FanGraphs Power Rankings: May 2–8

Due to the delayed start to the season, we’ve only now finished one month of play in the regular season. And while there are still plenty of games left, we’re already seeing the best teams pull away from their competition as a few disappointing teams continue to dig themselves into a hole.

A reminder for how these rankings are calculated: first, we take 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 than offense and pitching. Some element of team defense is captured by RA9-, but now that FanGraphs has OAA/RAA from Statcast 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 their 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 19-8 -1 118 78 72 -1 176 95.1%
Dodgers 19-7 -3 110 65 68 -3 156 97.9%
Mets 20-10 1 117 81 91 2 161 89.8%

The Yankees’ win streak was snapped at 11 games on Wednesday, and their weekend series against the Rangers was interrupted by the bad weather that disrupted games all along the East Coast, with a doubleheader on Sunday and the third game rescheduled for Monday afternoon. Those two rainouts mean the Yankees will play 23 games in 22 days; as easy as their early schedule has been, this stretch will really test their depth and endurance.

The rain disrupted the Mets, too. They already had a weird week with a scheduled doubleheader against the Braves on Tuesday, a makeup for the games missed due to the lockout. Then, on Thursday, New York had its signature win for the season so far, rallying against the Phillies and scoring seven runs in the ninth inning to erase a 7–1 deficit. Games on Friday and Saturday were canceled, giving the team two days to bask in the glory of the comeback victory before splitting a doubleheader on Sunday.

The Dodgers swept the banged-up Giants in two games, then finished the week by taking three straight against the Cubs in Chicago, outscoring those two teams 32–5. Mookie Betts has finally awoken from a slow start to lead the offense, collecting three home runs during his current nine-game hitting streak. Even more encouraging is Cody Bellinger’s bounce-back campaign after an injury-riddled 2021 season.

Tier 2 – On the Cusp of Greatness
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Brewers 19-10 0 104 84 81 1 139 93.7%
Astros 18-11 1 105 93 83 11 150 93.5%
Twins 18-11 0 112 85 89 -3 139 59.1%
Angels 19-11 1 117 90 105 0 138 70.4%
Rays 18-11 2 117 98 107 5 139 64.7%

The Brewers scored 34 runs against the Reds in three games early last week but couldn’t keep their bats hot in Atlanta over the weekend, losing two of three to the Braves and scoring just 10 runs during that series. The good news is they travel to Cincinnati to start this week; playing the Reds cures all ails.

Reports of the Astros’ demise were clearly premature. After barely making it out of April with a winning record, Houston rattled off seven straight wins at home against the Mariners and the Tigers last week. Jose Altuve managed to avoid a significant hamstring injury a few weeks ago and has been on fire since being activated from the IL at the start of this recent homestand; he’s collected nine hits, including three home runs, in his last seven games. The pitching staff has been lights out as well, allowing just nine total runs last week; Jake Odorizzi chipped in with two straight shutout starts.

The Rays had a modest six-game winning streak snapped on Sunday. Nevertheless, they’ve won 14 of their last 20 games, helping them leapfrog the Blue Jays in the AL East standings. Manuel Margot hit his first three home runs of the season in Seattle over the weekend, single-handedly powering the Rays to a series win. It’s been a bit of an unfamiliar start to the season for Tampa Bay; the offense is driving the success, as the pitching staff hasn’t been up to its usual standard. That’s to be expected with so many injured arms; the Rays currently have 10 players on the IL, all of them are pitchers. Fortunately, Drew Rasmussen has been very good recently, and Corey Kluber looks healthy and effective.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Padres 19-10 3 102 86 118 12 123 84.9%
Giants 16-12 -1 105 87 89 -2 129 65.2%
Guardians 14-14 -1 115 114 92 3 138 19.0%
Cardinals 16-12 -1 103 99 92 2 113 42.2%
Blue Jays 17-13 3 101 92 106 3 109 91.8%
Marlins 13-15 -2 104 97 94 7 128 16.2%

The Padres are off to a great start in 2022 and won in dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon, when pinch-hitter Jorge Alfaro launched the first pitch he saw from Miami’s Cole Sulser over the left field fence for a game-winning, three-run home run. That gives them 14 wins in their last 20 games played, though that total is padded with eight victories against the Reds and Pirates. Manny Machado leads baseball with 2.9 WAR so far; Nolan Arenado is the only other player above 2, and he’s all the way back at 2.1. The Padres are also getting outstanding contributions from their starting rotation; no team has leaned on their starters more, with over 60% of their innings coming from their current starting six.

