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Brave New World: Updated MLB Rankings Per FUBAR

Felipe Melecio uses advanced stats to rank all 30 MLB teams based on offense, defense, and pitching.

Julio Teheran

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

For those that missed our initial rankings, FUBAR stands for Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings. It’s a fresh look at how we evaluate all 30 Major League Baseball teams using advanced statistics as opposed to traditional numbers and basing the rankings solely on win-loss records. For further explanation on FUBAR, you can look back and read the methodology. In short, we will use stats that help us better evaluate hitting, base running, plate discipline, pitching (both starting rotations and bullpen), and defense. And just like in golf, the lower the scorer, the better the team.

(Stats and standings are good through April 27, 2014. ESPN’s rankings are as of April 28, 2014).

Because of the randomness that comes with using a small sample size, we were expecting much turnover and fluctuation from plenty of teams. We have two new teams in our top five and five new teams in our top 10. We even have a new number one.

BRAVE NEW WORLD

Rank Team Total Points Win Loss Previous Difference

ESPN

1 Braves 70 17 7 4 3

2

It is amazing how the Atlanta Braves have continued to pitch well. Not just out of the bullpen, the starters have stepped up amidst a string of injuries. And despite the potential in their hitting lineup, they barely rank as an adequate offense. But as long as their pitching remains this good and they continue to have support from baseball’s best defense, the Braves can continue to hold on to the top spot.

Stock: Even

Rank Team Total Points Win Loss Previous Difference

ESPN

2 Brewers 93 18 7 1 -1

1

ESPN decided to put the Brewers ahead of the Braves based on win-loss record. Our rankings, however, show the Milwaukee Brewers 23 points behind the Braves. In our previous rankings, the Brew Crew only had a six-point lead over the Angels. The Brewers’ offense took a slight step backwards and their starting rotation went from elite level to top 15. And whereas they had the top bullpen last time, they lost that title to the Braves in these rankings. On the bright side, the defense has improved.

Stock: Even

Rank Team Total Points Win Loss Previous Difference

ESPN

3

Yankees 102 15 10 11 8

5

The Yanks have shown improvement at the plate and on the field and that was enough to catapult them to third place in our rankings despite the suspect pitching from both the rotation and the bullpen. If there’s a team that can depend solely on out-slugging other teams, the Yankees are the team to do it.

Stock: Slightly Down

Rank

Team Total Points Win Loss Previous Difference ESPN
4 Nationals 106 14 12 13 9

9

The Nats seem to be more balanced on offense, but the main reason for their ascension is their pitching staff as the team is finally throwing the ball up to expectations. There is a concern on defense and that might end up being the team’s Achilles’ heel for the rest of the season.

Stock: Slightly Down

Rank

Team Total Points Win Loss Previous Difference

ESPN

5

Cardinals 108 14 12 6 1

8

St. Louis has seen a dip in offensive production, but have seen better performances from their pitching and defense. They still have a good enough discipline at the plate where they can see an increase in offensive production.

Stock: Slightly Up

The rest of the top 10 looks like this:

Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (FUBAR)

Rank

Team Total Points Win Loss Previous Difference

ESPN

6

Rays 110 11 14 16 10

20

7

Marlins 111 11 14 15 8

25

8

Angels 112 11 13 2 -6

15

8

Athletics 112 15 10 3 -5

3

10 Dodgers 113 14 12 12 -2

7

The Tampa Rays made the most improvement from our previous rankings, moving up 10 spots. Much improved production on offense and a better bullpen are the main reasons why the Rays are in better position this time around, although ESPN is not convinced.

Here’s a surprise: the Miami Marlins might be better than people think they are. They are three games under .500, but there’s plenty to like about the Marlins and it begins with their starting rotation. The bullpen has been doing better of late as well. With a more consistent offense, this team would be getting more hype.

Our number two team in Orange County dropped in the rankings, but are still in the top 10. They still have potential to score plenty of runs on offense, but their pitching has been a concern all season long and it’s cost them in these rankings. They are still blessed with a great defensive team.

The Oakland A’s have the best plate discipline in the league and one of the better offenses as well though their base running profiles as a station-to-station club. A slight dip in their performance in the starting rotation is partly the blame for their drop in the rankings. More concerning, however, is their defense which looked excellent in our last release, now looking more mediocre this time around.

