MLB Power Rankings: Week 12




 

Welcome to the Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings, a weekly feature that will run every Tuesday through the end of the 2019 regular season. These rankings are not fantasy-driven in any way, though I will include nuggets of more abstract fantasy advice here and there inside the individual team write-ups. Who's hot, who's not -- that sort of thing. Send any and all complaints to me on Twitter: @drewsilv. Please believe me when I tell you that I do not hate your team.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 48-25
Last Week: 1
Cody Bellinger and Hyun-Jin Ryu continue to be the lead stories in Los Angeles. Bellinger slugged his 23rd home run of the season on Sunday against the Cubs, helping the Dodgers to a 3-2 victory. Hyun-Jin Ryu started that game and scattered two unearned runs over seven innings while striking out eight batters and issuing zero walks. Bellinger then doubled, drew a walk, and scored a run in the Dodgers' 3-2 series-opening loss to the Giants on Monday and is now batting .355/.452/.701 through 301 plate appearances this year. He's the leading vote-getter in the 2019 All-Star balloting. Ryu, who may start the All-Star Game for the National League, owns a ridiculous 1.26 ERA and 85/5 K/BB ratio in 93 innings.

2. Houston Astros
Record: 48-25
Last Week: 2
Houston got blown out in shocking fashion on Sunday, falling 12-0 to the visiting Blue Jays, and then struggled to solve Luis Castillo and the Reds in a 3-2 loss on Monday night in Cincinnati. But the Astros can look forward to the return of Jose Altuve -- he's been out since May 11 with multiple leg issues but could be activated as early as Tuesday -- and they should get George Springer back from his Grade 2 left hamstring strain before the end of June. Even as this team gets healthier, Yordan Alvarez should maintain a secure spot on the active 25-man major league roster. The 21-year-old Cuban masher has tallied four home runs, eight RBI, and eight runs scored through his first seven games in the bigs.

3. Minnesota Twins
Record: 47-24
Last Week: 3
Minnesota fell 8-6 in Sunday's series finale against the Royals and got shut out 2-0 on Monday versus the Red Sox. It was just the second time all season that the Twins managed zero runs in a game. They have the best winning percentage in the majors (.662) and the highest run differential (+114), and they're up 10 games on first place in the American League Central despite losing on back-to-back days. There is certainly a case to be made for bumping this team up to the No. 1 spot in our Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings. Maybe next week. A fantasy note: Kyle Gibson is currently owned in just 57 percent of Yahoo leagues despite boasting a 2.82 ERA and 65/9 K/BB ratio over his last 60 2/3 innings.

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4. New York Yankees
Record:
44-27
Last Week: 5
As if this team needed any more power bats, the Yankees acquired veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion from the Mariners on Saturday night in exchange for minor league right-hander Juan Then and about half of the $14.25 million still owed to Encarnacion. The 36-year-old had posted an .888 OPS (140 OPS+) with 21 home runs and 49 RBI through 65 games this season with Seattle. Giancarlo Stanton (calf, biceps, shoulder) is set to come off the injured list before Tuesday night's game against the Rays and Aaron Judge (oblique) should be ready for activation by the end of this week. When this lineup is at full strength ... look out, American League pitchers. And any fan sitting in the outfield seats.

5. Atlanta Braves
Record:
43-30
Last Week: 8
Ronald Acuna slugged the 11th leadoff home run of his young career in the first inning of Monday night's game against the Mets, setting the tone for a 12-3 blowout victory. Acuna, 21, has been on a tear since the calendar flipped to June and is now batting .301/.380/.519 with 17 homers, 49 RBI, nine steals, and 50 runs scored in 72 games for a Braves team that has won 10 of its last 11 to open up a three-game lead over the Phillies for first place in the NL East. Josh Donaldson has gotten hot in a hurry as well with 12 hits -- including four home runs -- in his last seven games. This is among the most well-rounded lineups Atlanta has ever fielded, and there have been some great ones over the years.

6. Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 43-29
Last Week: 4
The Rays were shut out by Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees on Monday night in the Bronx and have now lost five of their last seven to fall 1 1/2 games back of New York in the American League East standings. Charlie Morton and Blake Snell, the Rays' co-aces, both struggled in the team's weekend series against the Angels, with Morton yielding four earned runs over six innings on Friday and Snell lasting just 3 1/3 innings on Saturday. It was a rare hiccup for Morton, who still owns a tremendous 2.37 ERA with 107 strikeouts over 87 1/3 total innings this season. Dating back to the beginning of 2018, the veteran right-hander has a 2.87 ERA and 308 strikeouts over his last 254 1/3 major league frames.

7. Milwaukee Brewers
Record: 40-32
Last Week: 6
The Brewers split a two-game series against the Astros last week, dropped two of three to the Giants over the weekend, and then got shut out 2-0 by the Padres on Monday night in San Diego. But they still sit atop the National League Central standings -- a half-game above the Cubs as of Tuesday afternoon -- and their final 17 games before the All-Star break are against the Mariners, Pirates, and Reds. Christian Yelich has continued his quest for back-to-back National League MVP awards with a major-league leading 26 home runs through 65 games. He's also tops among all qualified hitters in OPS with mark of 1.183. Yelich hit a double so hard it went through a fence on Sunday in San Francisco.

8. Chicago Cubs
Record: 39-32
Last Week: 8
The Cubs went 2-5 on a seven-game road trip last week to Coors Field and Dodger Stadium, and they lost one of their steadiest starting pitchers along the way. Kyle Hendricks, who had a 1.99 ERA and 50/6 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings (eight starts) between May 3 and June 9, was lit up for five runs over 4 1/3 innings on Friday against the Dodgers and then landed on the injured list Saturday with right shoulder inflammation. The severity of the issue is still unclear, but any shoulder problem is cause for great concern. The Cubs made a big bullpen upgrade in signing Craig Kimbrel -- he should be ready to debut sometime next week -- but they might also need to find some outside rotation help.

9. Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 39-32
Last Week: 9
The Phillies dropped two of three to the Braves over the weekend, after dropping two of three to the Diamondbacks the series before. As of Tuesday afternoon, they are three games back of Atlanta for first place in the National League East standings. Philadelphia's bullpen is riddled with injuries and could use an addition or two from the trade market. The same can be said for the starting rotation, with Aaron Nola failing to meet the lofty expectations he set forth last year and Jake Arrieta cratering in recent weeks. But don't blame Scott Kingery, who has emerged as a post-hype fantasy stud as a sophomore with a brilliant .344/.385/.664 slash line through 39 games played. He'll be playing a lot more games moving forward.

10. Boston Red Sox
Record: 40-34
Last Week: 12
The Red Sox have rattled off six straight victories, including a 2-0 win over the AL Central-leading Twins on Monday night in which Rick Porcello struck out eight batters over seven scoreless innings. Porcello struggled in his first three outings this year, but he has quietly posted a 3.30 ERA and 64/13 K/BB ratio over his last 12 starts (76 1/3 innings), with the Red Sox going 9-3 in those 12 games. Chris Sale has been on a roll, too, boasting a 2.09 ERA and 98/11 K/BB ratio over his last 60 1/3 frames. Now that the NHL's Boston Bruins have failed to secure the Stanley Cup -- had to throw that in there as a St. Louis Blues fan and NBC employee -- baseball can take center stage again in Boston.

11. Texas Rangers
Record: 39-33
Last Week: 11
The Rangers took two of three from the Reds over the weekend in Cincinnati and earned a 7-2 victory against the Indians on Monday night at Globe Life Park. They've gone 22-11 over their last 33 games dating back to May 15 and would be in the playoffs as the second American League Wild Card if the season ended today, though the hard-charging Red Sox are right on their tail. It's amazing that Texas has been able to remain so successful in the absence of Joey Gallo, who was sporting a 1.074 OPS with 17 home runs and 41 RBI through 50 games when he landed on the injured list June 1 with an oblique strain. The current hope is that the 25-year-old slugger will be ready to return to action this weekend.

