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In an effort to better understand our Major League Baseball Rankings (FUBAR which stands for Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings), we will take a look at the separate components that makes up FUBAR. As explained in our Introduction to FUBAR, one of the things we look at is hitting prowess. FUBAR takes into account how well teams are hitting the ball for average and power, and simply getting on base. The stat that best exemplifies those characteristics we’re looking for is Weighted On-Base Average, wOBA for short.
What is wOBA? Per fangraphs.com, it is “one of the most important and popular catch-all offensive statistics” that is based on the idea that “not all hits are created equal.” The function of wOBA is to truly capture offensive value of a “player’s production at the plate.” Hence, this is why we use wOBA as the stat that best represents the idea of “hitting prowess” and offensive production as opposed to other stats like On-Base Percentage or OPS.
For example, when we say that the Atlanta Braves offense “has been brutal as their hitting prowess has been one of the worst in all of baseball,” we mean that they were ranked 27th in wOBA at the time those rankings were posted.
Let’s take a look at the top offensive teams in MLB, per wOBA (stats are good through May 24, 2014):
|2014 Top MLB Offensive Teams|
Eight teams are ranked in the top 10 in runs per game (R/G), on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Seven teams on this list are also in the top 10 in home runs and batting average. So if it’s offense you are looking for, these are the 10 teams to watch. By the way, here is a list of games where the top offensive teams will face each other this week:
- Cleveland Indians vs Chicago White Sox in a Midwest Meeting
- Detroit Tigers vs Oakland Athletics: rematch of the 2013 ALDS
- Colorado Rockies vs Cleveland Indians: odd, interleague pairing
- Los Angeles Angels vs Oakland Athletics: battle of West Coast Supremacy
Obviously, a team is only as good as their players. So let’s take a closer look at the players that have helped make these teams the best offensive clubs in the league so far this season:
Colorado Rockies: First of all, Troy Tulowitzki leads the league in wOBA among all qualified hitters. Before you roll your eyes and point out the fact that the Rockies’ ballpark is a big reason why their offensive numbers look good, Tulowitzki’s road wOBA of .393 still ranks him 21st among qualified hitters. So he’s doing his part. Admittedly, the Rockies are 17th in wOBA on the road, but their slugging percentage away from Denver still ranks them 11th. Another player worth noting is Nolan Arenado who has a road wOBA of .359.
Toronto Blue Jays: Here come the Jays! They are on a six-game winning streak as their offense has been carrying the team for most of the season. Led by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, this powerful duo is a true force to be reckoned with.
Detroit Tigers: It’s actually Victor Martinez, not Miguel Cabrera, that has been the Tigers’ best hitter all season long. Martinez’s wOBA ranks sixth among all qualifying hitters. Even the traditional slash line of batting average/on-base/slugging, Martinez has had the upper hand over the reigning MVP.
Oakland Athletics: Brandon Moss leads the team in wOBA at .408. His Achilles’ heel throughout his career has been left-handed pitching. Well, this year, though in limited playing time, he’s been lighting up southpaws with a .459 wOBA. He still strikes out at an alarming rate against lefties, but perhaps this is a good sign that he’s developing as an everyday hitter.
Miami Marlins: This year’s surprise team is better known for their pitching, but it’s the offense that has made plenty of noise this season. Giancarlo Stanton ranks fifth in wOBA. However, as we’ve mentioned in our most recent overview of available first basemen, Garrett Jones has stepped up this season and has looked like a great, all-around hitter this year.
Los Angeles Angels: Our current second ranked team, any conversations about offensive prowess begins and ends with Mike Trout. However, Albert Pujols is having a bounce-back year of sorts and Howie Kendrick has had a really good start to this season.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Just like Trout, any talk about the Dodgers’ offense begins and ends with Yasiel Puig. He currently ranks second in wOBA.
Cleveland Indians: Not enough credit is given to Michael Brantley‘s torrid start to the season. He’s hitting for power, average, and doing it with a BABIP of.294, indicating that there’s very little luck involved in Brantley’s numbers.
Chicago White Sox: So Jose Abreu has been out with an injury. That’s okay, because Adam Dunn has picked up the slack and currently leads the team in wOBA. Be sure to read our more detailed profile of Dunn.
New York Yankees: All the big names and big free agent acquisitions, and it’s a virtual unknown that leads the Yankees in on-base, slugging, and wOBA. Yangervis Solarte is currently signed to a one-year, $500,000 contract.
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