FanGraphs Power Rankings: May 9–15

It was an eventful week in baseball, as we saw some history made and a lot of fun on the field. There were some big moves in the power rankings too.

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 in the AL
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Yankees 25-9 0 122 78 72 -1 178 98.6%
Astros 23-12 0 116 88 82 10 179 97.1%
Angels 24-13 -1 120 82 102 3 167 82.1%

The Yankees remain at the top of the rankings after winning six of their seven games last week, including a two-game sweep of the Blue Jays and a series win against the White Sox. Even as scoring remains depressed throughout the game, the Yankees have continued to mash despite the deadened ball. They hung 32 runs on Chicago during their weekend series and will host the Orioles for four games to start this week — I imagine plenty more runs should be scored. Oh, and Nestor Cortes has suddenly ascended to a place among the game’s elite pitchers — he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Monday.

The Astros stretched their win streak out to 11 games before falling to the Nationals 13-6 on Saturday. They got right back on track Sunday, shutting out Washington 8-0. That’s the fourth shutout they’ve posted in their last seven games, and the sixth stretching back to the beginning of their current red hot streak. Justin Verlander is pitching like he never had Tommy John surgery, Jake Odorizzi hasn’t allowed a run in three straight starts, and Luis Garcia has been exceptional over his last two.

The Angels couldn’t maintain their grip on the AL West lead amidst Houston’s quick rise up the standings. Their week was highlighted by Reid Detmers’s fun-filled no-hitter on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani’s slow start at the plate appears to be behind him, as he blasted four home runs — including his 100th career dinger — to go along with six other hits and an excellent start against the Rays. Taylor Ward has continued to crush everything in sight and Mike Trout is reminding everyone why he’s still the best player in baseball, injuries be damned.

Tier 2 – The Best in the NL
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Dodgers 21-12 -3 111 82 83 -3 144 93.2%
Mets 23-13 1 111 85 91 2 150 87.2%
Brewers 22-13 1 107 91 90 1 132 91.7%

These three NL teams were almost included in a tier with the three AL teams above, but it seemed more appropriate to split them into two separate groups since the teams from the senior circuit are slightly less impressive. This also marks the first time in the history of these power rankings (short as it is) that the Dodgers haven’t been listed in the top tier, as they had a week to forget. First, they lost a three-game set in Pittsburgh despite outscoring the Pirates 15-11 in three games. Then they returned home for a four-game series against the Phillies and would have been swept if it weren’t for some late game heroics from Gavin Lux to earn the walk-off win on Sunday. More concerning is the lower body injury that will sideline Clayton Kershaw for the foreseeable future. He was in the midst of a phenomenal start to the season and will test his health in a bullpen session early this week.

It took 11 series, but the Mets finally lost their first series of the season over the weekend, dropping two of three to the Mariners. They nearly pulled off a comeback on Sunday, but ultimately fell a run short. They’re also dealing with new injury woes, with Tylor Megill and James McCann both hitting the IL last week. Megill’s injury is a bit more concerning, as Jacob deGrom is still weeks away from even beginning a rehab assignment. Without Megill, the Mets rotation suddenly looks very thin. Trevor Williams or David Peterson should help to pick up the slack, but neither is as good as Megill has been this year.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Padres 22-13 3 99 91 109 10 124 85.7%
Twins 20-15 1 111 94 93 -2 128 50.0%
Giants 20-14 -1 108 88 94 -5 121 70.9%
Cardinals 19-15 -2 108 98 95 1 118 42.2%
Guardians 16-17 -1 114 119 100 4 128 19.5%

After splitting a four-game series two weekends ago, the Giants and Cardinals had another three-game set this weekend, with St. Louis coming out on top. Their series win was capped off with a 15-6 drubbing of San Francisco that included Adam Wainwright’s return from the IL, a home run by Yadier Molina and a pitching appearance by Albert Pujols as the “closer” in the ninth inning of the blowout. While the veterans were on display last night, 24-year-old Juan Yepez has had a promising start to his big league career since being called up at the beginning of the month. He’s collected hits in nine of his 11 games, including six multi-hit efforts.

Ugly blowout notwithstanding, the Giants put together a pretty decent run last week. They swept the Rockies and strung six wins together before losing on Saturday and Sunday. They’ve gotten a lot healthier too, with Brandon Belt, Mike Yastrzemski, Evan Longoria, and LaMonte Wade Jr. all being activated from the IL over the last two weeks. Carlos Rodón more than doubled the number of runs he allowed across his first six starts in his start on Sunday. Hopefully that’s just a hiccup — the Giants rotation carried much of the load while the offense was banged up.

