FanGraphs Power Rankings: May 24–June 6

After a week hiatus, the FanGraphs Power Rankings return. We’re two months into the season and the best teams in the rankings have started to pull away from the pack while a large group of teams have congregated in the middle. These teams are on the bubble between viewing themselves as contenders and deciding to retool for next year by selling at the trade deadline.

A quick refresher: my approach takes the three most important components of a team — their offense (wRC+), and their starting rotation and bullpen (50%/50% FIP- and RA9-) — and combines them to create an overall team quality metric. I add in a factor for “luck” — adjusting based on a team’s expected win-loss record — to produce a power ranking.

Tier 1 – The Best
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
White Sox 36-23 -3 113 82 87 178 ↗ 83.7% 0
Rays 38-23 -1 103 89 90 146 ↘ 72.3% 3
Red Sox 36-23 1 106 86 88 155 ↘ 68.0% 0
Padres 36-25 -3 96 87 81 146 ↘ 94.6% -2
Dodgers 34-25 -4 109 82 105 146 ↘ 97.6% -1
Giants 37-22 -1 106 80 107 134 ↗ 56.3% 2

The top tier stays big, as the top three teams from each league have put some distance between themselves and their competition.

In the National League, the top trio happens to all be battling for the NL West division crown, too. After getting swept by the Dodgers at home two weeks ago, the Giants have won nine of their last 11 games, including taking revenge against the Dodgers a week ago and recording a big series win over the Cubs. They’ve “pulled away” from the Padres by opening up a two-game lead in the division, though the loss of Evan Longoria won’t help their cause.

Meanwhile, the Padres have played through a wild two weeks. From May 26-29, they played four extra-inning games in a row, winning three of them. The last of those marathon contests was a monumental comeback against the Astros in which they scored eight runs after the seventh inning. But after that stretch, they scored just 18 runs in their next eight games, only winning two of them. Their roster has been stretched incredibly thin and yet they’ve managed to come out of this grueling part of their schedule in decent shape in the standings.

In the American League, two of the top three teams are battling for the AL East division crown. The Red Sox looked outclassed by the Astros earlier last week, though they managed to avoid a four-game sweep with a win on Thursday. But those struggles were totally forgotten after they swept the Yankees in New York over the weekend. It was the first time this season these two rivals had played each other and Boston landed the first big punch.

After having their 11-game win streak snapped by the Royals two weeks ago, the Rays ticked off five more wins in a row and just completed a series win against the Rangers over the weekend. But more impressively, in the 12 games since that gigantic win streak, they’ve allowed just 2.3 runs per game. Austin Meadows’s bat has come alive, Rich Hill has continued to find success at 41-years-old, and the Rays are getting big contributions from the most unlikely of sources. Their run differential is now the second highest in the league behind the White Sox.

Tier 2 – On the Cusp of Greatness
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
Mets 29-23 1 95 82 83 147 ↗ 81.9% 5
Athletics 35-26 4 108 96 97 136 ↗ 52.9% 1
Astros 33-26 -4 118 89 116 124 ↘ 74.8% -2

Two weeks ago, the Mets were sitting two games above .500 with nearly their entire starting lineup on the Injured List. Because the rest of the teams in their division were all struggling, they were sitting in first place, but their position was precarious at best. They’re now six games over .500 and have opened up a 3.5 game lead over the second place Braves. They’ve gotten a little healthier — Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, Taijuan Walker, and Seth Lugo have all come off the IL in the past two weeks — but they’re still missing a ridiculous number of their lineup regulars and Noah Syndergaard unfortunately suffered a setback in a rehab start last week. The strength of their pitching staff has carried them this far and it looks like they’ll have to continue to lean on deGrom and company for the foreseeable future.

