MLB Power Rankings: Week 9

Drew Silva

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. Minnesota Twins
Record: 36-17
Last Week: 3
As the team with the best winning percentage (.679), run differential (+110), and largest division lead (10 games over the second-place Indians), the Twins get top billing in this week's Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings. It's only right. They fell 5-4 to the Brewers on Memorial Day, but the Twins have won 11 of their last 13 games and appear to be cruising toward their first American League Central title since 2010. Jake Odorizzi was terrific again in Sunday's series finale against the White Sox, striking out nine batters while yielding just one hit and one walk over 5 1/3 scoreless innings as part of a 7-0 shutout victory. He boasts a 2.16 ERA through 11 starts, which leads all qualified American League starters.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 36-18
Last Week: 2
The Dodgers swept a three-game weekend series in Pittsburgh, out-scoring the Pirates 28-11 in those three games, and then made it four wins in a row with a 9-5 defeat of the Mets and Jacob deGrom on Monday night in Los Angeles. Cody Bellinger hit his 19th home run of the season off deGrom in the bottom of the third inning before drawing an intentional walk in the bottom of the sixth. The 23-year-old currently leads all qualified major league hitters in batting average (.383), on-base percentage (.469), and slugging percentage (.761). This is no longer a small sample size -- we're talking 224 plate appearances. He's also first in the majors in fWAR by a significant margin.

3. Houston Astros
Record: 36-19
Last Week: 1
The Astros took two of three from an on-the-rise Red Sox team over the weekend before outlasting the NL Central-leading Cubs by a score of 6-5 on Monday afternoon at Minute Maid Park. George Springer, the Astros' leader in fWAR, landed on the injured list Saturday with a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring and will probably miss at least a month of action, but Jose Altuve is set to return from a hamstring injury of his own this Tuesday or Wednesday and Houston can dip into its farm system if the outfield needs a boost. Yordan Alvarez has batted .371/.454/.798 with 20 home runs and 63 RBI through 47 games this season at Triple-A Fresno. Don't forget about Kyle Tucker either.

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4. New York Yankees
Record: 35-18
Last Week: 4
The Yankees are a very different-looking team than we thought they'd be, and it doesn't appear that high-priced slugger Giancarlo Stanton (shoulder, calf) will be back in the fold anytime soon, but some of their injured stars are making progress -- like James Paxton, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Didi Gregorius, and Dellin Betances -- and the wins keep piling up regardless of the crowded IL. Gary Sanchez has managed to stay healthy since returning from a calf strain on April 24 and belted his 16th home run of the season in Monday's 5-2 defeat of the Padres. He's slugging .647 on the season, tops among catchers with at least 100 plate appearances.

5. Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 32-19
Last Week: 7
It appeared last week that the Rays had hit a wall, with Tyler Glasnow's forearm strain maybe serving as a wake-up call as to their lack of rotation depth, but they have since won five of their last six games and they are one of only five major league teams with a winning percentage north of .600. Austin Meadows led the way offensively in Monday's 8-3 defeat of the Blue Jays, going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI out of the leadoff spot. Acquired last year from the Pirates for Chris Archer, who has mostly struggled in Pittsburgh, the 24-year-old Meadows is batting .351/.426/.679 with 11 home runs, 30 RBI, six stolen bases, and 20 runs scored in 35 games this season.

6. Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 31-22
Last Week: 6
The Phillies split a four-game series at Chicago's Wrigley Field last week before winning two of three at Miller Park in Milwaukee over the weekend. That's a pretty good stretch against the cream of the crop in the National League Central, and they'll get to test their mettle against another NL Central foe this week with the Cardinals traveling to Citizens Bank Park for a three-game set. Philadelphia is 15-9 in May, after going 13-13 in April, and will enter play Tuesday up 1 1/2 games on the surging Braves for first place in the National League East. Bryce Harper has an underwhelming .227 batting average and .793 OPS through 53 games, but he's bound to get hot at some point.

