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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

MLB Power Rankings: Just how good are the Twins?

We know a few things for sure. The Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are the three best teams in baseball this season. The Atlanta Braves are a rung below, but still very much a challenger to L.A. in the National League.

What we didn’t completely know, but do now, is just what the Minnesota Twins were made of. The Twins, the most surprising of this season’s division leaders, were in a position over the weekend to almost let go of an AL Central lead they’d held since April.

The Cleveland Indians, the team most people figured would win the AL Central, were hosting the Twins for three games and trying to make a 3.5 game lead disappear. If the Indians got hot and swept the Twins? Yikes. It was lining up like one of those moments where Cinderella loses her shoe.

Only it wasn’t. The Twins won two of three, including a doubleheader sweep on Saturday that virtually put the race to bed. The Twins have a 4.5 game lead with an easy schedule ahead. And now the question becomes: How good are the Twins?

So, what do we think of these rankings?

QLE Posted: September 17, 2019 at 12:22 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: power rankings, twins

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: September 17, 2019 at 01:33 AM (#5879870)
I never pay any real attention to "power rankings." In college sports, they have a purpose because of multiple conferences, etc. In pro sports, who cares what the "power rankings" say, we've got actually head-to-head matchups and standings. And for the "yeah but that team is better/worse than they played", we have things like pythag or various adjusted standings at fangraphs or BPro to give you an "objective" view of how good a team "really" is. I suppose power rankings might better adjust for injuries.

On the Twins, it's a fair question. But unlike last year when Cleveland just piled up wins against the rest of the ALC while playing pretty much 500 against everybody else, the Twins are 20-12 against the East and 23-11 against the West. They are 26-26 against the Yanks, Rays, Sox, Astros, A's, Cleveland, so holding their own with the big boys. The main blemish is 6-10 against the NLE. Cle is similar to last year and are 22-30 against the other good teams ... although that is due to a disastrous 2-11 against Oak and TB.

The Yanks have absolutely walloped Bos and TB (26-10) but are 12-14 against Mn, Cle, Hou, A's. The Astros are 37-24 against the other 6, the A's at 28-24. The Rays are 15-13 plus lousy against Yanks and good against Bos.

To me that adds up to no pushovers but if you have to bet on just one, bet Astros. Just looking at run differential would mostly tell you that -- NYY, Oak, Minn pretty close; Astros way in front on 255. The NL is pretty similar -- Dodgers way out in front on differential; Cubs, Braves, Nats, Cards all pretty close ... Brewers being Brewers.
   2. TomH Posted: September 17, 2019 at 07:40 AM (#5879880)
The REAL STOOPID power rankings are at, where the Yankees are #1 over both LAD and HOU. You might as well say the college team from a weak sister conference who is 11-0 is #1 over a 1-loss Alabama or Clemson club. The Twins have been better than NYY in 2019, except in bunching hits at the right time.

But I agree with Walt, that ultimately the notion of power rankings is kind of useless in this and most North American team sports.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 17, 2019 at 08:09 AM (#5879883)
I grew up in a Big Ten town, so of course you always hear about whether or where the football and basketball teams are ranked. I was never much of a fan of the lesser sports, so it took me a while to find out that the vaunted ‘rank’ was based on nothing more than a poll of coaches’ opinions (this was pre-BCS). I remember being amazed, even as a kid, that it was discussed everywhere like it was some sort of factual, important actual thing. Pretty much cemented my impression of the lesser sports at the college level, although I do enjoy basketball to some extent.
   4. Cris E Posted: September 17, 2019 at 09:45 AM (#5879916)
Soooooo much of the How Good Are They this year comes down to when you ask, as most teams (in the AL at least) have had terrible injury problems. How good are the Twins without Sano, Cruz, Buxton, Gibson, etc or the Indians without Ramierez, Kluber, Salazer, Hand? And I hear some guys missed a few games in NY too. The playoffs are going to be a matter of who is playing that week. I know that 162 games tests the mettle blah blah blah, but this has to be one of the worst years I can remember with top talent going down like some WWI reenactment.
   5. DL from MN Posted: September 17, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5879955)
The loss of Pineda and Buxton are probably the biggest problems for the Twins. Everyone else looks to be available for the playoffs. I guarantee this team will rest after it clinches rather than chasing a slim chance at a higher seed, especially considering how well the Twins play on the road.
   6. Sunday silence Posted: September 17, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5880004)
playin .550 ball since Aug 6 or thereabouts. So they cant be that strong. Maybe sampling bias here but they're obviously not as strong as they started.
   7. Blastin Posted: September 17, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5880013)
The Twins have been better than NYY in 2019, except in bunching hits at the right time.