Once again, the A’s and Astros find themselves alone at the top of the AL West. Oakland has finally pushed their run differential into positive territory after some big win margins in Seattle and Colorado. Meanwhile, Houston’s offense is proving itself to be the best in the majors with fantastic contributions from all the usual suspects. Their pitching staff is getting a little healthier, too, with Framber Valdez making his season debut two weeks ago. Once Lance McCullers Jr. comes off the IL, they’ll have six healthy and skilled starters to fill out their rotation, a luxury so many other teams desperately desire.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
Cubs 33-26 0 100 119 78 110 ↗ 35.0% 3
Yankees 31-29 2 95 86 84 142 ↘ 56.0% -5
Blue Jays 30-27 -2 110 110 96 121 ↗ 47.5% -2
Brewers 33-26 4 86 81 107 94 ↗ 64.5% 7

The three-game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox was the capstone to a forgettable two weeks for the Yankees. The last time these power rankings ran, they were nine games over .500 and looked like they had figured out their early-season issues. They’ve won just twice since and sit in fourth place in the AL East, just two games over .500. Like so many other teams, they’ve dealt with their fair share of injury woes, but their true weakness is a suddenly punchless offense. Aaron Judge is on pace to post his best season since his rookie campaign, but the rest of the Yankees lineup has been mired in a season-long slump.

After winning 19 games in the month of May, ending with a sweep of the Padres, the Cubs traveled to San Francisco over the weekend and were soundly defeated and barely avoided a four-game sweep against the Giants. But despite that slight hiccup, they’ve really played fantastic baseball over the last month or so, a huge turnaround after a really poor April. Patrick Wisdom of all people is leading their offense right now and their bullpen has been nearly untouchable during this positive stretch. They have another date with the Padres lined up for this week before another huge series against the Cardinals.

Tier 4 – On the Bubble
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
Royals 29-28 1 92 103 97 90 ↗ 9.0% 7
Cleveland 31-26 4 86 108 85 85 ↘ 21.2% 0
Marlins 25-33 -4 88 91 93 110 ↘ 0.3% -2
Braves 28-29 0 102 109 110 85 ↘ 24.7% -1
Phillies 28-30 0 92 95 108 83 ↘ 13.3% 0
Nationals 24-32 0 93 108 98 87 ↗ 3.5% 0
Reds 28-29 2 106 103 122 80 ↘ 13.3% 2
Cardinals 31-29 3 93 113 102 70 ↘ 14.9% -10

Here’s that big tier of teams on the bubble I referenced earlier. The NL East is well represented here, as are the Central divisions from both leagues. Six of these eight teams sit within four games of a playoff spot, either in their division or via the Wild Card. The two other teams — the Marlins and the Nationals — sit seven games back in the NL East but could make some noise if the Mets ever succumb to their injury issues. Cleveland is well behind the White Sox in their division but are just a game behind the Astros for the second AL Wild Card spot. Still, all of these teams sit in that awkward spot between competing for the playoffs this year and resetting for next year.

The Cardinals fell the furthest since these rankings last appeared, dropping 10 spots to the bottom of this tier. They just ended a stretch of 17 straight games played in which they lost 11 of them. They lost their series in Los Angeles earlier this week and were just swept by the Reds in four games over the weekend. To make matters worse, they lost their best starter, Jack Flaherty, to an oblique strain that will sideline him for a significant portion of the season. Their pitching staff was already struggling to prevent runs and has been stretched incredibly thin with the loss of their ace. The Cardinals are just 2.5 games behind the division leaders in the NL Central, but the suddenly resurgent Reds look more likely to challenge for a playoff spot at this point.

Tier 5 – Disappointments
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
Mariners 30-31 6 86 118 98 55 ↗ 0.9% 3
Twins 24-35 -2 106 114 114 77 ↗ 3.8% 1
Angels 27-32 2 102 113 115 68 ↘ 9.7% -1

This mini tier stays exactly the same this week, with all three teams disappointingly treading water and their already thin chances to push for a playoff spot are growing increasingly slim. The Twins are probably the most talented team of this trio but their path to the playoffs has to go through the competitive Wild Card race since the White Sox have opened up such a large lead in the Central. The Angels have two incredibly narrow paths to the playoffs, with about even odds of taking the AL West as they do winning a Wild Card spot. Since losing Mike Trout to a calf injury on May 17, they’ve gone 9-10, which is not nearly good enough to give them any hope this summer when Trout returns.