Though their record may not reflect it, the Guardians have played some good baseball recently. A seven-game losing streak a few weeks ago pushed them down in the standings, but they responded with a sweep of the A’s, a two-game split against the Padres, and a series win against the Blue Jays over the weekend. José Ramírez has shown why Cleveland was so keen to keep him around with a long-term extension, and Steven Kwan has continued to hit, though not at his early pace. A big slate of divisional games is coming up this week, with three against the White Sox and three against the Twins — a chance for the Guardians to improve on their 9.4% AL Central odds.

No team has had a tougher early schedule than the Blue Jays, who started the season with multiple series against the Yankees, Astros, and Red Sox, though Boston hasn’t been nearly as threatening as expected. This grueling start to the season has begun to show its effects, as Toronto dropped consecutive series to New York and Cleveland last week. The Jays are scheduled to face the Yankees again to start this week before traveling to Tampa Bay this weekend and then hosting the Mariners next week. Their schedule finally lets up after that with a series against the Reds.

Tier 4 – The Melee
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Rockies 16-12 3 100 98 107 -7 73 1.5%
Diamondbacks 15-14 2 82 75 124 9 90 1.7%
Phillies 12-16 -2 106 96 103 -5 107 32.7%
Braves 14-16 -1 99 106 82 -2 94 72.6%
Mariners 13-16 -2 113 116 105 -1 107 16.8%

It’s hard to believe, but every team in the NL West has a winning record, including the Diamondbacks, who swept the Marlins and won two of three from the Rockies to push their record to 15–14. Colorado’s success is a touch familiar: an all-around average club that really performs well at home, where the Rockies are 11–5 this year. Arizona’s success, though, is something new. Last year, the Diamondbacks had the worst starting rotation in all of baseball; this season, you can count it among the best. The differentiator? New pitching coach Brent Strom almost certainly has something to do with that turnaround.

The Mariners got off to a fantastic start but have stumbled over the last few weeks, winning just twice during a long road trip that ended with an ugly series sweep in Houston and barely managing to avoid a sweep against the Rays at home with a dramatic walk-off win on Sunday afternoon. It’s not all doom and gloom out in the Pacific Northwest yet; Julio Rodríguez is starting to look a lot more comfortable at the plate, and George Kirby had a phenomenal major league debut on Sunday. The schedule doesn’t get any easier in May, with the Phillies up next and then an East Coast sojourn to face the Mets, Blue Jays, and Red Sox.

Tier 5 – High Hopes, Early Disappointments
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
White Sox 14-13 2 88 93 88 -10 71 64.2%
Red Sox 10-19 -1 78 90 114 -4 48 19.9%

The White Sox are showing signs of life, with a six-game win streak helping them cross back over the .500 mark. The pitching staff has carried them through this rough patch, allowing just 2.5 runs per game over their last 10 contests. That’s helped mask an offense that has scored just 3.2 runs per game during that stretch; in fact, Chicago has scored more than five runs in a single game just once since April 13. Help is coming, though, as Yoán Moncada should be activated from the IL on Monday, and Andrew Vaughn should return soon from a hand contusion suffered last week.

It’s getting close to the point in the season where the Red Sox aren’t an early disappointment but a continuing one. And while they have time to get out of the sizable hole they’ve dug for themselves, getting swept by the White Sox over the weekend wasn’t a great way to start that climb, especially after mustering just five runs in three games. Like Chicago, Boston’s offense has sputtered; the lineup hasn’t scored more than five runs in a single game since April 27, and that was the only time the Sox have crossed that mark since April 17. Unlike Chicago, there are no immediate reinforcements on the horizon, unless the front office makes the decision to call up top prospects Jarren Duran and Triston Casas for good.

