Early Off-Season MLB Power Rankings
I will be doing weekly MLB Power Rankings based off of projection systems throughout the offseason and into the season. Steamer is the only projection system available at the moment and already corrects each team for accurate playing time. The rankings will change with more and more signings and trades! I will give notes on what happened around the league each week to affect the rankings and who moved up, and who moved down.
Steamer is a projection system that is publicly available through FanGraphs. Steamer is constantly updated with every free agent signing and every trade on a team to team basis. Signing a player like Tim Hudson reduces the playing time projection of other pitchers on the Giants, for example. Signings of more players also increases the replacement level of the league, so that the league WAR and wins is always the same. A replacement level team should win 47.7 games.
I have compiled the current projections (as of Nov 19, 2013) for each team and converted to wins. If there are vacant playing time spaces on teams (where a FA is missing), it is usually filled with players from the team, or is assumed to be filled with a replacement player (0.0 WAR). Recent international free agent signees, Jose Abreu (White Sox) and Alex Guerrero (Dodgers), are not projected by Steamer, so I have arbitrarily assigned them both 1.5 WAR (could be conservative).
You might say “The Red Sox won the WS, they have to be #1″ or “The Yankees are too low, they know how to win”. Just keep in mind that this is strictly projections and not subject to any bias (save for my projections of Guerrero and Abreu). I have not done any adjusting whatsoever. Also keep in mind that this is based off of CURRENT ROSTERS. Free agents are not included.
Here are the current MLB Power Rankings based on Steamer Projections (increase table view to 50 if each team is not already listed). The previous ranking column here is based off of actual 2013 team WAR.
Wow! This gives a lot of hope for the 2014 Blue Jays season. This is the projected total with this lineup:
2B Izturis/Goins (split evenly)
The Blue Jays are expected to find another C, 2B, and a SP or two this offseason. This could increase the current projections, but it’s not as black and white as just adding their WAR. Playing time has to be adjusted, and other league signings affect the baseline for WAR as well. With the right additions, I could see this team be projected to win 89-90 games!
Here are the Divisions with these projections, with playoff teams bolded:
Red Sox 88-75
Blue Jays 87-76
White Sox 74-88
Three way tie for the 2nd wild card with A’s, Rays, and Jays!
Theoretical World Series: Tigers vs. Diamondbacks with Tigers winning it all.
Note: Josh Johnson is not included, as the data extraction was before his signing. He is projected for 2.4 WAR and this likely pulls the Padres to 81-81 while two other teams somewhere would lose a win.