7. Chicago Cubs
Record: 30-22
Last Week: 5
The Cubs have lost four of their last five and eight of their last 13, and they'll head into Tuesday night's game against the juggernaut Astros with just a half-game lead over the Brewers in the National League Central standings. The veteran-led starting rotation, which was excellent in April and through the early part of May, has begun to sprung leaks. Jon Lester held a 1.16 ERA on May 12, but he has allowed 12 runs -- nine earned -- over his last two starts covering 8 1/3 innings. Cole Hamels started Monday's series opener in Houston and failed to record a strikeout for the first time since 2008 while surrendering six earned runs on seven hits and four walks over just four frames.

8. Milwaukee Brewers
Record: 31-24
Last Week: 8
After losing the first two games of their three-game weekend series against the Phillies, the Brewers soared to a 9-1 win on Sunday afternoon behind another brilliant outing by Brandon Woodruff, who allowed just one hit -- a solo homer -- while striking out 10 batters and issuing zero walks across eight dominant innings. The 26-year-old right-hander is 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 43/8 K/BB ratio over his last six starts covering 38 innings. Milwaukee then rallied for a 5-4 comeback victory over the top-ranked Twins on Monday in Minnesota as Orlando Arcia continued his hot-hitting ways with a homer, a double, and three RBI, and Josh Hader earned his fifth two-plus-inning save of the year.

9. Atlanta Braves
Record:
30-24
Last Week: 10
Atlanta hasn't suffered consecutive losses since dropping four straight between May 6-9. Austin Riley, the 22-year-old power-hitting outfielder who was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett on May 15, is batting .333/.373/.688 with five home runs and 14 RBI over his first 12 major league games. And this seems like a good time to reflect on the early-career output of Ronald Acuna, who is several months younger than Riley and played in his 164th major league game on Sunday -- so we have a bit more than a full season of data. Acuna, as a big leaguer, has produced an .895 OPS with 37 home runs, 95 RBI, 21 stolen bases, and 113 runs scored. The future is bright for the Braves, but so is the present.

10. Boston Red Sox
Record: 29-25
Last Week: 9
Boston managed to avoid a three-game weekend sweep in Houston as Eduardo Rodriguez delivered one of his finest starts of the season on Sunday, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk over six innings. Rodriguez still owns an ugly 5.04 ERA for the year, but he's been better over the last four weeks than he was over the first four. Rafael Devers went 2-for-4 with a home run in that 4-1 defeat of the Astros and then contributed an RBI double to Monday's 12-5 stomping of the Indians. The 22-year-old third baseman is now batting .327/.388/.505 through 225 plate appearances this season. With so many emerging young stars around the sport, he can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

11. Oakland Athletics
Record: 29-25
Last Week: 17
Not counting their May 19 rain-suspended game against the Tigers, which Oakland was leading 5-3 in the seventh inning, the Athletics have won 10 games in a row. It's their longest winning streak since 2006, and it has vaulted them into serious AL Wild Card contention. The starting pitching has normalized, with reinforcements on the way from the injured list, and the lineup has become a relentless force with Jurickson Profar breaking out of his early-season slump and Matt Chapman continuing to shine out of the No. 3 spot. Profar hit a two-run homer in Monday's 8-5 defeat of the Angels and Chapman went deep for the 14th time this year, and the third time in as many games.

12. San Diego Padres
Record: 28-26
Last Week: 14
San Diego had its season-high-tying five-game winning streak snapped Sunday in Toronto and then lost 5-2 to the Yankees on Monday afternoon in the Bronx. This rare trip to Yankee Stadium -- the first for the Padres since the new park opened in 2009 -- is a homecoming of sorts for closer Kirby Yates, who posted a rough 5.23 ERA over 41 1/3 innings with New York in 2016 before getting claimed off waivers by the Angels the following offseason. The 32-year-old right-hander has suddenly emerged as one of the best late-inning relievers in the game, with a 1.86 ERA and 134 strikeouts in his last 87 innings. He's sporting a 1.13 ERA this year and an MLB-best 20 saves.

