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Power Rankings

MLB Power Rankings: Week 3

by 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. Houston Astros
Record: 11-5
Last Week: 3 
The Astros are the new top dogs in these Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings, and they have the look of a team that could stay in the No. 1 spot for a long while. They've swept three consecutive series -- against the Athletics, Yankees, and Mariners -- and will carry a nine-game winning streak into Monday night's series-opener at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Jose Altuve homered in five straight games last week and currently holds a .328/.371/.688 batting line through 70 plate appearances this season. Carlos Correa is slashing .313/.400/.542, and Alex Bregman is hitting .313/.414/.438. Giddy up.

2. Milwaukee Brewers
Record: 11-6
Last Week: 4 
The starting pitching remains a problem -- Milwaukee's combined rotation ERA of 6.11 ranks 27th among all 30 major league teams -- but Christian Yelich might single-handedly carry this club to a second straight National League Central title. The reigning National League MVP continued his dominance of the division-rival Cardinals on Monday night, blasting three home runs and racking up seven RBI around a pair of walks -- one of which was intentional -- as the Brewers earned a 10-7 win. Yelich is batting .354/.449/.785 with eight total homers and 22 RBI through 17 games this season.

3. Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 12-4
Last Week: 5 
The Rays have won six of their last seven games and have a good chance of staying hot this week with a three-game series at home against the Orioles and a three-game weekend set against the struggling Red Sox. They'll also host the Royals for three games next week. Rays pitchers on the whole have delivered a 2.44 ERA with 169 strikeouts through 144 innings this season. That earned run average ranks first among all major league staffs. And how about outfielder Austin Meadows? Part of last year's Chris Archer trade, he's slashing .357/.438/.732 with six home runs and 17 RBI through 15 games.

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4. New York Mets
Record: 10-6
Last Week: 
New York split a four-game weekend series in Atlanta before beating up on Aaron Nola in a 7-6 win over the Phillies on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. This team isn't clicking on all cylinders yet -- Noah Syndergaard struggled in Philly on Monday, Jacob deGrom has looked human in his last two turns, and Robinson Cano is batting .185/.243/.323 through his first 15 games in a Mets uniform -- but they sit at the top of the National League East standings here on Tuesday afternoon. Rookie sensation Pete Alonso boasts a 1.181 OPS with six home runs and 17 RBI through 16 major league games.

5. Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 9-6
Last Week: 2 
The Phillies lost to the Mets on Monday night in the first meeting of the year between the two clubs. Aaron Nola's early-season struggles continued in that one, as he allowed five earned runs on seven hits and three walks over just four innings of work. The 25-year-old right-hander, who was considered a preseason candidate for the 2019 NL Cy Young Award, is currently sporting a 7.45 ERA through four starts. He has to be better, and the Phils also need some kind of stability in their bullpen. David Robertson landing on the injured list Monday with right elbow soreness won't help in that regard.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 10-8
Last Week: 1 
The reigning National League champions suffered through an odd six-game losing streak last week, getting swept in a four-game series at St. Louis and dropping the first two games of a three-game weekend series against the Brewers. It was the Dodgers' longest losing streak since 2017. But they've since won two straight, and the rotation got a big boost Monday with the return of Clayton Kershaw, who missed the first three weeks of the season due to left shoulder inflammation. He went seven innings in his 2019 debut against the Reds, scattering two runs while striking out six and issuing zero walks.

7. Atlanta Braves
Record: 9-6
Last Week: 8 
The Braves have some issues on the pitching side -- their combined ERA of 4.43 is in the bottom-half of all major league clubs -- but the offense is humming along to the tune of a team-wide .830 OPS, which ranks third in MLB, behind only the Dodgers and Mariners. Recently-extended outfielder Ronald Acuna boasts a .294/.373/.562 batting line with 31 home runs, 77 RBI, 18 stolen bases, and 91 runs scored through his first 126 big league games, and he'll play this entire season at age 21. Dansby Swanson is flirting with a breakout at age 25 and can show the Diamondbacks what they missed out on this week.

8. San Diego Padres
Record: 11-7
Last Week: 11 
The Padres dropped the final game of their four-game weekend series against the Diamondbacks and lost 5-2 to the Rockies on Monday night, but they are in first place in the National League West standings and have been one of the most exciting teams to watch through the first three weeks of the regular season. 20-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., a surprise addition to the Opening Day roster, has posted a .936 OPS with five home runs over his first 17 major league games while playing highlight-reel defense on the left side of the San Diego infield. Service time clocks be damned.