Look, if you want to just rank teams by pythag... okay, but even by pythag, NYY is up by 1.5 games.

You could say they're even, but I have no idea where you get some clear distinction in MIN's favor.

But the Twins are very good.
   8. Blastin Posted: September 17, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5880017)
The Yanks have absolutely walloped Bos and TB (26-10) but are 12-14 against Mn, Cle, Hou, A's. The Astros are 37-24 against the other 6, the A's at 28-24. The Rays are 15-13 plus lousy against Yanks and good against Bos

Why are the west teams not disaggregated?

The Yankees are 4-2 against Min, 3-4 vs Hou (that's a wash, really). Bad against CLE and A's. The latter might matter, the former doesn't. But then, BOS won't matter this year, TB might, etc etc.

You can parse this down to nothing if you want to.

The Astros have been the best and have the best chance, but October is October.

The Dodgers have great results but... I dunno man that team wouldn't scare me if we made it to the WS. I admit that's just gut feelings though (and the bullpen, it's really the bullpen).
   9. Cris E Posted: September 17, 2019 at 01:47 PM (#5880046)
Houston has stayed healthy most of the way and is my favorite for the AL. The rest of the record parsing is all nonsense given the number of games and the roster churn all over the place. I still think I'd take a team of the guys who are done for the year over any of the remaining contenders.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: September 17, 2019 at 04:57 PM (#5880132)
Why are the west teams not disaggregated?

1. I am very lazy.
2. Even I get bored.
3. Basically by this time, having disaggregated the other stuff, these are "derivable" from the earlier results. If you know how the Yanks, Rays, Twins and Indians did against the best ALW teams, you've got a pretty darn good idea how the top ALW teams did against the Yanks, Rays, Twins and Indians.
4. IF you're curious, it's called, possibly you've heard of it. :-)

The Red Sox included because they have a +83 run differential and are a good team. It also doesn't matter much in terms of this exercise as they were 12-13 against the top teams outside the division. They were not good against the Rays (as noted) and terrible against the Yanks (as noted).

Here's a factoid that demonstrates how unbalanced the AL is ... the gap in run differential between the Red Sox at #7 and the Rangers at #8 is 131 runs. There's no AL team close to an even run differential. In the NL, the 7-8 gap is 25 runs and the Reds are at +4, the Phils at -7.
   11. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: September 17, 2019 at 05:12 PM (#5880134)
8--As someone who has seen this team play a lot the offense just wears you down. M'fers do not have any spot except pitcher where the dude has a #### OPS. Even David ####### Freese is hitting. It's completely annoying in the extreme.
   12. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 17, 2019 at 07:01 PM (#5880153)
But then, BOS won't matter this year,

That's just mean, kicking a man when he's down.

Even with the imminent 13 game win streak to end the season, the Sox are still only looking at 92 wins. Alas, not near enough to overtake neither the A's or Rays who will end up with more.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 17, 2019 at 09:04 PM (#5880192)
After tonight's performance by Severino I'm feeling a bit better about October. For a pitcher who hadn't thrown an MLB pitch all year that was a pretty damn impressive pitching line.

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