12. Colorado Rockies
Record: 37-34
Last Week: 11
Colorado's four-game weekend series against the Padres featured a total of 92 runs -- the most in a single series since at least 1900. The Rockies won 9-6 on Thursday, lost 16-12 on Friday, earned a 14-8 victory on Saturday, and then fell 14-13 in Sunday's series finale. It would take this entire column space to recap everything that happened, so let's just focus on a couple of positive developments for the Rockies. Charlie Blackmon went 15-for-24 (.625) over the four games and is batting .500 with six home runs, 16 RBI, and 14 runs scored in nine games since returning from a calf injury on June 7. Ian Desmond is red-hot, too, with a .459/.475/.838 slash line in 40 plate appearances since June 6.

13. Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 38-35
Last Week: 13
The Diamondbacks are 8-3 over their last 11 games after splitting a four-game weekend series at Nationals Park. The big story right now in Arizona is the power breakout of Ketel Marte, who tallied just 22 home runs over his first 1,548 major league plate appearances between 2015-2018 but has already gone deep 20 times in 317 plate appearances this year. He entered this season with a career .712 OPS in 402 games and has delivered a .906 OPS through 71 games for a D-backs team that is just two games back in the NL Wild Card hunt. Marte had an average draft position of 249.6 this spring in Yahoo leagues. He has returned top-40 value, with eligibility at shortstop, second base, and the outfield.

14. Cleveland Indians
Record: 37-34
Last Week: 15
Mike Clevinger finally returned to the Indians' starting rotation on Monday night against the Rangers after missing over two months with an upper-back strain. He looked sharp in the first two innings but struggled as the game went along, ultimately yielding five earned runs over 4 2/3 frames. Some rust was to be expected, and Clevinger should find more success in his next outing at home against a Tigers team that ranks dead-last in the majors in runs scored. The Indians just swept a three-game weekend series against Detroit and have won six of their last nine games to stay in the hunt for the second American League Wild Card spot. It looks like the Twins are going to run away with the AL Central.

15. St. Louis Cardinals
Record:
37-34
Last Week: 16
The Cardinals have beaten up on the Marlins and Mets over the last week-plus, winning six of their last eight games to move within 2 1/2 games of the Brewers for first place in the National League Central standings. They have three more games against Miami and will then welcome Albert Pujols and the Angels to Busch Stadium on Friday night. This is Pujols' first trip back to St. Louis, as a player, since he accepted a 10-year, $250 million free agent contract from Anaheim back in December 2011. Pujols spent the first 11 years of his career with the Cardinals, and it was one of the most productive 11-year runs in baseball history. The ovations should be deafening all weekend long.

16. Oakland Athletics
Record: 37-36
Last Week: 17
We haven't written enough about A's starter Frankie Montas in these weekly Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings. The 26-year-old right-hander moved to 9-2 on the season on Saturday after limiting the Mariners to two runs over six innings in an 11-2 blowout victory. He struck out nine batters and issued just one walk in that outing and now holds a 2.85 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 88/21 K/BB ratio in 82 innings (14 starts) this season. That's a remarkable strikeout total given that he ranks sixth in groundball rate among all qualified American League starters. Montas had an average draft position in the 500s this spring in Yahoo leagues -- so basically off the radar in any standard format. He's been waiver-wire gold.

17. San Diego Padres
Record: 36-37
Last Week: 14
The Padres split a wild four-game weekend series at Colorado's Coors Field -- 92 total runs were scored across the four games -- and then shut out the Brewers for a 2-0 victory on Monday in San Diego. How about that for a juxtaposition? Joey Lucchesi was terrific Monday versus Milwaukee, working seven scoreless frames to lower his season ERA to 3.74. He also has a 1.109 WHIP and 78/23 K/BB ratio in 79 1/3 innings, and yet the 25-year-old left-hander is owned in only 65 percent of Yahoo leagues. Kirby Yates has been the top closer in fantasy this year with an MLB-leading 25 saves -- he earned No. 25 on Monday night -- and a dominant 1.16 ERA and 52/8 K/BB ratio through 31 frames. But there are holes on this roster that need plugging.

