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April 18, 2010

One-Hoppers

Combined Hit List Rankings: April 18

by Jay Jaffe

As promised, I'm accompanying the split of the Hit List into weekly American and National League editions with a combined league-adjusted ranking. To reiterate, beyond the basic calculations of the Hit List Factors which go into each week's rankings (an average of actual, first-order, second-order and third-order winning percentages; see here for more), the early season rankings also incorporate preseason projected winning percentages via our Projected Standings as well as this league adjustment based upon the AL winning 56 percent of interleague games over the past three years.

In order to figure out the strength of the two "teams" that could produce a result where one won at a .560 clip, we deploy Bill James' the Log5 method, which Clay Davenport uses literally millions of times a day to generate our daily Playoff Odds reports. The formula boils down to Win% = .500 + A - B, where Win% is the observed outcome percentage (.560) and A and B are the two teams. Since we also know that in this case, the winning percentages are complementary (A + B = 1.000), it's simple algebra to determine that a .530 team playing a .470 team would produce that observed .560 winning percentage. With 14 teams in one league and 16 in the other, it's not quite that simple; the bottom line is that I've added 24 points (.024) to all AL teams' Hit List Factors, and subtracted 21 points (.024 * 14 / 16) from those in the NL.

Anyway, here are the combined rankings through the games of Saturday, April 17:

Rk   Team         HLF
 1   Yankees     .698
 2   Twins       .691
 3   Giants      .642
 4   Phillies    .640
 5   Athletics   .611
 6   Rays        .583
 7   Cardinals   .566
 8   Rockies     .550
 9   Blue Jays   .545
10   Braves      .536
11   Rangers     .516
12   Marlins     .512
13   Red_Sox     .510
14   Dodgers     .507
15   Padres      .506
16   White Sox   .498
17   Tigers      .498
18   Mariners    .497
19   Angels      .469
20   Indians     .462
21   D'backs     .456
22   Royals      .451
23   Cubs        .450
24   Mets        .449
25   Nationals   .443
26   Reds        .384
27   Pirates     .384
28   Brewers     .382
29   Orioles     .327
30   Astros      .234

Even without the league adjustment factors, the top five spots would remain unchanged, and it's the Rays and the Blue Jays pushing their way into the top 10. Even so, we do see five NL clubs in the top 10, but the Senior Circuit also claims eight of the bottom 10 teams. Remember, it's early yet, the samples are fleetingly small, and the rankings are volatile. Play nice.

Jay Jaffe is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jay's other articles. You can contact Jay by clicking here

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