FanGraphs Power Rankings: May 13–19

The various division races are starting to shape up now that we’ve passed the quarter pole in the regular season. The Astros finally woke up from their early season slumber, reminding us that it’s still not too late for some of these disappointing teams to make a run into the playoff picture.

This season, we’ve revamped our power rankings. The old model wasn’t very reactive to the ups and downs of any given team’s performance throughout the season, and by September, it was giving far too much weight to a team’s full body of work without taking into account how the club had changed, improved, or declined since March. That’s why we’ve decided to build our power rankings model using a modified Elo rating system. If you’re familiar with chess rankings or FiveThirtyEight’s defunct sports section, you’ll know that Elo is an elegant solution that measures teams’ relative strength and is very reactive to recent performance.

To avoid overweighting recent results during the season, we weigh each team’s raw Elo rank using our coinflip playoff odds (specifically, we regress the playoff odds by 50% and weigh those against the raw Elo ranking, increasing in weight as the season progresses to a maximum of 25%). As the best and worst teams sort themselves out throughout the season, they’ll filter to the top and bottom of the rankings, while the exercise will remain reactive to hot streaks or cold snaps.

First up are the full rankings, presented in a sortable table. Below that, I’ve grouped the teams into tiers with comments on a handful of clubs. You’ll notice that the official ordinal rankings don’t always match the tiers — I’ve taken some editorial liberties when grouping teams together — but generally, the ordering is consistent. One thing to note: The playoff odds listed in the tables below are our standard Depth Charts odds, not the coin flip odds that are used in the ranking formula.

Complete Power Rankings
Rank Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score Δ
1 Yankees 33-15 1607 1504 97.6% 1613 3
2 Phillies 34-14 1598 1471 97.7% 1607 1
3 Dodgers 32-17 1599 1493 99.4% 1606 -1
4 Braves 26-16 1589 1504 98.7% 1591 -3
5 Orioles 29-15 1576 1498 90.8% 1581 0
6 Guardians 30-17 1546 1486 55.0% 1553 5
7 Royals 29-19 1532 1489 46.9% 1536 3
8 Brewers 27-19 1527 1502 68.7% 1532 -1
9 Mariners 25-22 1534 1507 59.0% 1532 0
10 Astros 21-26 1527 1513 56.4% 1515 9
11 Rays 25-23 1517 1485 47.3% 1512 6
12 Cubs 26-22 1509 1497 59.3% 1510 -4
13 Padres 24-24 1514 1512 58.1% 1509 -1
14 Twins 24-22 1514 1493 57.8% 1509 -8
15 Giants 23-25 1499 1494 30.0% 1493 6
16 Diamondbacks 22-25 1494 1499 32.9% 1487 0
17 Rangers 24-24 1484 1492 27.1% 1481 -2
18 Mets 21-25 1489 1524 21.0% 1481 -4
19 Red Sox 23-24 1487 1507 16.3% 1480 -6
20 Blue Jays 20-25 1488 1520 18.8% 1478 -2
21 Tigers 23-23 1481 1489 25.0% 1476 -1
22 Cardinals 20-26 1469 1492 16.4% 1461 2
23 Pirates 22-26 1459 1489 10.4% 1454 3
24 Angels 18-29 1442 1507 1.9% 1432 4
25 Reds 19-28 1438 1498 6.4% 1430 0
26 Nationals 20-25 1432 1503 0.5% 1427 -3
27 Marlins 15-33 1438 1514 0.2% 1425 0
28 Athletics 19-30 1422 1506 0.2% 1412 -6
29 White Sox 14-33 1399 1512 0.0% 1388 0
30 Rockies 15-31 1389 1497 0.0% 1381 0

Tier 1 – The Best of the Best
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Yankees 33-15 1607 1504 97.6% 1613
Phillies 34-14 1598 1471 97.7% 1607
Dodgers 32-17 1599 1493 99.4% 1606
Braves 26-16 1589 1504 98.7% 1591

The Yankees leapt to the top of these rankings with sweeps of the Twins and White Sox last week. They’ve now won seven straight and 13 of their last 15. Juan Soto and Aaron Judge are powering the offense as expected — along with a resurgent Giancarlo Stanton — but the most impressive part of this hot streak has been their pitching staff. During this stretch, New York has allowed just 2.4 runs per game and gave up a total of six runs last week. The entire starting rotation has stepped up in Gerrit Cole’s absence, with Clarke Schmidt and Luis Gil representing the two biggest surprises.