18. Los Angeles Angels
Record: 36-37
Last Week: 19
Justin Upton missed the first 11 weeks of the season while recovering from a toe injury, but he finally returned to action on Monday night against the Blue Jays and announced his presence with authority, turning the very first pitch he saw into a no-doubter over the left-center field wall at Rogers Centre. He then singled in his second plate appearance and drew a walk in the top of the sixth as the Angels earned a 10-5 win in Toronto. Upton jumped right into the cleanup spot behind the hot-hitting Shohei Ohtani, who went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI on Monday and is now batting .333/.395/.694 with seven home runs and 21 RBI over his last 18 games. The Halos are quickly approaching the .500 mark.

19. Chicago White Sox
Record: 34-36
Last Week: 22
The White Sox made it to .500 after winning the first two games of a four-game weekend series against the Yankees, before New York took revenge in the final two games at Guaranteed Rate Field. Lucas Giolito started Saturday versus the Yanks and pitched into the seventh inning while earning his ninth straight win. The 24-year-old right-hander is 10-1 on the season and boasts the lowest ERA of any qualified American League starter at 2.22. He has also racked up 95 strikeouts in 81 innings. We should soon see the debut of 23-year-old top pitching prospect Dylan Cease, who owns a 2.96 ERA and 437 strikeouts in 343 2/3 career minor league frames. This is a team on the rise.

20. New York Mets
Record: 34-38
Last Week: 18
The combined struggles of offseason trade acquisitions Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano are making first-year Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen look rather foolish. Diaz allowed three earned runs between the ninth and 10th innings of Thursday-turned-Friday's rain-suspended loss to the Cardinals and then gave up a run on three hits in a tightrope-walking save on Saturday. Diaz has a 3.77 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through his first 28 2/3 innings with the Mets, after posting a 1.96 ERA and 0.79 WHIP across 73 1/3 innings last season with the Mariners. Cano hit a solo shot in Monday night's 12-3 loss to the Braves, but it was just his fourth home run of the year and he's slashing .240/.288/.385 overall.

21. Washington Nationals
Record: 33-38
Last Week: 20
The Nationals won 12 of 16 games between May 24 and June 10, but they lost three of five to the White Sox and Diamondbacks last week and are nine games back of first place in the National League East here on Tuesday afternoon. Patrick Corbin has run into some kind of midseason wall, as he's given up 20 runs -- 16 earned -- on 22 hits and seven walks over his last three starts covering just 12 2/3 innings. The high-priced lefty had a 2.85 ERA through his first 11 starts this season, but that number has ballooned to 4.11 in a matter of weeks. Stephen Strasburg also had a rough outing recently, serving up four home runs -- and six runs total -- in the Nats' 10-3 blowout loss to Arizona on Saturday.

22. Cincinnati Reds
Record: 32-38
Last Week: 23
Cincinnati blew out the Rangers by a score of 11-3 on Sunday and then outlasted the AL West-leading Astros for a 3-2 victory on Monday, earning consecutive victories for the first time since May. The Reds' run differential is actually quite good (+39) and they are technically still alive in both the National League Central and NL Wild Card races -- 7.0 GB, 6.5 GB, respectively -- but this figures to be a summer of selling in Cincy. Yasiel Puig is sure to be shopped, but it will be interesting to see what he can fetch for the Reds as an impending free agent with a rough .229 batting average and .274 on-base percentage through 65 games. Derek Dietrich and Sonny Gray will also probably be on the trade block.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 32-39
Last Week: 21
The Pirates took two of three from the Marlins over the weekend, but they had lost seven straight leading into that three-game set in Miami and their -77 run differential currently ranks sixth-worst among all 30 major league clubs. Mitch Keller, one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, has been a big disappointment through his first two MLB starts, yielding 12 earned runs over seven total innings, but he should fare better Tuesday against a Detroit offense that ranks dead-last in the majors in runs scored. Pittsburgh can also look forward to the return of Trevor Williams, who had a 3.33 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in nine starts before straining a muscle in his side in mid-May. He'll start Wednesday versus the Tigers.

24. San Francisco Giants
Record: 31-39
Last Week: 24
The Giants swept a twin-bill last week against the Padres before taking two of three from the Brewers over the weekend and topping the arch-rival Dodgers by a score of 3-2 on Monday. San Francisco has won five of its last six against three good teams. This is the best stretch of baseball we've seen from the Giants all year, but let's instead focus on the big picture. We know that Madison Bumgarner is going to be one of the more sought-after starters on the trade market, and that Will Smith will be among the most sought-after relievers, but how about Brandon Belt? The 31-year-old first baseman has managed to avoid the injured list while delivering an .825 OPS (120 OPS+) and .354 wOBA through 67 games.

