Toying Around With the Rankings

MLB Power Rankings


This week is the All-Star Edition of the Talk Back Fans Power Rankings . . .


#30 Kansas City Royals (27-68, -193, LW:  30)

All-Star(s):  Salvador Perez, C

I have been thinking about this for a couple of weeks, watching as the Royals have gone 7-32 since June 1:  how much is going all in for a title really worth?  The Royals won it all in 2015 and put their eggs in one basket, giving up three young arms for a few months of Johnny Cueto.  Cueto wasn’t exactly brilliant for the Royals (4.06 FIP, 88 ERA+ in 81.1 innings), but the Royals were World Series champs.  Cueto signed with the Giants that offseason started almost immediately.  In 2016 they were .500 and last year were 80-82.  Now they have dipped to the levels of the early part of this century.  For the fifth time since the Y2K panic the Royals will lose 100 games.  While it seems great that they won a championship, I’m not sure how much people are enjoying it now.


#29 Baltimore Orioles (28-69, -159, LW:  29)

All-Star(s):  Manny Machado, SS


#28 San Diego Padres (40-59, -100, LW:  26)

All-Star(s):  Brad Hand, RP


#27 Chicago White Sox (33-62, -126, LW:  26)

All-Star(s):  Jose Abreu, 1B


#26 Detroit Tigers (41-57, -70, LW:  25)

All-Star(s):  Joe Jimenez, RP


#25 New York Mets (39-55, -68, LW:  27)

All-Star(s):  Jacob deGrom, SP

Asdrubal Cabrera was signed out of Venezuela as a 17-year old by the Mariners in 2002.  In June of 2006 he was sent to the Indians for Eduardo Perez.  The Mariners got 102 plate appearances out of Perez, who retired after the season.  He made his major league debut in August of the following season for an Indians team in a heated pennant race with the Tigers.  The Tribe went 32-16 the rest of the way to win the AL Central.  He remained a solid player for the Indians, including two All-Star appearances.  He continues to remain a solid player, now for the Mets (116 OPS+ in 1488 PA’s for the Mets).  Despite the Mets’ downfall, Cabrera has posted a 127 OPS+ this season.  Not bad for a kid from Venezuela.


#24 Miami Marlins (41-57, -115, LW:  23)

All-Star(s):  J.T. Realmuto, C


#23 Texas Rangers (41-56, -63, LW:  18)

All-Star(s):  Shin-Soo Choo, OF


#22 Toronto Blue Jays (43-52, -44, LW:  21)

All-Star(s):  J.A. Happ, SP

For the first seven years of his big league career Justin Smoak was a disappointment.  Acquired by the Mariners for Cliff Lee as they were finally realizing that scoring runs mattered, Smoak was supposed to help the Mariners become contenders.  Four-plus seasons in Seattle did not provide much hope, though, as he posted a 97 OPS+.  He was waived by the Mariners after the 2014 season and was quietly picked up by the Blue Jays and put up similar production in his first two seasons in Toronto.  Last year he suddenly showed what people were expecting.  He set career highs in homers, average, OBP, slugging, RBI, and OPS+ while also starting the All-Star Game.  This year he’s putting up similar numbers despite the team’s struggles.  It took some time but every once in a while someone blooms late.


#21 Washington Nationals (48-48, +30, LW:  20)

All-Star(s):  Bryce Harper, OF, Max Scherzer, SP, Sean Doolittle, RP

Stephen Strasburg will be 30 on Friday and in nine seasons has only cleared 160 innings three times.  He’s expected to return from his latest DL stint on Friday as a big series with the Braves starts.  Of the many things the disappointing Nationals need to help turn them around, a healthy Strasburg for the second half would do wonders.


#20 St. Louis Cardinals (48-46, +11, LW:  17)

All-Star(s):  Miles Mikolas, SP, Yadier Molina, C

The last time the Cardinals made a mid-season managerial change was back in 1995 when Joe Torre was sent packing after just 47 games.  Matheny’s teams made the postseason in each of his first four seasons and overall were 591-474.  But they’ve failed to make the playoffs last season and are seven and a half back in the NL Central.  Not exactly sure what Matheny’s firing will do, but maybe they’ll find out how to fill in the holes that the likes of Kolten Wong and Dexter Fowler are boring.


#19 Minnesota Twins (44-50, -23, LW:  22)

All-Star(s):  Jose Berrios, SP


#18 Los Angeles Angels (49-48, +24, LW:  19)

All-Star(s):  Mike Trout, OF


#17 Pittsburgh Pirates (48-49, -25, LW:  24)

All-Star(s):  Felipe Vazquez, RP


#16 Cincinnati Reds (43-53, -32, LW:  15)

All-Star(s):  Joey Votto, 1B, Scooter Gennett, 2B, Eugenio Suarez, 3B


#15 Milwaukee Brewers (55-43, +49, LW:  4)

All-Star(s):  Josh Hader, RP, Jeremy Jeffress, RP, Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Lorenzo Cain, OF, Christian Yelich, OF


#14 San Francisco Giants (50-48, -26, LW:  16)

All-Star(s):  Brandon Crawford, SS, Buster Posey, C


#13 Seattle Mariners (58-39, -2, LW:  8)

All-Star(s):  Edwin Diaz, RP, Jean Segura, SS, Mitch Haniger, OF, Nelson Cruz, DH


