Believe it or not, one rating system has Braves at No. 1 ahead of Red Sox

The scorching-hot Red Sox were 17-2 before Saturday and widely regarded as the best team in baseball. But one respected statistical website had the Braves, not Boston, at the top of its analytics-based ranking system.

Let us explain.’s Simple Rating System (SRS) comes up with a theoretical average number of runs that a team is better (or worse) than an average team, and calculates that number by adding a team’s per-game run differential and its strength of schedule.

Using that system, the Braves led the majors at 3.3 entering Saturday’s games, ahead of Boston’s 2.7 and Philadelphia’s 2.2. The Braves were tied for first in strength of schedule (1.5) and ranked fourth in per-game run differential (1.7).

The Red Sox, winners of 17 of their past 18 games before Saturday, had a stunning average run differential of 3.7, by far the best in the majors, but their SRS score was reduced by a minus-1.0 for strength of schedule.

Boston had played just six games against teams with a .500 or better record as of Saturday and was 12-1 against teams with below-.500 records (not the opponent’s record at the time that two teams played, but the record as of Saturday).

The Braves, who had an 11-8 record before Saturday, were one of only three major league teams that had not played a team with a below-.500 record as of Saturday, along with the Reds (3-16) and Marlins (5-14).

Atlanta’s 11 wins against teams with .500 or better records was tied with the Mets for most in the majors. Before Saturday, the Mets were 11-5 against those teams and 3-0 against teams with below-.500 records.