25. Seattle Mariners
Record: 31-45
Last Week: 25
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto executed another trade this past Saturday, shipping veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion to the Yankees for minor league right-hander Juan Then and cash considerations. It's honestly surprising that Encarnacion lasted this long in Seattle. There was talk of the Mariners trying to flip him on the same day they acquired him from the Indians back in December, and he was shopped around throughout the spring. Encarnacion played well during his short time with the M's, delivering an .888 OPS with 21 home runs and 49 RBI in 65 games. His bat will be missed, but Mariners fans knew all along that this was going to be a rebuilding year, even amid the team's hot start in March and April.

26. Detroit Tigers
Record: 25-43
Last Week: 26
The Tigers have lost four straight games and nine of their last 11. They own the second-worst run differential in the majors at -132, ahead of only the Orioles at -152. Not that you needed inside info to deduce what lies ahead this summer in Detroit, but Jon Morosi of MLB.com is hearing from sources that "the team is open to moving virtually any veteran on its roster." Matthew Boyd may be the hottest trade chip as a 28-year-old cost-controlled left-handed starter who has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 112/17 K/BB ratio in 88 2/3 innings (15 starts) this season. There will also be heavy interest in closer Shane Greene, and impending free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos is likely to go too.

27. Miami Marlins
Record: 25-45
Last Week: 27
The Marlins built up some positive momentum between the middle of May and the early part of June, but they've regressed in predictable fashion over the last two weeks, losing nine of their last 11 games to fall 20 games below the .500 mark. The absence of starter Caleb Smith (hip) has certainly hurt, though it sounds like he could be ready to return from the injured list sometime this weekend. Jose Urena won't be back so soon, as he was placed on the 60-day IL on Friday after being diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back. Urena was supposed to be a big trade chip this summer for the rebuilding Fish, but that will probably have to wait until the offseason, or perhaps even next spring or summer.

28. Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 26-46
Last Week: 28
Edwin Jackson is pitching for his 14th different major league team, which is a record. But it's a safe guess at this point that Toronto will be his final major league stop. The veteran right-hander got lit up for seven earned runs while recording only two outs in Monday night's 10-5 loss to the Angels and has now allowed at least six runs in five of his seven appearances this season with the Blue Jays. He has a 12.43 ERA and 2.29 WHIP in 25 1/3 innings. Jackson has spent parts of 17 seasons at baseball's highest level, won a World Series with the Cardinals in 2011, and posted a steady 3.33 ERA in 17 starts with the Athletics in 2018, but this looks to be the end of the road for the 35-year-old.

29. Kansas City Royals
Record: 24-48
Last Week: 29
Kansas City has gone 4-3 over its last seven games and it's looking like Hunter Dozier (chest) will be ready to continue his breakout 2019 before the end of the week. But this organization is about to begin shedding contracts for prospects, and it will be a race to last place in the American League Central between the Royals and Tigers throughout the second half. Whit Merrifield is the biggest trade chip in KC, though general manager Dayton Moore told a local television station on Monday that "the ask would be just crazy" for teams interested in acquiring the dynamic 30-year-old. That's probably typical GM posturing, but the Royals did sign Merrifield to a four-year extension over the winter and may opt to keep him.

30. Baltimore Orioles
Record: 21-51
Last Week: 30
The Orioles suffered their sixth straight loss Monday against the A's and are 30 games under .500 on June 18. This is beyond tanking, folks. It's terrible roster construction. The O's haven't strung together consecutive wins since the first week of May and they have the worst run differential in baseball, by a pretty significant margin, at -152. There is one thing to look forward to in Baltimore: the impending arrival of top corner-infield prospect Ryan Mountcastle. He has batted .305 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI through 59 games this season at Triple-A Norfolk and should be called up around late June or early July. Cuban outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz was just named the Eastern League Player of the Week, so there's that too.

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