13. St. Louis Cardinals
Record:
26-26
Last Week: 13
After splitting a twin-bill against the Royals last week and dropping two of three to the Braves over the weekend, the Cardinals are now 7-16 in May and have fallen four games back of first place in the NL Central standings. They racked up a franchise-record-tying 18 wins in April, but that seems like ages ago. Michael Wacha (5.59 ERA, 1.69 WHIP in 46 2/3 innings) has finally been bumped from the rotation, with Genesis Cabrera set to take his spot Wednesday in Philadelphia. Cabrera was the centerpiece of last year's Tommy Pham trade, but there's not much get excited about given that the 22-year-old has posted a 6.35 ERA over 39 2/3 innings this season at Triple-A Memphis.

14. Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 28-26
Last Week: 15
Luke Weaver had the Paul Goldschmidt trade looking like a win for the Diamondbacks with his 3.03 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 68/14 K/BB ratio through 62 1/3 innings this season, but he exited Sunday's series finale in San Francisco after experiencing pain in his right forearm and the 25-year-old starter was placed on the injured list Monday with no timetable for his possible return. The initial diagnosis is a forearm strain, and the D-backs are optimistic that Weaver won't require surgery, but he'll get a second opinion before an exact treatment plan is mapped out. Arizona lost 4-3 in extra innings Monday versus the Rockies despite another strong outing by Zack Greinke, who holds a 2.78 ERA.

15. Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 26-26
Last Week: 12
Josh Bell slugged his 17th home run of the season in the first half of Monday's doubleheader against the Reds and then went 2-for-4 in the nightcap, but the Pirates split that twin-bill in Cincinnati and have lost six of their last eight games to fall back to .500. Bell has rebounded from his disappointing showing as a sophomore to slash .340/.408/.711 with 48 RBI through 52 games this season, but he can't carry the Bucs' offense on his own. Pittsburgh currently ranks 26th among all 30 major league teams in runs scored, and the team's combined OPS of .702 ranks 25th. If the Pirates want to make a run at a Wild Card, they'll probably have to add some bats, and maybe some arms too.

16. Cleveland Indians
Record: 26-27
Last Week: 11
The Indians have lost seven of their last eight and are under .500 for the first time since April 4. They're also 10 games back of the upstart Twins for first place in the American League Central standings. Trevor Bauer was a candidate for the AL Cy Young Award in 2018 and registered a 1.99 ERA over his first six starts this season, but he has allowed 25 runs -- 21 earned -- in 29 innings (five starts) since the calendar flipped to May. Shane Bieber continues to shine -- he was the Indians' starter for their last win May 24 against the Rays -- but this club is reeling without injured starters Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber. Clevinger is at least due back soon, but Kluber is probably still months away.

17. New York Mets
Record: 26-27
Last Week: 18
The Mets swept a four-game series against the division-rival Nationals last week in Queens and then took two of three from the Tigers over the weekend before falling 9-5 to the Dodgers on Monday night. They're playing better baseball in general and Mickey Callaway remains on board as manager despite rumors circling that he is on the hottest of hot seats. With better health and better vibes around the clubhouse, maybe the Mets can fight their way back into the National League Wild Card mix. Robinson Cano (quad), Jeff McNeil (hamstring), and Brandon Nimmo (neck) should all be returning relatively soon, but Yoenis Cespedes is done for the year following major ankle surgery.

18. Colorado Rockies
Record: 25-27
Last Week: 19
The Rockies failed to pull off a sweep of the Orioles and their homer-happy pitching staff this past weekend at Coors Field, but they did win two of the three games and they outlasted the Diamondbacks for a 4-3 extra-innings victory on Memorial Day. Charlie Blackmon is currently on the injured list with a right calf strain, but the Rockies are optimistic that he will be able to return when first eligible early next week. Colorado obviously needs better pitching, but the lack of lineup depth has also been a letdown. Maybe a breakout is coming for David Dahl, who homered in Monday's win over Arizona and owns a .305/.355/.494 slash line through 170 plate appearances this season.