Tier 6 – Hope Deferred
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
Rangers 23-38 -2 89 107 102 73 ↘ 0.0% -8
Orioles 21-38 -3 97 120 101 79 ↘ 0.0% 0
Rockies 24-36 -2 78 100 111 51 ↗ 0.0% 1
Tigers 24-35 1 85 95 124 44 ↗ 0.0% 2
Pirates 23-35 3 82 128 91 50 ↗ 0.0% 0
Diamondbacks 20-41 -4 91 123 115 36 ↘ 0.0% -3

After spending most of April looking like the worst team in baseball, the Tigers actually had a good May, winning more games than they lost (14-13) and having a positive run differential (+3). Their starting rotation has taken significant steps forward; Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize in particular have been outstanding and Spencer Turnbull had been looking great before being sidelined with an ominous sounding forearm strain. Any positive developments have to be taken as steps forward for a club looking to come out of its rebuilding phase in the near future.

The Orioles also have some exciting things to celebrate while they’re mired in their fifth year of rebuilding. Cedric Mullins developing into a legitimate top-of-the-order bat is a surprising and welcome development, and after battling and defeating colon cancer last year, Trey Mancini has been the feel good story of this season. John Means’s continued ascent into the upper tier of starters was derailed a bit after he strained his shoulder in his last start. But focusing on these good things really helps distract from winning just five games in May and the ugly 14-game losing streak that ended earlier last week.


Overall Power Rankings
Rank Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
1 White Sox 36-23 -3 113 82 87 178 83.7% 0
2 Rays 38-23 -1 103 89 90 146 72.3% 3
3 Red Sox 36-23 1 106 86 88 155 68.0% 0
4 Padres 36-25 -3 96 87 81 146 94.6% -2
5 Dodgers 34-25 -4 109 82 105 146 97.6% -1
6 Giants 37-22 -1 106 80 107 134 56.3% 2
7 Mets 29-23 1 95 82 83 147 81.9% 5
8 Athletics 35-26 4 108 96 97 136 52.9% 1
9 Astros 33-26 -4 118 89 116 124 74.8% -2
10 Cubs 33-26 0 100 119 78 110 35.0% 3
11 Yankees 31-29 2 95 86 84 142 56.0% -5
12 Blue Jays 30-27 -2 110 110 96 121 47.5% -2
13 Brewers 33-26 4 86 81 107 94 64.5% 7
14 Royals 29-28 1 92 103 97 90 9.0% 7
15 Cleveland 31-26 4 86 108 85 85 21.2% 0
16 Marlins 25-33 -4 88 91 93 110 0.3% -2
17 Braves 28-29 0 102 109 110 85 24.7% -1
18 Phillies 28-30 0 92 95 108 83 13.3% 0
19 Nationals 24-32 0 93 108 98 87 3.5% 0
20 Reds 28-29 2 106 103 122 80 13.3% 2
21 Cardinals 31-29 3 93 113 102 70 14.9% -10
22 Mariners 30-31 6 86 118 98 55 0.9% 3
23 Twins 24-35 -2 106 114 114 77 3.8% 1
24 Angels 27-32 2 102 113 115 68 9.7% -1
25 Rangers 23-38 -2 89 107 102 73 0.0% -8
26 Orioles 21-38 -3 97 120 101 79 0.0% 0
27 Rockies 24-36 -2 78 100 111 51 0.0% 1
28 Tigers 24-35 1 85 95 124 44 0.0% 2
29 Pirates 23-35 3 82 128 91 50 0.0% 0
30 Diamondbacks 20-41 -4 91 123 115 36 0.0% -3





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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David Klein
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Obviously the pitching is carrying the Mets but Smith, McCann and Lindor hitting like they’re capable the last ten days has been huge and Billy McKinney was a smart pickup and he’s been killing it as has Villar.