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: 1
The Dodgers lost three straight to the Padres over the weekend and are 5-6 over their last 11 games, but they boast the best winning percentage (.652) and run differential (+129) in MLB at the break and sit 13 1/2 games up on first place in the National League West. There are five Dodgers at the All-Star Game in Cleveland: starting pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, and Walker Buehler, MVP candidate Cody Bellinger, and late addition Max Muncy. It's the first All-Star nod for Muncy, who has posted a .940 OPS and 57 home runs in 226 games since getting called up last April.
2. New York Yankees
Last Week: 2
The Yankees are up 6 1/2 games on first place in the American League East standings here at the All-Star break, courtesy of an offense that ranks near the top in most categories. They are third among all major league teams in runs scored, fourth in home runs, and fifth in combined team OPS. As for the pitching side of things, general manager Brian Cashman is already on the hunt for upgrades. Madison Bumgarner? Trevor Bauer? How about getting Ken Giles and Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays in the same package? These are just some of the possibilities being discussed.
3. Houston Astros
Last Week: 4
Justin Verlander will start for the American League in Tuesday night's 2019 MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland. It's the second career starting assignment in a Midsummer Classic for Verlander, who has been somewhat mediocre over his last handful of outings but still boasts a 2.98 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and 153/27 K/BB ratio through 126 2/3 total innings this year. In the American League's starting lineup, you'll find three different Astros: George Springer is at leadoff, Alex Bregman is batting sixth, and Michael Brantley will hit eighth. Gerrit Cole and Ryan Pressly are also in the building.
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4. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 3
Minnesota went 4-6 over its final 10 games before the break, allowing the red-hot Indians to shrink what was an enormous gap at the top of the American League Central standings. But the offense continues to hum along, ranking first among all major league teams in both home runs and combined team OPS, and the starting rotation will look a lot better when Jake Odorizzi returns from the injured list this weekend. Odorizzi was named to the American League All-Star team earlier this month, but he'll have to sit out of Tuesday night's Midsummer Classic because of a blister on his right middle finger.
5. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 5
The Braves earned victories in four of their final five games leading into the All-Star break and have won 24 of their last 34 games dating back to the beginning of June. They hold a six-game lead on first place in the National League East here on July 9 and will have two players in the NL starting lineup for Tuesday night's Midsummer Classic at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Freddie Freeman is at first base and batting third, and Ronald Acuna is in center field and hitting ninth. Young starter Mike Soroka was also named to the National League All-Star roster and should get in for an inning at some point.
6. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 6
The Rays made a statement to close out the first half, winning the final two games of a four-game weekend set versus the first-place Yankees. Charlie Morton was terrific in Sunday's series finale, striking out 10 batters over 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball as part of a 2-1 victory for Tampa Bay. The veteran right-hander is tops in ERA among all qualified American League starters with a mark of 2.32, and he has racked up 142 strikeouts in 112 2/3 total frames. Morton won't pitch in Tuesday night's All-Star Game because he pitched on Sunday, but he is there in Cleveland soaking up the richly-deserved accolades.
7. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 8
The Indians won their final six games of the first half and are now 22-9 since the beginning of June. At one point last month, they sat a whopping 11 1/2 games back of the Twins for first place in the American League Central standings. That deficit is now just 5 1/2 games, and those two teams are set to meet this weekend for a three-game series at Cleveland's Progressive Field. There is finally some positive momentum brewing for first-round fantasy bust Jose Ramirez, who slugged two home runs on July 4 in Kansas City and has registered an .866 OPS over his last 84 plate appearances.
8. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 11
The A's went on a tear to close out the first half of the season, winning 18 of 26 games leading into the All-Star break. Matt Olson missed six weeks of action between late March and early May with a fractured hamate bone -- an injury that can have negative lingering effects on a player's offensive capabilities -- but he has produced a .944 OPS with 19 home runs over his last 51 games. Those negative effects only lingered for about a week. Flying under the radar is that Mike Fiers has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for the last two months. He owns a 2.31 ERA in 70 innings (11 starts) since May 7.
9. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 12
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Monday that the Red Sox are "pushing to add a starting pitcher" and "would prefer to act sooner rather than later." This coincides with the news that Nathan Eovaldi will be shifted to the bullpen upon his return from the injured list. Word is, he's going to be groomed to take over at closer. Eovaldi became a lethal weapon in relief for Boston last October and perhaps the role reversion will help alleviate some stress on his right arm, but this probably isn't what the Red Sox envisioned when they handed him a four-year, $68 million free agent contract in early December.
10. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 14
Anthony Rendon was named to his first NL All-Star team but won't attend the event because he is nursing a few minor ailments. The 29-year-old third baseman wants to be fully healthy leading into the second half, with free agency possibly looming in November. The Nationals continue to discuss a long-term contract with Rendon and his agent Scott Boras -- Boras was in Washington, D.C. on Saturday and apparently met with team owner Ted Lerner -- but the clock is ticking and Boras would probably love to have the biggest fish on the open market this winter. Did we mention the Nats have won 23 of their last 32 games?
11. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 9
The Cubs are 16-19 since the beginning of June, but they hold the highest run differential (+55) in the National League Central and they're a half-game up on the Brewers for first place in the division. Yes, there are real concerns on the pitching side -- Cole Hamels suffered an oblique strain late last month and will likely be sidelined until August, and Craig Kimbrel has allowed five runs in his first 3 2/3 innings with Chicago -- but the situation could certainly be worse. Robel Garcia has provided a jolt since his promotion from Triple-A Iowa last Tuesday, hitting two home runs and a triple in four games.
12. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 7
The Brewers went 13-13 in June and are 2-5 so far in July. Their run differential at the All-Star break is -17, which ranks 19th among all 30 big league teams. Christian Yelich has been amazing -- he's hit 31 home runs already and is at the very top of the OPS leaderboard with a mark of 1.140 -- but the team's other big addition from last offseason, Lorenzo Cain, has slashed just .246/.309/.352 across 376 plate appearances in the second year of a five-year, $80 million deal. Cain batted .308/.395/.417 in 620 plate appearances last season and finished 12th among all MLB position players in wins above replacement.
13. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 10
Rougned Odor belted a game-winning three-run homer in the top of the 11th inning Sunday as the Rangers earned a 4-1 victory and avoided a three-game sweep at Minnesota's Target Field. Texas will hope that moment provides a spark for Odor leading into the second half, as he has batted just .193/.258/.396 with 96 strikeouts through 74 games this season. If Odor doesn't start making contact and getting on base at a higher clip, the Rangers could try Willie Calhoun at second base. The young outfielder has been doing pregame workouts there with Rangers infield coach Tony Beasley.
14. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 15
The Phillies are 14-19 since the beginning of June and have dropped to third place in the NL East standings, behind the first-place Braves and the red-hot Nationals. Aaron Nola has begun pitching like an ace, but Jake Arrieta may be facing season-ending surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow and the bullpen depth chart is littered with different physical ailments. As a whole, Phillies pitchers have combined for a 4.64 ERA, which ranks 19th among all MLB clubs. They've given up 153 home runs, the most in the National League and third-most in the majors, behind only the Orioles and Mariners.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 16
The Diamondbacks swept a three-game series against the Rockies to close out the first half of the 2019 season and they are just 1 1/2 games back of the second National League Wild Card spot here at the All-Star break, but they seem more likely to sell than buy at the July 31 trade deadline. Zack Greinke could certainly draw heavy interest, especially if Arizona is willing to eat some of the $85 million remaining on his contract. And there is already trade buzz growing around outfielder David Peralta, though he landed on the injured list last week with inflammation around the AC joint in his right shoulder.
16. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 17
The Padres won three straight games against the first-place Dodgers to close out the first half of the season, but a five-game losing streak preceded that and six of their first nine games coming out of the break are against teams that currently lead their respective divisions. We'll know soon enough whether the Friars are going to be buying or selling parts ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Contending clubs are already salivating over the thought of acquiring San Diego closer Kirby Yates, who boasts a 1.15 ERA, 0.795 WHIP, and 60/9 K/BB ratio in 39 innings this year. He leads all MLB relievers in saves with 30.
17. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 18
Despite a 24-34 record since May 2, the Cardinals came into the All-Star break just two games behind the Cubs for first place in the National League Central and 2 1/2 games back of the first National League Wild Card spot. And their one high-level trade chip, impending free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna, is probably going to be sidelined until sometime in August after suffering multiple fractures in his right hand at the end of June. It might make more sense to try to go for it in the second half, rather than trading spare parts for spare prospects. This has become a familiar -- yet still uncomfortable -- spot for St. Louis.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 19
The Pirates won five of seven games against the Cubs and Brewers in the final week before the break and are currently just 2 1/2 games back of first place in the NL Central standings. The big first-half hero in Pittsburgh, the man keeping it all afloat, was 26-year-old first baseman Josh Bell, who has already more than doubled his home run total from 2018 and currently leads all major league hitters in RBI with 84. Bell is on pace for 49 home runs and 153 RBI, after tallying only 12 home runs and 62 RBI over 148 games last year. He and closer Felipe Vazquez are in Cleveland for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game.
19. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 13
The Rockies lost six straight games leading into the All-Star break and are currently 14 1/2 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the National League West standings. If they are going to make it back to the postseason, they'll have to take the Wild Card route yet again. German Marquez was treated as a top-20 pitcher in many fantasy drafts this spring and he met the hype over the first few months of the 2019 season, but the 24-year-old right-hander holds a 6.43 ERA over his last seven outings and his strikeout rate has been closer to average than elite. The life of a Coors Field pitcher.
20. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 20
Jonathan Lucroy was diagnosed with a concussion and a fractured nose on Monday, after getting bulldozed at home plate by Jake Marisnick of the Astros on Sunday. He has a long history of concussions -- like most veteran catchers do -- and will be examined by an ears, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) later this week to determine a course of action for the nasal fracture. It's a safe guess that he's going to be sidelined for a significant period of time. Dustin Garneau, a career .203/.286/.321 hitter in parts of five major league seasons, will probably have to step in as the Angels' primary backstop.
21. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 21
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn announced this week that top outfield prospect Luis Robert would be promoted from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte following Sunday's Futures Game in Cleveland. It's already the second level jump this season for the 21-year-old from Cuba, who batted .349/.401/.618 with 16 home runs, 53 RBI, 29 stolen bases, and 64 runs scored in 75 games between High-A and Double-A. Lucas Giolito emerged as a true ace in the first half and Eloy Jimenez has a .984 OPS with 10 home runs and 24 RBI over his last 24 games. The future is bright on the South Side.
22. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 22
Every other last-place team is completely out of contention for a postseason spot, but the Reds are only 4 1/2 games back of first place in the NL Central and they're also well within striking distance of a Wild Card. 26-year-old starter Luis Castillo was the MVP for Cincinnati in the first half, delivering a 2.29 ERA with 124 strikeouts over 106 innings. He'll make an appearance at some point during Tuesday night's All-Star Game in Cleveland. As will Sonny Gray, who has rebounded to the tune of a 3.59 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings this season for the Reds after stumbling to a 4.90 ERA with the Yankees in 2018.
23. New York Mets
Last Week: 23
Pete Alonso won the 2019 Home Run Derby on Monday night in Cleveland, netting a $1 million prize. That's a significant payday for a guy making a major league minimum salary of $550,000. Also significant is that he pledged 10 percent of his winnings, before the event even began, to the Wounded Warriors Project and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Alonso is the first Mets player to win the Home Run Derby since Darryl Strawberry was co-champion in 1986. That is fitting, as Alonso broke Strawberry's record for most home runs by a Mets rookie two weeks ago. Yes, he did it by late June.
24. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 24
The Giants won six of their final seven games leading into the All-Star break and have gone 19-14 since the beginning of June, but first-year president Farhan Zaidi is preparing to tear down any tradeable parts from this roster. It's the right thing to do in the long term. Madison Bumgarner is known to be drawing serious from the Astros, Twins, Braves, and Brewers, among others, and closer Will Smith is also on the radar for a high number of contending clubs. Bumgarner exited his last start after getting hit on the left elbow by a line drive, but he only suffered a bruise and is on track to pitch Saturday in Milwaukee.
25. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 25
The Mariners are 2-8 over their last 10 games and 26-53 since April 11, when they held the best record in baseball at 13-2. Hyper-active general manager Jerry Dipoto is probably going to try to make as many moves as he can before the July 31 trade deadline, but he has already dealt away Edwin Encarnacion, Jay Bruce, and Anthony Swarzak this summer, and there's not a whole lot left to play with. Mike Leake and Dee Gordon are sure to be shopped but probably won't fetch much in return. Mitch Haniger would be an attractive piece, but he's still in shutdown mode after suffering a ruptured testicle in early June.
26. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 26
Caleb Smith returned to the Marlins' rotation on Saturday in Atlanta after missing four weeks with inflammation in his left hip and earned a win against the Braves despite allowing four runs -- three earned -- over six innings of work. The 27-year-old southpaw owns a 3.51 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 88/21 K/BB ratio in 72 innings (13 starts) this season and probably would have been representing Miami at Tuesday night's MLB All-Star Game in Cleveland had he been fully healthy throughout the first half. Sandy Alcantara is there instead, having registered a 3.82 ERA through his first 101 1/3 innings (17 starts) this year.
27. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 27
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put on a show in the Home Run Derby on Monday night, slugging 91 total dingers before ultimately losing in the final round to Pete Alonso. Vladito broke the event's single-round record with his 29-homer opening round before blasting 40 home runs in a semifinal round matchup with Joc Pederson, which required three tiebreakers. Guerrero Jr. has been somewhat of a disappointment so far in Toronto -- he entered the All-Star break with a .249/.328/.413 batting line and eight home runs through his first 61 major league games -- but there are huge things ahead for the 20-year-old slugger.
28. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 28
There will be quite a bit of attention paid to Whit Merrifield over the next three weeks, as he is the Royals' most attractive trade chip outside of Adalberto Mondesi and Hunter Dozier, who have both been deemed untouchable. Merrifield signed a four-year contract extension in January and Royals general manager Dayton Moore told reporters in mid-June that "the ask would be just crazy" for him on the trade market, but you can be sure that Moore and Co. will be answering the phone and could very well move him if the right offer comes along. Merrifield, 30, batted .306/.355/.495 across 91 games in the first half.
29. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 29
The Tigers played close to .500 ball through the first five weeks of the 2019 regular season, but they've gone 15-43 since the beginning of May and the situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. Tigers general manager Al Avila was recently handed a multi-year contract extension, which is a strong indication that club ownership has confidence in his rebuilding plan. Matthew Boyd, Nicholas Castellanos, and Shane Greene will all probably be wearing different uniforms by the end of July. Boyd is Detroit's most attractive trade chip as a cost-controlled 28-year-old left-handed starter.
30. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 30
Trade negotiations this month in Baltimore will likely center around outfielder Trey Mancini and veteran starter Andrew Cashner. Mancini has rebounded from a disappointing showing in 2018 to deliver a .291/.351/.517 batting line and 17 home runs in 84 games this season, though his defense is a glaring issue and his market may be limited to American League clubs who can use him at DH. Cashner put up a rough 5.29 ERA in 28 starts with the O's last season -- the first year of a two-year, $16 million free agent deal -- but he holds a 3.83 ERA and 1.19 WHIP through 96 1/3 innings this summer.