9. Cleveland Indians
Record: 9-7
Last Week: 6 
Trevor Bauer pitched well in Monday night's 6-4 win over the Mariners and Shane Bieber has looked sharp in the early going this season, but the same can't be said for the other members of Cleveland's starting rotation. Corey Kluber issued five walks Sunday for the first time in his career, Carlos Carrasco has a hideous 12.60 ERA through three turns, and Mike Clevinger is out until at least early July with a severe upper-back strain. And what is going on with Jose Ramirez? After finishing third in the AL MVP voting in both 2017 and 2018, he has batted .150/.212/.250 in 16 games to open the 2019 campaign.

10. Minnesota Twins
Record: 8-5
Last Week: 14 
This is setting up as a big six-day mid-April stretch for the Twins, as they're set to play three more games against the Blue Jays and three against the Orioles before heading to Houston for a daunting three-game series next week. They currently have a half-game lead over the Indians in the American League Central standings and should be able to increase that against two rebuilding AL East clubs, though they lost 5-3 to Toronto on Monday. Minnesota's offense has been a nice surprise so far, ranking seventh among all MLB clubs in combined OPS (.811) and fourth in the AL in runs per game (5.23).

11. New York Yankees
Record: 6-9
Last Week: 9 
The Yankees have lost five of their last six games and are limping into their first series against the arch-rival Red Sox. James Paxton will try to right the ship in a marquee matchup versus Chris Sale on Tuesday night in the Bronx. Paxton, acquired from the Mariners over the winter for a trio of prospects, has allowed 10 earned runs on 20 hits and six walks over 15 innings this season, for an ERA of 6.00 and a WHIP of 1.73. J.A. Happ will pitch the second game of the series for the Yankees and also needs to show improvement. The veteran lefty is 0-2 with an 8.76 ERA and 1.95 WHIP through three starts.

12. St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 9-7
Last Week: 12 
St. Louis managed a surprising four-game sweep of the Dodgers last week at Busch Stadium before splitting a two-game set against the Reds in Monterrey, Mexico and falling 10-7 to the Brewers on Monday night in Milwaukee. Paul Goldschmidt has launched seven home runs through his first 16 games in a Cardinals uniform and Marcell Ozuna, despite lingering defensive concerns, boasts a 1.000 OPS in 58 plate appearances. But who could have guessed the Cards' starting pitching would be so poor? Miles Mikolas has a 6.00 ERA. Michael Wacha: 5.28 ERA. Dakota Hudson: 6.08 ERA.

13. Boston Red Sox
Record: 6-11
Last Week: 10 
The Red Sox got embarrassed by the visiting Orioles on Patriots Day at Fenway Park, falling 8-1 in the annual Monday morning tilt. Mookie Betts, the reigning MVP in the American League, had to this to say about his own performance after the game: "Basically, what I'm doing is unacceptable. I have to figure out a way to get something done and help the team." Betts went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout on Monday and is currently slashing .222/.324/.413 through 74 plate appearances this season. Compare that to the .346/.438/.640 slash line he delivered in 2018. Boston is tied for last place in the AL East.

14. Washington Nationals
Record: 7-7
Last Week: 13 
Washington lost two of three this weekend against the Pirates to fall back to the .500 mark. This team has to start stringing more wins together to remain competitive with the Phillies, Mets, and Braves in a loaded National League East division. High-dollar starters Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin have both pitched well out of the gate, but Stephen Strasburg has been roughed up in two of his three starts, and the bullpen issues are far from sorted out. Nationals relievers have combined to allow 35 earned runs in 40 2/3 innings this season for an ERA of 7.75 -- dead-last among all MLB bullpen groups.

15. Chicago Cubs
Record: 6-9
Last Week: 15 
The Cubs have won four of their last six games, including a 7-2 trouncing of the lowly Marlins on Monday night in Miami. Yu Darvish showed some promise in that one, striking out eight batters over a season-high 5 2/3 innings while earning his first win since May 20, 2018 and lowering his season ERA from 7.50 to 6.11. He was clocked at 98, 99, and 99 mph on his final three pitches of the evening. Willson Contreras belted his sixth home run of the year Monday versus the Fish and is already more than halfway to his home run total from 2018. The 26-year-old catcher is slashing .341/.471/.829.
 

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