19. Texas Rangers
Record: 25-26
Last Week: 16
The Rangers won eight of nine games between May 15-24, but they dropped the final two games of their three-game weekend series against the Angels and then fell 6-2 to the Mariners on Memorial Day. Jose Leclerc seemed to be turning a corner from his early-season struggles, but he gave up a towering two-run shot to Daniel Vogelbach in the seventh inning of Monday's loss to the Seattle and currently owns a 5.48 ERA and 1.45 WHIP through 22 appearances this season. Leclerc had a 1.56 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 59 appearances last year and signed a long-term contract extension with Texas this spring. It looks like Shawn Kelley might be the new closer in Texas, though he blew a save on Sunday.

20. Cincinnati Reds
Record: 25-29
Last Week: 21
Cincinnati went 3-2 against the Brewers and Cubs last week before splitting a Memorial Day doubleheader with the Pirates on Monday. The Reds have rebounded to post a 13-12 record in May, after going 12-17 between March and April. It's still a pretty safe bet that they will be one of the more active sellers ahead of the July 31 trade deadline given that many of their offseason moves were designed with 2019 in mind, but maybe they can go on a run here over the next two months. Joey Votto went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored in the early game Monday versus Pittsburgh and tallied seven hits in the Reds' weekend series at Wrigley Field. He's finally starting to come around.

21. Los Angeles Angels
Record: 24-29
Last Week: 22
The Angels won two of three against the Rangers over the weekend, but they lost 8-5 to the Athletics on Memorial Day and have now dropped six of their last eight games. Matt Harvey was lit up for eight earned runs over just 2 2/3 innings of work in a blowout versus the Twins last Thursday and the Angels placed him on the IL two days later with an upper back strain, which may or may not be a phantom injury. Signed to a one-year, $11 million free agent contract in December, the 30-year-old right-hander has stumbled to a 7.50 ERA through 10 starts this season with Halos. Trevor Cahill, inked to a one-year, $9 million deal this winter, holds a 6.92 ERA through 11 outings.

22. Chicago White Sox
Record: 23-29
Last Week: 20
The White Sox got swept by the Twins over the weekend, in somewhat predictable fashion, and they were tied 1-1 with the Royals on Memorial Day before that game had to be suspended by rain. It will be completed before Tuesday night's regularly-scheduled tilt at Guaranteed Rate Field, with the White Sox trying to avoid a four-game losing streak. That would be their longest losing streak since they dropped five straight to the Mariners and Rays back between April 6-10. There was some momentum on the South Side of Chicago earlier this month, and Lucas Giolito continues to look like an ace-in-the-making at age 24, but the Pale Hose should probably start making a list of their best trade chips.

23. Seattle Mariners
Record: 24-32
Last Week: 23
The Mariners snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory over the Rangers on Memorial Day, but they are 6-18 in May and 11-30 dating back to April 11, when they held the best record in baseball at 13-2. It has been a complete freefall, though everybody outside of T-Mobile Park -- and maybe some inside -- expected there would be regression at some point. A couple highlights from Monday's win, to turn things positive: Mallex Smith stole four bases, including first, second, and home in the bottom of the eighth inning. And slugger Daniel Vogelbach became just the third player to reach the third deck in upper right field at T-Mobile/Safeco with this seventh-inning blast.

24. Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 21-33
Last Week: 25
The Blue Jays fell 8-3 to the Rays on Monday afternoon at Tropicana Field and haven't earned consecutive wins since sweeping a three-game series against the Athletics between April 26-28, but there should be happier days ahead. First-year major league manager Charlie Montoyo noted that he got emotional in the dugout after watching Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Lourdes Gurriel go a combined 10-for-13 in Sunday's 10-1 victory over the Padres. “I had the chills,” Montoyo told Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun on Monday morning. “When Gurriel went deep and then Biggio went deep, it’s like, man, that’s huge right there. I almost had tears in my eye. It was fun to see.”

