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: 1
Hyun-Jin Ryu was sharp again on Monday night in Los Angeles, working six innings of one-run ball against the Angels, but the Dodgers' bullpen coughed up a late lead in an eventual 5-3 defeat. Joe Kelly took the loss after walking three of the seven batters he faced in the bottom of the eighth and yielding a run on a wild pitch. Kelly, who was to signed a three-year, $25 million free agent contract over the winter, now holds a 7.59 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in 22 appearances this season. Look for the Dodgers' front office to explore relief upgrades on the trade market as we move closer to the July 31 deadline. As for Ryu, he still hasn't given up more than two runs in a start this year and his ERA is down to 1.36 through 86 innings.
2. Houston Astros
Last Week: 3
Yordan Alvarez, maybe the top hitting prospect in all of baseball, was finally promoted from Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday and slugged a two-run homer to left-center field in his second major league plate appearance as Houston went on to beat the Orioles by a score of 4-0. The 21-year-old from Cuba put up a tremendous .343/.443/.742 batting line with 23 home runs and 71 RBI in 56 games this season at the Triple-A level and should be an everyday player for the Astros moving forward -- at least until they get a little healthier as a team, and perhaps even after that. Wade Miley started Sunday's game against the O's and worked six scoreless innings to lower his season ERA to 3.14.
3. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 2
Minnesota dropped two of three versus the Indians last week before rebounding to take two of three from the Tigers over the weekend in Detroit. Nelson Cruz finished 3-for-6 with a home run and three RBI in Sunday's 12-2 blowout victory at Comerica Park and has now gone deep in four straight games. The veteran slugger missed a large chunk of May with a strained left wrist and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his first game back last Tuesday night in Cleveland as his season OPS dipped to .837. But that number has suddenly jumped up to .924. Cruz posted a .924 OPS with the Mariners in 2017, when he received a 10 percent share of the American League MVP vote.
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4. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 5
Tampa Bay won three of four in Boston over the weekend and beat the Athletics by a score of 6-2 on Monday night at Tropicana Field to move a half-game up on the Yankees for first place in the AL East standings. Charlie Morton started that game versus Oakland and surrendered just two hits over seven shutout innings while improving to 8-0 and lowering ERA to 2.10. Tampa Bay's pitching staff as a whole has posted a combined 2.92 ERA this year, which is tops among all MLB teams. It's notable that the Rays finished second to the Cubs in the bidding for Craig Kimbrel, reportedly making a three-year, $39 million offer to the veteran closer. They could be big-time buyers at the trade deadline.
5. New York Yankees
Last Week: 4
The Yankees have lost five of their last seven games, but they sit just a half-game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East entering Tuesday's day-night doubleheader versus the crosstown Mets. Didi Gregorius returned from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on Friday against the Indians and went 2-for-4 in his first live major league action since last year's ALDS before slugging a two-run homer on Saturday. The 29-year-old shortstop was an important piece of New York's lineup last year, producing an .829 OPS with 27 home runs and 86 RBI over 134 regular-season games. He batted fifth on Friday and then jumped into the cleanup spot on Saturday.
6. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 6
Milwaukee swept a three-game weekend set against the Pirates and will carry a four-game winning streak into what should be an entertaining two-game interleague series at Houston's Minute Maid Park. Christian Yelich continues to be the lead story with this Brewers team. He cranked his 24th home run of the season in Sunday's series finale versus Pittsburgh, a 5-2 victory, and is now batting .340/.446/.745 through 258 plate appearances this year. He's also tied for the NL lead in stolen bases with 14. Since being acquired from the Marlins in January 2018, the 27-year-old has slashed .330/.415/.637 with 60 home runs in 206 games. He totaled 59 home runs over 643 games in his five years with Miami.
7. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 8
The Cubs swept a weekend series against the rival Cardinals before falling 6-5 to the Rockies on Monday as Yu Darvish blew a 4-0 lead and watched his season ERA climb to 4.98. There's not a great solution for Darvish's struggles -- this might just be the pitcher he is now -- but the Cubs do have a big bullpen reinforcement on the way in veteran closer Craig Kimbrel, who signed a three-year, $43 million deal with Chicago last week and should be ready to join the major league roster after a short warmup run in the minors. Kimbrel struggled to attract offers to his liking before he shed himself of draft-pick compensation, but he's in a great spot now with a team that is just a half-game back of first place.
8. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 9
Atlanta has won four straight games to move into a tie with the Phillies for first place in the National League East standings. Kevin Gausman got lit up again in Monday night's series opener versus the Pirates, but the Braves managed to out-slug Pittsburgh for a 13-7 victory. Gausman could soon lose his rotation spot to veteran left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who was signed to a one-year, $13 million contract last week and allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out nine batters over seven scoreless innings Monday at Low-A Rome. It was his first live action since last October. Keuchel will probably make one or two more starts on the farm before joining the major league roster.
9. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 7
Jerad Eickhoff served up back-to-back-to-back home runs to the first three batters he faced in Monday night's 13-8 loss to the Diamondbacks. The two teams combined for an MLB-record 13 home runs in that one. To put a positive spin on it, Jay Bruce stayed hot with his fifth home run in seven games since the Phillies acquired him from the Mariners on June 2. Bruce was named the National League Player of the Week last week, becoming the first Phillies player to win a weekly award (Pitcher of the Week or Player of the Week) in his first week with the team since Paul Byrd in 1998. Bruce is also the first Phillies player to be awarded Player of the Week since Carlos Ruiz in 2014. Got all that?
10. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 10
Colorado dropped two of three to the Mets over the weekend before bouncing back in a 6-5 comeback win over the Cubs on Monday night at Coors Field. That game featured the longest home run by any player this season, as Ian Desmond's solo shot off Mike Montgomery in the bottom of the seventh inning traveled a whopping 486 feet to the concourse in left field. Nolan Arenado stayed hot too with a two-run homer off Yu Darvish in the bottom of the third. Arenado got off to a somewhat disappointing start this season -- maybe the big contract extension was in his head? -- but the star third baseman is batting .379/.429/.693 with 11 home runs and 36 RBI in 35 games since the beginning of May.
11. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 14
The Rangers have gone 18-8 since May 15 and would be in the playoffs as the second American League Wild Card if the season ended today. It's a pretty remarkable story, especially considering that the pitching staff has combined for a 4.84 ERA, 22nd among all 30 major league clubs. Also of note on this run is that Joey Gallo has been out with an oblique strain since June 1. Do the Rangers keep rotation ace Mike Minor and try to make a go of it, or deal him away for prospects like everyone thought they would this spring? Minor pitched eight strong innings in Monday night's win over the Red Sox and boasts a 2.52 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, and 93/28 K/BB ratio through 89 1/3 total frames.
12. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 11
The Red Sox have dropped four of their last five to fall eight games back of first place in the AL East standings. Chris Sale was sharp again Monday versus the Rangers, allowing just one unearned run over seven innings while striking out 10, but Boston ultimately lost 4-3 in extra innings. Since the calendar flipped to May, Sale has posted a 1.99 ERA and 88/10 K/BB ratio in 54 1/3 innings (eight starts), and yet he only has two wins to show for it. The greatest concern right now in the Boston baseball universe is the health of David Ortiz, who was shot outside a bar in the Dominican Republic on Sunday night. He has been transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital and the hope is that he will make a full recovery.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 17
Arizona brought out the big lumber in Monday night's 13-8 series-opening victory over the Phillies, slugging back-to-back-to-back homers to lead off the game and eight total homers throughout the proceeding. It was the fifth straight win for the Diamondbacks, who swept the Blue Jays over the weekend and are quickly climbing back toward Wild Card contention. That said, it would still probably behoove this club in the long term to flip Zack Greinke for prospects ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, considering his age and the money that he is owed. Greinke went six scoreless innings Saturday in Toronto and owns a 2.87 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 82/14 K/BB ratio in 87 2/3 innings (14 starts) this season.
14. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 12
San Diego has lost six of its last nine games to fall back to the .500 mark, but the return of budding star Fernando Tatis Jr. -- activated off the injured list last Thursday -- should help this team push back toward Wild Card contention. Tatis has batted .315/.379/.577 with seven home runs and seven stolen bases through his first 31 major league games, and the Padres are 17-13 when he starts. The young shortstop missed all of May with a left hamstring strain, but he's gone 5-for-11 with two walks since his June 6 activation. Look for top prospect Luis Urias to join Tatis on San Diego's middle infield within the next few weeks. He's hitting .346/.436/.681 in 218 plate appearances for Triple-A El Paso.
15. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 16
Cleveland is coming off an impressive week, having taken two of three from the American League Central-leading Twins and then two of three from the second-place Yankees. But the climb back into contention got a whole lot tougher last Wednesday with the announcement that Carlos Carrasco will "step away from baseball activities" for an extended period because of a blood condition. Carrasco had been feeling lethargic for several weeks, which might explain some of his ugly recent outings, and the Indians' medical staff is still trying to figure out an exact treatment plan for whatever is ailing him. The Indians are already without Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger, though Clevinger should be back soon.