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
Last Week: 2
Walker Buehler led the way in Monday night's 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks, striking out 11 batters while yielding only two hits over eight innings of one-run ball as Los Angeles won its sixth straight game. This team hasn't suffered consecutive losses since dropping two straight against the Cubs back between April 23-24. Everything is clicking. The combined rotation ERA: 2.88. The combined team OPS: .818. Cody Bellinger is at 4.7 fWAR through 58 games, a near-historic pace. He currently leads all qualified major league hitters in batting average (.376), slugging percentage (.733), OPS (1.195), OPS+ (211), and total bases (154). Is it too early to crown him the 2019 National League MVP? OK, yes, probably.
2. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 1
Minnesota lost 14-3 in Thursday's series opener against the Rays but went on to win the final three games of that four-game weekend set at Tropicana Field. As it stands here on Tuesday afternoon, the Twins are the only team in the AL Central with a winning record, and they're up 11 1/2 games on first place in the division, with the opportunity to further bury the second-place Indians in a three-game series this week at Cleveland's Progressive Field. Nelson Cruz was activated off the injured list Monday after missing the second half of May with a strained left wrist. The veteran slugger had an .862 OPS with seven home runs and 22 RBI through 35 games when he landed on the IL on May 14.
3. Houston Astros
Last Week: 3
Houston earned a three-game sweep of the Athletics over the weekend before outlasting the Mariners by a score of 4-2 on Monday night in Seattle as the bullpen delivered six scoreless innings behind a shaky Corbin Martin start. Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, and Brad Peacock get much of the love when people talk about the Astros' pitching staff, but how about the relief corps? It's the only bullpen group in the majors with a combined ERA below 3.00. Ryan Pressly has been especially dominant with a 0.64 ERA and 32/2 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings this season. Since joining the Astros last summer, Pressly has a 0.70 ERA and 64/5 K/BB ratio in 51 2/3 frames.
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4. New York Yankees
Last Week: 4
The Yankees took two of three from the arch-rival Red Sox over the weekend and now have 20 wins over their last 27 games, despite Giancarlo Stanton (shoulder, calf), Aaron Judge (oblique), Luis Severino (lat), Didi Gregorius (elbow), and Dellin Betances (shoulder) all sitting on the injured list. James Paxton returned to action last Wednesday after missing four weeks with left knee inflammation and threw four hitless, scoreless innings against the Padres on 66 pitches. He'll start Wednesday in Toronto and should be able to push closer to 90 pitches. Acquired from the Mariners over the winter, Paxton boasts a 2.81 ERA and 59/15 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings with New York.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 5
Tampa Bay had its five-game winning streak snapped by the Twins on Friday and ultimately lost the final three games of that four-game series at Tropicana Field. But the Rays enter play Tuesday with the fourth-best run differential (+78) in the major leagues, due in large part to a pitching staff that currently ranks first overall in combined ERA with a 3.10 mark. Tyler Glasnow is on the 60-day injured list with a right forearm strain, but he recently resumed throwing and should be back around the middle of July. Yonny Chirinos has helped pick up some of the slack with a 2.78 ERA in 35 2/3 innings as a starter. He has a 3.91 ERA in 25 1/3 innings this year as a reliever.
6. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 8
Milwaukee slid back into first place in the National League Central standings over the weekend while taking three of four from the Pirates. Top second base prospect Keston Hiura was optioned to Triple-A San Antonio on Monday in a somewhat surprising move -- the 22-year-old had batted .281/.333/.531 with five home runs through his first 17 major league games -- but the Brewers have Travis Shaw coming back from a strained right wrist and didn't want to give up on him despite a rough first seven weeks. Jimmy Nelson will be called up to pitch Wednesday against the Marlins after missing all of 2018 and the early part of 2019 while recovering from a major shoulder injury.
7. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 6
Philadelphia suffered its fifth consecutive loss Monday night at San Diego's Petco Park, in a battle between the two highest-compensated players of the 2018-2019 offseason: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Harper has the better overall numbers this year, but he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Monday while Machado blasted a sixth-inning grand slam as part of an 8-2 blowout victory for the Padres. Aaron Nola suffered his first official loss of the year in that one after allowing six earned runs on eight hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings. Philly's injury-riddled bullpen could use some upgrading ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, but there are bloated ERAs in the rotation as well.
8. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 7
Jon Lester bounced back from three dreadful outings to deliver seven innings of one-run ball in an 8-1 defeat of the Angels on Monday, but the Cubs are fresh off a three-game weekend sweep at the hands of the arch-rival Cardinals and they've lost 12 of their last 19 games dating back to May 15. This sudden downturn has allowed the Brewers to jump back into first place in the National League Central standings, and St. Louis is hanging around too. For a while there, before Lester's sharp outing on Monday, it was Kyle Hendricks holding together the Cubs' rotation all on his own. The right-hander went 5-1 with a 1.81 ERA and 37/5 K/BB ratio over 44 2/3 innings (six starts) in May.
9. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 9
The Braves took two of three from the Tigers over the weekend, and their next 10 games are against teams with losing records: seven versus the Pirates, three versus the Marlins. After that is a big three-game set against the Phillies, who currently hold just a half-game lead over Atlanta for first place in the NL East standings. It's only early June, but this feels like a crucial stretch for the Braves, who've had a very up-and-down 2019 season to date. Now that the MLB Draft is underway and Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are no longer tied to draft-pick compensation, there should be heavy interest in both. Braves starters have pitched to a 4.16 ERA, and the team's relievers hold a combined 4.41 ERA.
10. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 18
The Rockies have won a season-high eight straight games -- all at home in Coors Field -- and will now try to carry that momentum into a pair of three-game road series against the Cubs and Mets. Nolan Arenado got off to a relatively disappointing start this year, maybe due to added internal pressure after signing an eight-year, $260 million contract extension in late February, but he has posted an absurd .421/.472/.781 batting line with 10 home runs and 31 RBI in 28 games since the beginning of May. David Dahl has picked it up, too, with doubles in three straight games and a .331/.383/.528 slash line for the season. Colorado's offense is beginning to explode in predictable fashion.
11. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 10
Boston has cooled off somewhat after going on a tear between late April and the middle part of May, but David Price earned a win at Yankee Stadium on Sunday for the first time since joining the Red Sox, and the defending World Series champions are now back above the .500 mark with a relatively favorable schedule leading into the All-Star break. Price scattered two runs over 6 1/3 innings Sunday in the Bronx while keeping his season ERA at 2.83. Rafael Devers was just named the American League Player of the Month after batting .351 with a 1.021 OPS, eight home runs, and 24 RBI in 26 games between May 1 and May 31. The record isn't pretty, but the Red Sox are dangerous.
12. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 12
Manny Machado broke out of his slump with a sixth-inning grand slam in Monday night's 8-2 win over the Phillies. Machado still has a relatively weak .763 OPS for the season -- which would be a five-year low -- and the Padres as a group currently rank 24th among all 30 major league teams in runs scored. But there is help on the way in the form of rehabbing shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who batted .300/.360/.550 with six home runs and six stolen bases over his first 27 major league games before landing on the injured list at the end of April with a significant left hamstring strain. He began a minor league rehab assignment Monday at Double-A Amarillo and went 1-for-3 with a double, a stolen base, and two walks.
13. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 13
No team was happier to see the calendar flip to June than the Cardinals. They went 9-18 in May, after tallying a franchise-record-typing 18 wins in April. But a big three-game weekend sweep of the Cubs has St. Louis right back in the thick of things in both the National League Central and National League Wild Card standings. Adam Wainwright worked around a career-high seven walks to deliver eight scoreless innings in Sunday's finale versus Chicago. Kolten Wong lit it up the entire weekend, emerging from a dreadful month of May to go 6-for-10 with two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored across the three-game set. He also made a couple stellar defensive plays at second base.
14. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 19
The Rangers have won five of their last six games and are 13-5 since May 15, but they'll have to survive the next couple of weeks without breakout star Joey Gallo, who landed on the injured list Sunday after suffering a strained left oblique during a plate appearances on Saturday. Gallo was already an established slugger -- he hit 41 home runs in 2017 and 40 home runs in 2018 -- but he's really put it all together this season with a .276/.421/.653 overall slash line. Gallo is a big reason the Rangers are second among all major league teams in runs per game (5.67). Danny Santana, a career .259/.297/.385 hitter at the big league level, is probably going to have to take regular at-bats.
15. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 11
The Athletics rattled off 10 consecutive victories between May 16-27, but they have since lost five straight and are back below the .500 mark for the season. The bats have gone a little quiet, but Khris Davis was activated off the injured list over the weekend and can obviously help that cause. He was out for 10 days with a contusion along his left hip and oblique -- an injury that lingered for weeks before the A's finally decided to shut him down for an extended period. Davis averaged 44 home runs per season between the 2016-2018 seasons, and he's on pace for 33 this year despite being hobbled for basically all of May. There are also reinforcements on the way for the starting rotation.
16. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 16
Cleveland lost three of four to the White Sox over the weekend to fall one game under .500 and 11 1/2 games back of the Twins for first place in the American League Central standings. It will take a tremendous surge for the Indians to capture their fourth straight division crown, and having to pull that off without Corey Kluber (arm) makes it an even taller task. The good news is Mike Clevinger (back) has begun to make significant progress and may be cleared to head out on a minor league rehab assignment this week. Jose Ramirez showed some life toward the end of May, but he is 0-for-7 so far in June and batting just .206/.308/.313 with four home runs over 58 total games this year.
17. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 14
The Diamondbacks took two of three from the Mets over the weekend, but a five-game losing streak preceded that and they managed just three total hits in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers on Monday. In general, the D-backs have fared better than anyone expected them to, but the loss of Luke Weaver will hurt going forward -- he was diagnosed last week with a mild right flexor pronator strain and a mild right UCL sprain -- and it seems likely that veteran ace Zack Greinke will be shopped ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. The 35-year-old is owed around $95 million on a contract that runs through 2021, but if Arizona is willing to eat some cash, there could be a nice haul of prospects out there on the market.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 15
The Pirates dropped three of four to the Brewers over the weekend and are now 4-10 dating back to May 19, when they were just three games out of first place in the National League Central standings. But it could all be much worse, as the Bucs have a -68 run differential and a 23-35 Pythagorean record. In other words, they're lucky to be just two games under .500. Josh Bell continues to shine -- he's up to 18 home runs and 53 RBI with a .332/.395/.681 overall slash line -- but he can't carry the offense all on his own. Pittsburgh's hitters have combined to slash .255/.314/.400 as a group, even with Bell's numbers included. That combined OPS of .714 ranks 22nd among all 30 teams.
19. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 21
The Angels have won seven of their last 10 games to climb near the .500 mark and possibly into contention for an American League Wild Card spot. They've started to embrace the opener in Anaheim, which is smart strategy for a team that lacks reliable starting pitching. As a whole, the Angels' rotation has produced a 5.51 ERA, -- fourth-worst among all 30 major league teams. Andrew Heaney has provided a boost since missing the first eight weeks of the 2019 regular season because of a left elbow issue. He struck out 10 batters over six innings Saturday against the Mariners and owns a 4.09 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, and 18/1 K/BB ratio in two starts covering 11 total frames.
20. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 22
The White Sox have won six of their last seven games and can reach the .500 mark for the first time since April 5 with a win over the Nationals in Tuesday night's series opener in Washington. Lucas Giolito continues to look like an emerging ace with an 8-1 record, 2.54 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 78 strikeouts through 67 1/3 innings (11 starts) this season. He struck out nine batters and issued zero walks over 7 1/3 innings in his last turn through the rotation Sunday against the Indians -- a game which the White Sox won 2-0. Jose Abreu is tops among all American League hitters in RBI (50), despite a relatively underwhelming .797 OPS. Is he still a trade chip, or might the Pale Hose be buyers in July?
21. New York Mets
Last Week: 17
The Mets struggled on the road against a couple of National League West opponents last week, losing three of four at Dodger Stadium and then two of three against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. New York's pitching staff currently ranks 19th in the majors in combined ERA with a rough 4.60 mark, and the offense is 18th in both team OPS (.738) and runs scored. That's obviously not a recipe for success. Robinson Cano (quad) is expected to be activated off the injured list Tuesday, but it's fair to wonder how much of a boost he can provide. The 36-year-old offseason trade acquisition has batted just .248/.287/.371 with three home runs and 13 RBI in 45 games this season.
22. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 20
The Reds sit in last place in the National League Central standings, but they have a better run differential (+36) than the first-place Brewers (+18), the third-place Cardinals (+19), and the fourth-place Pirates (-68). When they win, it's often in blowout fashion. When they lose, it's usually in closer games. For example, the Reds beat the Nationals on Friday night by a score of 9-3, courtesy of a five-run outburst in the bottom of the first inning, but then went on to lose 5-2 on Saturday and 4-1 on Sunday. If they can't right the ship and play to their true talent over the next five-to-six weeks, the Reds will probably be among the most active sellers leading into the July 31 trade deadline.
23. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 25
The Nationals swept a two-game set in Atlanta last week and then took two of three against the Reds this past weekend at Great American Ball Park. Washington has won four of its last five games and seven of its last nine. Don't call it a comeback? Max Scherzer was terrific in Sunday's series finale in Cincinnati, racking up a season-high 15 strikeouts while yielding just three hits and one walk over eight innings of one-run ball. And the Nats' offense finally gave him a bit of run support as his record improved to 3-5. Overall, the Nationals are 3-10 this season in games started by Scherzer, despite the fact that he leads all major league starters in strikeouts (117) and FIP (2.12).
24. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 26
San Francisco snapped a seven-game losing streak last Thursday in Miami, behind a sharp outing by starter Tyler Beede, and then took two of three from the Marlins over the weekend. But as it stands here on Tuesday afternoon, the Giants are in last place in the National League West standings -- 16 1/2 games back of the first-place Dodgers -- with a run differential (-76) that ranks third-worst among all major league teams, behind only the Tigers (-96) and Orioles (-121). It's imperative that first-year president Farhan Zaidi gets a decent haul of talent for Madison Bumgarner (4.01 ERA, 1.189 WHIP, and 74/14 K/BB ratio in 74 innings) before the July 31 trade deadline.
25. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 23
Seattle had the best record in baseball on April 11 at 13-2, but this team has gone 12-36 since and hyperactive general manager Jerry Dipoto has already launched into sell mode. Anthony Swarzak was shipped to the Braves in late May and Jay Bruce was moved to the Phillies on Sunday, with the Mariners covering about 85 percent of the remaining $21.6 million on a three-year, $39 million deal he originally signed with the Mets in January 2018. It sounds like Edwin Encarnacion might be the next to go. He's owed around $20 million in the final year of a three-year, $60 million contract he signed with the Indians back in 2017, but there should be heavy interest given his power output.
26. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 24
The Blue Jays have lost six straight games and 10 of their last 11. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has turned it on with a .942 OPS and six home runs over his last 18 games, but many of Toronto's other bats have fallen into a deep slump. In terms of combined team OPS, the Jays rank second-to-last for the season with a mark of .661, ahead of only the Marlins at .634. Randal Grichuk, signed to a five-year, $52 million contract extension back in early April, is batting .222 with a .282 on-base percentage through 241 plate appearances. Cavan Biggio, called up on May 24 after an impressive seven-week showing at Triple-A Buffalo, is 5-for-23 (.217) through his first eight major league games.
27. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 27
Detroit had the fifth overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, which began on Monday night, and went with outfielder Riley Greene from Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida. Greene has been on the Tigers' radar since he was 15 years old and was considered the best prep hitter in this class, though there are some questions about his defense. The Tigers' top pick last year, No. 1 overall selection Casey Mize, has registered a dominant 0.89 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, and 65/10 K/BB ratio in 70 2/3 innings (11 starts) this season between High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie. Tanking is no fun in the present, but it's the way modern baseball teams rebuild, and the Tigers seem to be getting some things right.
28. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 29
Drafting fourth overall on Monday, the Marlins picked outfielder J.J. Bleday from Vanderbilt University. Bleday led all NCAA Division 1 players with 26 home runs during the 2019 regular season and also produced a .353/.467/.739 batting line and 68 RBI across 62 games. Considered the best pure power bat in this class, he's a natural fit for a Marlins team that currently ranks last in the majors in home runs (43) and slugging percentage (.341). Of course, it will probably be at least a couple of years before we see Bleday in Miami. Derek Jeter and Co. also had two other picks on Day 1 and went with outfielder Kameron Misner from the University of Missouri and high-school shortstop Nasim Nunez.
29. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 28
If you haven't caught on, we're focusing on the future this week with most of these bottom-of-the-barrel clubs. Because there aren't many nice things to say about the current on-field product. Kansas City had the second overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft and selected high-school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., a five-tool talent who might have been in consideration for the No. 1 overall pick had Adley Rutschman not torn it up this year at Oregon State. Witt Jr., the son of 16-year major league veteran Bobby Witt Sr., won the High School Home Run Derby at Nationals Park last summer and also nearly hit a ball out of Wrigley Field in the 2018 Under Armour All-American Game. The 18-year-old could be a fast-riser.
30. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 30
With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, the Orioles selected catcher Adley Rutschman out of Oregon State University. There was some talk of the O's possibly going with a player who wouldn't require the kind of signing bonus that Rutschman figures to command, as they also carry the 42nd, 71st, and 79th overall picks, but Rutschman was just too good to pass up. Labeled as "the best MLB Draft prospect since Bryce Harper" by Baseball America, the 21-year-old Rutschman is a tremendous defender behind the plate and batted .418/.580/.764 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI over 56 games this season for OSU. Something to look forward to in Baltimore.