This season SI's weekly ranking of all 30 teams looks different. Powered by Fangraphs, it's based not on opinion or the standings but on data, with teams slotted by Wins Above Replacement (WAR), a metric showing how valuable players are compared with replacement level. Here's a taste of this week's rankings (stats through Sunday), with the full list at SI.com/mlb.
This is an article from the April 30, 2012 issue
WINNING %: Expected .837 Actual .813
TOTAL WAR: 13
ACTUAL WINS: 13
Josh Hamilton's impression of Babe Ruth has driven the Rangers' offense, the second best in baseball so far. They also have the third-lowest rotation ERA, and only six teams have allowed fewer balls in play to land for hits, which is a good sign for their defense. Being among the best at pitching, offense and defense tends to put you at the top.
WINNING %: Expected .781 Actual .688
TOTAL WAR: 12
ACTUAL WINS: 11
Matt Carpenter's presence is already being felt in St. Louis. With Lance Berkman on the DL, the Cardinals haven't missed a beat thanks in part to the rookie corner infielder who has a solid .347 Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA). Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and David Freese have also produced, adding up to an offense that has the NL's highest OBP, slugging percentage and home run total in the National League.
WINNING %: Expected .696 Actual .600
TOTAL WAR: 10
ACTUAL WINS: 9
The Bombers have baseball's third-best offense despite relatively slow starts from Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, thanks in part to four home runs apiece from Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher. The starting pitching has been awful overall, with the league's second-highest rotation ERA (5.84). But the bullpen (2.14 ERA, second lowest in baseball) has come to the rescue.
WINNING %: Expected .618 Actual .625
TOTAL WAR: 10
ACTUAL WINS: 10
After starting 0--4, Atlanta has lost just twice and is 10--6. It has done it with both offense and pitching: The Braves have scored more runs than any team in the NL, Brandon Beachy leads the league in ERA and young lefty Mike Minor is putting together a breakout season. Jason Heyward, trying to rebound from a rough 2010, has gotten off to a great start with a 1.1 WAR.
WINNING %: Expected .600 Actual .750
TOTAL WAR: 10
ACTUAL WINS: 12
Matt Kemp already has nine home runs and an OBP of .500, with Andre Ethier, Mark Ellis and A.J. Ellis also hitting well. The pitching has been impressive: L.A.'s is the only NL staff to average a strikeout per inning. At some point Kemp will cool down, and the pressure will be on other position players to produce if the Dodgers are to stay this high. Don't bet on it.