Can you smell October? MLB playoffs are right around the corner with the first wildcard matchup happening tonight at 8PM EST. There are a lot of intangibles in determining who the best teams are in the post season but I’ve taken a stab at doing some rankings based on some statistics from each team’s season. Of course you pretty much throw the regular season out right now, but don’t think it doesn’t play an impact.
It’s no surprise to see the Dodgers on the top of the WAR charts. After all, they have bought some top players and Yasiel Puig, Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke amount to half of their team WAR. It’s also not suprising to me to see who the bottom teams are since they have been scraping by without a lot of big names on their rosters.
There is a whole run per game difference between the top team and bottom team here in terms of runs scored. OBP is all pretty similar with the Tigers, Dodgers, and Pirates rounding out the top and Orioles, Giants, and Royals at the bottom. Speed is an interesting factor and given the base stealing speedsters on the Dodger and Royals, it’s no shock to see them at the top.
If it all comes down to pitching, the Nationals, Orioles and Pirates are in good shape with the lowest team ERA though the Angels, Nationals, and Orioles take top spot for least runs allowed.
The Orioles, Athletics and Royals are tops when it comes to ERA out of the pen and the Orioles, Athletics, Royals and Pirates give up the least late inning runs. I think the discrepancy here is huge with teams getting almost twice as many runs out of the Tigers bullpen than the Athletics bullpen.
There is a clear divide here between the teams whose defense benefits them (the top 6) and those whose defense becomes a liability (like Detroit and Pittsburgh)
Total Team Rankings:
Dodgers: Weak on defense and relief pitching but really strong on overall team, starting pitching and offensive production. If they get out and score early while their starting pitching holds things down, they will go far.
Angels: Pretty well rounded all around. Weak spot is relief pitching if you are to believe these stats and starting pitching includes Garrett Richards who is on the DL. The key to the Angels going far is getting good work out of their starting pitching. Their very strong offense may win them games either way.
Orioles: Aside from offense, they are near the top in just about everything. If they can score, they will be trouble, but facing great pitching in the post season could be their undoing.
Pirates: Middle of the road in most stats. They are perhaps hanging on by a thread and will need a lot of things to go their way.
Nationals: Very strong starting pitching. If their pitchers can hold it down they will do well. Fairly middle of the road in most other stats though. They will do really well against teams with weak offense (Giants, Cardinals).
Giants: About the same as the Pirates this year. Middle of the road in most categories, their days are likely number unless their stars align just right.
Tigers: They won the division on the strength of their offense. Many will be surprised to see them no the bottom for pitching stats – keep in mind I pulled the SECOND half stats after they got David Price and Justin Verlander started to get a bit better. If their pitching staff excels, they will go far.
Athletics: Once, the best team in baseball, they now only are near the top with relief pitching. Their offense has weakened and starting pitching has faltered a bit. They may not make it past the Angels if they get through the wildcard game.
Royals: Pretty middle of the road but with a strong bullpen. If they can get a lead and early they have a chance to win some games.
Cardinals: Possibly the weakest of the final 10 teams. They have good defense and that’s about it. I expect them to get bumped out pretty handily by the Dodgers.