FanGraphs Power Rankings: May 30–June 5

With two months of the season in the books, the various tiers of teams have mostly sorted themselves out. Anything can happen over these next four months, but it does seem like the best teams have separated themselves from the pack.

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 39-15 -1 117 68 79 -1 180 99.7%
Astros 35-19 2 111 89 79 17 180 99.2%
Mets 37-19 1 116 96 87 0 156 95.5%
Dodgers 35-19 -4 110 80 84 -5 143 97.7%

The Yankees are back on top after winning six straight last week, sweeping the Angels and Tigers at home. Aaron Judge has continued to mash baseballs on a nearly daily basis, adding three more home runs to his league leading total last week; the big bet he placed on himself when he turned down the Yankees’ preseason extension offer seems to have paid off. New York also welcomed Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson back from the Injured List last week, bringing their lineup back to full strength. The pitching staff has been even more impressive. Over their last 11 games, the Yanks have allowed a total of 16 runs, and they held the Angels and Tigers to just seven runs in those six victories.

Don’t look now, but the Astros have opened up a huge 8.5-game lead in the AL West. Some of that is due to the Angels’ free fall, but Houston has also played some excellent baseball since the calendar turned over to May; they’ve gone 24–9 since then, tied for the best mark in baseball with the Yankees. They also signed their slugging superstar Yordan Alvarez to a huge six-year extension last week.

A week after reclaiming the top spot in these rankings, the Dodgers had another week to forget and tumbled to the back of this tier, getting swept at home for the first time since August 2018 by the scrappy Pirates and then splitting a four-game series against the Mets over the weekend. The continuing struggles of Walker Buehler are a concern, as he couldn’t get out of the third inning in his last start against the Mets on Saturday. Luckily, Tyler Anderson has picked up a lot of the slack, and Los Angeles should be getting Clayton Kershaw back from the IL this week.

Tier 2 – On the Cusp of Greatness
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Twins 32-24 1 112 91 102 -3 138 58.3%
Blue Jays 31-22 3 108 89 105 2 126 96.7%
Padres 33-21 2 93 82 98 13 123 91.8%

The Blue Jays stretched their win streak to eight games early last week before losing their weekend series to the Twins. Still, they’ve won nine of their last 11. After slumbering through the early season, their offense seems to be waking up; during this recent hot stretch, they’ve scored seven runs per game. Alejandro Kirk is leading the way, blasting four home runs last week and collecting 15 hits during this span. Their schedule looks pretty light over the next couple of weeks, too, with trips to Kansas City and Detroit before returning home to face the Orioles.

After getting swept in St. Louis, it looked like the Padres were on the brink of falling into a mid-season funk. Losing the first game of their weekend series against the Brewers in walk-off fashion didn’t help either. But San Diego righted the ship quickly with three consecutive wins, including two shutouts. The pitching was highlighted by Joe Musgrove flirting with a no-hitter on Friday and MacKenzie Gore’s 10-strikeout gem on Saturday. But while the starting pitching has been excellent, the Padres have struggled to score. Before they dropped five runs on Corbin Burnes on Friday, they had tallied more than four runs just twice in their previous 15 games.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Guardians 24-25 -3 103 105 87 8 130 20.6%
Cardinals 32-23 -2 108 102 100 2 116 58.4%
Red Sox 27-27 -4 109 96 102 0 124 45.7%
Brewers 33-23 2 98 87 86 -10 110 88.1%
Angels 27-28 -2 110 97 114 6 124 35.3%
Rays 31-23 3 101 93 105 6 111 66.2%

A week after I pointed out the Guardians’ lackluster position in the standings despite their positive underlying performance, they go out and win five of six against the Royals and Orioles. While it didn’t come against the most impressive opposition, it did elevate them in the standings. There are just five teams in the American League with a record over .500, and the Guardians are currently sitting just below that line.

The Cardinals are in the middle of a particularly congested portion of their schedule; they’ve played 12 games over the last 11 days and won eight of them. Between this hot streak and the Brewers’ recent struggles, St. Louis has cut its deficit in the NL Central to just half a game. The schedule doesn’t get any lighter, either; after today’s off-day, the Cards play another 10 games in nine days. Paul Goldschimdt‘s hit streak ended after 25 games, but his 42-game on-base streak is still alive. He’s picked up all the slack after Nolan Arenado’s hot start came to an end.

The bleeding continues for the Angels, whose winless streak is now 11 games after they lost in heartbreaking fashion in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. A four-run lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning was wiped out by a Bryce Harper grand slam, and while the Angels scored in the top of the ninth, Bryson Stott belted a game-winning three run homer in the bottom half of the inning to cap the meltdown. It’s a devastating end to a bad week in which Los Angeles scored just five runs prior to Sunday’s game. Things won’t get any easier either, with upcoming series against the Red Sox and Mets before “traveling” to the Dodgers and a big five-game series in Seattle to wrap up this gauntlet.

Tier 4 – The Melee
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Giants 29-24 -1 110 93 106 -13 109 63.6%
Marlins 22-30 -5 104 101 104 4 117 5.8%
Braves 28-27 0 101 100 83 -4 106 72.0%
Mariners 24-30 -1 112 112 112 3 116 12.1%
Phillies 25-29 -4 102 89 97 -16 99 24.6%
Rangers 25-28 -3 96 102 101 -6 72 4.6%
White Sox 25-27 6 92 107 106 -13 55 60.7%

A four-game sweep in Colorado has pushed the Braves above .500 for the first time since the first week of the regular season. Austin Riley has collected 22 hits and six home runs in his last 15 games to lead the offense, and Max Fried spun eight shutout innings in Coors Field on Friday. Their upcoming schedule presents an opportunity to build on this momentum too; they have the A’s, Pirates, Nationals, and Cubs on the docket.

