side of the ledger, as the only qualified Giants so far are Miguel Tejada and Aubrey Huff, both of whom have negative WAR.

8. Tampa Bay: Last week – 9, WAR% – .547 (12), FAN% – .537 (5), TOTAL% – .543
It’s too bad David Price was the one who gave up Jeter’s 3,000th hit. It’s more fun when the answer to trivia questions like that are obscure pitchers who you would rarely — if ever — think of otherwise, like when Steve Trachsel allowed Mark McGwire’s 62nd homer.

9. Los Angeles of Anaheim: Last week – 14, WAR% – .581 (5), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .540
While the rest of us celebrate Michael Trout’s arrival, Carson Cistulli is somewhere tropical, sipping a margarita, twirling his evil mustache and laughing at the fact that the rest of the public is unaware that it was really he who strained Peter Bourjos’ right hamstring.

10. Atlanta: Last week – 11, WAR% – .562 (10), FAN% – .506 (14), TOTAL% – .538
With hits in nine of his last 12 games, and extra base hits in six of them, Dan Uggla looks to finally be getting on track.

11. Colorado: Last week – 4, WAR% – .520 (17), FAN% – .556 (3), TOTAL% – .536
The Rockies have gone 13 straight road games without scoring more than four runs. In a related story, they have only won four of those games.

12. Cincinnati: Last week – 13, WAR% – .556 (11), FAN% – .494 (17), TOTAL% – .529
With a .390 wOBA and a 146 wRC+, Ramon Hernandez barely edged out Brian McCann as the best offensive catcher of the first half on a rate basis.

13. Detroit: Last week – 10, WAR% – .538 (13), FAN% – .512 (12), TOTAL% – .5271
Everyone who thought that Jhonny Peralta would have a higher WAR at the break than Miguel Cabrera, raise your hand.

14. Arizona: Last week – 12, WAR% – .575 (6), FAN% – .463 (25), TOTAL% – .5267
As the baseball world turns its eyes to Arizona this week, they will see a team that has a starter with at least a 93 wRC+ at every position and pitchers with a 3.66 FIP or better at four of the five spots in its rotation. For a team that lost 97 games last year, that’s a pretty nice turnaround.

15. New York Mets: Last week – 15, WAR% – .524 (15), FAN% – .519 (9), TOTAL% – .521
Until this past week, Ruben Tejada had only walked more than once in a game three times in 120 Major League games. Then he did so three times this past week. Progress, blind luck, or the vagaries of hitting in the eight-hole?

16. Chicago White Sox: Last week – 16, WAR% – .531 (14), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .512
Now in the midst of his third straight season of improvement, Edwin Jackson finished the first half as a top-25 pitcher.

17. Florida: Last week – 19, WAR% – .4927 (20), FAN% – .525 (7), TOTAL% – .5067
This past week’s BABIP’er of the Week goes to Emilio Bonifacio, who clocked in at .625 for the week.

18. Toronto: Last week – t-17, WAR% – .521 (16), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .5065
There was a time in late June when Jose Bautista — who is now only 0.3 WAR short of his banner 2010 season — was coming back to the pack in terms of overall WAR. That time has passed.

19. Los Angeles Dodgers: Last week – t-17, WAR% – .510 (19), FAN% – .488 (19), TOTAL% – .500
“The Dodgers haven’t had an opportunity to rebuild at the trade deadline since… since they traded Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields.” Priceless.

20. Chicago Cubs: Last week – 20, WAR% – .4926 (21), FAN% – .506 (14), TOTAL% – .498
Remember when people were excited to watch Kerry Wood pitch?

21. Cleveland: Last week – 22, WAR% – .515 (18), FAN% – .451 (27), TOTAL% – .486
Carlos Santana wasn’t exactly having a bad season before July started, but he has really picked it up since the month started. Hopefully for Indians fans, he doesn’t cool off during the All-Star break.

22. San Diego: Last week – 21, WAR% – .471 (25), FAN% – .494 (17), TOTAL% – .481
Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb have combined for 0.4 WAR this season. Cameron Maybin? 2.3. Advantage — Padres.

23. Minnesota: Last week – 23, WAR% – .422 (30), FAN% – .537 (5), TOTAL% – .474
Denard Span hasn’t played in over a month, but he has still been more than a half-win better than any other Twins position player.

24. Washington: Last week – 24, WAR% – .486 (24), FAN% – .457 (26), TOTAL% – .473
If he were to look at the FanGraphs rookie leaderboard, Nats GM Mike Rizzo would be pleased to see that number one and two on the list are Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos.

25. Pittsburgh: Last week – 29, WAR% – .4873 (22), FAN% – .438 (28), TOTAL% – .466
Alex Presley had put together a .378 BABIP in Triple-A this season. If you said he couldn’t keep that up, you’d be right — he kicked it up a notch, to the tune of a .419 BABIP so far with the Pirates.

26. Seattle: Last week – 25, WAR% – .452 (26), FAN% – .469 (24), TOTAL% – .460
When the Mariners brought Chone Figgins aboard, it was with the hope that he would be an All-Star. And they weren’t wrong.

27. Baltimore: Last week – 26, WAR% – .424 (29), FAN% – .500 (16), TOTAL% – .459
After posting a 75 wRC+ against lefties in 2009 and a ghastly 44 against them last season, Matt Wieters hit them to the tune of a 170 wRC+ in the first half, 15th best among qualified position players. It’s still just 79 plate appearances, but it’s a nice development nonetheless.

28. Kansas City: Last week – 28, WAR% – .4872 (23), FAN% – .420 (29), TOTAL% – .4577
Melky Cabrera has been as valuable this season as he was in the past five.

29. Oakland: Last week – 27, WAR% – .439 (27), FAN% – .481 (23), TOTAL% – .4576
The A’s are falling in the rankings faster than Timmy O’Toole fell down the well.

30. Houston: Last week – 30, WAR% – .430 (28), FAN% – .370 (30), TOTAL% – .404
Congratulations to the Astros for getting to 60 losses six games faster than their next closest “competitor.”





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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Thomas
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Thomas

save yourself some time

How can the ____________________ be ranked ahead of the ___________________ these rankings clearly lose all their credibility because _______________ is higher than _______________ despite having a worse record. This formula cannot be correct.

Neuter Your Dogma
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Neuter Your Dogma

I thought the purpose, or fun part, of this series was to foster lively debate and interaction among the readers to this site. Otherwise, why have a comment section at all?

Phillie697
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Phillie697

His template above would not be my idea of a “lively debate.” It would be just whining. Sadly, it’s what most people say to “back up” their argument.

john
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john

Dodgers and Indians.