Power Rankings

I’ve always wanted to do power rankings and now I’ve decided to finally take a stab at it. These are done pretty simply: I use Pythagorean W% (RS^x/(RS^x+RA^x) with a flexible exponent based on run environment and adjust for strength of schedule. That’s it, that’s all there is to it. These rankings do not include last night’s games, but are a pretty good measure at where teams are at the All-Star break. I’ll probably post power rankings once a week through the rest of the season. Enjoy!

TEAM

xNeutW%

ANAHEIM

0.647

BOSTON

0.640

TEXAS

0.634

TORONTO

0.629

ATLANTA

0.621

CLEVELAND

0.610

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

0.592

OAKLAND

0.582

N.Y. YANKEES

0.571

SEATTLE

0.552

BALTIMORE

0.550

MINNESOTA

0.542

ST. LOUIS

0.536

DETROIT

0.527

N.Y. METS

0.524

PHILADELPHIA

0.522

FLORIDA

0.513

WASHINGTON

0.513

MILWAUKEE

0.492

CHICAGO CUBS

0.485

HOUSTON

0.455

PITTSBURGH

0.428

SAN DIEGO

0.423

KANSAS CITY

0.419

TAMPA BAY

0.418

CINCINNATI

0.397

LOS ANGELES

0.372

COLORADO

0.306

SAN FRANCISCO

0.304

ARIZONA

0.295

The second column is expected Win% based on runs scored and runs allowed adjusted for strength of schedule. Certainly, there are some shockers here.
The White Sox, 2.5 games ahead of the next-best team (St. Louis) in the real standings, aren’t even a playoff team here, as Cleveland jumps them. The American League absolutely kills the National League, with 11 out of the top-12 teams. Meanwhile, the bottom four teams come from the NL West, with the division leader coming in at 23rd.
There is one problem with these rankings, and it’s probably fairly obvious: there exists an interrelationship between the strength of a team and its strength of schedule. A good team hurts its opponents’ records, while a bad team helps them. The best way to avoid such a problem would be to use opponents’ records in games not played against the team in determining SOS. Also, a bad division hurts every team in it. Take for example the NL West: because it’s a bad division, each team has an easy SOS, making them look worse than they actually are. The opposite is true for the AL East and West. If we were to just rank teams according to their Pyth W%, the rankings would look like this:
1. ST. LOUIS
2. ATLANTA
3. CHICAGO WHITE SOX
4. ANAHEIM
5. CLEVELAND
6. TORONTO
7. BOSTON
8. TEXAS
9. N.Y. YANKEES
10. MINNESOTA
11. FLORIDA
12. SAN DIEGO
13. BALTIMORE
14. MILWAUKEE
15. OAKLAND
16. DETROIT
17. HOUSTON
18. N.Y. METS
19. WASHINGTON
20. CHICAGO CUBS
21. PHILADELPHIA
22. SEATTLE
23. PITTSBURGH
24. LOS ANGELES
25. SAN FRANCISCO
26. CINCINNATI
27. ARIZONA
28. COLORADO
29. KANSAS CITY
30. TAMPA BAY
San Diego gets a huge boost from this, as do the White Sox and St. Louis. Toronto leap-frogs Boston, Atlanta climbs even further, and Cleveland stays strong, though it does fall behind Chicago.
Still, I feel like there should be some adjustment for strength of schedule. But what I will do is regress it 50%, a number which is not randomly chosen, but I whose derivation I’d rather not explain. Anyways, the final power rankings are:
1. ANAHEIM
2. ATLANTA
3. BOSTON
4. CHICAGO WHITE SOX
5. TORONTO
6. TEXAS
7. CLEVELAND
8. ST. LOUIS
9. N.Y. YANKEES
10. OAKLAND
11. MINNESOTA
12. BALTIMORE
13. FLORIDA
14. DETROIT
15. SEATTLE
16. N.Y. METS
17. PHILADELPHIA
18. MILWAUKEE
19. WASHINGTON
20. CHICAGO CUBS
21. HOUSTON
22. SAN DIEGO
23. PITTSBURGH
24. LOS ANGELES
25. CINCINNATI
26. KANSAS CITY
27. TAMPA BAY
28. SAN FRANCISCO
29. ARIZONA
30. COLORADO
Anaheim is still at the top, but Atlanta and Chicago regain their rightful spaces as well. Three NL West teams still comprise the bottom but LA is a few spots higher than originally. San Diego is still 10 spots lower than it was in the Pythagorean rankings, but maybe that’s where it belongs, posting only a slightly positive run differential (+18) in such a bad division. Meanwhile, Seattle probably gets the biggest boost relative to its record because of its division. These final rankings suit me best, and I will use this system in the future.

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