Tier 4 – The Melee
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Rays 21-14 4 107 98 116 6 108 62.8%
Marlins 15-19 -3 103 100 96 8 122 13.6%
Phillies 17-18 -2 111 94 99 -8 111 44.4%
Blue Jays 18-17 2 96 92 105 2 105 85.2%
Mariners 16-19 -1 113 117 101 2 119 16.4%

The Phillies’ blueprint for success this year was on full display during their series against the Dodgers. They slugged their way to 33 runs in four games to support decent starting pitching; some adventuresome defense and a less-than-stellar bullpen performance on Sunday resulted in their only loss. Jean Segura is in the middle of a 12-game hit streak and Rhys Hoskins blasted four home runs last week. They just got Zack Wheeler back from the IL and Zach Eflin should be activated this week as well. And the Phillies are getting healthy and hot at just the right time. Their upcoming schedule features the Padres, Dodgers, Braves, Mets, Giants, Angels, and Brewers before it softens up in mid-June.

The Mariners won a hard-fought series against the Mets over the weekend, with each game hotly contested in the late innings. Their last four wins have all been decided by (surprise!) one run. They’ll travel to Toronto to start this week and face a Blue Jays team that has really scuffled towards the end of a grueling schedule to open the season. The Jays haven’t won a series since taking two of three from the Astros at the end of April; they’ve dropped consecutive series to the Yankees (twice), Guardians, and Rays. Their offense just hasn’t clicked yet, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer carrying the load right now.

Tier 5 – NL West Surprises
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Diamondbacks 18-17 2 84 78 117 12 92 2.3%
Rockies 17-17 3 97 106 112 -10 63 0.6%

It’s hard to know what to make of the Diamondbacks and Rockies this year. Colorado won just a single game last week and will host the Giants and Mets this week. That’s a stiff challenge but they play so well at home that it’s difficult to predict if they’re about to fall off or if they’ll continue to surprise us. Arizona has played a bit better, winning a series against the Marlins before dropping consecutive close games to the Cubs on Saturday and Sunday. Top prospect Alek Thomas has had an immediate impact since being called up last Sunday; he’s already notched three multi-hit games and his first big league home run in his first week of play.

Tier 6 – High Hopes, Early Disappointments
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Braves 16-19 0 98 104 87 -3 99 65.4%
White Sox 16-17 3 90 98 110 -14 51 63.5%
Red Sox 13-21 -2 86 89 115 -5 58 20.4%

The Braves slipped back into this tier after splitting a two-games series with the Red Sox and dropping two of three to the Padres. The White Sox didn’t fare any better last week, though they’re just three games back in a weak AL Central. Boston at least won a series against the Rangers over the weekend. The team is still in last place in the AL East and has seen its playoff odds drop by over 40 points since the beginning of the season. The Braves and White Sox have seen their odds drop by 21.9 and 8.4 points, respectively. They still have the talent and opportunity to make their way back up the standings. The hole the Red Sox have sunk into is considerably deeper and will take a lot of effort and good luck to dig out of.

Tier 7 – Hope Deferred
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Cubs 13-20 -2 92 117 86 -4 76 1.9%
Athletics 15-22 -1 77 104 91 1 68 0.2%
Orioles 14-21 1 93 107 93 -6 80 0.0%
Tigers 12-23 -1 83 110 83 0 71 1.0%
Rangers 14-19 -1 88 111 110 -8 40 1.9%
Pirates 15-19 4 90 117 112 -4 49 0.4%
Royals 12-20 1 85 126 115 4 51 1.5%
Nationals 12-24 -2 95 128 98 -9 53 0.1%

Even though they didn’t carry the same lofty expectations as the three teams in the tier above, the Rangers have been almost as disappointing. Marcus Semien has seemingly completely forgotten how to hit and the Rangers are getting very little production from their supporting cast. Despite their issues on offense, their pitching staff has shown bursts of competence recently, with Martín Pérez surprisingly leading the charge. They’ll play the Angels five times in their next nine games with a four-game series against the Astros in between. That run will be a good test of how far their rebuild has really come.

The Pirates have been one of the luckier teams in baseball thus far, though it’s hard to tell exactly where that luck is coming from. Their hitters have been a little more clutch than the average team’s but their pitching staff hasn’t been all that good, with the exception of David Bednar, their closer. He’s been lights out so far. For whatever reason, the Pirates have outperformed their expected win percentage by four games.

Tier 8 – The Reds
Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds
Reds 9-26 -2 80 147 109 -8 15 0.2%

Since this tier has become something of a staple in these power rankings (and there are only so many ways to cover the Reds), we’ll do a little good news, bad news this week.

Good news: The Reds have won six of their last 10 games, scoring 62 runs during that stretch.

Bad news: Christian Yelich collected his third career cycle on Wednesday, all of which have come against Cincinnati.

Good news: Hunter Greene looked pretty good while holding the Pirates hitless over 7.1 innings on Sunday. He struck out nine and his fastball averaged just under 99 mph on the day.

Bad news: The Reds became just the sixth team in major league history to hold a team hitless and still lose the game, losing 1-0 to the Pirates on Sunday afternoon.

