Team Rankings: After Eighteen Weeks | The Process Report

Team Rankings: After Eighteen Weeks

I’ll spare you from having to read a whole lot of written words in this series, but you do deserve some background, because you’re so worth it. The team rankings throughout this series will be based on my twOBA* research with this serving as a good enough primer. This batch considers data through 8/9/18. This week I’m showing updated player numbers and timeline for the Cardinals and Rays so check that out at the bottom. I would highly recommend opening some of these images in a new tab for an easier viewing experience. 

Team Totals

Team Offense

Team Pitching

Top & Bottom Hitters

Top & Bottom Pitchers

 St. Louis Cardinals Team & Player Hitting

This looks like an offense that has been highly volatile throughout the year, while tending to underachieve expectations, especially over the first half. The offense has been consistently above average of late, and really over the last half of the season if you disregard the trough in the middle where they dipped below for a good stretch.

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Matt Carpenter has been far and away their best hitter, which you can see above where he ranks amongst the most productive hitters in the game this year. His ability to hit very well against both hands of pitchers makes him a weapon every single day. Jose Martinez has been the next most productive player, though he has underachieved on balls in play over the course of the season so a portion of this good performance hasn’t shown up in the boxscore. The same can be said of the traded Tommy Pham. Both Yadier Molina and Marcell Ozuna have also been well above average hitters that look better on paper due to low strikeout rates and good, hard contact, though, again, some of that is being lost in translation. Paul DeJong looks pretty good outside of the missed time for the injury, and the next batch hasn’t played enough to comment.

The other side of the coin does show several hitters that are giving some of the production back. Dexter Fowler’s poor play this year is no secret, but Francisco Pena and Kolten Wong have similarly hurt the club’s offensive production even if they get some back with the gloves. Harrison Bader, Yairo Munoz and Jedd Gyorko haven’t seen a ton of time, but none of the group is all that close to league average with Gyorko coming the closest.

St. Louis Cardinals Team & Player Pitching

It looks like Cards pitching has mostly oscillated around the mean for much of the season. They would be a little worse than average, then a little better, then a little worse, but the constant over that first half was that they nearly universally showed better actual results than what the expectations would lead you to believe. Things started to tighten up from there, but this mostly showed regression to the relatively worse expectations. Their most recent stretch continues that tight trend, while showing some of their worst pitching of the year. It’s heading in the right direction as of the very most recent games, however.

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The race for best on the staff is fairly neck-and-neck between Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas. Mikolas has more volume, and goes about his work in a different way. Flaherty will put a few more guys on, but he’s also going to punch out a lot more, and with similar expected production on balls in play those extra sitdowns give him the slight nod. Closer Bud Norris and Carlos Martinez come in next with Norris showing a well-rounded skillset of better than average strikeout and walk rates, while not having to make the trade off of allowing hard contact. Martinez has missed time and walked a ton of guys, but that sort of obscures that those that didn’t walk didn’t do much of anything. John Brebbia is new to me, but looks to be a solid relief arm for the club.

Moving to the bottom you can see that Michael Wacha takes the cake as the worst performer, but those that join him on the other side haven’t generally gotten a ton of leash to really harm the team’s fortunes. Gomber, Holland, Cecil, Lyons, Leone have all gotten a taste before the team decided they needed more time in the minors or on another team or they hit the disabled list. Luke Weaver is the other guy down there, and he hasn’t really been much worse than a league average pitcher. That probably makes him an average or better starter, and his second most batters faced on the club has probably allowed other guys to do their jobs without risking health.

Tampa Bay Rays Team & Player Hitting

I’ve covered the Rays a ton, and you should have a good feel for how to interpret these things by now so please don’t be bashful about sharing your own observations in the comments and we can kick them around to get some different points of view. I will say that Mallex Smith and Joey Wendle have really made strides to show that they belong in MLB. They’re moving in on the average after some tough stretches early on that forced each to leave their comfort zone and adjust to what the league saw as their weaknesses. It’s been fun to watch. Newcomers Jalen Beeks and Tyler Glasnow haven’t faced a ton of hitters yet, but they look like a dynamic 1-2 punch for any team to have to try to face, especially if they can help hide each other’s weaknesses a bit. Getting a full nine from only two pitchers is one thing the Rays could really use to help make their pitching engine keep on firing on all cylinders.

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Tampa Bay Rays Team & Player Pitching

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