MLB Power Rankings Update: Week 6
All right, homies, I'm going to let you in on a little truth. These MLB Power Rankings are tainted. Yes, bretheren, an evil spirit has infiltrated the world of baseball and threatened the legitimacy of the sport we all hold so dearly.
This spirit has swooped in and deprived us of the one thing we could all look to as a glimmering light in an era of darkness: Jose Fernandez. Last week, I was writing about the Marlins were for real, the team was third in our power rankings, and everything was right with the world. Now, our golden child may be having Tommy John surgery. Is there no justice? Is there no freedom?
But, alas, compadres, the season continues. Despite the best attempts of the powers-that-be to strip us of a freaking awesome baseball season, there are still a bunch of fun storylines and great teams to follow. As we mourn the loss of our fallen hero (okay, so he's not dead, but you get what I'm saying), let us look back to this glorious sport and see which teams are still providing a beacon of hope to our lives.
In the rankings below, I'll list a team's nERD, chances at making the playoffs, chances at winning the World Series, and their last ranking on these power rankings. nERD is a numberFire-specific stat that shows how many runs above league average a team is. Zero is average, -1.16 is really bad (I'm looking at you, Houston). If you want a further explanation of nERD, you can click here. If you're a fan of a team not in our top five and want to know how they stack up, you can click here to see the full rankings.
1. Oakland Athletics
nERD: 1.93 | Playoffs: 68.0% | Championship: 9.8% | Last Ranking: 1st
Despite dropping three straight to the Mariners (the 21st-ranked team in our power rankings), the A's are still at the summit by a sizeable margin. Just accept Billy Beane as your overlord and move on.
The A's only have one player (Josh Donaldson) currently in the top 30 in WAR among position players, but the depth of this team is killer. Of the 11 A's that have recorded at least 80 plate appearances, 10 have an on-base percentage of at least .346. The only one that doesn't is Eric Sogard at .280.
One of the big reasons the A's have been so good is the freaky performance of Derek Norris. He's currently sitting at a .453 wOBA through his first 94 plate appearances with a 13.8 walk percentage and 11.7 strikeout percentage. Yeah, that's all going to deflate once his .394 BABIP normalizes, but, still he has a .415/.516/.623 slash over the last 28 days. Bravo, brudduh.
2. Detroit Tigers
nERD: 1.16 | Playoffs: 87.1% | Championship: 22.7% | Last Ranking: Not Ranked
Y'all didn't think the Tigers would struggle all season, did you? No? Grand. Because they're back to where we thought they'd be before the season. Hide yo bat kids, hide yo pine tar 'cuz they're beating everybody out here.
The Tigers have won 10 of their last 13 games (even though two of those three losses came to the mighty Minnesota Twins and the other to the Astros) to open up a 5.5 game lead in the AL Central. This is without even playing their best baseball yet.
Miguel Cabrera is still working his way back from a slow start with his wOBA at a shockingly human .351. You know that's going to come up as the season goes along. When you add in a healthy Victor Martinez who has already matched his 0.9 WAR from last year, you get a tasty team that'll push Oakland for that top spot in the not-too-distant future.
3. Colorado Rockies
nERD: 1.05 | Playoffs: 39.3% | Championship: 1.8% | Last Ranking: Not Ranked
Oh, hey, dere, Colorado. You think Troy Tulowitzki has anything to do with this ranking? Me thinks yes.
Tulo has sauntered to the dish 155 times this year. He has touched first base safely 49.7 percent of those trips. There are not words to describe how freaking disgusting that is. His .525 wOBA is on a video game level. Did I mention he also has 11 home runs? #GOAT!
The fun thing for the Rockies is that they have actually played more road games (22) than home games (18) so far this year. Give them 63 more games at home, and Tulowitzki may actually just earn automatic entrance into the Hall of Fame by August.
Random note: the Rockies' pitching staff actually has a better ERA at home (3.95) than they do on the road (4.07). You can't explain that!
4. Los Angeles Angels
nERD: 1.01 | Playoffs: 35.0% | Championship: 2.1% | Last Ranking: 4th
The Angels are still chilling in the top five of this list despite a bullpen ERA of 4.21, which ranks 23rd in the majors. Not too shabby.
Most of this is due to the dominant batting order the Angels are putting forth even without Josh Hamilton. The team ranks third in the majors with a .333 wOBA (even if that is a full 33 points lower than the Rockies). They also rank fifth in runs scored, third in slugging percentage, and fourth in home runs. They also lead the league in number of players named "Cowgill," so y'all can't tell me this team isn't going to contend this year.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
nERD: 0.71 | Playoffs: 58.2% | Championship: 8.1% | Last Ranking: 5th
He's baaaack. Clayton Kershaw made his triumphant return last week from a back injury, and dude has been in prime form. In his two starts since coming off the DL, Kershaw has thrown 14 innings, striking out 18 batters while walking exactly zero. It's a good time to be a Dodgers fan.
The great part for Los Angeles is that Kershaw's return has coincided with the re-freak-outification of Yasiel Puig. Over his last 12 games, Puig has a .400/.500/.694 slash to bring his wOBA back up to .418, which is actually better than what it was in his coming out party last year (.398). Puig has also started to reign in his swing-happy tendencies. His swing percentage at pitches outside the zone is down to 29.7 percent this year from 38.9 last year. This has helped him both raise his walk percentage (11.0 percent) and lower his strikeout percentage (20.1 percent). He still has a .396 batting average on ground balls (a whopping .156 points over the league average!), so he'll come back to earth eventually, but enjoy it while it lasts. He and Kershaw give the Dodgers more season-long sustainability on this list than the Angels even if the Angels are currently ranked higher.
Want to disagree? Go ahead! Just send us a tweet to @numberFire and let us know who's in your top five. Do whatever you need to do to get over the loss of our savior, Jose, and keep on loving this beautiful sport.