Tier 6 – Hope Deferred
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Orioles 11-17 0 95 106 96 -6 72 0.0%
Cubs 9-18 -2 96 129 92 2 83 1.1%
Athletics 10-18 -2 76 110 98 2 60 0.2%
Rangers 11-15 -2 89 114 117 -4 47 2.1%
Royals 9-16 1 79 116 113 5 60 1.8%
Pirates 11-16 2 91 128 116 -7 32 0.2%
Nationals 10-20 -2 98 124 104 -7 51 0.1%
Tigers 8-19 -1 80 123 83 -4 59 1.4%

After getting swept in four games in Houston, the Tigers now have the worst record in the American League. It’s been an incredibly disappointing start to the season after they looked to be breaking out of their long rebuilding cycle this offseason. Big acquisitions Javier Báez, Austin Meadows, and Eduardo Rodriguez have all fallen flat to start this season, and top prospect Spencer Torkelson has struggled to make the transition to the majors. Casey Mize and Matt Manning have both been sidelined with arm injuries, though neither appears all that serious. With Miguel Cabrera’s 3,000th hit out of the way, the fans in Detroit have very little to get excited about again.

Any thought that the A’s might have found the magic to remain competitive in 2022 should be dashed after they lost their ninth straight game on Sunday. To make matters worse, they’re facing an insane schedule this week: nine games in seven days, with scheduled doubleheaders on Tuesday and Saturday and a cross-country flight in between two bloated series.

Tier 7 – The Reds
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Reds 5-23 -2 72 168 114 -7 7 0.1%

The Nationals played well enough to escape this final tier, leaving the Reds alone at the bottom. It’s hard to find new ways to express how bad things are in Cincinnati every week. They did manage to win a series over the weekend, taking two of three from the Pirates — not exactly the toughest competition.

Complete Power Rankings
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
Yankees 19-8 -1 118 78 72 -1 176 95.1% 0
Dodgers 19-7 -3 110 65 68 -3 156 97.9% 0
Mets 20-10 1 117 81 91 2 161 89.8% 0
Brewers 19-10 0 104 84 81 1 139 93.7% 3
Astros 18-11 1 105 93 83 11 150 93.5% 11
Twins 18-11 0 112 85 89 -3 139 59.1% 6
Angels 19-11 1 117 90 105 0 138 70.4% -3
Rays 18-11 2 117 98 107 5 139 64.7% 2
Padres 19-10 3 102 86 118 12 123 84.9% -4
Giants 16-12 -1 105 87 89 -2 129 65.2% -4
Guardians 14-14 -1 115 114 92 3 138 19.0% 3
Cardinals 16-12 -1 103 99 92 2 113 42.2% 1
Blue Jays 17-13 3 101 92 106 3 109 91.8% -4
Marlins 13-15 -2 104 97 94 7 128 16.2% -6
Rockies 16-12 3 100 98 107 -7 73 1.5% 2
Diamondbacks 15-14 2 82 75 124 9 90 1.7% 5
Phillies 12-16 -2 106 96 103 -5 107 32.7% -2
Braves 14-16 -1 99 106 82 -2 94 72.6% 0
Mariners 13-16 -2 113 116 105 -1 107 16.8% -8
White Sox 14-13 2 88 93 88 -10 71 64.2% 7
Orioles 11-17 0 95 106 96 -6 72 0.0% 4
Cubs 9-18 -2 96 129 92 2 83 1.1% -3
Athletics 10-18 -2 76 110 98 2 60 0.2% -3
Rangers 11-15 -2 89 114 117 -4 47 2.1% 0
Royals 9-16 1 79 116 113 5 60 1.8% 1
Pirates 11-16 2 91 128 116 -7 32 0.2% 2
Red Sox 10-19 -1 78 90 114 -4 48 19.9% -5
Nationals 10-20 -2 98 124 104 -7 51 0.1% 1
Tigers 8-19 -1 80 123 83 -4 59 1.4% -6
Reds 5-23 -2 72 168 114 -7 7 0.1% 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.

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Terencemember
1 month ago

138, 139, 139, 139,…150.

It seems like the Astros should be presented in a different tier.