It’s been a very interesting Major League Baseball season thus far. Just like Hurricane Arthur, it has provided a whirlwind of unpredictability. All season long, Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (or FUBAR for short) has been patiently accumulating data to create a large sample size for the 2014 season. But in honor of this surprising season, we’re going to throw a curve ball and revert back to a small sample size as we take a look back at the month of June.
Best Hitting Prowess: based on Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA), this is the stat used when evaluating overall hitting prowess (as opposed to batting average, OPS, etc.). Please be sure to read our more detailed explanation on wOBA.
- Detroit Tigers: All the big name hitters on the squad and it was J.D. Martinez, with support from Ian Kinsler, that led the way for the Tigers’ lineup.
- Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones finished the month of June with a wOBA of .440.
- Milwaukee Brewers: Usually the top two teams are recognized, but the Brewers are worth mentioning here. Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy (who should be the National League’s All-Star catcher) were in the top 10 in wOBA last month.
- Brewers: Another category where the Brew Crew excels, they were led by Jean Segura in this category.
- Miami Marlins: The Marlins actually tied the Brewers in this category. No particular player would be considered a league leader in this stat, so this was a total team effort.
Best Plate Discipline: We use Walks:Strikeouts (BB:K) to evaluate a team’s discipline.
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Hanley Ramirez walked more than he struck out in the month of June. So did A.J.Ellis.
- Tampa Bay Rays: No surprise here as the Rays pride themselves in compiling a lineup that understand the strike zone.
Best Overall Offensive Teams:
- Brewers: Brewers also ranked seventh in plate discipline.
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen is once again carrying this team, but it would appear he has a bit more help this season.
- Rays: Their struggles can’t be blamed on their offense.
The Ugly (RIP in Eli Wallach)
Worst Hitting Prowess:
- San Diego Padres: Padres futility continued in June.
- Marlins: Suddenly, the feel-good story of the year early on in the season have forgotten to hit.
Worst Base Running:
- Dodgers: They can take a walk, but it would appear that they don’t know what to do once they’re on base.
- Chicago White Sox: There are nights when this team looks as if a road map could not help this club navigate the base paths.
Worst Plate Discipline:
- Chicago Cubs: Chicago baseball is just full of offensive woes. At least Anthony Rizzo provides a bright spot here.
- Seattle Mariners: Not surprising to see this team at the bottom of this category as having guys like Michael Saunders and Justin Smoak on the squad will help rack up the strikeouts.
Worst Overall Offensive Teams:
- Chicago Cubs: Surprisingly, the San Diego Padres did not top this list.
- San Diego Padres: Oh, there they are.
Pitching in FUBAR is evaluated by using two advanced stats: Field Independent Pitching (FIP–basically takes into account a pitcher’s ability to strikeout hitters, limit walks and home runs) and Skills-Interactive ERA (SIERA–like FIP, but also accounts for balls in play).
Best Starting Rotation:
- Rays: With every game that David Price pitches, his price continues to rise like a Maya Angelou poem.
- Dodgers: Life is peachy when you have arguably the best pitcher in baseball: Clayton Kershaw.
- Washington Nationals: Don’t look now, but the Nationals are starting to look like a formidable rotation. And that’s taking into account the struggles of Stephen Strasburg.
- Cubs: As if the team didn’t have enough arms on the trading block, here comes Jake Arrieta as a potential trading chip.
- Mariners: A big reason for the M’s turnaround. Fernando Rodney led the way with nine saves and 11 quality innings pitched.
- Dodgers: If facing their rotation wasn’t bad enough for hitters, the bullpen is equally as good.
- Philadelphia Phillies: It’s been a miserable season, but the bullpen provided some hope.
- Padres: What they lack in offense, they more than make up for it in pitching. Joaquin Benoit has proven to be a smart acquisition.
Worst Starting Rotation:
- Orioles: As much as people want to jump on the O’s bandwagon, that rotation does not look very playoff-caliber.
- Colorado Rockies: Typical Rockies.
- Texas Rangers: It’s the Yu Darvish show and that’s it.
- Rockies: At one point of the season, the Rockies’ bullpen looked pretty good. Not anymore.
- Houston Astros: June saves leader Chad Qualls posted a Strikeout/9 (K/9) of 5.06. That’s not going to scare anyone but the Astros.
- Minnesota Twins: FUBAR has been overly critical of their starting rotation. To their credit, the Twins’ rotation looked good in June. Unfortunately, their bullpen was terrible.
Here’s how all 30 teams ranked in the month of June, including their run differential for that month:
FUBAR in June
|Team||Total Points||Win||Loss||Run Diff|
Three teams on this list failed to accumulate 15 or more wins: Rays, Cardinals, and Padres. The Rays are a frustrating team to watch as they would appear to have the hitting and pitching to overcome a suspect defense.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, were mired in a hitting slump in June while their pitching was very mediocre, but their defense was able to hold that team somewhat steady.
FUBAR loves the Padres’ pitching and defense, but that offense is so putrid and the -35 run differential definitely magnifies the lack of hitting.
FUBAR in June
Most fans will question the Red Sox being ahead of the Tigers in these rankings. The Tigers have a more potent offense and their rotation came alive in June. However, the Red Sox bullpen is in much better shape and their defense is galaxies ahead of Detroit’s.
Why is an 18-game-winner Brewers’ squad only a middle-of-the-pack team last month? We’ve mentioned how good the Brewers’ offense was in June, but their pitching staff was nothing to brag about and really crippled their points’ total in these rankings.
FUBAR IN JUNE
The Orioles are the only winning team in June that is ranked in our bottom third list. Why does FUBAR hate the Orioles so much? As mentioned before, the O’s had the worst rotation in baseball last month as well as the 20th ranked bullpen. Even their elite defense can’t help overcome a bad pitching staff, though their offense is certainly trying as they helped create a run differential of 21.
The Orioles are not the only one on this table representing the American League East: the Yankees and Blue Jays also had a terrible month of June.
And that was baseball in the month of June. Three months down, three more to go.
All stats courtesy of fangraphs.com.