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: 3
The Astros are the new top dogs in these Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings, and they have the look of a team that could stay in the No. 1 spot for a long while. They've swept three consecutive series -- against the Athletics, Yankees, and Mariners -- and will carry a nine-game winning streak into Monday night's series-opener at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Jose Altuve homered in five straight games last week and currently holds a .328/.371/.688 batting line through 70 plate appearances this season. Carlos Correa is slashing .313/.400/.542, and Alex Bregman is hitting .313/.414/.438. Giddy up.
2. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 4
The starting pitching remains a problem -- Milwaukee's combined rotation ERA of 6.11 ranks 27th among all 30 major league teams -- but Christian Yelich might single-handedly carry this club to a second straight National League Central title. The reigning National League MVP continued his dominance of the division-rival Cardinals on Monday night, blasting three home runs and racking up seven RBI around a pair of walks -- one of which was intentional -- as the Brewers earned a 10-7 win. Yelich is batting .354/.449/.785 with eight total homers and 22 RBI through 17 games this season.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 5
The Rays have won six of their last seven games and have a good chance of staying hot this week with a three-game series at home against the Orioles and a three-game weekend set against the struggling Red Sox. They'll also host the Royals for three games next week. Rays pitchers on the whole have delivered a 2.44 ERA with 169 strikeouts through 144 innings this season. That earned run average ranks first among all major league staffs. And how about outfielder Austin Meadows? Part of last year's Chris Archer trade, he's slashing .357/.438/.732 with six home runs and 17 RBI through 15 games.
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4. New York Mets
Last Week: 7
New York split a four-game weekend series in Atlanta before beating up on Aaron Nola in a 7-6 win over the Phillies on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. This team isn't clicking on all cylinders yet -- Noah Syndergaard struggled in Philly on Monday, Jacob deGrom has looked human in his last two turns, and Robinson Cano is batting .185/.243/.323 through his first 15 games in a Mets uniform -- but they sit at the top of the National League East standings here on Tuesday afternoon. Rookie sensation Pete Alonso boasts a 1.181 OPS with six home runs and 17 RBI through 16 major league games.
5. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 2
The Phillies lost to the Mets on Monday night in the first meeting of the year between the two clubs. Aaron Nola's early-season struggles continued in that one, as he allowed five earned runs on seven hits and three walks over just four innings of work. The 25-year-old right-hander, who was considered a preseason candidate for the 2019 NL Cy Young Award, is currently sporting a 7.45 ERA through four starts. He has to be better, and the Phils also need some kind of stability in their bullpen. David Robertson landing on the injured list Monday with right elbow soreness won't help in that regard.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 1
The reigning National League champions suffered through an odd six-game losing streak last week, getting swept in a four-game series at St. Louis and dropping the first two games of a three-game weekend series against the Brewers. It was the Dodgers' longest losing streak since 2017. But they've since won two straight, and the rotation got a big boost Monday with the return of Clayton Kershaw, who missed the first three weeks of the season due to left shoulder inflammation. He went seven innings in his 2019 debut against the Reds, scattering two runs while striking out six and issuing zero walks.
7. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 8
The Braves have some issues on the pitching side -- their combined ERA of 4.43 is in the bottom-half of all major league clubs -- but the offense is humming along to the tune of a team-wide .830 OPS, which ranks third in MLB, behind only the Dodgers and Mariners. Recently-extended outfielder Ronald Acuna boasts a .294/.373/.562 batting line with 31 home runs, 77 RBI, 18 stolen bases, and 91 runs scored through his first 126 big league games, and he'll play this entire season at age 21. Dansby Swanson is flirting with a breakout at age 25 and can show the Diamondbacks what they missed out on this week.
8. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 11
The Padres dropped the final game of their four-game weekend series against the Diamondbacks and lost 5-2 to the Rockies on Monday night, but they are in first place in the National League West standings and have been one of the most exciting teams to watch through the first three weeks of the regular season. 20-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., a surprise addition to the Opening Day roster, has posted a .936 OPS with five home runs over his first 17 major league games while playing highlight-reel defense on the left side of the San Diego infield. Service time clocks be damned.
9. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 6
Trevor Bauer pitched well in Monday night's 6-4 win over the Mariners and Shane Bieber has looked sharp in the early going this season, but the same can't be said for the other members of Cleveland's starting rotation. Corey Kluber issued five walks Sunday for the first time in his career, Carlos Carrasco has a hideous 12.60 ERA through three turns, and Mike Clevinger is out until at least early July with a severe upper-back strain. And what is going on with Jose Ramirez? After finishing third in the AL MVP voting in both 2017 and 2018, he has batted .150/.212/.250 in 16 games to open the 2019 campaign.
10. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 14
This is setting up as a big six-day mid-April stretch for the Twins, as they're set to play three more games against the Blue Jays and three against the Orioles before heading to Houston for a daunting three-game series next week. They currently have a half-game lead over the Indians in the American League Central standings and should be able to increase that against two rebuilding AL East clubs, though they lost 5-3 to Toronto on Monday. Minnesota's offense has been a nice surprise so far, ranking seventh among all MLB clubs in combined OPS (.811) and fourth in the AL in runs per game (5.23).
11. New York Yankees
Last Week: 9
The Yankees have lost five of their last six games and are limping into their first series against the arch-rival Red Sox. James Paxton will try to right the ship in a marquee matchup versus Chris Sale on Tuesday night in the Bronx. Paxton, acquired from the Mariners over the winter for a trio of prospects, has allowed 10 earned runs on 20 hits and six walks over 15 innings this season, for an ERA of 6.00 and a WHIP of 1.73. J.A. Happ will pitch the second game of the series for the Yankees and also needs to show improvement. The veteran lefty is 0-2 with an 8.76 ERA and 1.95 WHIP through three starts.
12. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 12
St. Louis managed a surprising four-game sweep of the Dodgers last week at Busch Stadium before splitting a two-game set against the Reds in Monterrey, Mexico and falling 10-7 to the Brewers on Monday night in Milwaukee. Paul Goldschmidt has launched seven home runs through his first 16 games in a Cardinals uniform and Marcell Ozuna, despite lingering defensive concerns, boasts a 1.000 OPS in 58 plate appearances. But who could have guessed the Cards' starting pitching would be so poor? Miles Mikolas has a 6.00 ERA. Michael Wacha: 5.28 ERA. Dakota Hudson: 6.08 ERA.
13. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 10
The Red Sox got embarrassed by the visiting Orioles on Patriots Day at Fenway Park, falling 8-1 in the annual Monday morning tilt. Mookie Betts, the reigning MVP in the American League, had to this to say about his own performance after the game: "Basically, what I'm doing is unacceptable. I have to figure out a way to get something done and help the team." Betts went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout on Monday and is currently slashing .222/.324/.413 through 74 plate appearances this season. Compare that to the .346/.438/.640 slash line he delivered in 2018. Boston is tied for last place in the AL East.
14. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 13
Washington lost two of three this weekend against the Pirates to fall back to the .500 mark. This team has to start stringing more wins together to remain competitive with the Phillies, Mets, and Braves in a loaded National League East division. High-dollar starters Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin have both pitched well out of the gate, but Stephen Strasburg has been roughed up in two of his three starts, and the bullpen issues are far from sorted out. Nationals relievers have combined to allow 35 earned runs in 40 2/3 innings this season for an ERA of 7.75 -- dead-last among all MLB bullpen groups.
15. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 15
The Cubs have won four of their last six games, including a 7-2 trouncing of the lowly Marlins on Monday night in Miami. Yu Darvish showed some promise in that one, striking out eight batters over a season-high 5 2/3 innings while earning his first win since May 20, 2018 and lowering his season ERA from 7.50 to 6.11. He was clocked at 98, 99, and 99 mph on his final three pitches of the evening. Willson Contreras belted his sixth home run of the year Monday versus the Fish and is already more than halfway to his home run total from 2018. The 26-year-old catcher is slashing .341/.471/.829.
16. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 16
The Mariners had their six-game winning streak snapped by the red-hot Astros last Friday and then went on to drop the final two games of that three-game weekend series versus Houston before falling 6-4 to the Indians on Monday night. That's four straight losses for the Mariners, who are regressing in a hurry and currently hold just a half-game lead on the top spot in the American League West standings. One thing we can say for certain, even as the M's come crashing back to earth, is that Mitch Haniger is really good. The 28-year-old owns a .931 OPS (152 OPS+) over 89 plate appearances this season.
17. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 20
Pittsburgh ranks 26th in the majors in runs scored, with the offense sporting a combined .241/.317/.381 batting line through 14 games, but the starting pitching has been absolutely incredible. Pirates starters rank second among all major league clubs with a combined 1.98 ERA, behind only Rays starters and their otherworldly 1.47 ERA. Third on that list is Toronto, surprisingly enough, with a 2.84 ERA. The good news for the Bucs' lineup is that Gregory Polanco (shoulder) shifted his rehab assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis over the weekend and could potentially be activated off the injured list this week.
18. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 19
It has been a season of ups and downs so far for the Athletics, who just followed a four-game losing streak with a four-game winning streak before falling 8-7 to the Rangers on Sunday. The rollercoaster will probably continue unless the A's find a way to cobble together some better starting pitching. Mike Fiers, who got the nod on Opening Day in Japan, currently holds a 7.06 ERA. Marco Estrada, who is set to face a scorching-hot Astros team on Tuesday night, has a 4.87 ERA and just 10 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings. A bright spot: Khris Davis leads all major league hitters in home runs with 10.
19. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 17
Mike Trout returned to the Angels' lineup on Monday after missing a little under a week with a mild groin strain, but the team still lost 12-7 to the Rangers despite Trout drawing three walks and scoring a pair of runs. He has produced a ridiculous .382/.593/.882 batting line through 54 plate appearances this season, and yet the Halos sit in last place in the American League West standings with a .500 record. Angels starting pitchers have combined for a 5.52 ERA this year, which ranks 26th among all 30 major league clubs. And there's no light at the end of the tunnel on that portion of the organizational depth chart.
20. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 18
Colorado snapped a brutal eight-game losing streak Sunday in San Francisco as right-hander German Marquez carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the eighth inning en route to his first career complete game and shutout. It was the first complete-game one-hitter in the 27-year history of the Rockies franchise, and maybe the performance can serve as a jolt for a team that many predicted would be a postseason contender this spring. It's the offense that has been the biggest letdown so far, as the Rockies rank 27th among all MLB teams in runs per game (3.00) despite calling Coors Field home.
21. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 24
Texas brought out the lumber for an 8-7 win in Sunday's series finale against the Athletics and a 12-7 defeat of the Angels on Monday night. Asdrubal Cabrera and Joey Gallo both hit their fifth home runs of the season Monday, with Gallo snapping an 0-for-16 skid when he blasted a 436-foot bomb to right in the bottom of the third inning. But pitching remains a glaring issue for this Rangers team, as they rank 28th in combined starter ERA (6.40) and might have lost Edinson Volquez (elbow) for the remainder of the year. Young closer Jose Leclerc, who was dominant in 2018, currently holds a 5.68 ERA.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 21
The Diamondbacks have lost four of their last five games and five of their last seven, and they're now staring down the barrel of a tough 10-game road trip to SunTrust Park in Atlanta, Wrigley Field in Chicago, and PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Robbie Ray will start Tuesday night's series-opener against the Braves and attempt to rein in the control issues that have plagued him this season -- and really throughout his career. The 27-year-old left-hander has issued 11 walks in 15 1/3 innings so far in 2019, for a BB/9 of 6.5. On the other hand, he has allowed just seven hits and currently owns a 3.52 ERA.
23. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 22
The many former Dodgers on the current Reds roster returned to Chavez Ravine on Monday night and suffered a 4-3 walk-off loss. Yasiel Puig showed up 70 minutes late to his scheduled pregame press conference, missing the planned ceremony during which Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and a group of club executives presented National League championship rings to Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and Kyle Farmer. Puig said he didn't care to receive his. The 28-year-old outfielder went on to homer off Clayton Kershaw in the top of the first inning, but he's batting just .191/.224/.383 in 13 total games this season.
24. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 23
The Tigers went 7-3 over their first 10 games this season, but they've since lost four of five and the downturn is probably going to continue as the baseball calendar moves into the summer months. Shane Greene currently leads all American League relievers in saves with eight and he has yet to allow a run, but the 30-year-old closer is almost certain to be dealt away for prospects well before the July 31 trade deadline. And the Tigers are also expected to aggressively shop outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, who is due to become a free agent in November. He's currently sidelined with a sprained right big toe.
25. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 26
The Giants took three of four from the Rockies over the weekend behind strong outings by Jeff Samardzija, Drew Pomeranz, and Madison Bumgarner. San Francisco pitchers as a whole -- starters and relievers all included -- currently hold a 2.75 ERA, which ranks third among all MLB staffs. Now let's get to that abysmal Giants offense, which sits second-to-last in runs scored (47 runs in 17 games), dead-last in team OPS (.572), and has combined for a .199/.259/.313 overall slash line in 562 at-bats. And that includes the surprisingly stellar power numbers from April 2 trade acquisition Kevin Pillar.
26. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 25
Good news, Blue Jays fans: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is recovered from his spring oblique strain and knocking on the door to make his triumphant major league debut. The 20-year-old top third base prospect joined up with Triple-A Buffalo this past weekend after playing four rehab games at High-A Dunedin and has gone 5-for-10 with a home run, a double, and five RBI through three games with the Bisons. Last year included, Vlad Jr. is now a .350/.429/.592 career hitter at the Triple-A level, with seven home runs, eight doubles, and 21 RBI in 33 games played. Yep, he's ready. And we're ready too.
27. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 28
Chicago took two of three from the Yankees over the weekend before topping the Royals by a score of 5-4 on Monday night. Tim Anderson has been scorching hot since returning from the paternity leave list on April 4 and currently leads all major league hitters in batting average (.453) while also boasting a 1.142 OPS through his first 54 plate appearances. He has slugged three home runs and stolen five bases. Not bad for a guy who went 133rd overall in the average Yahoo fantasy baseball draft this spring. Now if only the White Sox could get Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez on the right path.
28. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 27
Kansas City pulled off a three-game sweep of the division-rival Indians over the weekend before falling 5-4 to the White Sox on Monday. Homer Bailey excelled Saturday versus Cleveland, yielding just two hits over seven shutout innings to earn just his second win in 23 starts dating back to the beginning of the 2018 season. Still, his ERA is above 5.00, and his next start will be at Yankee Stadium this Thursday. Brad Keller, on the other hand, looks like a legit cornerstone piece for the rebuilding Royals. The 23-year-old worked 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball Friday against the Tribe, lowering his ERA to 2.45.
29. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 30
Chris Davis finally got off the schneid Saturday against the Red Sox, snapping a historic 0-for-54 stretch with a 3-for-5, four-RBI showing in Boston. Davis then slugged a two-run homer in Monday's matinee game at Fenway Park for his first home run since August 24, 2018. It was his first home run on the road since last July 20 in Toronto. The 33-year-old, who's still due $89 million on a contract that runs through 2022, is now 4-for-45 (.089) to begin the 2019 regular season. But we'll give the O's a small bump in the Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings this week to celebrate his hitless streak mercifully coming to an end.
30. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 29
The Marlins have yet to win a series this year and that's probably not going to change anytime soon, as they've already dropped the first game of a three-game set against the visiting Cubs and will then host the Nationals this weekend before traveling to Cleveland and then Philadelphia next week. Sandy Alcantara was brilliant in his season debut back on March 31 but has since allowed eight runs on 15 hits and seven walks over his last nine innings. Lewis Brinson, a career .342/.398/.560 hitter in 497 plate appearances at Triple-A, currently stands as a .191/.241/.324 career hitter in the majors.