The Phillies stretched their division lead over the Braves to five games with a wild series win against the Mets and a sweep of the Nationals last week. It’s true Philadelphia has played the weakest schedule of any team thus far — it faced the Braves in the first series of the season and hasn’t met a team with a record over .500 since then — but the Phillies are banking enough wins now that it might not matter if they come back down to earth once the schedule toughens up.

While Elly De La Cruz may have stolen the spotlight on Thursday in Los Angeles, the Dodgers won the final three games of their series against the Reds to take the series and held De La Cruz hitless over the weekend. They own the largest division lead and best run differential in baseball.

Max Fried slipped up on Friday after a long stretch of dominant starts, allowing three runs on nine hits against the Padres. After a rainout on Saturday, the Braves lost a stinker on Sunday and are lined up for a doubleheader today. They can still be counted among the upper echelons in baseball, but it’s clear they’re not firing on all cylinders yet.

Tier 2 – Solid Contenders
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Orioles 29-15 1576 1498 90.8% 1581
Guardians 30-17 1546 1486 55.0% 1553
Royals 29-19 1532 1489 46.9% 1536
Brewers 27-19 1527 1502 68.7% 1532
Mariners 25-22 1534 1507 59.0% 1532

Both the Royals and Guardians swept their weekend series, though Cleveland’s wins against the Twins are much more impactful than the three wins Kansas City racked up against the A’s. The Guardians still lead the AL Central and knocked Minnesota down a notch, but the Royals are on pace for their second best season in franchise history if they can keep this up.

The Mariners went 3-3 against two of the other teams in this tier last week, which is pretty much what you’d expect from their solid but flawed roster. They still haven’t solved their run scoring issues and Julio Rodríguez’s power outage to start the season is starting to become a little concerning. Meanwhile, the Orioles are trying to keep up with the high-flying Yankees; Baltimore’s series win over Seattle certainly helps in that regard.

Tier 3 – The Melee
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Astros 21-26 1527 1513 56.4% 1515
Rays 25-23 1517 1485 47.3% 1512
Cubs 26-22 1509 1497 59.3% 1510
Padres 24-24 1514 1512 58.1% 1509
Twins 24-22 1514 1493 57.8% 1509

A lot of ups and downs in this tier last week. The Twins’ hot streak flamed out after they were swept by the Yankees and Guardians; the Cubs didn’t do much better, losing both of their series to the Braves and Pirates. On the other end of the spectrum, the Rays went 5-2 against the Red Sox and Blue Jays, banking two key series wins against some division rivals.

Here come the Astros. With two wins against the Brewers over the weekend, Houston has now won three series in a row and nine of its last 11 games. Alex Bregman’s bat has suddenly awoken as he raised his wRC+ from 58 to 87 over the last week. The Astros have a huge four-game series in Seattle looming in a week and they’ll hope to continue their momentum ahead of that showdown.

Tier 4 – Waiting for Launch
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Giants 23-25 1499 1494 30.0% 1493
Diamondbacks 22-25 1494 1499 32.9% 1487
Rangers 24-24 1484 1492 27.1% 1481
Mets 21-25 1489 1524 21.0% 1481
Red Sox 23-24 1487 1507 16.3% 1480
Blue Jays 20-25 1488 1520 18.8% 1478
Tigers 23-23 1481 1489 25.0% 1476

A bunch of the teams in this tier continued their early season struggles and have fallen even further behind in the playoff picture. The Giants and Tigers were the only two among these teams to win a series last week.

