Drew Silva

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 11

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

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You'll see far less movement in this week’s Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings than in any other previous edition we’ve published this year. That’s probably because the season is getting closer to the halfway point and we all have a better feel for who these teams are, though we can’t guarantee the wild fluctuations are over. This is baseball, after all, and judging teams on a week-to-week basis is a fool’s errand.

Of course, I’m happy to be your fool.

The biggest risers this week are the Cubs, Mariners, and Indians, who all deservingly jumped three spots. The Phillies fell three spots and the Pirates should have dropped at least one spot, but they’re being buoyed for now by the true doormats of the league.

1. New York Yankees

Record: 42-19

Last Week:

The Yankees took two of three from the Mets in this weekend’s Subway Series at Citi Field, moving to 20-10 on the road. They are 22-9 at home. Aaron Judge hit his 18th home run of the season in Saturday’s victory. He’s sporting a .961 OPS, which is tops among all Yankees regulars. The starting pitching depth is going to be tested with Masahiro Tanaka out multiple weeks because of injuries to both of his hamstrings. Sonny Gray stepped his game up in his last start June 6 against the Blue Jays, allowing just two hits over eight shutout innings. It was his first scoreless outing since he joined the Yankees last July.

2. Boston Red Sox

Record: 45-22

Last Week:

Boston lost two of three this weekend to the White Sox, who sit next-to-last in this week’s rankings. That’s baseball. The Red Sox welcomed Mookie Betts back from the disabled list on Monday night and rebounded for a 2-0 extra-innings victory over the Orioles, with Steven Wright again looking sharp in his second turn through the starting rotation. Wright, who’s filling in for the injured Drew Pomeranz, boasts a 1.21 ERA in 29 2/3 innings (two starts, six relief appearances) this year. He might run away with the rotation spot given Pomeranz’s early-season struggles. Andrew Benintendi went 2-for-3 with two walks in Monday’s win at Baltimore, raising his OPS to .929. As an indicated of how locked in he is, his OPS was .786 on May 18 and .721 on May 8.

3. Houston Astros

Record: 42-25

Last Week: 3

Houston split a two-game series with the pesky Mariners last week before sweeping a four-game set against the Rangers. George Springer hit a first-pitch homer in Sunday’s series finale and then scored the winning run in the top of the ninth inning on a somewhat controversial delayed balk call. Springer is batting .336/.419/.593 with seven home runs, 20 RBI, four stolen bases, and 23 runs scored over his last 29 games. Dallas Keuchel struggled mightily on Sunday, yielding six runs -- five earned -- on 13 hits over just 4 1/3 innings, but the Astros’ pitching staff as a whole still leads all major league teams with a 2.93 combined ERA. No other staff has a combined ERA under 3.18.

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4. Chicago Cubs

Record: 38-25

Last Week:

The Cubs jumped into first place in the National League Central with a 7-2 extra-innings win over the Brewers on Monday night at Miller Park. It’s the first time they’ve stood alone at the top of the division standings since April 30. Anthony Rizzo hit a towering first-pitch go-ahead homer in the 11th inning Monday, giving him 11 home runs and 46 RBI in 54 games this year. He has a somewhat underwhelming .246/.346/.444 overall batting line, but that’s far better than the .195/.301/.358 slash line he was sporting just over three weeks ago. Rizzo is rounding into form and Jon Lester looks better than ever. The veteran left-hander allowed just one hit over seven scoreless innings in his last start Saturday against the Pirates, dropping his season ERA to 2.22.

5. Seattle Mariners

Record: 42-24

Last Week:

Seattle is 20-7 since losing Robinson Cano to an 80-game drug suspension back on May 15. That’s the best record in the American League during that span, which is both confusing and inspiring. Nelson Cruz went yard twice Monday in the Mariners’ 5-3 victory over the visiting Angels and now has five home runs over his last six games. Jean Segura had three hits in four at-bats on Monday and currently ranks second among all major league hitters in batting average (.343), behind only Mookie Betts. Staff ace James Paxton struck out 10 batters over seven innings on his last turn through the rotation Sunday versus the Rays, moving to 6-1 on the season with a stellar 111/25 K/BB ratio in 89 1/3 frames. He has a 3.02 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.

6. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 39-27

Last Week:

The Brewers have lost five of their last seven games and six of their last nine, including Monday night’s series opener against the visiting Cubs. For the first time since mid-May, Milwaukee does not have a share of first place in the National League Central. That could change by the end of the day Tuesday because the new division leaders are at Miller Park, but the Brewers are 1-8 against the Cubs this year and 12-15 against all NL Central opponents. They’ve put up a 27-12 record against everybody else. Eric Thames was activated off the disabled list Monday after missing six weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb, but the Brewers don’t have an obvious spot to play him with Jesus Aguilar showing so well at first base.

7. Washington Nationals

Record: 36-27

Last Week:

Max Scherzer suffered his first loss since April 4 in Sunday’s series finale against the Giants, but the Nationals’ offense was more to blame for that one, as the final score was 2-0. Scherzer struck out nine batters over seven innings and now has a league-leading 142 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings this season, to go along with a 0.85 WHIP and 2.00 ERA. The 33-year-old right-hander is cruising toward a third straight National League Cy Young Award. Washington will have to survive for a bit without Stephen Strasburg, who finished third in the National League Cy Young Award balloting last season. He landed on the disabled list Saturday with right shoulder inflammation.

