Introducing Dynamic Power Rankings

Back at the season’s quarter mark, I provided my in-depth Power Rankings for all 30 MLB teams. While I will continue with those (likely posting again at the All-Star break), I wanted to also try to include a rankings that could be updated more frequently. Therefore, I am introducing my new Dynamic Power Rankings.

The point of these rankings is to visually compare the playoff outlooks for each team around the league. Rather than using my own discretion in regards to how I feel about each team, this list will be solely performance based. It will list all 30 teams in order of winning percentage, along with some important pieces of information such as team OPS and team ERA, as well as the team’s run differential. You can view the rankings in the image below, then read on for more information on how to interpret them.

Dyn_Rankings_6-19-16

Generally speaking, these rankings based on winning percentage fall in a reasonable order. Teams could slide up or down depending on injuries or personal opinion, but all in all the list is solid. What should stand out, however, is the final column with the “Outlook” header. This column compares each team’s current run differential, OPS and ERA totals to both playoff and world series teams of the recent past. In order for a team to be “World Series Hopeful,” they must be ranked better than X in OPS, Y in ERA, and Z in run differential; X, Y, and Z representing specific parameters set be teams who have previously reached the world series. Similarly, for a team to be “Playoff Hopeful,” they need to meet X, Y and Z in respect to parameters set be previous playoff teams. The remaining teams that do not meet all of the requirements are classified as “Outside Looking In.” The image below depicts the parameters.

Dynamic Rankings Reference

Between 1998 and 2015, which is the period of time after the most recent expansion, no team has made the playoffs with a team OPS ranked lower than 11th in the AL and 13th in the NL. Similarly, no team in that span has made the playoffs with a staff ERA worse than 13th in either league. For run differential, I set the mark for making the playoffs as having to be in the positive range. Since 2003 (which is the earliest that ESPN  provides run differentials), only two teams have made it to the playoffs with a negative Rdif: the 2005 Padres and the 2007 Diamondbacks. Furthermore, each of these teams played in the NL West during a time when none of the teams from that division were very good, and therefore were able to get in by not being quite as bad as the division rivals. Given these parameters, for a team in the AL to be playoff hopeful, they need be ranked at least 11th in OPS AND 13th in ERA AND have a positive run differential.

The world series was done in a similar fashion, however the parameters for making it to baseball’s finals are a bit more strict. The necessary team rank for OPS and ERA in each league was increased, while run differential cut-offs were set at 27 (AL) and 19 (NL) respectively instead of zero. Thus, for a team to be world series hopeful in the AL, they must be ranked at least 8th in OPS, 6th in ERA, and have a +27 or better run differential. Again, any teams not meeting all requirements for either the world series or the playoffs are classified as outside looking in.

So there you have it, my first publishing of Dynamic Power Rankings for the 2016 season. It is not an exact science, but it does paint a reasonably accurate picture as to where each team stands at this point in the season. I will be re-posting these rankings every week or two throughout the remainder of the regular season, to go along with my quarterly comprehensive rankings.

Statistics courtesy of ESPN and FanGraphs.

Header photo courtesy of FanDuel.

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