San Francisco emphatically swept the Rockies over the weekend, though that’s a small consolation considering the bad news it received about Jung Hoo Lee’s shoulder injury; the Giants’ center fielder will be out for the season after dislocating his shoulder last Sunday. Blake Snell is on the mend and should be activated off the IL soon, but there are still far too many role players sidelined currently, forcing the Giants to turn to their shallow depth. Thankfully, Luis Matos has made an immediate impact, collecting 16 RBIs and recording hits in five of the seven games since being recalled to cover for Lee.

Tier 5 – No Man’s Land
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Cardinals 20-26 1469 1492 16.4% 1461
Pirates 22-26 1459 1489 10.4% 1454
Angels 18-29 1442 1507 1.9% 1432
Reds 19-28 1438 1498 6.4% 1430
Nationals 20-25 1432 1503 0.5% 1427
Marlins 15-33 1438 1514 0.2% 1425
Athletics 19-30 1422 1506 0.2% 1412

The Cardinals, Pirates, Angels, and Marlins all showed some pluck last week, earning series wins over some high profile opponents. St. Louis won both of its series against the Angels and Red Sox and can’t be counted out of the NL playoff picture just yet; Pittsburgh took three of four from the Cubs over the weekend, a series highlighted by a dominant start from Paul Skenes; and the Marlins picked up series wins over the Tigers and Mets.

With Mike Trout sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Angels have had very few reasons for optimism recently. Thankfully, Jo Adell’s long-awaited breakout is something they can build upon. It’s not a franchise-altering development, but it’s a positive note for an organization that has desperately needed one this year.

After reaching .500 with a 20-4 win over the Marlins on May 4, the A’s have won exactly twice in the 15 games since then. Their nosedive has coincided with a particularly tough stretch in their schedule, with series against the Rangers, Mariners, Astros, and Royals bringing them back down to Earth. Mason Miller has gotten all of the attention as the standout on this roster, but there are a few other breakouts that could become valuable trade bait later on this summer.

Tier 6 – Hope Deferred
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
White Sox 14-33 1399 1512 0.0% 1388
Rockies 15-31 1389 1497 0.0% 1381

The Rockies put together a nice little seven-game win streak with sweeps of the Rangers and Padres before getting swept by the Giants last weekend. Ezequiel Tovar has rewarded the organization’s trust in him with a fantastic start to the season. Nolan Jones should be activated off the IL this week and hopefully he can start pounding the ball again so that Colorado can properly play spoiler to the rest of the teams in the NL West.





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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pqskgt
2 months ago

Obviously power rankings don’t matter, but its odd that the Dodgers have a higher Elo and higher opponents Elo, but a lower Power Score/ranking than the Phillies

Ostensibly Ridiculousmember
2 months ago
Reply to  pqskgt

I would also like a better explanation of how “Power Score” is calculated.
My interpretation of the explanation is that it’s more weighted for recency than regular elo score(?)

frankenspock
2 months ago

As always with Fangraphs, it’s entirely vibes-based and doesn’t belong on a site that people actually look to for high-quality statistical analysis. But I guess it gets them a lot of clicks.

pafko
2 months ago
Reply to  frankenspock

I’m typing this with voice to text because I got my hand stuck in my kitchen sink and then got my other hand stuck in the other side of the sink trying to get the first hand out. This comment on this page was the last thing open on my computer before this all happened. God almighty I hope my son gets home soon. Post comment

David Appelman
2 months ago

Power Score includes a weighting for coin flip playoff odds, which can be found here: https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds/coin-flip/div

Basically it turns the playoff odds into it’s own Elo rating and weights it by up to 25% with a team’s Elo rating. On the first day of the season it starts near 0% and scales up to 25% by the end of the season. Right now it’s weighted around 7%, depending on the team.

airforce21one
2 months ago
Reply to  David Appelman

Why would playoff odds have any influence on a power score? If anything, it should be the other way around.

Last edited 2 months ago by airforce21one