#12 Atlanta Braves (52-42, +68, LW:  13)

All-Star(s):  Freddie Freeman, 1B, Nick Markakis, OF, Mike Foltynewicz, SP, Ozzie Albies, 2B


#11 Arizona Diamondbacks (53-44, +43, LW:  12)

All-Star(s):  Patrick Corbin, SP, Zack Greinke, SP, Paul Goldschmidt, 1B


#10 Tampa Bay Rays (49-47, +20, LW:  11)

All-Star(s):  Wilson Ramos, C, Blake Snell, SP


#9 Philadelphia Phillies (53-42, +18, LW:  9)

All-Star(s):  Aaron Nola, SP


#8 Cleveland Indians (52-43, +82, LW:  6)

All-Star(s):  Jose Ramirez, 3B, Corey Kluber, SP, Trevor Bauer, SP, Yan Gomes, C, Francisco Lindor, SS, Michael Brantley, OF

The good news:  Since May 15 Kipnis has an .820 OPS.  The bad news:  the season started on March 29, so his season numbers look bad.  But for a team in need of bullpen help, having Kipnis’ bat the way it is right now definitely helps.


#7 Los Angeles Dodgers (53-43, +82, LW:  10)

All-Star(s):  Matt Kemp, OF, Ross Stripling, SP, Kenley Jansen, RP


#6 Colorado Rockies (51-45, -1, LW:  14)

All-Star(s):  Nolan Arenado, 3B, Trevor Story, SS, Charlie Blackmon, OF


#5 Oakland Athletics (55-42, +24, LW:  7)

All-Star(s):  Blake Treinen, RP


#4 Chicago Cubs (55-38, +114, LW:  5)

All-Star(s):  Wilson Contreras, C, Javier Baez, 2B, Jon Lester, SP


#3 New York Yankees (62-33, +131, LW:  3)

All-Star(s):  Aaron Judge, OF, Luis Severino, SP, Aroldis Chapman, RP, Gleyber Torres, 2B


#2 Boston Red Sox (68-30, +163, LW:  2)

All-Star(s):  Mookie Betts, OF, J.D. Martinez, DH, Chris Sale, SP, Craig Kimbrel, RP


#1 Houston Astros (64-35, +188, LW:  1)

All-Star(s):  Jose Altuve, 2B, Justin Verlander, SP, Gerrit Cole, SP, Charlie Morton, SP, Alex Bregman, 3B, George Springer, OF



Today’s TBF Stat is a personal favorite.  It’s called the Favorite Toy and what it is for is to calculate just how much of a chance a player has to reach certain hitting significant milestones (500 homeruns, 3,000 hits, etc.)  What you need is the target number, the numbers from the player’s previous three seasons, their career total for that category, and the player’s age.  For example, with Miguel Cabrera’s season over, how much of a chance does he have at 3,000 hits?


First you need to figure out what a player’s Expected Remaining Hits are (or Homers or SB’s, whatever).  To get that we need Miggy’s age for next season – he’ll be 36 on April 18 – and his hit totals for the previous three seasons.  This past season Cabrera had 40 total hits until injury knocked him out for good, in 2017 he had 117 hits and in 2016 he had 188 hits.  The first part with his age is to estimate the number of seasons realistically left, so we take 42, subtract his age from that and divide the difference by two:


(42 – 36) / 2 = 3.00


Now, with his three seasons of hits, we take three times the most recent season, plus twice the season from two years ago, plus one times the season from three years ago:


40 x 3 = 120

117 x 2 = 234

188 x 1 = 188

120 + 234 + 188 = 542


Then we divide by six:


542 / 6 = 90.3333


We then multiply that sum times seasons remaining:

90.3333 x 3 = 271


So now we have his ERH.  Now we need to know how many hits he needs.  Entering next season Cabrera has 2,676 career hits, meaning he needs 324 more hits to reach 3,000.  We simply take his expected number, divide it by how many he needs, and subtract .50 from it:


271 / 324 = .836

.836 – .50 = .336


Meaning that Miguel Cabrera has about a 33.6% chance of reaching 3,000 career hits.  Now, some important things to note:


  1. This is only for significant career offensive numbers. It doesn’t apply to things like 100 career stolen bases.  And besides, no one cares about 100 career steals.


  1. It has no use in the middle of the season. This is only useful after the season.


  1. For players over 40, the estimated remaining seasons is always 1.00.


  1. The max for a player’s percentage is 100%.


Let go with Mike Trout and his shot at 600 career homeruns.  Entering this year Trout had 201 career homers and this is his age 26 season.  His last three years he has hit 33, 29, and 41 homeruns:  So:


42 – 26 = 16

16 / 2 = 8.00 estimated remaining seasons


33 x 3 = 99

29 x 2 = 58

41 x 1 = 41

99 + 58 + 41 = 198

198 / 6 = 33.00


33.00 x 8.00 = 264 expected homeruns remaining


264 / 399 = .662

.662 – .50 = .162


So Trout had about a 16% chance of reaching 600 homers by the end of his career coming into this year.


This isn’t to evaluate how good a player has been or how good they could be.  It’s just a fun way to figure “What kind of a chance does Player A have of reaching Number X?”  Our resident stat guy Danny loves to every once in a while just figure out “what kind of chance did Player B have of really achieving X?”


Well, enjoy the All-Star Game and until next week . . .

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