Drew Silva

Power Rankings

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 15

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


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We have a new No. 1 in this week’s Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings, as the Red Sox have leapfrogged the defending World Series-champion Astros behind incredible offensive output. Boston ranks first among all major league clubs in runs scored (494) and combined team OPS (.798) with the All-Star break fast approaching.


There’s almost no movement in the bottom-half of this week’s rankings, as those organizations shift their focus more toward which players they can move for prospects ahead of the July 31 trade deadline rather than winning games in the here-and-now.


The Brewers and Athletics are the biggest risers this week, for reasons explained within …

 


1. Boston Red Sox


Record: 63-29


Last Week:


Boston has rattled off seven straight victories to climb back atop our Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings this week. J.D. Martinez launched his 28th home run of the season and Eduardo Rodriguez combined with four relievers on a nine-inning shutout as the Red Sox rolled to an easy 5-0 win over the Rangers in Monday night’s series opener at Fenway Park. Martinez, who was signed this winter for a relative bargain of five years, $110 million, currently leads all major league hitters in home runs and RBI (77). He has put up 57 home runs and 142 RBI in 148 games since the Tigers traded him to the Diamondbacks last summer. The 30-year-old slugger will be heading to his second career All-Star Game next week as the starting DH for the American League.



2. Houston Astros


Record: 61-32


Last Week:


The Astros went on another long winning streak last week -- this one lasting six games -- before getting blanked 2-0 by the Athletics in Monday night’s series opener at Minute Maid Park. Houston has the best run differential in baseball at +186, but the best record in the majors belongs to the Red Sox, who have jumped ahead of the Astros for this week’s edition of the Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings. Dominant starting pitching continues to lead the way for the defending World Series champions, with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Lance McCullers, and Dallas Keuchel combining for a league-best 2.96 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 671 strikeouts in 581 innings. The offense ranks tied for third in team OPS (.772).


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3. New York Yankees


Record: 59-30


Last Week: 3


The Yankees have fallen a bit behind the Red Sox in the American League East standings, but Masahiro Tanaka will return to the starting rotation on Tuesday night in Baltimore after missing a month with bilateral hamstring discomfort and Gary Sanchez (groin) is on track to rejoin the club right after the All-Star break. Look for the Yankees to be among the most active buyers leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, with the knowledge that a division title carves a much easier path through the postseason. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Monday that New York has been “showing increased interest” in Orioles superstar Manny Machado, and Brian Cashman and Co. are known to be seeking rotation help too.



4. Seattle Mariners


Record: 57-34


Last Week: 4


Seattle’s season-high eight-game winning streak was snapped last week by the Angels, and the Mariners dropped two of three this weekend against the Rockies, but they still have a several-game lead on the second American League Wild Card spot and they remain within striking distance of the red-hot Astros for first place in the American League West. Nelson Cruz, who was named to his sixth career American League All-Star team on Sunday, leads all Mariners hitters with a .909 OPS (151 OPS+) and 22 home runs. Mitch Haniger is tops on the club in RBI with 62. Jean Segura ranks fourth among all major league hitters in batting average (.330) and second in total hits (115).



5. Milwaukee Brewers


Record: 54-37


Last Week:


Milwaukee made quite a statement in its big weekend series against the upstart Braves, winning three of four games and capping things off with a 10-3 rout of Atlanta on Sunday afternoon. Jesus Aguilar homered twice in that victory and also went yard in Monday night’s series opener in Miami. The 28-year-old first baseman has been a revelation for the Brewers this season, slashing .305/.368/.639 with 23 home runs and 64 RBI in 80 games played. He ranks fourth among all major league hitters in OPS (1.007), behind only Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, and J.D. Martinez. Aguilar has our official endorsement for the All-Star Final Vote in the National League.



6. Atlanta Braves


Record: 50-39


Last Week:


Atlanta was met with a tough slate of road games last week and didn’t fare so well, dropping two of three at Yankee Stadium and three of four at Milwaukee’s Miller Park. As it stands, the Braves are tied with the Phillies for first place in the National League East, but they do have the best run differential in the division at +68. Nick Markakis ranks third in the majors in hits (113) and is tied for sixth in batting average (.322). The 13-year big-league veteran was named an All-Star for the first time on Sunday. Freddie Freeman ranks seventh in the majors in hits (108), 10th in batting average (.315), and ninth in OPS (.948). The 28-year-old first baseman is headed to the All-Star Game for the third time.



7. Chicago Cubs


Record: 51-37


Last Week:


The Cubs have won eight of their last 10 games to put continued pressure on the Brewers at the top of the National League Central standings. Chicago will send three players to the 2018 MLB All-Star Game next week in Washington, D.C. It’ll be the first All-Star appearance for Javier Baez, who leads the Cubs in hits (93), home runs (17), and runs batted in (65). He’s set to start at second base for the National League. Willson Contreras will also make a first-time appearance at the All-Star Game as the starting catcher for the National League. This will be the fifth All-Star Game for Jon Lester, who boasts an 11-2 record and 2.45 ERA in 106 1/3 innings (18 starts) this season.



