It feels like the 2015 MLB season just started, but we’re already halfway through May, with the blurry picture we were handed in April beginning to clear up and take shape.

It’s far too early to tell for certain where each team will finish. Injuries lurk, prospects emerge and trades will be secretively talked about for months.

But we have an idea of who our favorites are, and a clearer idea of what October might look like.

These power rankings take several things into account when considering each team’s place: current standing; divisional strength; injury concerns; potential trades; prospects who could be called up; positional weaknesses; and FanGraphs’ projected regular-season record.

Each metric is considered and weighed when determining where each team fits. A slow start doesn’t necessarily preclude a team from a high ranking, just as an unexpectedly successful start doesn’t bar a team from a low ranking. It’s about sorting out legitimate contenders and false candidates, while paying attention to trends that may or may not continue as the season goes on.

Baseball is heavily influenced by a broad range of statistics, but I’ve chosen a few from FanGraphs to illustrate each team’s strengths and weaknesses (all definitions from FanGraphs’ glossary):

Wins above replacement (WAR)“WAR offers an estimate to answer the question, “If this player got injured and their team had to replace them with a freely available minor leaguer or a AAAA player from their bench, how much value would the team be losing?” This value is expressed in a wins format, so we could say that Player X is worth +6.3 wins to their team while Player Y is only worth +3.5 wins, which means it is highly likely that Player X has been more valuable than Player Y.”

Weighted on-base average (wOBA): “One of the most important and popular catch-all offensive statistics. It was created by Tom Tango (and notably used in The Book) to measure a hitter’s overall offensive value, based on the relative values of each distinct offensive event. Weighted on-base average combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.”

Weighted runs created (wRC): “An improved version of Bill James’ runs created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player’s total offensive value and measure it by runs. Weighted runs created plus (wRC+) measures how a player’s wRC compares with league average after controlling for park effects. League average for position players is 100, and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average.”

On-base plus slugging (OPS): “The sum of a player’s on-base percentage and their slugging percentage. OPS has value as a metric because it is the only widely accepted statistic that accounts for all the different aspects of offense: contact, patience and power.”

Defense (Def): “Combination of two important factors of defensive performance: value relative to positional average (fielding runs) and positional value relative to other positions (positional adjustment).”

Walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP): Measures how many baserunners a pitcher lets up.”

Fielding independent pitching (FIP): “Measures what a player’s ERA would look like over a given period of time if the pitcher were to have experienced league-average results on balls in play and league-average timing.”

Anything not addressed here will be explained in the relevant slide, though these are the numbers we’ll mostly be sticking with.

I’ll be spending more time discussing the top teams, as they have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs and embarking on a deep postseason run.

So, with that out of the way, let’s get into the rankings.

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