25. Washington Nationals
Record: 22-32
Last Week: 26
Max Scherzer pitched well against the Marlins on Monday, as any baseball fan could have predicted, but the Nationals' bullpen coughed up another lead and Miami went on to win the game 3-2. Scherzer has delivered a solid 3.26 ERA with 102 strikeouts and only 17 walks in 77 1/3 innings this season, but the Nats are 2-10 in his 12 starts. Again, we have to point back to the bullpen. Washington relievers have combined for a 7.12 ERA in 159 1/3 innings this season and opponents have managed an .862 OPS against them. It's reaching historic territory -- historically-bad, that is. Even closer Sean Doolittle, who had a 1.71 season ERA on May 18, has begun to fall apart.

26. San Francisco Giants
Record: 21-31
Last Week: 24
The Giants got swept in a three-game weekend series against the Diamondbacks and were out-scored 34-8 in the process. Bruce Bochy, the future Hall of Fame manager who might be regretting returning for a farewell season, had this to say to the San Jose Mercury News on Sunday evening: “That’s the worst series of the year. I can’t remember when we had three consecutive games with that kind of baseball we just played.” This team has lost five straight and sits at the very bottom of the National League West standings with a .404 winning percentage and -78 run differential. Only the Orioles, Tigers, and Marlins have fared worse in the run differential department.

27. Detroit Tigers
Record: 19-32
Last Week: 27
The Tigers have lost 12 of their last 13 games and haven't strung together consecutive victories since taking three straight from the White Sox and Red Sox back in mid-to-late April. Nicholas Castellanos is Detroit's biggest trade chip, but he's not helping his value very much with just five home runs through 49 games played. The 27-year-old impending free agent has a relatively underwhelming .781 OPS in 217 plate appearances this season, after putting up an .831 OPS in 1,790 plate appearances between the 2016-2018 campaigns. Then there's Miguel Cabrera, who is still owed around $150 million on a contract that runs through 2023 and has hit only two home runs in 51 games this year.

28. Kansas City Royals
Record: 18-34
Last Week: 28
The Royals are pretty much who we thought they would be -- unquestionably a bad team, but with some offensive players who carry fantasy intrigue. Whit Merrifield, the 33rd overall pick in the average Yahoo draft, is sporting a career-high .863 OPS with seven home runs and eight stolen bases through 52 games played. Adalberto Mondesi, the 65th overall selection on average at Yahoo, is batting .288 with an .806 OPS in 226 plate appearances and he currently leads all major leaguers in stolen bases -- by a wide margin -- with 18. Mondesi, 23, has also hit five home runs and a league-high seven triples while tallying 41 RBI in 51 games. Both are under club control through 2023.

29. Miami Marlins
Record: 17-34
Last Week: 30
Miami carried a shocking six-game winning streak into its four-game Memorial Day weekend series against the Nationals and then promptly lost three straight before edging out a 3-2 victory on Monday afternoon. Jose Urena started that Memorial Day matinee versus Washington and yielded just two earned runs over seven innings to earn the win. The 27-year-old right-hander had a couple rough outings in April, but he has registered a 2.77 ERA over his last eight starts covering 52 innings. He's probably the Marlins' best summer trade chip, and Craig Mish of the Swings and Mishes Podcast tweeted Monday morning that "several teams" have already expressed interest.

30. Baltimore Orioles
Record: 17-37
Last Week: 29
The Orioles will have the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, which gets underway on Monday, and they are expected to take catcher Adley Rutschman from Oregon State -- though there has been some chatter that they might go a more cost-friendly route given that they also carry the 42nd, 71st, and 79th overall picks. Rutschman, who's being called "the best MLB Draft prospect since Bryce Harper" by Baseball America, has batted .419/.580/.765 with 17 home runs and 57 RBI in 55 games this season for OSU, and he is also regarded as a tremendous defender behind the plate. Baltimore currently has the worst record in the majors and could pick first again in 2020.