8. Atlanta Braves

Record: 37-28

Last Week:

The Braves have been bested in consecutive three-game series, but they still have a share of first place in the National League East standings and it sounds like Ronald Acuna (knee) might be ready to return from the disabled list later this week. He had a .779 OPS with five home runs through his first 29 major league games when he injured himself running down the first base line on May 27. It looks like Nick Markakis, a 13-year major league veteran, could be headed to his first All-Star game at age 34. He’s batting .327/.388/.492 and is currently tied with teammate Freddie Freeman for the National League lead in hits (85).

9. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 36-28

Last Week: 9

Alex Reyes is done for the season following surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right lat muscle and Carlos Martinez has struggled in two starts since returning from a lat injury of his own, but the Cardinals continue to stay afloat due to incredible starting pitching depth. 22-year-old right-hander Jack Flaherty allowed just one run on three hits and a walk in Monday night’s series opener against the Padres, a 5-2 victory for St. Louis. He has a 2.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 48/11 K/BB ratio in 45 2/3 innings this season. Miles Mikolas is 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 58/9 K/BB ratio in 79 1/3 innings. Michael Wacha: 2.47 ERA in 76 2/3 frames. Jose Martinez is among the hottest hitters in baseball and Marcell Ozuna has caught fire too.

10. Cleveland Indians

Record: 35-29

Last Week: 13 

We’ve been waiting all year for the Indians to get it going, and it seems they’re finally ready to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the American League Central. Carlos Carrasco struck out 11 batters over seven scoreless innings and Michael Brantley hit his 11th home run of the season Monday in Cleveland’s 4-0 blanking of the White Sox. It was the 11th win for the Tribe in their last 15 games. Brantley is batting .317/.361/.534 in 241 plate appearances this season, and he’s on pace for personal-bests in both home runs and RBI. Assuming continued good health, this could be a career year for the 31-year-old outfielder, who finished third in the American League MVP voting in 2014.

11. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 33-32

Last Week: 12 

The Dodgers got their act together in the second half of May and are now 7-2 in June. Max Muncy, a 27-year-old journeyman who had to settle for a non-guaranteed minor league contract last April, boasts a 1.001 OPS in 152 plate appearances this season and has homered in three straight games. Joc Pederson has hit six home runs in his last seven games. Cody Bellinger is starting to flash some power too. The Dodgers’ starting rotation has been decimated by injuries, but Ross Stripling is doing his best to keep the staff afloat. The 28-year-old right-hander holds a brilliant 1.33 ERA and 53/4 K/BB ratio in 40 2/3 innings since grabbing a rotation spot in early May.

12. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 37-30

Last Week: 10 

The big headline right now for the Angels is the status of two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who was placed on the disabled list Friday with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. That’s a diagnosis that often leads to Tommy John surgery, though for now the Angels are cautiously optimistic that Ohtani will be able to return shortly after the All-Star break -- probably as a hitter first, and then maybe as a pitcher eventually if his arm holds up. Ohtani has posted a 3.10 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 61/20 K/BB ratio over his first 49 1/3 major league innings, and he’s slashed .289/.372/.535 with six home runs over his first 129 plate appearances as a part-time designated hitter. Losing him until 2020 would be a big blow to the entire baseball universe.

13. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 36-29

Last Week: 14 

It looked like the Diamondbacks might full-on collapse in May as injuries piled up all along their roster, but they’ve taken advantage of a softer schedule of late to record 10 wins in their last 13 games. Paul Goldschmidt's sudden but hardly unexpected resurgence is a big reason the Snakes were able to dig themselves out of that hole. The star first baseman was batting .198 with a .675 OPS on May 22. Since then, he has tallied 26 hits in 17 games, with 16 of those hits going for extra bases. His season OPS is all the way up to .863. Clay Buchholz holds a miraculous 1.88 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 21/3 K/BB ratio over his first four starts (24 innings) with Arizona, and it looks like Robbie Ray (oblique) could come off the disabled list by the end of June.

14. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 33-30

Last Week: 11 

Philly is 2-7 since the calendar flipped to June and in danger of losing serious ground to the Nationals and Braves in the NL East standings. Jake Arrieta has struggled in his last two starts. Vince Velasquez remains a one-man rollercoaster ride. Aaron Nola has been excellent, but the Phillies probably need to add another reliable starting pitcher to make a run at a postseason spot. They might need another hitter too. Odubel Herrera raked for much of April and May, but he’s batting .136/.190/.153 over his last 63 plate appearances. Still, his .786 OPS leads all Phillies regulars -- which isn’t a good thing.

15. Oakland Athletics

Record: 34-32

Last Week: 16 

Oakland just took three of four from the Royals, with Matt Chapman leading the way offensively. He went 7-for-13 in the four-game set, including a go-ahead homer in the bottom of the eighth inning of Sunday’s series finale. Chapman had a rough May at the plate, but his defense at the hot corner never suffered and he currently ranks third among all MLB third basemen in FanGraphs’ version of wins above replacement (2.5 fWAR), behind only Jose Ramirez (4.3 fWAR) and Nolan Arenado (2.6 fWAR). Khris Davis hit two home runs on Friday and has 17 homers and 46 RBI in 57 total games this season.

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Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
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