An ugly May sunk the Mariners, but they’ve started to right the ship with three consecutive series wins, handling the Astros at home two weekends ago and beating Baltimore and Texas. Neither of those road series wins were all that convincing, with three of their wins coming in the ninth inning or later. Still, they’re slowly climbing out of the hole they dug for themselves.

The Phillies had quite the eventful week. They lost three consecutive games in extra innings before eking out a win on Wednesday. On Friday, they fired manager Joe Girardi. With the team sitting on a knife’s edge, they went out and swept the Angels, capped off with their dramatic win on Sunday afternoon. Quite a way for interim manager Rob Thomson to start off his managerial career.

Tier 5 – No Man’s Land
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Diamondbacks 26-29 3 89 101 110 13 77 0.9%
Cubs 23-32 -3 102 111 95 -3 95 1.1%
Tigers 21-33 3 74 111 82 1 67 0.6%
Orioles 23-33 0 91 121 88 -6 57 0.0%

The Cubs are probably a little better than their record shows, but that isn’t saying much. Their offense can score runs consistently, and their bullpen has been pretty good, but their starting rotation — and really the entire roster — has been crushed by injuries. At least there’s some young excitement to rally around; Christopher Morel has reached base in all 20 games he’s played since being called up in mid-May, and he’s provided a spark in center field and at the top of the lineup. Willson Contreras also continues to make a strong case for earning a long-term contract extension as a key building block for the next great Cubs team; he’s collected 14 hits and four home runs across his last 11 games.

Tier 6 – Hope Deferred
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Rockies 23-31 2 93 108 109 -18 46 0.1%
Pirates 24-28 7 88 114 106 -5 43 0.4%
Athletics 20-36 0 79 111 104 1 53 0.0%
Nationals 21-35 1 96 129 105 -17 44 0.0%
Royals 17-35 0 91 129 118 8 50 0.2%
Reds 18-35 -2 85 123 106 -5 31 0.1%

After sweeping the Dodgers in Los Angeles, the Pirates won their weekend series against the Diamondbacks. They’ve also started to call up some of their top prospects, with Roansy Contreras getting a long look in the rotation and Travis Swaggerty getting promoted on Sunday. It’s probably a year too early to start thinking about how this team could turn into a contender, but this past week has given fans in Pittsburgh a glimpse into what could be in a few years.

For the first time this season, I won’t wrap up this column by talking about the Reds. That’s because the Royals have overtaken them for the worst record in baseball. They’ve won just five times in their last 20 games and have simply looked lost. Amazingly enough, and despite all their issues developing pitching, they held the Astros scoreless on Saturday.

Complete Power Rankings
Rank Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
1 Yankees 39-15 -1 117 68 79 -1 180 99.7% 2
2 Astros 35-19 2 111 89 79 17 180 99.2% 0
3 Mets 37-19 1 116 96 87 0 156 95.5% 1
4 Dodgers 35-19 -4 110 80 84 -5 143 97.7% -3
5 Twins 32-24 1 112 91 102 -3 138 58.3% 1
6 Blue Jays 31-22 3 108 89 105 2 126 96.7% 4
7 Padres 33-21 2 93 82 98 13 123 91.8% 1
8 Guardians 24-25 -3 103 105 87 8 130 20.6% 7
9 Cardinals 32-23 -2 108 102 100 2 116 58.4% 2
10 Red Sox 27-27 -4 109 96 102 0 124 45.7% 2
11 Brewers 33-23 2 98 87 86 -10 110 88.1% -4
12 Angels 27-28 -2 110 97 114 6 124 35.3% -7
13 Rays 31-23 3 101 93 105 6 111 66.2% -4
14 Giants 29-24 -1 110 93 106 -13 109 63.6% 0
15 Marlins 22-30 -5 104 101 104 4 117 5.8% -2
16 Braves 28-27 0 101 100 83 -4 106 72.0% 0
17 Mariners 24-30 -1 112 112 112 3 116 12.1% 2
18 Phillies 25-29 -4 102 89 97 -16 99 24.6% 0
19 Rangers 25-28 -3 96 102 101 -6 72 4.6% -2
20 Diamondbacks 26-29 3 89 101 110 13 77 0.9% 1
21 Cubs 23-32 -3 102 111 95 -3 95 1.1% -1
22 White Sox 25-27 6 92 107 106 -13 55 60.7% 0
23 Tigers 21-33 3 74 111 82 1 67 0.6% 1
24 Orioles 23-33 0 91 121 88 -6 57 0.0% -1
25 Rockies 23-31 2 93 108 109 -18 46 0.1% 1
26 Pirates 24-28 7 88 114 106 -5 43 0.4% 3
27 Athletics 20-36 0 79 111 104 1 53 0.0% -2
28 Nationals 21-35 1 96 129 105 -17 44 0.0% 0
29 Royals 17-35 0 91 129 118 8 50 0.2% -2
30 Reds 18-35 -2 85 123 106 -5 31 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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Southi
7 months ago

Braves are finally starting to win more, even with guys like Morton, Albies and Duvall performing at worse than expected levels.