The other team in Los Angeles, the Dodgers improved in our rankings thanks to a formidable rotation and better play on defense. If their offense can be more dependable, they can see their stock continue to climb.

Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (FUBAR)

Rank Team Total Points Win Loss Previous Difference

ESPN

11

Royals 113 12 12 17 7 17
12 Rockies 123 14 12 8 -4

11

13

Giants 125 15 10 14 1 10
14 Tigers 129 12 9 20 6

6

15

Indians 130 12 14 10 -5

26

The Kansas City Royals still have a suspect offense, but their bullpen might be the strength of the ball club. They definitely look like a team that can rely on pitching and defense for the rest of the season.

The Colorado Rockies fall out of the top 10 thanks to poor base running and pitching marks. The bullpen, which looked promising in our initial rankings, is currently sitting in the middle of the rankings this week. The defense continues to look good.

The San Francisco Giants continue to be in our top 15 as their record justifies them being placed as such. But there are concerns on offense, in their rotation, and defense. The bullpen, however, remains trustworthy.

The Detroit Tigers move up six spots as their offense saw a spike in their rankings and the starting rotation is making a case to be considered among the elites. However, the bullpen and defense continues to be a work in progress.

The Cleveland Indians saw even more improvement from their starting rotation, but a decrease in our offensive metrics. Their defense is making a case for worst in the league.

Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (FUBAR)

Rank

Team Total Points Win Loss Previous Difference ESPN
16 Padres 133 12 14 9 -7

26

16 Red Sox 133 12 14 18 2

14

16

Rangers 133 15 10 25 9 4

19

Pirates 137 10 16 7 -12

24

20 Blue Jays 142 12 13 5 -15

21

We have a three-way tie for 16th place.

San Diego looked like a top 10 team last time around, but their offense might be the worst in baseball and now the pitching and defense is slipping.

The BoSox move up a couple of notches as their hitting lineup and starters have slightly raised their level of play. They must play better defense if they want to continue their rise.

Finally living up to the hype, the Rangers offense looks like the force they might be on paper. They are in better shape since their last appearance on our rankings, but still look like a one-dimensional team.

The Pirates’ fledgling offense might need to step it up a bit as their pitching has taken a hit since our last rankings.

Toronto looked like an elite team in our first rankings release, but they’ve looked like a completely different team since. Offense has undergone a slump of sorts, while their pitching has not only come down to earth, but has helped bury this team.

Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (FUBAR)
Rank Team Total Points Win Loss Previous Difference ESPN
21 Reds 155 11 14 23 2 16
22 Mets 156 14 11 26 4 13
23 Cubs 161 8 16 22 -1 28
24 Twins 164 12 11 21 -3 19
25 Phillies 168 13 12 24 -1 23

Slight improvement on offense and starting rotation, but the Reds’ bullpen might be the worst in baseball.

The worldwide leader likes the New York Mets, but FUBAR only sees a modest increase in performance. The bullpen still could be better.

The Chicago Cubs have a woeful record, but FUBAR shows a team with a decent starting rotation. Defense has dipped since the previous rankings.

The Twins’ offense has been very surprising, but that gets offset by having the league’s worst starting rotation.

Philadelphia is undergoing a slow death in our rankings. Nothing improved since our last rankings and they’re actually getting worse despite being a game over .500.

Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (FUBAR)

Rank

Team Total Points Win Loss Previous Difference ESPN
26 White Sox 185 13 13 27 1

18

27

Diamondbacks 186 8 20 28 1 29
28 Orioles 190 12 12 29 1

12

29

Mariners 200 10 14 19 -10 27
30 Astros 233 9 17 30 0

30

The White Sox can definitely swing the bats, led by rookie sensation Jose Abreu. Everything else about the team is highly suspect, making their .500 record look very fluky.

At least Arizona’s bullpen is dependable.

Orioles’ offense actually showed some improvement, but with Chris Davis on the disabled list, things might get real ugly.

The Mariners are self-destructing out west. There’s virtually no good news to be seen in Seattle.

Sometime in the future, we’re going to look back and just laugh at how bad the Houston Astros used to be. Instead, we get to laugh at how bad they are now.

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