Tag: Sports Illustrated

The 30: Underrated Players Get Their Due in This Week’s Power Rankings

The All-Star Game gave 68 of the game’s brightest stars a chance to enjoy the accolades of the crowd in San Diego, and to acknowledge the respect of the fans and managers who tapped them to play. But we have far more than 68 players making an impact this year in the big leagues, many of those not receiving much attention for their excellence.

The 30: Big Changes Impacting Angels, D-Backs, Indians, Blue Jays

Consistency. Managers and players talk about it all the time, especially as it relates to the long, long baseball season. Put up consistent results over the grind of 162 games, and you’ll get rewarded for it.

But consistency by itself doesn’t necessarily lead to success—especially if the level at which a team is consistently playing isn’t all that great.

The 30: Red-Hot Rangers Rocket Up Power Rankings

You can find all sorts of reasons to explain home field advantage in baseball: A forgiving marine layer, rabid fan support, umpire bias, dumb luck.

This week’s featured teams all own some of the biggest home/road splits in the game. The Reds will keep a close eye on Great American Ball Park’s impact on their rising young starting pitchers.

The 30: Defense Saves (or Sinks) in This Week’s MLB Power Rankings

Pitch framing, route efficiency, Defensive Runs Saved (by shifts and otherwise): Never in baseball history have we been better able to quantify the impact of a team’s ball-catching ability.

Yet despite all these detailed metrics and teams’ keen awareness of them, vast gaps in defensive performance have dramatically influenced this year’s standings.

The 30: Injury Bug Biting Hard in This Week’s MLB Power Rankings

You hear it every summer. A probing reporter asks the manager how his team’s frequent trips to the disabled list have affected the roster. Every team has injuries, the skipper will reply without missing a beat; we can’t use them as an excuse.

While there’s certainly truth and honor in not using injuries as a crutch, it’s also true that some teams get hit harder than others, leaving those clubs searching for answers.

The 30: Age Is Just a Number in This Week’s MLB Power Rankings

Baseball is, for the most part, a young man’s game. The age curve has shifted, such that players now peak closer to their mid-20s than their late-20s. Younger still was last year’s rookie class, one that ushered in a dominant new batch of players and set an all-time record for best group of rookies by Wins Above Replacement.

The 30: Starting Pitchers in Focus for Week 5 MLB Power Rankings

The most unpredictable commodity in baseball, this season and every season, is pitching. Between the huge possibility of injuries and the year-to-year variance in results (which often have more to do with defense or luck than with the pitcher himself), the whole enterprise can feel like a crapshoot for almost anyone not named Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta or Chris Sale.

The 30: Separating Fact From Fiction in This Week’s Power Rankings

Whether your interest lies with real teams or your fantasy team, the first few weeks of the season keep circling back to one key question: Is what we’re seeing real, or is it a mirage that’s bound to disappear as we get deeper into the season?

One tool that can help us separate fact from fiction is a look at each team’s strength of schedule.