FanGraphs Power Rankings: May 16–22

We’ve hit the quarter-mark for the season and some of the early-season disappointments are finally turning things around. Not much has changed at the top of the rankings, however.

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.

Tier 1 – The Best of the Best
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Yankees 29-12 0 119 78 80 -2 173 97.9%
Astros 27-15 0 116 87 82 11 177 97.5%
Mets 28-15 1 111 85 94 0 152 87.8%
Dodgers 27-13 -3 116 83 83 -9 144 97.2%

There’s no love lost between the Yankees and White Sox these days. After tensions rose during a four-game set two weekends ago, they tipped past the breaking point after Josh Donaldson’s racially charged comments to Tim Anderson on Saturday. That storyline understandably dominated the headlines, overshadowing a week in which the Yankees went 5-3 to maintain the best record in baseball. Aaron Judge is currently locked in and blasting everything in sight. He launched his league-leading 15th home run during the day game on Sunday; it was the third long ball he hit last week.

Despite a 13-run outburst on Tuesday that saw Houston launch five home runs in a single inning off Nathan Eovaldi, the Astros scored just 16 runs in their other six games last week. That wasn’t good enough to win their series against the Red Sox but it was enough to take three of four from the Rangers over the weekend. Their pitching staff has continued to carry the load despite the lack of run scoring; last week, it was Framber Valdez who contributed a seven inning gem against the Rangers, another quality start in his historic season.

The Dodgers had a seven-game win streak snapped on Sunday after Max Muncy booted an easy grounder to allow two runs to score in the bottom of the 10th inning. Despite that gaffe in the field, Los Angeles has rebounded nicely after a rough stretch a couple of weeks ago. Mookie Betts is finally heating up at the plate, too; he collected 10 hits last week, including three home runs.

The Mets won five of their seven games last week but the oblique strain that forced Max Scherzer to leave his start on Wednesday is of greater concern. He joined Jacob deGrom and Tylor Megill on the injured list and could be sidelined until around the All-Star break. Coincidentally, that’s the latest timeline given on deGrom’s injury. If there’s a silver lining to all this unfortunate injury news, it’s that the Mets have built such a wide lead in the NL East that they mostly just need to tread water until Scherzer and deGrom return for the second half of the season. That hasn’t stopped the Mets from checking in on some of the arms that might be available closer to the trade deadline — perhaps a reunion with an old friend is in the cards?

Tier 2 – On the Cusp of Greatness
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Angels 26-17 -1 119 86 103 6 159 75.1%
Brewers 26-15 2 107 87 87 -2 131 94.3%
Twins 25-16 1 114 89 97 -2 141 61.2%
Padres 27-14 3 98 87 101 11 129 92.4%
Cardinals 23-18 -3 112 100 101 4 132 45.7%

The Brewers have gotten off to their best start in franchise history and it’s not just the pitching that is carrying the load: the offense is doing its part by scoring 4.7 runs per game, the seventh highest mark in baseball. Christian Yelich hasn’t regained his MVP-level form from a few years ago, but he looks healthy and has bounced back after two down years at the plate. New additions Hunter Renfroe and Andrew McCutchen are doing their part and Rowdy Tellez continues to crush everything in sight. Of some concern: Freddy Peralta left his start on Sunday with a shoulder injury. The Brewers are also embarking on an 11-game road trip this week, the beginning of a stretch of 15 games in 14 days.

A dramatic comeback win on Sunday secured a series sweep for the Twins and a mini four-game win streak. After all the offseason consternation about their pitching staff, they’ve allowed just 3.6 runs per game so far, the fifth lowest mark in baseball. Having Jhoan Duran’s electric stuff to close out games has definitely helped and they’ve gotten better-than-expected production from Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer. The Twins play the Tigers eight times over the next two weeks, with another four-game set against the Royals in between. That should help them continue to pad their lead in the AL Central.

The Padres completed a huge three-game sweep of the Giants in San Francisco over the weekend, bringing them to within half a game of the NL West lead. Manny Machado has continued to pace the majors with 3.0 WAR, though the Friars are also getting contributions from unlikely source. Eric Hosmer’s good-bad oscillation is on the upswing this year and Ha-Seong Kim appears to have finally adjusted to MLB pitching after struggling in his first year in the league. The most encouraging thing is that the Padres have enjoyed all this success without their best player, Fernando Tatis Jr., who is still on track to return to the field in late June. That should give fans in San Diego some hope that a repeat of last year’s second half collapse can be avoided.

