FanGraphs Power Rankings: August 1–14

With less than a third of the season remaining, it’s crunch time for a number of teams on the playoff bubble. There are still division titles up for grabs in both Central divisions, and both Wild Card races are shaping up to remain exciting down to the last day.

A reminder for how these rankings are calculated: first, we take the three most important components of a team — their offense (wRC+), and their starting rotation and bullpen (a 50/50 blend of FIP- and RA9-, weighted by IP share) — and combine them to create an overall team quality metric. New for this year, I’ve opted to include defense as a component, though it’s weighted less heavily than offense and pitching. Some element of team defense is captured by RA9-, but now that FanGraphs has Statcast’s OAA/RAA available on our leaderboards, I’ve chosen to include that as the defensive component for each team. I also add in a factor for “luck,” adjusting a team’s win percentage based on expected win-loss record. The result is a power ranking, which is then presented in tiers below.

Note: All stats are through Sunday, August 14.

Tier 1 – The 💯 Club
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Dodgers 79-34 -2 122 79 81 0 179 100.0%
Astros 75-41 1 114 86 80 21 189 100.0%
Yankees 72-43 -6 119 87 80 11 182 100.0%
Mets 75-40 3 113 88 93 7 164 100.0%

The Dodgers had a 12-game win streak — which included sweeps of the Giants, Padres, and Twins — snapped on Sunday. They’ve lost just four times since the All-Star break and have asserted themselves as the best team in baseball as the summer rolls on. This hot streak comes despite plenty of uncertainty surrounding their starting rotation; Clayton Kershaw hit the injured list last week with a lower back strain, and the team announced yesterday that Walker Buehler would undergo elbow surgery, ending his season. They’ll be glad to welcome back Dustin May from his Tommy John rehab this weekend.

Ever since the All-Star break, the Yankees have been in a terrible tailspin; the only team in the American League with a worse record in the second half of the season is the lowly Tigers. They’ve slipped behind the Astros for the top seed in the AL playoff picture, though they’re still almost guaranteed a division title and a first-round bye. A lineup that had no trouble scoring runs at will during the first half (5.4 runs per game) is suddenly suffering through a power outage (4.3 R/G). So far, Aaron Judge has been immune to the offensive woes troubling the team; he’s blasted 13 home runs since the break and is on pace to surpass some historic home run totals.

The only team with a better record than the Mets since the All-Star break is the Dodgers. New York welcomed Jacob deGrom back to a pitching staff that’s now finally at full strength; before an ugly 13-1 drubbing on Monday night, the Mets hadn’t allowed more than two runs to score in any of their previous eight games. During this stretch of play, they have taken four of six from the Braves and two of three from the Phillies. They’ve got their work cut out for them this week, with an eight-game road trip through Atlanta and Philadelphia before heading back to New York to face the Yankees.

Tier 2 – On the Cusp of Greatness
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Braves 70-46 2 108 90 84 -1 147 99.2%
Cardinals 63-51 -2 111 101 99 15 141 77.7%
Blue Jays 61-52 0 113 98 102 12 143 91.5%
Padres 65-52 1 101 94 95 18 136 84.1%
Phillies 63-51 -1 102 87 93 -17 119 74.4%

A seven-game win streak to begin August — including a three-game sweep of the Yankees — has catapulted the Cardinals ahead of the Brewers in the National League Central. Those two teams met in a three-game series last weekend, with St. Louis emerging with a series win. The Red Birds also have the weakest schedule in baseball to finish out the season, and crucially, just four games remaining against Milwaukee. That gives them the advantage as they head down the stretch.

The Blue Jays have endured a rough stretch since the calendar turned to August: they’re 4-9 this month and have squandered a slight lead in the AL Wild Card race. Those 13 games have all come against teams they’re directly competing against for playoff positioning, and their tough schedule continues this week, with series against the Orioles, Yankees, and Red Sox on deck. The Blue Jays have been frustratingly inconsistent all season long, so they’ll need to find ways to battle through the stretch run.

The Padres were the most active team at the trade deadline, but even all of their additions couldn’t help them beat the Dodgers in a big three-game series two weekends ago; they were swept easily, getting outscored 20-4. Of course, the biggest news out of San Diego since the deadline was the announcement of Fernando Tatis Jr.’s 80-game suspension after testing positive for Clostebol. The Padres have played their way into playoff position without his services this year — and adding Juan Soto certainly helps make up for his loss — but it’s a supremely disappointing end to Tatis’ season and seriously affects San Diego’s chances of making a deep postseason run this year.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Mariners 62-54 2 105 104 94 8 128 85.0%
Brewers 61-52 1 103 95 97 -8 116 59.2%
Guardians 61-53 1 99 102 91 15 111 62.2%
Rays 60-53 1 101 91 105 4 113 52.5%

The Mariners exited the All-Star break facing a tough 20 game stretch that included seven games against the Astros and six against the Yankees. They emerged from that gauntlet with a 10-10 record; two series wins against New York were the big bright spots. They have the weakest remaining schedule in the AL, though the trick is actually winning those winnable games; dropping a series to the Rangers over the weekend wasn’t a good start. They’re healthier than they’ve been in a while — Mitch Haniger returned from the IL earlier this month, solidifying the middle of their lineup. Their playoff odds are higher than they’ve ever been in the history of FanGraphs — their last postseason appearance occurred before the inception of these digital pages.

