I am blatantly stealing this idea from Phil Rogers of MLB.com. He wrote an article yesterday at SportsonEarth.com in which he revealed his Playoff Power Rankings, based upon the statistics that he felt were most relevant.
Mr. Rogers and I disagree on which statistics are the best predictors of a team’s playoff performance, but his ideas intrigued and inspired me, so I decided to have a go at my First (and, if anwhere close to accurate) Annual SABERBUCS Playoff Power Rankings.
Mr. Rogers made the excellent point that when one is assessing the playoff chances of any team, second half stats are, logically, and most likely, more meaningful than the full-season stats. What a team did in the first-half may have helped them reach the playoffs, but the first-half ended about 70 games ago. A team’s level of play – and roster – likely has changed over that time. What they are doing now matters a lot more – regarding playoff potential – than what they did from March 31 through the first week of July.
Therefore, I took a look at the second-half, team statistics which best measure overall hitting and pitching; weighted Runs Created Plus, xFIP Minus, and FIP Minus.
Those three stats are all based on an average of 100. wRC+ and FIP- adjust for league and home park, but I believe that xFIP- only adjusts for league. So, since I prefer xFIP to FIP, but still wanted an adjustment for home park, I used the average of each team’s FIP- and xFIP-.
I also needed to convert the xFIP- and FIP- stats to XFIP Plus and FIP Plus in order to make them congruent with the weighted Runs Created Plus stat. A “minus stat” means that the numbers below 100 are better than average. With a “plus stat,” the higher numbers are better.
The conversion was pretty simple. If a team had a 95 FIP-, I turned it into a 105.
I, then, calculated the averages of a team’s wRC+ and xFIP+/FIP+ to come up with that team’s SABERBUCS Playoff Power Ranking. 100 is average and the higher numbers are better.
SABERBUCS PLAYOFF POWER RANKINGS (“SPPR”, listed from worst to best)
12. Milwaukee Brewers: wRC+ 88; xFIP+/FIP+ 99; SPPR: 93.5
11. Oakland Athletics: wRC+ 89; xFIP+/FIP+ 100; SPPR: 94.5
10. St. Louis Cardinals: wRC+ 98; xFIP+/FIP+ 94; SPPR: 96
9. Kansas City Royals: wRC+ 91; xFIP+/FIP+ 105; SPPR: 98
8. Seattle Mariners: wRC+ 90; xFIP+/FIP+ 109; SPPR: 99.5
7. Los Angeles Angels: wRC+ 99; xFIP+/FIP+ 105; SPPR: 102
6. San Francisco Giants: wRC+ 111; xFIP+/FIP+ 97; SPPR: 104
5. Detroit Tigers: wRC+ 104; xFIP+/FIP+ 106.5; SPPR: 105.3
4. Baltimore Orioles: wRC+ 105; xFIP+/FIP+ 108.5; SPPR: 106.8
3. Los Angeles Dodgers: wRC+ 110; xFIP+/FIP+ 104.5; SPPR: 107.3
2. Washington Nationals: wRC+ 104; xFIP+/FIP+ 111; SPPR: 107.5
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: wRC+ 116; xFIP+/FIP+ 101; SPPR: 108.5
In 1971, Roberto Clemente led the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4 games to 3 World Series championship over the Baltimore Orioles.
In 1979, Willie Stargell led the Pirates to a 4-3 World Series Championship over the Baltimore Orioles.
2014 is Andrew McCutchen’s year to do the same.