Drew Silva

Power Rankings

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 12

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


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You’ll notice there has been no movement in the bottom-quarter of this week’s Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings, as baseball’s worst teams have settled into their roles as … well … baseball’s worst teams.


The Royals have beat the other tankers to the trade block, and I was actually tempted to give them a boost because of it. Why not get out ahead of the market if you’re not playing for anything?


St. Louis is the biggest faller this week after failing to take advantage of an easier schedule at the start of June. The Cardinals are now in the midst of a large slate of games against contending teams.


Arizona is the biggest riser in this week's rankings, on the back of America’s First Baseman.



1. Houston Astros


Record: 49-25


Last Week:


Alex Bregman hit a walk-off two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday night at Minute Maid Park as the Astros defeated the Rays 5-4 for their 12th consecutive victory. That is tied for the longest winning streak in the 57-year history of the franchise. It’s also the longest winning streak in the majors this season. Everything is clicking right now for the Astros, who have scored more runs (388) than any other club and allowed the fewest (230). We’ll do the math for you on their run differential: it’s +158, which is 50 positive runs better than the next-closest team. Houston registered a +196 run differential over 162 regular-season games in 2017 and of course went on to win the World Series.



2. Boston Red Sox


Record: 49-24


Last Week: 2


The Red Sox rolled to an easy three-game sweep of the Orioles early last week before splitting a four-game set with the scorching-hot Mariners. David Price started the opening game of that series at Seattle’s Safeco Field and delivered seven innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 victory for Boston. The 32-year-old left-hander boasts a 2.64 ERA over his last seven starts, and the Red Sox are 7-0 in those games. Xander Bogaerts hit his 12th home run of the season in Sunday’s series finale, a 9-3 win. The 25-year-old shortstop has three home runs in his last four games and is sporting a career-best .857 OPS through 245 total plate appearances.



3. New York Yankees


Record: 47-22


Last Week:


The Yankees took a loss Monday evening in the completion of their May 15 suspended game against the Nationals before coming back to beat Washington 4-2 in the nightcap, a makeup for a rained-out game back on May 16. Got all that? Aroldis Chapman earned his 21st save of the season in the later game at Nationals Park, working around a leadoff double by Daniel Murphy in the bottom of the ninth. The 30-year-old left-hander has a 1.14 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 55/14 K/BB ratio in 31 2/3 innings this season, and he hasn’t blown a save opportunity since May 4. The Yankees are No. 1 in the majors in team OPS (.792) and home runs (114), and they rank third in runs scored (363) -- behind only the Astros and Red Sox.



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4. Seattle Mariners


Record: 46-26


Last Week:


Seattle opened last week with a three-game sweep of the Angels and then split a four-game series against the Red Sox. The schedule only gets tougher this week, as the Mariners will travel to Yankee Stadium for three games beginning Tuesday night before heading up to Boston for a three-game weekend set at Fenway Park. But this squad certainly seems up to the task. They’ve won 23 one-run games this season, seven more than any other team. 24-year-old flame-throwing closer Edwin Diaz is a big reason for that. He earned his 27th save of the season on Saturday versus the Red Sox and boasts a 2.37 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 62 strikeouts in 38 total innings this season.



5. Chicago Cubs


Record: 40-28


Last Week:


The Cubs lost two of three against the Brewers last week at Miller Park, but then turned the tables on the rival Cardinals during a three-game weekend series at Busch Stadium, winning in a 13-5 rout on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday before getting shut out on Sunday night. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have somewhat disappointing overall numbers, but the Cubs rank sixth in the majors in runs scored (337) despite having played only 68 games. The two teams at the top of that leaderboard -- the Astros and Red Sox -- have played 74 and 73 games, respectively. Chicago ranks fourth in team OPS (.758) and first in on-base percentage (.340). Oh, and the pitching staff has registered a combined 3.19 ERA, which ranks second.



6. Atlanta Braves


Record: 42-29


Last Week:


The Braves fell into a bit of lull in late May and early June, but they beat up on some of the doormats of the National League last week, sweeping a two-game series against the Mets before taking three of four from the Padres. Atlanta is back in sole possession of first place in the National League East standings, and 20-year-old wunderkind Ronald Acuna (knee) looks ready to come off the disabled list this week. He had a .779 OPS with five home runs, 13 RBI, two stolen bases, and 19 runs scored through his first 29 major league games. Mike Foltynewicz and his 2.16 ERA landed on the disabled list this weekend due to right triceps tendinitis, but it sounds like he might only miss one turn in the rotation.



7. Milwaukee Brewers


Record: 42-30


Last Week:


The Brewers lost the final two games of their three-game weekend series against the Phillies and were shut out 1-0 in Monday night’s series opener against the Pirates. If they lose again Tuesday night against the Bucs, that will be four losses in a row, tied for their longest losing streak of the year. That’s an indication of how well Milwaukee has played overall. Orlando Arcia’s offensive struggles are a growing concern. He got sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs on May 25 to work on his approach but had to be rushed back to the majors five days later when Tyler Saladino suffered a severe left ankle sprain. Arcia was batting .194 with a .506 OPS through 146 plate appearances when he was demoted. Since his return on May 30, he has posted a .472 OPS.