Suddenly, the Brewers are on the outside of the playoff picture, one and a half games back in both their division and the NL Wild Card race. Their surprising trade of Josh Hader looms large, too; four of their eight losses since the trade deadline have come against their bullpen. Taylor Rogers, the reliever ostensibly brought in to replace Hader, has allowed five runs in four appearances with his new ballclub, though Hader has certainly had his own struggles in San Diego. Their plan to split the difference between trying to win now and win later hasn’t exactly worked out so far, and it’s possible they’ll end up missing the playoffs this year as a result.

The Guardians have taken advantage of a wide open division to surpass the Twins in the AL Central. They have the second best record in the AL in the second half and have opened up a two game lead over Minnesota. Their commitment to playing their youngsters is commendable — they have the youngest roster in the majors by a pretty wide margin — but it also means they were fairly conservative at the trade deadline, making just a couple of minor moves. If they’re going to make the playoffs, they’ll do it with their youth movement leading the way.

Tier 4 – The Melee
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Twins 58-55 0 110 102 105 -5 108 40.1%
Giants 57-57 -2 104 88 111 -24 101 5.4%
Orioles 59-55 1 97 107 84 -5 87 3.8%
White Sox 59-56 3 101 99 100 -14 88 47.1%
Red Sox 57-59 2 100 103 106 -2 82 17.5%

With the AL Wild Card race looking like it’s going to go involve representatives of the AL East plus the Mariners, the most likely path to the playoffs for the Twins and White Sox is through their division. Minnesota spent 91 days in first place but has recently squandered that lead, and the White Sox, the division’s pre-season favorites, simply haven’t lived up to their lofty expectations. The Twins were the most aggressive of the three at the trade deadline, bringing in a bunch of pitching help, but those reinforcements haven’t translated into wins just yet. On the Southside, the White Sox just lost Tim Anderson for a month with an injured finger. It’s the latest setback for a ballclub that hasn’t exactly given its best effort lately.

Even after trading away a couple of key pieces in Trey Mancini and Jorge López, the Orioles have managed to stick around in the AL Wild Card race. Their playoff odds are minuscule, largely owing to a difficult schedule that starts this week. Outside of a single game against the Cubs on Thursday, Baltimore is lined up to face teams occupying or vying for an AL playoff spot in 15 of their next 16 games and then in four more after a brief respite against the A’s in early September. They may not make the playoffs this year, but it’s suddenly not so hard to imagine them playing October baseball again in the near future. Plus, they’re in prime position to cause a little chaos in this season’s playoff race by playing spoiler in the AL East.

Tier 5 – No Man’s Land
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Diamondbacks 53-61 -2 92 103 102 21 88 0.0%
Angels 51-64 -3 92 92 103 3 86 0.2%
Rangers 51-63 -6 100 108 102 -10 75 0.0%
Marlins 50-65 -2 91 98 101 -1 71 0.0%

The Diamondbacks have been playing some good baseball since the All-Star break. They lost a pair of series to the Braves and Guardians a few weeks ago, but have won every other series during the second half of the season. Their offense is clicking, scoring five runs per game during this recent stretch after scoring just 4.2 per game in the first half. They’re getting contributions from their young core and they’re starting to graduate some of their top prospects. They do have the most difficult remaining schedule, with all but five of their games coming against teams with a record over .500, and three of those five games are in Colorado where the Rockies are the most potent. That’s a grueling finish to the season and will really show how far this team has come this year.

Chris Woodward became the latest manager to be fired this season, as the Rangers relieved him of his duties yesterday. He was put in a tough position this year after Texas brought in a ton of new talent during their offseason spending spree; the roster still had obvious holes despite the high expectations, however. Woodward shouldn’t take the blame for Marcus Semien’s or Corey Seager’s early season struggles, but there are elements of their poor play that he is partially responsible for. The Rangers’ run differential is right around even, but they’ve seriously underperformed their expected win-loss record; the team is an ugly 6-24 in one-run games this year. Some of that is bad luck and poor execution, but mismanaging his bullpen and failing to motivate his players certainly didn’t help Woodward’s case. Whatever the reason, the Rangers will now head into the offseason looking to continue bolstering their roster with a new manager at the helm.

Tier 6 – Hope Deferred
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Rockies 51-66 2 92 110 100 0 63 0.0%
Cubs 47-66 -2 99 112 101 -14 60 0.0%
Royals 48-68 3 96 115 119 10 60 0.0%
Tigers 43-73 2 74 115 87 7 60 0.0%
Reds 45-68 -1 88 113 112 -12 25 0.0%
Athletics 41-74 -1 81 115 111 1 34 0.0%
Pirates 45-70 4 83 113 111 -10 25 0.0%
Nationals 38-78 0 92 139 108 -36 20 0.0%

The Tigers’ disaster of a season sunk to a new low last Wednesday, when they fired general manager Al Avila. Avila had overseen this long rebuilding cycle, and the expectation was that this year would be the team’s first competitive season since the early 2010s. The Tigers spent big this past offseason to supplement their promising core of young talent, but nearly everything that could have gone wrong this season has. All that misfortune has cost Avila his job, and now Detroit sits in a precarious position. Does the new GM start another rebuilding cycle, or do they try to salvage the talent on the roster and attempt to win sooner rather than later? It’s a hard choice with no simple answers.

