MLB Final 2019 Power Ranking

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Bob Melvin guided the Oakland Athletics into the MLB playoffs for the fifth time in nine years at the helm, and his club finished on top of the regular season Power Rankings

 

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of the six-month long Major League Baseball regular season. The statistics have been tabulated, and it is now time to reveal my final 2019 MLB Power Ranking.

After ascending to the pinnacle of the rankings for the first time all season back in mid-September, the Oakland Athletics have edged out their American League West Division rival Houston Astros for the top spot.

The A’s were the top defensive team in baseball this year based on the qualifying component for that category in the rankings formula (see below.) They were also fifth in pitching and eighth in offense, and were tied for the third-best win-loss record over the last 30 days of the season.

Houston was tied for the best record over those last 30 days. The Astros finished third in both offense and pitching. It was Houston’s 11th-ranked defense that allowed Oakland to slip past them for the top overall spot.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who held the status as top team in the National League for most of the summer before yielding that place to the Atlanta Braves, have finished the year as the NL’s top-ranked ball club.

The Dodgers had the top-ranked pitching staff and the fifth-ranked offense. They also finished with the third-best record over the final month of the season. If the Dodgers have a possible Achilles heel heading into the postseason it would be their 20th ranked defense.

Entering the MLB postseason, the Dodgers are the favorites to three-peat, capturing their third consecutive NL pennant. If the accomplish the feat, Los Angeles will advance as National League champions into the World Series once again.

The Dodgers have not captured a world championship since the 1988 team led by Orel Hershiser and Tommy Lasorda were spurred on to an upset victory over Oakland by Kirk Gibson‘s historic Game One walk-off home run off Dennis Eckersley.

I have seen a number of outlets and writers installing the Astros, who won the first World Series crown in franchise history back in 2017, as prohibitive favorites this year.

The rankings show that Houston indeed deserves to be considered one of the strongest favorites once again. But the statistics and game results reveal that the Athletics deserve to be at least considered as a co-favorite.

One major problem for Oakland? They have to face the Tampa Bay Rays, who finished fourth in these final rankings, in a winner-take-all American League Wildcard Game. And as we all known, anything can happen in just one game.

The Rays will be a tough out. Tampa had the second-ranked pitching staff and were one of those teams tied with Oakland for the third-best record over the most recent 30 days. The two teams should provide some real playoff drama.

The National League Wildcard Game will feature the Washington Nationals hosting the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brew Crew rallied after the loss of NL MVP candidate Christian Yelich for the season due to injury to finish tied with Houston for the best record in all of MLB over the final month.

However, the host Nationals have the sixth-ranked offense and eighth-ranked pitching staff. If they can get past Milwaukee, the Nats will make for a very difficult opponent for the Dodgers in an NLDS.

Two teams who will not be in the MLB postseason this year are the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians. And yet those two clubs finished seventh and eighth-ranked overall, showing that they each had playoff-caliber talent.

Arizona won 85 games, finishing 21 behind the Dodgers in the National League West Division standings. The Dbacks were four games behind Milwaukee for the second NL Wildcard playoff berth.

The Indians won 93 games, but finished eight in back of the 101-win Twins in the American League Central Division. The Tribe also finished three games behind Tampa Bay for the second and final AL Wildcard berth.

The Philadelphia Phillies, my hometown team, slumped to 16th place in the final 2019 MLB Power Rankings. This was after the club had occupied the 14th slot over the last couple of months.

As I have stated during each period, my personal feelings have no bearing on these MLB Power Rankings. Instead, each team’s position is all about actual performance: their results in the standings, as well as in the key statistical categories.

RANKINGS METHODOLOGY

The formula for compiling the rankings is always being researched and evaluated to see if it can be improved upon.

Currently, that formula is made up of the following categories: winning percentageruns-per-gameOPS against, and “defensive runs saved” as measured by Fangraphs.

As each season unfolds, some teams improved dramatically while others slumped badly. In both the Labor Day and mid-September ranking, the season-long winning percentage was replaced by each team’s win percentage over their most recent 30 games. That remains so with this final 2019 ranking.

The ‘Win-Loss’ component reflects each team’s ability to actually win ball games. ‘OPS against’ reflects a pitching staff’s ability to control the game and limit damage.

The runs-per-game component acknowledges that teams play various numbers of games as of the time of each ranking. For example, it wouldn’t be fair to consider a club that had scored 100 runs over 50 games as effective as a club who scored 100 runs over just 45 games.

Each club’s place in the four component categories gets them assigned a 1-30 numerical value. Those are added up to determine a final ranking points total.

Where there are any ties, those are broken using each team’s winning percentage over the last 30, and then by their current overall winning percentage since, in the end, winning is what it’s all about.

2019 SEPTEMBER 16 –  MLB RANKINGS

In parentheses below are each team’s final 2019 total ranking points:

  1. Oakland Athletics (17)
  2. Houston Astros (18)
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers (29)
  4. Tampa Bay Rays (30)
  5. Minnesota Twins (36)
  6. Saint Louis Cardinals (36)
  7. Arizona Diamondbacks (37)
  8. Cleveland Indians (37)
  9. Washington Nationals (39)
  10. New York Yankees (41)
  11. Atlanta Braves (42)
  12. Milwaukee Brewers (44)
  13. Boston Red Sox (45)
  14. Chicago Cubs (50)
  15. New York Mets (55)
  16. Philadelphia Phillies (59)
  17. Los Angeles Angels (72)
  18. Cincinnati Reds (73)
  19. Kansas City Royals (74)
  20. Texas Rangers (75)
  21. San Francisco Giants (76)
  22. Colorado Rockies (78)
  23. Toronto Blue Jays (82)
  24. San Diego Padres (83)
  25. Chicago White Sox (91)
  26. Miami Marlins (91)
  27. Seattle Mariners (93)
  28. Pittsburgh Pirates (94)
  29. Baltimore Orioles (105)
  30. Detroit Tigers (115)

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