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: 6
The reigning National League champions fell out of the top five of these Rotoworld MLB Power rankings last week after suffering through a six-game losing streak against the Cardinals and Brewers, but they've won seven of their last eight and are now back in control in the NL West, with a 2 1/2-game lead over the upstart Padres. Cody Bellinger leads all qualified MLB hitters in OPS with a ridiculous 1.382 mark and he sits at the very top of the fWAR leaderboard as of Tuesday afternoon. Clayton Kershaw has pitched the Dodgers to victories in each of his first two starts since missing the first three weeks of the season due to left shoulder inflammation.
2. Houston Astros
Last Week: 1
That big 10-game winning streak for the Astros came to an end last Wednesday night in Oakland, and the reigning American League West champions went on to drop two of three to the Rangers over the weekend due largely to poor pitching. Gerrit Cole had arguably the worst start of his career on Saturday in Texas, as he was charged with nine runs -- eight earned -- over 4 1/3 innings of work in a 9-4 defeat. Collin McHugh then surrendered 10 runs -- nine earned -- over just 3 1/3 innings in an 11-10 loss on Sunday. Houston also fell 9-5 to the Twins on Monday night, for this team's third loss in a row. There's no real cause for panic, but the Astros are no longer No. 1 here.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 3
Tampa Bay lost its series finale against the Orioles last Thursday and then dropped three straight at home to the Red Sox over the weekend before snapping that season-high four-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory over the Royals on Monday night. Mike Zunino belted his first home run of 2019 in that one, fresh off the paternity leave list, and Yandy Diaz crushed his sixth home run to raise his season OPS to .977. But the offense did take quite a hit on Saturday when hot-hitting 23-year-old outfielder Austin Meadows suffered a right thumb sprain on a slide into third base. The hope is he'll only have to miss a couple weeks.
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4. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 12
Paul Goldschmidt led the Cardinals' laser show Monday night against the division-rival Brewers as St. Louis earned a 13-5 win over Milwaukee in already the eighth meeting of the season between those two clubs. Anyone from the MLB scheduling office want to explain that one? Goldschmidt went 3-for-4 with three RBI while clubbing his ninth home run in 22 games. It took him until June 8 last year in Arizona -- 61 games played -- to reach the nine-homer mark. In other positive trends: Dexter Fowler continued his quiet resurgence in Monday's big victory, logging his first four-hit game since 2013 and tallying four RBI. This offense is suddenly humming.
5. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 2
Christian Yelich was named NL Player of the Week for April 15-21 after batting .417 with a 1.950 OPS, eight home runs, and 16 RBI over that seven-game stretch. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in Monday night's 13-5 loss to the Cardinals, but the reigning NL MVP boasts a ridiculous 337/.439/.820 batting line in 89 total plate appearances this season and he leads all major league hitters in both home runs (13) and RBI (31). With that out of the way, it must be noted that pitching has become a growing concern for the Brewers, who have the fourth-worst rotation ERA (5.81) among all 30 major league teams and the ninth-worst bullpen ERA (4.82). They also somehow have a negative run differential at -10.
6. New York Mets
Last Week: 4
Mets left-hander Steven Matz had one of the worst starts in MLB history (no hyperbole) last Tuesday in Philadelphia, as he was charged with eight runs -- six earned -- while failing to record a single out. He got revenge on Monday night, working six innings of one-run ball as the Mets secured a big 5-1 victory over the division-rival Phils. The biggest story in Queens right now is the health of Jacob deGrom, who thankfully appears to have dodged a bullet after landing on the injured list last Friday with discomfort in his right elbow. An MRI came back clean and the hope is that he will be able return to the starting rotation this Friday for the opening of a tough three-game weekend series against the Brewers.
7. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 5
Aaron Nola has struggled out of the gate, but he mostly tamed the thin air of Coors Field on Saturday to earn his second win of the year and he's lined up to face the lowly Marlins this Thursday. Still, who would have guessed he'd be sporting a 6.84 ERA through five starts? There may be some internal clubhouse strife in Philly, as Jake Arrieta offered this quote after Bryce Harper's fourth-inning ejecting from Monday night's 5-1 loss to the Mets: "He's got to understand, we need him in right field," Arrieta said. "I don't care how bad the umpire is. He wasn't great for either side. I'm out there trying to make pitches, he misses some calls. So what? We need him out there."
8. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 10
The Twins took three straight from the Orioles over the weekend, somewhat predictably, and then extended their winning streak to four with an impressive 9-5 defeat of the Astros on Monday night at Houston's Minute Maid Park. Jorge Polanco tallied four hits and four RBI in that one and currently boasts a .392/.452/.716 batting line over 84 total plate appearances this season. Despite below-average defensive ratings, the 25-year-old shortstop currently ranks fifth overall on the fWAR leaderboard, just behind the likes of Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich, and Mike Trout. Minnesota is in first place in the AL Central and is the only team in that division with a positive run differential.
9. New York Yankees
Last Week: 11
The Yankees have a half-roster of MLB-quality players sitting on the injured list, but they've still managed to win four straight and six of their last seven to climb within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Rays in the American League East standings. Offseason trade acquisition James Paxton had an ugly 6.00 ERA and 1.73 WHIP over his first three starts in pinstripes, but the 30-year-old southpaw struck out 12 batters over eight scoreless innings last Tuesday night against the Red Sox and tallied another dozen strikeouts across six scoreless frames Sunday versus the Royals. He's proving to be a terrific fill-in ace for Luis Severino, who is expected to be out until at least late June with a Grade 2 lat strain.
10. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 7
The Braves got swept at home last week by the Diamondbacks before rallying to take two of three from the Indians in a weekend series at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Josh Donaldson brought out the lumber against his former team on Sunday night, jacking two homers and tallying four total RBI as part of an 11-5 blowout victory. The veteran third baseman has a .900 OPS through 21 games this season. Among the other Braves hitters with an OPS above .900: Dansby Swanson (.903), Brian McCann (.906), Nick Markakis (.907), Tyler Flowers (.915), Freddie Freeman (.924), and Ronald Acuna (1.029). Now, about that bullpen ...
11. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 9
Star shortstop Francisco Lindor was activated off the injured list over the weekend after missing the first three-plus weeks of the season while recovering from spring calf and ankle issues. He went 1-for-5 with a run scored in his season debut Saturday in Cleveland and then ripped a solo homer on Sunday night, but the Indians were out-slugged by the Braves in both of those games. Starting pitching was supposed to be a big strength for the Tribe, but Mike Clevinger is out until at least early July with a severe upper back strain and Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco have combined for a 6.49 ERA through 43 innings.
12. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 15
The Cubs had a rough first couple of weeks, but they seem to have found a groove here in late April, with five wins in their last six games and seven wins in their last nine. You can point directly to the pitching as the primary reason for the turnaround. Jose Quintana struck out seven batters across seven scoreless innings in his last start April 16 against the Marlins and will carry a 14-inning scoreless streak into Tuesday night's series opener against the Dodgers. Cole Hamels went seven scoreless innings on April 17 versus Miami to lower his season ERA to 2.77, and Kyle Hendricks tallied 11 strikeouts over seven shutout frames April 19 against Arizona.
13. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 16
The Mariners righted the ship this past weekend in Anaheim, taking three of four from the Angels, after suffering through a six-game losing streak against the Astros and Indians between April 12-17. Is this team a real postseason contender? Probably not. But we're nearly four weeks into the 2019 regular season -- longer for the Mariners, who opened the year on March 20 in Japan -- and they currently sit atop the AL West standings. Daniel Vogelbach looks like an early frontrunner for American League Rookie of the Year honors -- yes, his rookie status is still intact -- with a sensational .327/.472/.836 slash line through 72 plate appearances.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 17
Pirates pitchers on the whole have delivered a 3.02 ERA in 179 innings this season, and the rotation has been especially tremendous with a combined 2.24 ERA. Both of those marks rank first among all National League teams. The offense is still a concern, and Starling Marte hitting the injured list with an abdominal injury won't help matters, but the Bucs did welcome Gregory Polanco back into the fold on Monday night and he went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored in his season debut against the Diamondbacks. Polanco needed major shoulder surgery late last year and the initial thought was that he would be sidelined through at least mid-May. So him returning on April 22 is a pretty big victory.
15. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 8
The early-season shine has worn off somewhat for the Padres, who had lost six straight games before outlasting the Reds in a 4-3 victory on Sunday afternoon. Fernando Tatis Jr. singled in the third inning of that one to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Via a tweet by MLB.com's AJ Cassavell, here are the last six major leaguers to manage a 10-game hitting streak at age 20: Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Mike Trout. Pretty good company there. Tatis also managed a cool feat on Friday, becoming the youngest player in MLB history to homer and steal three bases in a single game.
16. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 20
Here come the Rockies. They finally snapped an eight-game losing streak last Sunday in San Francisco behind a brilliant pitching performance by German Marquez and have now rattled off seven victories in their last eight games. That includes a 7-5 defeat of the Nationals on Monday at Coors Field, in which Nolan Arenado collected his 1,000th career hit on a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the seventh inning. The star third baseman also doubled twice and scored three times in the win versus Washington, abruptly raising his season slash line in one night from .259/.319/.412 to .281/.337/.483. We were never really worried about that guy.
17. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 13
The defending World Series champions and their frustrated fanbase will hope that a three-game weekend-series sweep of the AL East-leading Rays will be the start of a big early-season turnaround. But they'll have to do it without 2018 postseason hero Nathan Eovaldi, who was diagnosed with a loose body in his right elbow on Saturday and is likely to be sidelined for at least the next 4-6 weeks following arthroscopic surgery. Eovaldi was re-signed to a four-year, $68 million contract this past winter after delivering a 1.61 ERA over 22 1/3 innings in the playoffs last October. At least Chris Sale's velocity readings are finally trending up.
18. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 14
Stephen Strasburg took advantage of a juicy matchup against the Marlins on Sunday in Miami, striking out 11 batters and yielding just two hits over eight scoreless innings as part of a 5-0 win for the visiting Nationals. It was one of the best starts of his career, by certain measurements, and his season ERA dropped from 5.56 to a more palatable 4.11. Max Scherzer had trouble reeling in the Fish in the second game of that series on Saturday, surrendering seven runs on 11 hits in a 9-3 loss. He's 1-3 with a 4.45 ERA through 32 1/3 innings this year, after going 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA across 220 2/3 innings in 2018. And no, the Nats' bullpen woes have not been remedied.
19. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 21
The Rangers have won six of their last eight games -- all against American League West opponents -- and currently sit just two games back of first place in the division. 25-year-old slugger Joey Gallo has been on an incredible tear offensively and could be headed toward a true breakout in his third full major league season. Yes, he hit 41 home runs in 2017 and 40 home runs in 2018, but those totals came with .209 and .206 batting averages, respectively. The overall slash line looks much better this year at .273/.388/.712. If young closer Jose Leclerc can iron out his early-season command issues, Texas might just be able to flirt with Wild Card contention.
20. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 22
Christian Walker continued his early-season slugfest in Monday night's 12-4 blowout win over the Pirates with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning. The 28-year-old first baseman has batted .347/.413/.722 with seven home runs through his first 21 games this season and currently ranks eighth among all major league hitters in OPS with a shiny 1.135 mark. Who needs Paul Goldschmidt? Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray both delivered strong pitching performances over the weekend and Luke Weaver -- who was part of the return for Goldschmidt -- struck out nine batters across five shutout innings in his last rotation turn against the Braves.
21. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 18
Chris Bassitt offered some hope for Oakland's starting pitching woes in a 5-1 victory over the Rangers on Monday night, working five scoreless innings in his first outing at the major league level this season. But the A's rotation still has a combined ERA above 5.00, and Opening Day starter Mike Fiers has allowed a whopping 23 earned runs in 25 innings. The front office has to figure out a way to improve that element of the roster if there's going to be a return to postseason play in 2019. Top pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo has yet to be cleared to resume throwing in his ongoing recovery from a late-March shoulder strain.
22. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 19
The Angels got Mike Trout back from a mild groin strain early last week and he has continued to rake, but this team has lost seven of its last eight games and is currently buried at the very bottom of the American League West standings. Angels starters have combined for a 5.95 ERA this season, which ranks 29th among all 30 major league clubs. Matt Harvey, signed to a one-year, $11 million free agent contract in December, has yielded 22 earned runs in 24 2/3 innings for an ERA of 8.03. He looked a little sharper in Monday night's series opener against the Yankees, but the Halos still lost that one in extras.
23. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 26
Toronto has won six of its last seven games, building a buzz that should grow exponentially with the anticipated arrival of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sometime before the end of this week. There were reports floating around that the 20-year-old top prospect might be called up Tuesday ahead of a two-game series against the Giants, but Friday, April 26 is looking more likely, for the opening of a three-game weekend series against the Athletics. Rogers Centre should be rocking, even with this Blue Jays team positioned as a non-contender. In his 36 career games at the Triple-A level -- between this year and last year -- Vlad Jr. has batted .344/.421/.588. He's ready.
24. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 23
The Reds managed to take three of four from the Padres over the weekend, but they sit at the very bottom of the standings in the ultra-competitive National League Central and the offense must get going if this retooled Cincinnati roster is going to make a charge. Reds hitters have combined for an MLB-worst .197 combined team batting average and they also rank dead-last in on-base percentage with a paltry .261 combined mark. Yasiel Puig is slashing .164/.186/.299 through 70 plate appearances and Matt Kemp is at .200/.210/.283. Joey Votto has a .311 OBP and .720 OPS, which would both be career lows ... by far.
25. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 24
The Tigers haven't played many games since last week's Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings went live due to inclement weather both at home in Detroit and also in Boston, where they were supposed to open a series against the Red Sox on Monday night. That rainout will be made up with a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday at Fenway Park. Let's give a shoutout to closer Shane Greene, who had an average draft position of 207.6 this spring in Yahoo leagues -- the 31st reliever off the board -- and currently leads all major leaguers in saves with 10. Yes, he has earned a save in every one of the Tigers' victories so far.
26. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 27
Jose Abreu helped the White Sox beat up on the Orioles in Monday night's series opener in Baltimore, going 3-for-6 with a home run and five total RBI as part of a 12-2 runaway victory at Camden Yards. The 32-year-old impending free agent slugger is probably Chicago's most important trade chip and he got off to a disturbingly slow start this season, but he has begun to turn it on as of late. His batting average jumped from .192 to .214 with that excellent performance from Monday, and his season OPS rose from .645 to .704. Look for the rebuilding Pale Hose to shed multiple pieces ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
27. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 25
Buster Posey brought an end to his career-long homerless streak on Sunday against the Pirates, cranking a three-run shot off Chris Archer in the top of the fifth inning as the Giants went on to win 3-2. Posey hadn't gone yard since June 19, 2018 against the Marlins -- a span of 237 at-bats. The overall lack of power continues to plague this San Francisco team, which ranks dead-last among all major league clubs in combined OPS at .602. At least Madison Bumgarner is off to a decent start. The biggest trade chip for the rebuilding Giants owns a 3.66 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 30/5 K/BB ratio through 32 innings.
28. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 28
The Royals lost the final three games of their four-game weekend series at Yankee Stadium before falling 6-3 to the Rays in Monday night's series opener at Tropicana Field. That's a four-game losing streak, which isn't quite as bad as the club's 10-game losing streak that ran from March 31 to April 11. Trying to keep things positive here. Homer Bailey has been surprisingly effective in his last two starts, yielding just one earned run on five hits and three walks over 13 innings against the Indians and Yankees. He is 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA, which qualifies as a significant turnaround after he went 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA for the Reds last year.
29. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 29
Cedric Mullins tallied three home runs and four stolen bases over 16 games in the Grapefruit League this spring to win the Orioles' starting center field job out of camp, but he was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday after slashing just .094/.181/.156 across his first 74 regular-season plate appearances. He still has the look of a guy who could be an intriguing long-term fantasy asset with his combination of power and speed, but the rebuilding O's will give the 24-year-old some more minor league seasoning and roll with Joey Rickard in center for now. Rickard went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in Monday night's 12-2 blowout loss to the White Sox and is batting .197 for the year. Fun times in Birdland.
30. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 30
The Marlins fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo on Friday night and saw immediate results under replacement hitting coach Jeff Livesey in a 9-3 drubbing of Max Scherzer and the Nationals on Saturday. But the lack of offense in Miami was obviously never Pagliarulo's fault and the Fish fell immediately back to reality in a 5-0 shutout loss to Washington on Sunday afternoon. Not one qualified Marlins batter has an OPS above .800. Offseason addition Jorge Alfaro, part of the return package for J.T. Realmuto, is the closest at .786. Miami ranks dead-last among all major league teams in runs scored per game at 2.73.