It’s mid-May and it’s time for another installment of Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings, otherwise known as FUBAR. Roughly half of an NBA season has been played in the 2014 Major League Baseball season. There’s still some sample size issues with our rankings, however, we are truly seeing an ebb and flow to the season so far. We are also seeing teams get debilitated with key injuries from Chris Sale to Jose Fernandez on the pitching side. Ryan Braun spent most of his time on the disabled list for most of this stretch since our previous rankings were released and now Joey Votto‘s health is up in the air as well.
The following stats and standings are as of May 16, 2014 (otherwise known as Lagwagon Day). Since I’m tired of ESPN’s laziness when it comes to their MLB power rankings, I went ahead and used a different view. This week, we will showcase Business Insider’s rankings (BI), which are based on projected wins and playoff odds. BI’s rankings are also good through Lagwagon Day.
As hard as it is to believe, the Atlanta Braves still hold the top spot in our rankings. Atlanta has gone 5-11 since our last release of our rankings, but they still own the best rotation, bullpen, and defense in baseball. They are also in first place of the National League East. Their offense has been brutal however as their hitting prowess and plate discipline has been one of the worst in all of baseball. Their saving grace on offense has been their base running as Jason Heyward has led the way in the Braves’ only competent offensive category used in FUBAR.
The Angels are back at the number two spot. Unlike the first time they reached second place in our rankings, the Angels are actually above .500 this time around. Led by Mike Trout, the Angels continue to boast an elite hitting lineup that does everything you’d expect from a high level offense. Unfortunately, as mentioned the last couple of times in our rankings, the pitching is very suspect for a team trying to make a case that it belongs among the elite. But thanks to a defense that boasts second best in baseball, also led by Trout, the Angels will continue to cover plenty of ground for their pitchers.
Stock: Slightly Down
The Oakland Athletics have been torching the ball lately thanks in large part to owning the best plate discipline in the league. It is doubtful that the A’s will ever improve on their base running numbers, but their offense still ranks in the top 10. But it’s their improved pitching in the rotation and in the bullpen that has the A’s back in third place in our rankings as Scott Kazmir has taken over the rotation and Sean Doolittle has done a lot to whip that bullpen back into shape. The defense is still middle of the pack, but might be adequate enough for this team.
We already mentioned the loss of Fernandez and it’s a big loss to the Marlins’ rotation. A good rotation to begin with, Fernandez was definitely the anchor and now the Marlins will have to navigate the waters without their captain. While the rotation might be able to still be serviceable, the bullpen is still suspect and is set up to blow a lot of good performances from their starters. If anything, the Marlins have a really good offense, though their plate discipline could use some work, but that’s the dualistic reality of having Giancarlo Stanton on the team, a guy that strikes out on 25 percent of his plate appearances, but carries a powerful bat.
The St. Louis Cardinals stay steady at number five, but the Yankees dropped two slots to even things up with the Cards. Whereas the Yankees can out-slug teams, the Cardinals have been struggling on offense despite having good plate discipline as a collective unit. The Cards have a much better rotation while the Yankees have been more lucky than dominant, which leaves one to believe that the Yanks’ rotation will be the downfall of the club as they are backed up by a porous defense. But both clubs have strong bullpens and that should help both teams remain in our top 10.
Cards Stock: Even
Yanks Stock: Slightly Down
The Tigers are finally playing up to the hype, although they have never appeared in our rankings with a losing record. A reason for starting the year in 20th place in our rankings is because the offense got off to a slow start. However, the offense is now in the top 10 and once again, the rotation is in the top five. Nevertheless, the two things that proved to be their downfall in the 2013 ALCS was their bullpen and defense. Both have shown to be average so far this season.
Though Business Insider is not convinced about the Royals, their defense and bullpen has helped carry this club into our top 10. Wade Davis still has walk issues, but he seems to finally be comfortable in his bullpen role with Kansas City after getting lit up with a Line Drive Percentage (LD%) of 27.5 percent in 2013. The offense and rotation could use a lot of work to complete this team, but so far the Royals look like a team that will pick up the title of “Cinderella” if the Marlins should start seeing a dip in the rankings.
Stock: Slightly Down
Both teams made big jumps to appear in the top 10 this week although Business Insider really likes the Giants in their rankings. And for good reason. The rotation is making improvements and the bullpen can be dominant. The BoSox have also shown similar production as their bullpen is tied for fifth with the Giants. Meanwhile, their rotation is one spot behind, you guessed it, the Giants. Defense and offense are also similar, although, as has been the case with the Red Sox, their plate discipline is elite-level.
Stock for Both Teams: Even
Here’s how the rest of the teams panned out in this installment of FUBAR:
Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (FUBAR)
Indians–Moved up in rankings, but still outside the top 10. Plate discipline is top-notch, but defense is worst in baseball.
Brewers–Falling 10 spots, the shaky rotation and poor plate discipline finally caught up to this team. Bullpen and defense is still best aspect of team.
Padres–They mysteriously keep climbing our rankings despite having the worst offense in the Majors. It’s all pitching and defense for this club.
Dodgers–After getting dominated by the Giants last weekend, a top 15 appearance in these rankings is not much of a consolation. Bullpen and defense have been letting them down.
Nationals–Like Milwaukee, the Nats have seen a major drop in the rankings. Pitching has been stellar, but offense and defense has been inconsistent.
Reds–Finally making their top 20 debut, having the worst bullpen in the majors and the possible long-term absence of Votto might see them drop again.
Cubs–Just like the Padres, the Cubs continue to creep up in our rankings, causing much controversy from White Sox fans. But that starting rotation can be sick at times.
Pirates–Holding steady to that 19th spot, but BI opines this team is a lot worse than that. Plate discipline and base running are the positives worth mentioning.
Rockies–Off to a fast start and climbing up to eight in our charts, the Rockies lack of pitching has them ranked appropriately in FUBAR.
Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (FUBAR)
Rangers–A major disappointment, offense alone will not make this team a winner.
Blue Jays–Same applies to the Jays.
Mets–Remember when ESPN had them ranked at 13th in their rankings? ESPN hopes that you have forgotten.
Twins and Diamondbacks–It’s unbelievable the type of year the Twins have had on offense. The D’backs boast a pretty reliable bullpen.
Phillies–Excuses keep piling up for this team just like their losses.
Mariners–Being a game below .500 is some progress considering there’s very little to get excited about this team.
White Sox–Jose Abreu has been a great story, but they might just have the worst, overall, pitching staff in the bigs.
Astros–They continue to be consistent; consistently bad.