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. Houston Astros
Last Week: 1
The Astros lost three of four to the Athletics last week before rolling to a weekend-series sweep of the Royals in Kansas City. Their magic number to clinch the American League West is down to four, and the Astros also have a slight advantage over the Yankees for the top seed in the American League postseason picture -- even though those two teams currently share the same record -- because Houston went 4-3 against New York this year. In other encouraging news, Carlos Correa is due to return to the active roster sometime this week after missing nearly a month of action with a lower back injury.
2. New York Yankees
Last Week: 2
Luis Severino is scheduled to join the Yankees' starting rotation for Tuesday night's series opener against the Angels after missing the first 24 weeks of the 2019 regular season with lat and shoulder issues. He threw 64 pitches -- 47 of which were strikes -- in his final minor league rehab start last Wednesday at Double-A Trenton and will presumably be allowed to go 70-75 pitches in his 2019 debut Tuesday versus Anaheim. Giancarlo Stanton is also due to be activated off the IL sometime this week. He has appeared in only nine games this year because of biceps, shoulder, calf, and knee injuries.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 3
The Dodgers clinched their seventh consecutive National League West title last Tuesday night in Baltimore and should soon lock up the top seed on the National League side of the postseason bracket. Hyun-Jin Ryu had struggled in his previous four outings leading into a matchup with the Mets on Saturday but went on to allow just two hits -- and zero walks -- over seven scoreless innings versus New York while lowering his season ERA to 2.35. Ryu figures to start Game 3 of the National League Division Series next month, with Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw handling Games 1 and 2.
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4. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 4
The Braves clinched a postseason berth after their 10-1 rout of the Nationals on Saturday and their magic number to lock up the National League East championship is down to four. There could be a big celebration sometime this week at Atlanta's SunTrust Park, with the Phillies and Giants both traveling in for three-game sets. 40-40 watch remains on for Ronald Acuna, who is up to 39 home runs and 36 stolen bases with 11 games to play in the regular season. Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano are currently the only four players in MLB history to accomplish the feat.
5. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 5
Jose Berrios pitched into the eighth inning and Luis Arraez went 3-for-4 with two RBI as the Twins earned a 5-3 win over the White Sox on Monday to open up a five-game lead on the Indians in the American League Central title race. Mitch Garver also came up big in that one with a go-ahead RBI double in the bottom of the fifth. It was the 65th RBI in just 86 games played this season for Garver, who has also managed to slug 30 home runs in only 290 at-bats. The 28-year-old catcher is the MLB leader in home runs per at-bat, and he was barely on the radar in fantasy drafts this spring.
6. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 6
The Rays went 3-3 last week against the Rangers and Angels, but they have won eight of their last 11 and are currently 1 1/2 games up on the Indians for the second American League Wild Card spot with less than two weeks to play. As it stands here on Tuesday afternoon, they are only one game behind the Athletics for the right to host the AL Wild Card Game. Tyler Glasnow is back in action and pitching as an effective short-inning starter after missing nearly four months with a flexor strain in his right arm, and Blake Snell (elbow) is set to return in a similar role to Glasnow's on Tuesday night against the Dodgers.
7. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 8
Oakland rattled off six straight road victories last week against the Astros and Rangers before falling 6-5 to the Royals at home on Monday. Entering play on Tuesday, the A's hold a one-game lead on the top spot in the American League Wild Card race. There has to be some concern about Mike Fiers, who got lit up for nine earned runs in just one inning of work last Monday versus the Astros and then left his start Sunday against the Rangers with nerve irritation in his right arm. Maybe this beard should have been a red flag. He had been 12-0 with a 2.59 ERA in his previous 21 starts before that outing in Houston.
8. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 7
The Cardinals suffered a brutal 7-6 loss to the Brewers on Sunday, after carrying a one-run lead into the top of the ninth inning, but they rallied to beat Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals on Monday night and currently hold a two-game lead over the Cubs for first place in the National League Central. Marcell Ozuna provided all of the meaningful offensive production in that 4-2 win over Washington with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning and a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh. The impending free agent outfielder also threw out a runner at home plate in the top of the fourth.
9. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 9
The Indians carried a four-game winning streak into their big three-game weekend series against the Twins and went on to lose both halves of a rainout-makeup doubleheader on Saturday before rallying for a 7-5 victory on Sunday. Cleveland is five games back of Minnesota in the American League Central standings -- with less than two weeks to play -- and 1 1/2 games behind the Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot. Of great worry for the Indians as they try to make one final push is that closer Brad Hand has been unavailable since September 8 because of left arm fatigue.
10. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 11
The Cubs swept a weekend series against the Pirates, scoring 47 runs across the three games. It was their highest run total in a three-game set since 1894. They carried that offensive momentum into an 8-2 win over the Reds on Monday and will bring a five-game winning streak into Tuesday night's matchup between Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray. Javier Baez is done for the season with a hairline fracture in his left thumb and Anthony Rizzo is out for at least a week with a lateral right ankle sprain, but this team remains relevant and dangerous in both the NL Central and NL Wild Card standings.
11. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 10
When the calendar flipped to September, the Nationals seemed to be in good position for NL Wild Card Game hosting duties, but they've lost nine of their last 14 and are currently just a half-game up on the Cubs for the top spot in the NL Wild Card standings. And the Brewers are only one game behind Chicago. Patrick Corbin and Max Scherzer are lined up to pitch the final two games of a three-game series in St. Louis -- Stephen Strasburg got the start in Monday's 4-2 loss -- and then the Nats finish out with three games against the Marlins, five games against the Phillies, and three games against the Indians.
12. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 12
The Brewers took two of three from the Cardinals over the weekend and topped the Padres by a score of 5-1 on Monday night. They are three games behind St. Louis for first place in the National League Central and one game back of the Cubs for the second National League Wild Card spot. Working in the Brewers' favor is that they have the easiest rest-of-season schedule of the three NL Central contenders: 3 vs. SD, 3 vs. PIT, 3 @ CIN, 3 @ COL. Another positive note: Brandon Woodruff (oblique) is scheduled to make his first start since July 21 on Tuesday versus San Diego.
13. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 14
The Red Sox have won three straight games, but they've already been eliminated from the American League East race -- they sit a whopping 18 games back of the first-place Yankees -- and it looks like they'll also be officially shut out of American League Wild Card contention sometime this week. Mookie Betts could be facing an early shutdown after developing discomfort in his left foot during last week's series on the Rogers Centre turf in Toronto. The 26-year-old hasn't hit as well as he did last year, but a .346/.438/.640 batting line is a high bar, and his current .918 OPS is nothing to scoff at.
14. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 15
The Phillies got swept in a two-game weekend set against the Red Sox and are five games back of the second National League Wild Card spot entering Tuesday night's series opener against the National League East-leading Braves. It's probably over, but this team can still make some noise -- and perhaps play spoiler -- given the following rest-of-season schedule: 3 @ ATL, 3 @ CLE, 5 @ WSH, 3 vs. MIA. That five-gamer in Washington looms large, mostly for the Nationals. Bryce Harper would probably take great pride in knocking his old team out of the NL Wild Card picture.
15. New York Mets
Last Week: 16
The Mets swept a four-game series last week against the Diamondbacks before dropping two of three to the Dodgers over the weekend and falling 9-4 to the Rockies on Monday night. They are five games back of the second National League Wild Card spot entering play on Tuesday. If we can shift the focus to offseason hardware, Pete Alonso looks like a runaway favorite for National League Rookie of the Year with his .941 OPS, 47 home runs, and 109 RBI, and Jacob deGrom may fetch his second straight NL Cy Young Award with a strong showing in his final couple of starts.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 13
The Diamondbacks went on a run between late August and early September to jump into the National League Wild Card mix, but they have lost seven of their last nine and will probably be officially eliminated from postseason contention sometime this weekend. Don't tell Ketel Marte, who hit his 35th double of the season on Monday night and could be a finalist for the National League MVP. The 25-year-old is batting .326/.387/.589 with 32 home runs, 92 RBI, 10 stolen bases, and 96 runs scored in 143 games this season. He ranks fourth in fWAR among all NL position players.
17. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 17
The Rangers made it back to .500 last Thursday, after taking two of three from the Rays, but they got swept in a three-game weekend series against the Athletics and might have the toughest rest-of-season schedule of any team in baseball: 2 @ HOU, 3 @ OAK, 3 vs. BOS, 3 vs. NYY. One positive is that Joey Gallo is expected to be activated from the injured list on Friday after missing nearly two full months with a broken hamate bone in his left hand. The 25-year-old slugger had a .986 OPS with 22 home runs and 49 RBI in 70 games before hitting the IL on July 25. He'll have about a week to pad those stats.
18. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 18
Will Smith recorded his 33rd save of the season on Sunday against the Marlins, after missing over a week of action with back inflammation, but the Giants will be without Tony Watson the rest of the way, as he was placed on the 60-day injured list Sunday because of a fracture in his left wrist. It could be a big regret for first-year team president Farhan Zaidi that he did not trade Smith and Watson ahead of the July 31 deadline. Madison Bumgarner too. All three are set to become free agents this winter. 2019 has been a frustrating year in San Francisco, and 2020 could be downright ugly.
19. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 19
If you're still watching Reds baseball, Eugenio Suarez is probably your primary reason for tuning in. He is currently tied for the MLB lead in home runs with 47 after going deep twice in the Reds' 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Sunday. Suarez drew three walks in Monday's 8-2 loss to the Cubs and boasts a .930 OPS in 148 games played this season. If the 28-year-old third baseman gets to 52 home runs, he will tie George Foster for the single-season franchise record. Suarez signed a seven-year, $66 million contract extension with Cincinnati in March 2018 and is locked in through 2024.
20. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 21
Talk of an early shutdown for young ace Chris Paddack began back in June, as he logged only 90 total innings in the minors last season after returning from Tommy John surgery. But the 23-year-old right-hander is still chugging along and will toe the slab on Tuesday night against the Brewers in what could be his final outing of 2019. Paddack worked six scoreless innings last Wednesday versus the Cubs and boasts a 3.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 144/30 K/BB ratio through his first 25 major league starts covering 135 2/3 innings. He could be a top-15 fantasy starter in 2020.
21. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 20
Shohei Ohtani underwent surgery last Thursday to repair a bipartite patella in his left knee -- in other words, a split kneecap -- and the brutal injury news doesn't stop there for the Angels, as American League MVP frontrunner Mike Trout will have a season-ending procedure this week to address a neuroma -- or pinched nerve -- in his right foot. The 28-year-old Trout finishes the 2019 campaign with a sensational 1.083 OPS and a career-high 45 home runs. He tallied 104 RBI and 110 runs scored in 134 games. Even with the injury, he should still take home the MVP hardware in November.
22. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 23
Eloy Jimenez was named the American League Player of the Week for September 9-15 after going 10-for-23 (.435) with three home runs and 11 RBI in a period of six games. He also went deep off veteran reliever Sergio Romo in Monday night's 5-3 loss to the Twins while boosting his season OPS above .800 for the first time since April. The 22-year-old outfielder is batting .311 with a .920 OPS over his last 156 plate appearances dating back to August 6. If you drafted him as a top-100 player this spring, he's been a letdown, but the arrow is certainly pointing up leading into 2020.
23. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 24
The Rockies have made use of a long homestand in the thin air of Coors Field to pad season stat lines. And they've also won six of their last seven games. Nolan Arenado is up to 40 home runs and 117 RBI, and his current batting average (.315), on-base percentage (.380), and slugging percentage (.595) would all be career highs. Trevor Story ripped a three-run homer in Monday night's 9-4 victory over the Mets and has 30-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases for the second consecutive season. Charlie Blackmon, meanwhile, is batting .318 with a .938 OPS. We'll ignore the pitching issues this week.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 22
The Pirates' pitching staff hit rock bottom over the weekend, allowing a total of 47 runs in three straight losses to the Cubs. Chris Archer has officially been shut down for the remainder of the 2019 season due to inflammation in his right shoulder and Jameson Taillon underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last month, so the starting rotation is currently made up of Joe Musgrove, Steven Brault, Trevor Williams, James Marvel, Mitch Keller, and Dario Agrazal. Neal Huntington has been the general manager in Pittsburgh for 12 years, but ownership would be right to make sweeping changes this winter.
25. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 25
Domingo Santana is set to be activated from the injured list on Tuesday after missing nearly a month with inflammation in his right elbow, but he's probably only going to be used as a pinch hitter or part-time DH down the stretch. The 27-year-old outfielder slashed .286/.354/.496 with 18 home runs and 63 RBI in 90 games before the All-Star break, but then slumped to a .131/.240/.250 slash line in 25 second-half games leading into his August 20 placement on the IL. Mitch Haniger, meanwhile, is looking less and less likely to return in 2019. He's been out since early June with a ruptured testicle and lower back issue.
26. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 26
The Blue Jays managed to win four of six games last week against the division-rival Red Sox and Yankees, all while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has fallen into another slump. The 20-year-old third baseman batted .349/.417/.605 with seven home runs, 10 doubles, and 32 RBI in 35 games between July 20 and August 31, but he's slashing just .167/.217/.238 with zero homers through 46 plate appearances so far in September. Vlad Jr. was the eighth third baseman off the board this spring in the average Yahoo draft, ahead of the likes of Eugenio Suarez and Josh Donaldson. In that regard, he's been a disappointment.
27. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 27
The Royals can play spoiler down the stretch, as all 11 of their remaining games are against contending teams: 2 @ OAK, 4 @ MIN, 2 vs. ATL, 3 vs. MIN. They earned a 6-5 victory over the Athletics on Monday night as Jorge Soler belted his 45th home run and Adalberto Mondesi went 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBI. Soler already set a new franchise single-season home run record earlier this month -- it was previously 38, held by Mike Moustakas -- and he could finish as the American League leader in that category. Mondesi probably would have led the league in stolen bases had he not missed all of August with a dislocated shoulder.
28. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 28
The Marlins haven't won consecutive games since taking two straight from the Diamondbacks in late July. They are 4-11 so far in September, after going 7-22 in August. Something to watch for as the Fish play out the string: Starlin Castro has 13 home runs and 44 RBI in 62 games since the All-Star break, along with a .298 batting average and .862 OPS. He is three home runs away from setting a new career high. The 29-year-old infielder is somewhat of a forgotten man on a very forgettable Miami club, but he could do pretty well for himself in free agency this winter.
29. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 29
Baltimore has officially lost 100-plus games for the second consecutive year, but let's give a nod here to Jonathan Villar, the only top-100 fantasy pick on the Orioles' roster. The 28-year-old infielder smacked a triple and scored a run in Monday's 5-2 loss to the Tigers and has 57 extra-bases hits, 67 RBI, 35 stolen bases, and 101 runs scored in 150 games this season. He was acquired from the Brewers last July as part of the Jonathan Schoop trade and could probably be flipped for a decent haul of prospects this winter. He'll be entering his final year of arbitration in 2020.
30. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 30
Matthew Boyd was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night against the Indians due to a personal family matter, and it's unclear at this point when he might slot back into the Tigers' rotation. The 28-year-old left-hander has tallied 228 strikeouts in 176 1/3 innings this season, but he has a 4.54 ERA. And his ERA is 6.34 ERA since the beginning of August. There were many calls on Boyd around the July 31 trade deadline, but the Tigers declined to move him, perhaps thinking that they could get more for him this winter. It's safe to say his value has not improved in the second half.