Complete Power Rankings
Rank Team Record “Luck” wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
1 Yankees 25-9 0 122 78 72 -1 178 98.6% 0
2 Astros 23-12 0 116 88 82 10 179 97.1% 3
3 Angels 24-13 -1 120 82 102 3 167 82.1% 4
4 Dodgers 21-12 -3 111 82 83 -3 144 93.2% -2
5 Mets 23-13 1 111 85 91 2 150 87.2% -2
6 Brewers 22-13 1 107 91 90 1 132 91.7% -2
7 Padres 22-13 3 99 91 109 10 124 85.7% 2
8 Twins 20-15 1 111 94 93 -2 128 50.0% -2
9 Giants 20-14 -1 108 88 94 -5 121 70.9% 1
10 Cardinals 19-15 -2 108 98 95 1 118 42.2% 2
11 Guardians 16-17 -1 114 119 100 4 128 19.5% 0
12 Rays 21-14 4 107 98 116 6 108 62.8% -4
13 Marlins 15-19 -3 103 100 96 8 122 13.6% 1
14 Phillies 17-18 -2 111 94 99 -8 111 44.4% 3
15 Blue Jays 18-17 2 96 92 105 2 105 85.2% -2
16 Mariners 16-19 -1 113 117 101 2 119 16.4% 3
17 Diamondbacks 18-17 2 84 78 117 12 92 2.3% -1
18 Braves 16-19 0 98 104 87 -3 99 65.4% 0
19 Rockies 17-17 3 97 106 112 -10 63 0.6% -4
20 Cubs 13-20 -2 92 117 86 -4 76 1.9% 2
21 Athletics 15-22 -1 77 104 91 1 68 0.2% 2
22 Orioles 14-21 1 93 107 93 -6 80 0.0% -1
23 White Sox 16-17 3 90 98 110 -14 51 63.5% -3
24 Red Sox 13-21 -2 86 89 115 -5 58 20.4% 3
25 Tigers 12-23 -1 83 110 83 0 71 1.0% 4
26 Rangers 14-19 -1 88 111 110 -8 40 1.9% -2
27 Pirates 15-19 4 90 117 112 -4 49 0.4% -1
28 Royals 12-20 1 85 126 115 4 51 1.5% -3
29 Nationals 12-24 -2 95 128 98 -9 53 0.1% -1
30 Reds 9-26 -2 80 147 109 -8 15 0.2% 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.

21 Comments
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O'Kieboomermember
1 month ago

How much does the Rays’ RP- change when Brett Phillips’ appearances are removed?

Wegandi727
1 month ago
Reply to  O'Kieboomer

Or the guys who are carousal guys that get DFA’d immediately after soaking up a few innings. Id take the top 7 Rays relievers over anyone elses. Saying Calvin Faucher or Chris Mazza is endemic to the power of the Rays BP is hilarious.

Trigauxmember
1 month ago
Reply to  Wegandi727

Y’all are getting close to ESPN treatment of the Rays sometimes, just missing an attendance jab. Spend the week beating two teams in the same “tier” and have a substantially better record, but nope, they are in the melee.

sadtrombonemember
1 month ago
Reply to  Trigaux

Look I have more than enough concerns about the math on this series but Jake is not freaking rigging the rankings to put the Rays lower. The Rays have an even run differential (-1) and they’re ranked 12th. What more do you want? Just be happy they won a few more games than expected and look forward to the future.

(Interestingly, the Blue Jays and Mariners also have a negative run differential)

Wegandi727
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Run differential is such a poor measure of W-L. You could have the best 3 SP fronting 60% of your games and then guys rocking 9 ERA’s and tanking your run diff or as more teams are starting to do once your win probability tanks to 2-3% or less throw a position player on the mound chucking 45 batting practice. Once youre losing 8-0 in the 9th losing 14-0 doesnt matter if you save a few innings on your BP arms that you happen to use more than any other team in the league (why you see AAA 14th man durham shuttle guys get rocked in blow out games then immediately DFA of optioned back).

sadtrombonemember
1 month ago
Reply to  Wegandi727

How many games is your team planning on losing 8-0 and then letting themselves get hammered for another 6 runs? Is it more or less than the number of times they’re planning on hammering another team 14-0? If you’re a team that is repeatedly getting outscored by 8 or more runs, is it not disconcerting if you’re not doing it the other way too?

This doesn’t necessarily mean it will continue in the future (since projections are better than just looking at past performance) but in terms of “power rankings”? How high do you want to rank a team in a “power ranking” that is repeatedly getting outscored by 8 or more runs?

srpst23
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

The Pirates like to do this often. Their run differential is abysmal doe to like 3-4 huge blowouts. I mean they are a terrible team, but actually won a series earlier with like a -18 run differential, an just took 2of 3 from LAD despite being outscored by 7or 8 in the series.

Dag Gummit
1 month ago
Reply to  Wegandi727

Run differential is such a poor measure of W-L.

Care to support such a pseudo-mathematical statement with a source?

You could have the best 3 SP fronting 60% of your games and then guys rocking 9 ERA’s and tanking your run diff or as more teams are starting to do

Or support this pseudo-informed-sounding statement with a stat table source?

Once youre losing 8-0 in the 9th losing 14-0 doesnt matter

How about providing support on how this isn’t accounted for in accepted pythag W% formulas (the most prominent being PythagenPat)?