The Cardinals called up two of their top prospects over the weekend, Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore. It was a rough introduction to the big leagues for the latter, and Liberatore was optioned back to the minors after his start on Saturday. Gorman should get a solid run at securing the everyday job at second, however, and he’s gotten off to a hot start; he’s already collected five hits in his first three games in the majors. If a bunch of youngsters debuting isn’t fun enough, the Cardinals gave Yadier Molina a shot at pitching during a blowout win a week after they gave Albert Pujols the same opportunity.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Rays 24-17 2 108 92 114 7 117 58.5%
Giants 22-18 -1 109 95 98 -6 121 61.7%
Marlins 18-22 -4 107 98 95 9 129 13.1%
Blue Jays 22-19 3 94 85 103 2 108 86.1%
Phillies 19-22 -3 104 89 98 -7 105 37.8%
Guardians 17-20 -2 108 113 100 4 114 11.4%

No team has a larger discrepancy between their team quality and their actual win-loss record than the Marlins. Their pitching has been good, though not as great as some might have expected. Their offense has been much better than expected, however, and that’s helped them post a +17 run differential. Some early season bullpen issues can explain some of their underperformance. A disappointing sophomore season from Trevor Rogers and Jesús Luzardo’s forearm injury are reasons for concern as well. Still, there’s progress being made in Miami.

Though they’ve emerged from their early season gauntlet, the Blue Jays still have a lot of work to do to make up ground in the AL East. They had a bit of a respite last week against the hapless Mariners and Reds, winning both series, though not necessarily in convincing fashion. They managed just seven runs in their three games against Cincinnati, as their offense still hasn’t totally come alive yet. They’ll be thrown back into the fire over the next two weeks, as they face the Cardinals, Angels, White Sox, and Twins before their schedule really eases up.

After it looked like they had turned a corner a couple of weeks ago, the Phillies lost both of their series last week. Even though the wins didn’t come, they managed to stay competitive with the Padres and Dodgers. Bryce Harper finally returned to the lineup after a PRP treatment for his elbow had sidelined him for much of the week. That’s important because Philadelphia has an opportunity to make up some ground on a couple of division rivals this week, with four games against the Braves and three against the Mets on the docket.

Tier 4 – The Melee
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Red Sox 19-22 -2 97 102 104 -4 75 34.2%
White Sox 21-20 3 93 93 104 -12 68 67.1%
Braves 19-22 0 95 99 86 -6 91 66.1%
Diamondbacks 21-22 2 89 93 116 12 83 1.7%
Cubs 16-24 -4 97 111 86 -2 95 1.4%
Mariners 17-25 -1 109 122 111 1 94 7.3%
Rockies 19-21 2 98 105 107 -12 70 0.5%

Trevor Story finally woke up from his early season slump over the weekend, blasting five home runs and driving in 13 during Boston’s four-game sweep of the Mariners. After falling nine games under .500 on May 11, the Red Sox have vaulted up the standings with consecutive series wins against the Rangers, Astros, and Mariners. And after a series against the White Sox, their upcoming schedule looks pretty soft, with five against the Orioles, two against the Reds, and three in Oakland. Should things go well during this upcoming stretch, it would be quite the turnaround for a club that seemed bound for a disappointing summer.

After Donaldson’s comments on Saturday, Anderson let his bat do the talking in the nightcap of Sunday’s double-header, collecting three hits and launching an eighth inning home run to silence the crowd at Yankee Stadium. He’s in the midst of his best season yet, with a 173 wRC+ and 2.0 WAR so far. For the White Sox, their two wins on Sunday against the best team in baseball could be the spark the team needs to continue rising up the standings.

On the other side of that Story onslaught were the Mariners, who are in free fall right now. They’ve won just six games in May and have taken just a single series since sweeping the Royals all the way back in mid-April. The pitching has been a huge problem, with Robbie Ray failing to live up to the expectations that come with being the reigning AL Cy Young winner and the bullpen taking a big step back after driving much of the team’s unexpected success last year. The biggest issue, however, is an offense that simply can’t find ways to score runs. It’s one of the better lineups in the majors by wRC+, but for whatever reason — sequencing, cluster luck, unclutch hitting — the Mariners have only scored 3.9 runs per game, 20th in the majors.