Complete Power Rankings
Rank Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
1 Dodgers 79-34 -2 122 79 81 0 179 100.0% 1
2 Astros 75-41 1 114 86 80 21 189 100.0% 1
3 Yankees 72-43 -6 119 87 80 11 182 100.0% -2
4 Mets 75-40 3 113 88 93 7 164 100.0% 0
5 Braves 70-46 2 108 90 84 -1 147 99.2% 0
6 Cardinals 63-51 -2 111 101 99 15 141 77.7% 1
7 Blue Jays 61-52 0 113 98 102 12 143 91.5% -1
8 Padres 65-52 1 101 94 95 18 136 84.1% 0
9 Phillies 63-51 -1 102 87 93 -17 119 74.4% 2
10 Mariners 62-54 2 105 104 94 8 128 85.0% 0
11 Brewers 61-52 1 103 95 97 -8 116 59.2% -2
12 Guardians 61-53 1 99 102 91 15 111 62.2% 2
13 Rays 60-53 1 101 91 105 4 113 52.5% 0
14 Twins 58-55 0 110 102 105 -5 108 40.1% -2
15 Giants 57-57 -2 104 88 111 -24 101 5.4% 0
16 Orioles 59-55 1 97 107 84 -5 87 3.8% 1
17 White Sox 59-56 3 101 99 100 -14 88 47.1% 1
18 Diamondbacks 53-61 -2 92 103 102 21 88 0.0% 4
19 Red Sox 57-59 2 100 103 106 -2 82 17.5% -3
20 Angels 51-64 -3 92 92 103 3 86 0.2% 0
21 Rangers 51-63 -6 100 108 102 -10 75 0.0% 0
22 Marlins 50-65 -2 91 98 101 -1 71 0.0% -3
23 Rockies 51-66 2 92 110 100 0 63 0.0% 0
24 Cubs 47-66 -2 99 112 101 -14 60 0.0% 0
25 Royals 48-68 3 96 115 119 10 60 0.0% 1
26 Tigers 43-73 2 74 115 87 7 60 0.0% -1
27 Reds 45-68 -1 88 113 112 -12 25 0.0% 0
28 Athletics 41-74 -1 81 115 111 1 34 0.0% 0
29 Pirates 45-70 4 83 113 111 -10 25 0.0% 0
30 Nationals 38-78 0 92 139 108 -36 20 0.0% 0





Jake Mailhot is a contributor to FanGraphs. A long-suffering Mariners fan, he also writes about them for Lookout Landing. Follow him on Twitter @jakemailhot.

34 Comments
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sadtrombonemember
1 month ago

I know we’ve been over this before, that this series isn’t really a projection, or a power ranking, or the most effective summary of the best teams in baseball to date.

But it does seem like if the team with the second-worst record in the second half so far is in the top four of something called a “power ranking” that…this isn’t a power ranking in any normal sense.

Francoeursteinmember
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

These have been consistently…. not great.

sadtrombonemember
1 month ago
Reply to  Francoeurstein

I just think a rolling average would align a lot better with what Jake wants to write anyway, and would create a niche that’s distinct from either the projections or BaseRuns.

Francoeursteinmember
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

I’m with ya, ST

mikejuntmember
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

There’s just the reality that a couple weeks of games is basically meaningless. Remember when the 2017 Dodgers stuck a 1-16 stretch into the middle of their 104 win season?

sadtrombonemember
1 month ago
Reply to  mikejunt

But if we want that, that’s what projections are for. This is kind of the opposite of what power rankings are all about.

baubo
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

As much as I hate to defend the Yankees on anything ever, they have had bad luck in their current slump. They’ve played like a slightly below .500 team which isn’t great but it happens.

I mean the Astros hasn’t been great either. Certainly haven’t played well enough recently to be ranked above the Mets imo. But I don’t think people question their placement because they’ve been so perennially great there is never a question of whether they belong

Left of Centerfield
1 month ago
Reply to  baubo

Yanks have gone 16-23 in July and August while outscoring their opponents 212-165 (+47). That seems almost impossible to do. But if I’ve counted correctly, they’re 4-11 in one run games during that stretch vs 11-0 in what Baseball Reference defines as a blowout (winning by 5+ runs). So definitely some bad run distrubution.

MTFmember
1 month ago

that’s kind of … amazing. The baseball, it can be weird

sunnyside
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

They have been quite unlucky tbf

coldbagel12member
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

I know discussing power rankings is one of the first signs of madness in a sports fan, but aren’t the Yankees in the top 4 of basically every power ranking right now? Why do you consider that to disqualify these?