We have a new No. 1 in this week’s edition of the Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings.
After spending four weeks in the top spot, the Red Sox have been leapfrogged by the rival Yankees, which is fitting given that New York took two of three from Boston when the two teams met in the Bronx last week. They don’t face each other again until the last weekend of June.
Two of our biggest fallers this week come from the National League West. Two of our biggest risers are from the National League East. You can probably guess those clubs without reading through, but go ahead and read through anyway to find where all 30 teams land here in the middle of May …
1. New York Yankees
Last Week: 2
The Yankees have won 19 of their last 22 games behind an offense that leads all major league teams in runs scored by a fairly sizable margin. Aaron Judge is batting .311/.440/.601 with 11 homers and 35 RBI in 40 games. Giancarlo Stanton has improved his OPS nearly 150 points since May 1. Top infield prospect Gleyber Torres is slashing .319/.360/.493 since his promotion from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on April 22. The lineup is as scary as everyone thought it would be, and the pitching has been strong too.
2. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 1
Boston has lost four of its last seven games -- one to the A’s, one to the Blue Jays, and two last week against the rival Yankees -- but that’s obviously not any cause for panic. The Red Sox still have the second-best winning percentage (.683, behind only the Yankees) and the second-best run differential (+66, behind only the Astros) of all 30 major league teams. J.D. Martinez is batting .346 with a 1.037 OPS in 39 games. Mookie Betts is on pace for 51 homers, 32 stolen bases, and 170 runs scored.
3. Houston Astros
Last Week: 4
Houston fell 2-1 in Monday night’s series opener against the Angels and those two teams are now tied atop the American League West standings, but the Astros will stay ahead of the Halos in this week’s Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings because of their MLB-best +90 run differential. Anaheim is at +35. The starting rotation has been the star of the show so far for the ‘Stros, with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Dallas Keuchel, and Lance McCullers combining for a 2.26 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 328 strikeouts in 275 innings this season. Verlander, Cole, and Morton are all currently in the top 10 of fantasy pitchers by standard 5x5 scoring.
4. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 5
Andrew Heaney struck out 10 batters over eight innings of one-run ball to beat the division-rival Astros on Monday night. The 26-year-old left-hander, who made just six total starts between 2016-2017 due to elbow and shoulder injuries, boasts a 1.80 ERA and 26/6 K/BB ratio over his last four outings covering 25 innings. Shohei Ohtani racked up 11 strikeouts and yielded just one run in 6 1/3 innings in his last pitching appearance Sunday against the Twins. He also homered in the opening game of that series versus Minnesota and is batting .348/.392/.652 through his first 74 major league plate appearances.
5. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 9
The Baby Braves have won six of their last seven games and currently boast the best winning percentage (.625) and the best run differential (+57) in the National League. Ozzie Albies, 21, slugged his 13th home run of the season in Monday’s defeat of the Cubs at Wrigley Field and now has a .900 OPS, 31 RBI, and 38 runs scored in 40 games this year. Freddie Freeman owns a 1.008 OPS. Nick Markakis is slashing .346/.415/.537. Sean Newcomb, 24, is leading the rotation with a 2.51 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 46 2/3 frames.
6. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 7
Milwaukee took three of four from the Rockies over the weekend and earned a 7-2 win over the Diamondbacks in Monday night’s series opener in Arizona. The lack of front-line starting pitching on this roster still feels like a looming issue, especially with Chase Anderson on the disabled list because of a mysterious illness, Zach Davies experiencing ongoing shoulder soreness, and Wade Miley out for the next eight weeks due to a severe oblique strain, but the Brewers’ bullpen is among the best in baseball and has managed to cover for some of the rotation’s flaws.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 3
The Diamondbacks have lost six straight games and might have just lost another key player to an injury. A.J. Pollock, who ranks near the top of the MLB leaderboard in WAR, exited Monday night’s series opener against the Brewers after spraining his left thumb while diving for a ball in the outfield. Arizona is already without Taijuan Walker, who underwent Tommy John surgery last month, and Robbie Ray, who’s at least a couple weeks away from returning from a Grade 2 oblique strain. Jake Lamb (elbow, shoulder) has been sidelined since April 3, though he began a minor league rehab assignment over the weekend.
8. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 10
The Nationals have won 13 of their last 15 games and will carry a four-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s series opener against the Yankees. Adam Eaton is out at least a couple of months following ankle surgery, Daniel Murphy has hit a snag in his recovery from offseason knee surgery, and Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Wieters both landed on the disabled list last week, but the good outweighs the bad right now in Washington -- especially on the pitching side. Nationals starters have combined for a 2.91 ERA and 289 strikeouts in 256 2/3 innings this year.
9. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 6
Carlos Martinez was placed on the disabled list last week with a right lat strain and Adam Wainwright looks cooked at age 36, so the Cardinals’ starting pitching depth is going to be tested. But they are fortunate to have some of the best starting pitching depth in the game. Jack Flaherty will rejoin the St. Louis rotation -- possibly on a permanent basis this time -- for Tuesday night’s series opener against the Twins. Alex Reyes (elbow) has looked dominant through two minor league rehab starts and should be ready to rock by the end of the month.
10. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 15
Philly went 15-10 in April and the club is now 7-4 in May. Those messy season-opening series against the Braves and Mets probably feel like a distant memory at this point for rookie manager Gabe Kapler, who was booed at the Phillies’ home opener on April 3. Kapler and the Phillies are 16-6 at Citizens Bank Park, which is the second-best home record in MLB, behind only the top-ranked Yankees. Odubel Herrera leads the National League in batting average with a .360 mark. Carlos Santana has five home runs and 16 RBI over his last nine games.
11. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 11
James Paxton threw a no-hitter against the Blue Jays the same night last week’s Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings were published. He wasn’t nearly as dominant in his follow-up start this past weekend against the Tigers, but the oft-injured 29-year-old left-hander boasts a healthy 3.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 71/19 K/BB ratio in 53 2/3 total innings this season. Wade LeBlanc has been dominant since joining the starting rotation at the beginning of May. He threw six scoreless innings in Monday night’s series-opening victory over the Twins and holds a 2.51 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 22/4 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings -- three starts, five relief appearances.
12. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 8
The Cubs won five straight games last week against the lowly Marlins and White Sox, but they’ve now lost their last two games, including a 6-5 nailbiter on Monday afternoon against the young, surging Braves. Jose Quintana started that one and gave up six earned runs on nine hits, including three home runs. His season ERA is now at 5.23. Chicago needs better results from Quintana and better results from $126 million man Yu Darvish, who is due back from the disabled list Tuesday. He has a 6.00 ERA.
13. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 13
When you think of Colorado baseball, you usually think offense, but the Rockies currently rank 24th among all major league teams in batting average and 25th in on-base percentage. They are 19th in runs scored, despite the Coors Field effect. Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, and David Dahl have done their part, but the lineup is lacking depth. From the first base position, the Rockies have gotten a paltry .168/.254/.303 batting line. And yet here they are, making a charge at the Diamondbacks for the top spot in the NL West. Ian Desmond getting something going would be a huge help.
14. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 12
It has been a strange start to the season for the Indians, who have been in first place in the American League Central since the opening weekend and remain there now despite a .500 record. They’re the only team in the division with a positive run differential (+17), and you’d have to think they will begin pulling away from the pack at some point. Jose Ramirez slugged his 13th home run of the season on Monday night and boasts a .995 OPS in 39 games. Francisco Lindor is hitting .318/.383/.612. Michael Brantley is at .331/.362/.554.
15. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 17
Pittsburgh won five straight games last week before getting shut out by the Giants in Sunday’s series finale at PNC Park. It’s been a season of streaks for the Pirates, who are tied for second place in a National League Central that features four teams with records above .500. The offense ranks seventh in the majors in runs scored, thanks to encouraging contributions from the likes of Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Colin Moran, and Francisco Cervelli. Better starting pitching could make this team a real National League Wild Card contender.
16. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 21
Minnesota is 8-5 since the calendar turned to May and suddenly within striking distance of the Indians for the top spot in baseball’s weakest division, the American League Central. Fernando Romero has helped this club put a dreadful April in the rear view with a 0.54 ERA through his first three major league starts. Kyle Gibson owns a 3.43 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 50 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings. Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar are leading the way offensively with a combined 16 home runs and 47 RBI.
17. New York Mets
Last Week: 14
The freefall continues for the Mets, who climbed to the No. 3 spot in these Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings at one point in April. They’re 2-9 in May and have scored just five total runs over their last four games leading into Tuesday night’s series opener against the Blue Jays. Todd Frazier landed on the disabled list last week with a left hamstring strain. Yoenis Cespedes has acknowledged that he’s playing hurt. Jay Bruce, who was signed to a three-year, $39 million contract this winter, is batting just .233/.313/.383.
18. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 16
Toronto has not won back-to-back games since the calendar flipped to May. Blue Jays starters have posted a combined 5.55 ERA, which ranks second-to-last in the majors, ahead of only the White Sox. All-Star closer Roberto Osuna is on administrative leave through at least May 21 after his arrest last Tuesday on an assault charge against a woman. Kendrys Morales, who’s making $12 million in the second year of a three-year, $33 million deal, has batted just .154/.250/.275 through 104 plate appearances.
19. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 19
The Giants lost six games in a row last week before salvaging Sunday’s series finale in Pittsburgh and defeating the Reds on Monday night. The rotation is predictably struggling without Johnny Cueto (elbow) and Madison Bumgarner (finger), and the bullpen ranks 18th in team ERA (4.33) with $62 million closer Mark Melancon still working through a forearm issue. Jeff Samardzija has posted a 6.94 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, and 20/15 K/BB ratio in 23 1/3 innings since returning April 20 from a pectoral strain.
20. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 20
The A’s earned a 6-5 victory over the Red Sox in Monday night’s series opener at Fenway Park, but they’ve lost five of their last seven games, primarily because of ongoing inconsistency from the starting rotation. Sean Manaea boasts a 2.35 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 61 1/3 innings this season, but the other Oakland starters have combined for a 7-14 record and 5.51 ERA. Kendall Graveman, who got the Opening Day nod, has surrendered 32 runs -- 29 earned -- in 34 1/3 frames.
21. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 18
The reigning National League champions were just swept by the Reds in a four-game series at Dodger Stadium. That feels like it has to be rock bottom, but Clayton Kershaw is out at least another couple of weeks with left biceps tendinitis, Hyun-Jin Ryu will be sidelined through mid-July with a torn left groin, and Corey Seager is done for the season following Tommy John surgery. The good news is Justin Turner (wrist) and Logan Forsythe (shoulder) are both expected to come off the disabled list this week.
22. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 24
The Tigers have been a little better than expected this season and currently sit just two games back of first place in the American League Central, but that speaks more to the early struggles of the Indians and Twins than anything great or sustainable that Detroit is doing. It should be noted that the Tigers have played 25 games against teams with records below .500. That gives them the second-easiest schedule in the majors through six-plus weeks. They are 4-11 against teams that are .500 or better.
23. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 22
The Rays went on a nice run to close out the month of April, but they’re 4-8 in May because of an offense that has largely gone cold. Utility infielder Daniel Robertson is the only Tampa Bay regular with an OPS above .850 and only C.J. Cron has hit more than five home runs. Carlos Gomez, who was signed to a one-year, $4 million contract during spring training, is slashing .201/.248/.347 in 153 plate appearances. As anyone could have predicted, there is not enough firepower on this roster.
24. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 23
Cole Hamels allowed only one hit over six scoreless innings in his last start Friday against the AL West-leading Astros and the 34-year-old left-hander holds a strong 3.48 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 51 2/3 total innings this season, but the velocity issues that plagued him in the second half of the 2017 campaign have actually worsened here in 2018. His early-season success probably isn’t sustainable, and if he does sustain it, the Rangers will likely trade him. Texas has won consecutive games just three times this year, and the team’s longest winning streak is three games.
25. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 25
Christian Villanueva had a 1.112 OPS with nine home runs and 20 RBI over his first 24 games this season for the Padres, but since May 1 the 26-year-old former Cubs prospect is 1-for-37 (.027) with 14 strikeouts. That’s some serious regression. Manuel Margot looked like a potential breakout candidate leading into the 2018 season, at least for fantasy purposes, but he’s batting .202/.244/.311 with one homer and four steals in 31 games. Wil Myers is back on the disabled list for the second time this season with a strained left oblique.
26. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 29
The Reds won the final two games of their three-game set with the Mets last week before sweeping a four-game weekend series at Dodger Stadium, but they fell 10-7 to the Giants in Monday night’s series opener at AT&T Park and that six-game winning streak could very well go down as their longest of the entire season. Joey Votto left Monday’s game in San Francisco with what is being called lower back tightness. The visible discomfort he was displaying as he exited would indicate that it might be more than a day-to-day situation.
27. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 26
The Marlins finished strong in April, but they are 4-8 in May and have lost six of their last seven games. Miami’s offense has generated the fewest runs scored in the majors and the pitching staff has a combined 5.12 ERA, even with Jarlin Garcia and Caleb Smith showing well in the starting rotation. Wei-Yin Chen, who’s making $10 million this year and owed another $42 million over the next two years, has allowed 14 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings (three starts) since coming off the disabled list.
28. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 30
Baltimore has won five of its last six games, scoring a combined 48 runs in those five victories. Finally this team is getting offensive contributions from players not named Manny Machado. Mark Trumbo missed the first month of the season with a severe quad strain, but he’s batting .354 with an .867 OPS in 49 plate appearances since May 2. Kevin Gausman has a 1.50 ERA over his last four starts covering 30 innings. Still, this organization remains in desperate need of a rebuild. Machado figures to be wearing a different uniform in late July.
29. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 28
The Royals have lost three straight games and scored a combined five runs in those three losses. Offense has actually been a strength for this Royals team through the first six-plus weeks of the 2018 regular season. Pitching has not. Danny Duffy, the Opening Day starter for Kansas City, owns a 6.51 ERA in 47 innings (nine starts) and Jason Hammel is sporting a 6.13 ERA. Ian Kennedy got off to a promising start, but he was hammered for nine earned runs over four innings in his last outing, an 11-6 loss to the Orioles.
30. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 27
The White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the crosstown Cubs in Sunday’s series finale at Guaranteed Rate Field despite young starter Lucas Giolito issuing seven walks in 5 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old former top prospect showed promise down the stretch last season, but he holds a 6.91 ERA through eight starts this season. White Sox starters as a whole have produced a 5.78 ERA, which ranks dead-last among all major league teams.