Tier 5 – Hope Deferred
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Athletics 17-26 0 77 106 97 3 69 0.1%
Rangers 18-22 -1 91 110 107 -9 46 2.4%
Orioles 17-25 1 90 115 90 -7 66 0.1%
Royals 14-26 0 89 118 117 8 55 0.5%
Tigers 14-26 1 77 112 87 -4 55 0.6%
Pirates 16-24 5 87 124 114 -4 32 0.1%
Nationals 14-28 -2 93 128 101 -11 43 0.1%

Don’t look now, but the Rangers have cut their run differential deficit to just -9. They swept the Angels early last week before losing three of four very competitive games to the Astros over the weekend. Their one win against Houston came courtesy of a complete-game shutout by Martín Pérez. On offense, Kole Calhoun has been red hot, launching five home runs and collecting 14 hits across his last 10 games.

They might not be competitive this year, but the Orioles have at least been entertaining. Their last three wins have all been walk-offs. On Thursday, it was Anthony Santander launching a three-run home run in the ninth inning against the Yankees; the next day, it was Rougned Odor in the 13th inning against the Rays, and he did it again on Sunday in the 11th inning. Even more exciting was the debut of Adley Rutschman on Saturday. Fans in Baltimore will get to see a glimpse of their team’s future as he and a bunch of their other top prospects begin making their way to the big leagues this summer.

Tier 6 – The Reds
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Reds 12-28 -1 80 132 109 -5 27 0.3%

The beatings last tier will continue until morale the Reds improve. To their credit, they won three of their five games last week and have gone 9-6 over their last 15. Plus, Joey Votto was activated from the IL over the weekend and homered in his hometown on Sunday. That’s fun!

Complete Power Rankings
Rank Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
1 Yankees 29-12 0 119 78 80 -2 173 97.9% 0
2 Astros 27-15 0 116 87 82 11 177 97.5% 0
3 Mets 28-15 1 111 85 94 0 152 87.8% 2
4 Dodgers 27-13 -3 116 83 83 -9 144 97.2% 0
5 Angels 26-17 -1 119 86 103 6 159 75.1% -2
6 Brewers 26-15 2 107 87 87 -2 131 94.3% 0
7 Twins 25-16 1 114 89 97 -2 141 61.2% 1
8 Padres 27-14 3 98 87 101 11 129 92.4% -1
9 Cardinals 23-18 -3 112 100 101 4 132 45.7% 1
10 Rays 24-17 2 108 92 114 7 117 58.5% 2
11 Giants 22-18 -1 109 95 98 -6 121 61.7% -2
12 Marlins 18-22 -4 107 98 95 9 129 13.1% 1
13 Blue Jays 22-19 3 94 85 103 2 108 86.1% 2
14 Phillies 19-22 -3 104 89 98 -7 105 37.8% 0
15 Guardians 17-20 -2 108 113 100 4 114 11.4% -4
16 Red Sox 19-22 -2 97 102 104 -4 75 34.2% 8
17 White Sox 21-20 3 93 93 104 -12 68 67.1% 6
18 Braves 19-22 0 95 99 86 -6 91 66.1% 0
19 Diamondbacks 21-22 2 89 93 116 12 83 1.7% -2
20 Cubs 16-24 -4 97 111 86 -2 95 1.4% 0
21 Mariners 17-25 -1 109 122 111 1 94 7.3% -5
22 Rockies 19-21 2 98 105 107 -12 70 0.5% -3
23 Athletics 17-26 0 77 106 97 3 69 0.1% -2
24 Rangers 18-22 -1 91 110 107 -9 46 2.4% 2
25 Orioles 17-25 1 90 115 90 -7 66 0.1% -3
26 Royals 14-26 0 89 118 117 8 55 0.5% 2
27 Tigers 14-26 1 77 112 87 -4 55 0.6% -2
28 Pirates 16-24 5 87 124 114 -4 32 0.1% -1
29 Nationals 14-28 -2 93 128 101 -11 43 0.1% 0
30 Reds 12-28 -1 80 132 109 -5 27 0.3% 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.

43 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
PatrickBrewer93
2 months ago

Tatis is returning after the all star break? Where are you getting that information? It is supposed to be some time in June.