8. Washington Nationals


Record: 38-32


Last Week:


The schedule will say the Nationals have lost four games in a row, but they beat the Yankees 5-3 on Monday evening in the completion of a game that was suspended by rain back on May 15. Juan Soto hit a go-ahead two-run blast after play resumed with the score knotted at 3-3 in the sixth inning. The 19-year-old outfielder wasn’t even in the majors when the game started. Soto then went 2-for-4 in the nightcap, a makeup for a rainout back on May 16. He has an incredible .325/.411/.602 batting line with six home runs, five doubles, 14 RBI, and 17 runs scored in 25 games since his promotion from Double-A Harrisburg on May 20. It’s safe to say the kid is up for good. Washington made a big upgrade to its bullpen on Monday, acquiring Kelvin Herrera (1.05 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 22/2 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings) from the Royals for three minor leaguers.



9. Cleveland Indians


Record: 38-33


Last Week: 10 


The Indians split a four-game series last week with the lowly White Sox and then dropped two of three in a weekend series against the Twins. Carlos Carrasco was placed on the disabled list Sunday after exiting Saturday’s game versus Minnesota when he got struck on the right elbow by a comebacker. Thankfully all tests came back negative. It’s a just a contusion, and Carrasco should be back in Cleveland’s starting rotation before the end of the month -- a rotation that has posted a combined 3.46 ERA this season, which ranks fifth among all major league teams. Jose Ramirez is leading the way offensively for the Tribe, with a .989 OPS, 21 home runs, 47 RBI, and 47 runs scored in 70 games. He’s second on the WAR leaderboard, behind only Mike Trout.



10. Arizona Diamondbacks


Record: 40-32


Last Week: 13 


The Diamondbacks were a mess in May, but they’ve won eight of their last 11 games and are 12-5 since the calendar flipped to June. The resurgence can largely be credited to Paul Goldschmidt, who has burst to life with an absurd .413/.495/.850 batting line, nine home runs, 21 RBI, and 21 runs scored over his last 93 plate appearances. The 30-year-old first baseman was sporting a .198/.320/.355 season slash line on May 22. It’s now at .265/.372/.523. Arizona’s bullpen deserves some love too. Diamondbacks relievers have registered a combined 2.58 ERA this year, by far the best mark of any bullpen group in the major leagues. Yoshihisa Hirano (1.42 ERA, 31 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings) looks like one of the best signings of the offseason.



11. Los Angeles Dodgers


Record: 37-33


Last Week: 11


The Dodgers put together a season-high five-game winning streak last week before losing 4-1 in Sunday’s series finale against the Giants and getting rained out on Monday night at Wrigley Field. The reigning National League champions are 11-3 in June, after going 14-14 in May and 12-16 between April and March. Cody Bellinger has posted a 1.219 OPS with four home runs and four doubles over his last 44 plate appearances, quickly emerging from a several-week slump that had some calling for the 22-year-old 2017 National League Rookie of the Year to be demoted. And in more encouraging news, it sounds like ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw (back) is set to return to the starting rotation next week.



12. Philadelphia Phillies


Record: 38-32


Last Week: 14 


The Phillies beat the Cardinals in extra innings on Monday for their third win in a row. That victory at Citizens Bank Park ran the Phillies’ home record to 23-12. Nick Pivetta drew the start and registered a career-high 13 strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings, yielding just four hits and one walk while working into the eighth inning for the first time as a major leaguer. The 25-year-old right-hander holds a strong 1.18 WHIP and 94/22 K/BB ratio in 79 1/3 frames this year, and his ERA should drop back under 4.00 if he continues pitching like he did on Monday night. Hector Neris was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday afternoon, but Seranthony Dominguez looks ready and able to take over the closer role.



13. St. Louis Cardinals


Record: 37-33


Last Week:


The Cardinals have lost five of their last six games and six of their last eight, and they have a truly daunting upcoming schedule. They play two more in Philadelphia -- where they lost in walk-off fashion on Monday night -- before heading to Milwaukee for a four-game set and then hosting the Indians, Braves, and Diamondbacks in consecutive three-game series. If the offense doesn’t start clicking and the bullpen doesn’t perform better, the Cardinals could take a real tumble in the National League Central and National League Wild Card standings. St. Louis currently ranks 21st in the majors in runs scored (299) and 24th in bullpen ERA (4.37). The starting pitching -- this team’s calling card -- has also been a little lackluster as of late.



14. Los Angeles Angels


Record: 38-35


Last Week: 12 


Mike Trout remains Mike Trout, but as a team the Angels have lost seven of their last eight games, quickly falling far behind the red-hot Astros and Mariners in the American League West standings. The uncertain status of two-way star Shohei Ohtani seems to be hanging heavy over this club. He was placed on the disabled list June 7 with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and won’t return as a hitter for at least another 3-4 weeks. It’s unclear at this point whether he will be able to throw another pitch in 2018. The Angels also lost Garrett Richards (hamstring) and Nick Tropeano (shoulder) last week, and Matt Shoemaker needed surgery in late May for a right forearm injury. They don’t have the starting pitching depth to cope.



15. Oakland Athletics


Record: 36-36


Last Week: 15


Oakland won the final two games of its three-game weekend series against the Angels to get back to the .500 mark. Jed Lowrie went 2-for-5 with a double in Sunday’s series finale and scored the winning run on a Jonathan Lucroy drive to the center field wall in the bottom of the 11th inning. Lowrie had been slumping badly since mid-May, but he tallied six hits in the A’s three-game set versus the Halos and is slashing .284/.345/.460 with nine home runs and 43 RBI in 70 games this season. The 34-year-old infielder could be headed to his first All-Star Game. Frankie Montas struggled in his last turn through the rotation, but the 25-year-old stands 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 27 total innings since his promotion from Triple-A Nashville on May 27.



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Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
Email :Drew Silva



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