8. Cleveland Indians


Record: 49-40


Last Week:


The Indians have lost three straight games, including Monday night’s series opener against the cross-state Reds, but they remain the only team in the American League Central with a positive run differential (+70) and are currently 8 1/2 games up on the Twins, despite Minnesota winning five in a row leading into play on Tuesday. Cleveland will have five representatives at next week’s 2018 MLB All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, and Corey Kluber are making repeat appearances, and Trevor Bauer will head to the Midsummer Classic for the first time. Bauer, 27, has broken out this season to the tune of a 2.45 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 156/37 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.



9. Los Angeles Dodgers


Record: 49-41


Last Week: 9


Clayton Kershaw dominated the Padres yet again in Monday night’s series opener at Petco Park, yielding just two hits and one walk over six shutout innings as the Dodgers went on to win 8-2. It was Kershaw’s first scoreless outing of the season and by far his best performance since he returned June 23 from back and biceps issues. He is now 18-6 with a 1.89 ERA in 33 career starts (214 2/3 innings) versus San Diego. Cody Bellinger fell into a deep slump between late May and early June, and there was even talk of him spending some time in the minor leagues to get his swing right, but the 22-year-old has silenced that chatter by putting up a .993 OPS with nine home runs and 24 runs scored over his last 30 games.



10. Philadelphia Phillies


Record: 50-39


Last Week: 11 


Philadelphia has won seven of its last nine games to climb into a tie with the Braves atop the National League East standings. Aaron Nola was a force yet again on Monday night against the Mets, striking out 10 batters while yielding just one hit and one walk over seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory for the Phillies. Nola also hit a bases-clearing three-run double in the top of the fifth inning. The 25-year-old right-hander holds an ace-like 12-2 record, 2.27 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 125/34 K/BB ratio in 123 innings (19 starts) this season, and he was named to his first National League All-Star team on Sunday. Nola could get strong NL Cy Young Award consideration when all is said and done.



11. Oakland Athletics


Record: 51-40


Last Week: 13 


What has gotten into the A’s? They’ve won 11 of their last 13 games and 17 of their last 21 to inch closer to the Mariners for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. Oakland won Monday night’s series opener against the American League West-leading Astros in dominant fashion, with Frankie Montas, Lou Trivino, and Blake Treinen combining on a five-hit shutout of the defending World Series champs. Montas, 25, has gone 5-2 with a 3.35 ERA in eight starts since his promotion from Triple-A Nashville in late May. Trivino has quietly become one of the most reliable setup men in baseball, boasting a 1.34 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 45 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings. Blake Treinen has a lights-out 0.79 ERA and 23 saves in 45 2/3 frames and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career on Sunday.



12. Arizona Diamondbacks


Record: 50-41


Last Week: 10 


The Diamondbacks have lost seven of their last 10 games, but they did score a franchise-record 20 runs in their last victory Saturday against the Padres and they hold a half-game lead over the Dodgers in the National League West standings entering play on Tuesday. Steven Souza crushed a 450-foot moonshot in that rout of San Diego for his first home run of the year. He’s been limited to 18 games this season because of right pectoral issues. This team should be poised for a strong second half with Souza, A.J. Pollock, and Robbie Ray all back to full health. Paul Goldschmidt has woken up in a big way too -- he’s slashing .400/.490/.784 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI over his last 31 games.



13. Washington Nationals


Record: 45-45


Last Week: 12 


Washington won the first three games of its four-game weekend series against the Marlins before getting thrashed 10-2 in Sunday’s series finale and then falling 6-3 in Monday night’s series opener against the Pirates. Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, who is known be a trade target for the Nationals, racked up a career-high five hits in that rout of his potential future team on Sunday. The Nats clearly need help behind the plate, as the team’s catchers have combined for a .190 batting average and .558 OPS this season. Matt Wieters was activated off the disabled list on Monday and hit a single in his first game since early May, but the 32-year-old backstop holds an underwhelming .226/.295/.348 slash line since signing with Washington in February 2017.



14. San Francisco Giants


Record: 48-45


Last Week: 15 


The Giants were swept in a three-game series last week against the Rockies before rallying to split a four-game weekend set with the Cardinals. San Francisco then beat the Cubs 2-1 in Monday night’s series opener at AT&T Park, with 25-year-old rookie Andrew Suarez twirling six innings of one-run ball against one of the top offenses in baseball. Suarez has registered a 2.28 ERA over his last eight starts (47 1/3 innings) dating back to the beginning of June. Johnny Cueto will make just his seventh start of the season on Tuesday night versus Chicago. He missed all of May and June with an elbow sprain and struggled in his first start back last Thursday against the Cardinals.



15. St. Louis Cardinals


Record: 46-43


Last Week: 16 


The Cardinals went 12-15 in June and they’re 4-4 so far in July, but the schedule does ease up considerably this week with a two-game set against the White Sox and a three-game weekend series versus the Reds. St. Louis just played seven consecutive series against contending teams: CHC, PHI, MIL, CLE, ATL, ARI, SFG. Miles Mikolas boasts a 2.63 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 75/17 K/BB ratio in 109 1/3 innings (17 starts) this season and was named an All-Star for the first time on Sunday. The 29-year-old right-hander signed a two-year, $15.5 million free agent contract with the Cardinals over the winter after spending three years in Japan. It was one of the best signings of the offseason.



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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.
Email :Drew Silva



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