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
Last Week: 1
George Springer and Alex Bregman and Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander and Carlos Correa have gotten most of the attention during this run that the Astros are on, but how about guys like Brad Peacock and Michael Brantley? Peacock recorded nine strikeouts over five scoreless innings in Monday night's shutout victory over the White Sox and is now 3-0 with a 0.53 ERA and 24/5 K/BB ratio over his last three starts covering 17 innings. He's been bounced between the bullpen and rotation at different points this year but should probably have a firm grip on a starting job moving forward. Brantley went 2-for-4 with a double on Monday and holds a career-high .940 OPS through 47 games played. The Indians sure could use a bat like that.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 2
Cody Bellinger's outrageous start to the 2019 season continues. He drew a walk and slugged a two-run homer in Sunday's series finale against the Reds, an 8-3 victory for Los Angeles, and is now batting .405/.485/.791 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI in 46 games this season. He ranks first overall on the wins above replacement (WAR) leaderboard at FanGraphs, by a pretty wide margin. Hyun-Jin Ryu deserves a mention here too. He fired seven scoreless innings Sunday in Cincinnati and has now gone 31 straight frames without giving up a run. The 32-year-old left-hander stands 6-1 with a 1.52 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, and 59/4 K/BB ratio in 59 1/3 total innings this year.
3. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 4
Minnesota has won six of its last seven games, continuing to build a sizable lead over the Indians for first place in the AL Central standings. This would be the first division title for the Twins since 2010, when Joe Mauer and Jim Thome and Justin Morneau were all still doing their thing. But, yes, it is only May. Jake Odorizzi was sharp again in Monday night's 3-1 victory over the Angels, striking out six batters over five scoreless innings while lowering his season ERA to 2.38. Miguel Sano provided the bulk of the offense in that one with a two-run shot in the top of the eighth. He has two home runs and five RBI in five games since returning from a lacerated heel last Thursday.
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4. New York Yankees
Last Week: 6
The Yankees officially lost Miguel Andujar to season-ending shoulder surgery last week, but this team keeps chugging along somehow. They took two of three from the Rays over the weekend to jump into first place in the AL East and then rallied for four runs in the top of the ninth inning Monday night in Baltimore to earn a big 10-7 comeback victory. Giancarlo Stanton (biceps, shoulder) has begun a minor league rehab assignment with High-A Tampa and could be back in action with New York sometime next week. Aaron Judge (oblique) and Didi Gregorius (elbow) are inching closer too, and James Paxton (knee) could be ready to rock this weekend.
5. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 3
The Cubs have dropped four of their last six, but they still sit atop the NL Central standings as of Tuesday afternoon and Kris Bryant remains red-hot after struggling through much of April. He did go 0-for-5 in Monday night's 5-4 loss to the Phillies, but the 27-year-old matched a career high with three home runs in a 14-6 blowout win over the Nationals on Friday and he boasts a 1.137 OPS with 10 home runs, 24 RBI, and 22 runs scored over his last 22 games. Willson Contreras is having a bounceback season for the ages, with a .321/.426/.627 slash line and 11 home runs through 42 games. He hit .249/.339/.390 with 10 home runs over 138 total games in 2018.
6. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 7
The Phillies earned a big three-game sweep of the Rockies this past weekend at Citizens Bank Park and then rallied for a 5-4 extra-innings win over the Cubs on Monday night at Wrigley Field. They're now 12-6 in May, after going 16-13 between March and April, and currently sit 2 1/2 games up on first place in the National League East standings. That was supposed to be a four-team race, but with the Mets cratering and the Nationals continuing to flounder, the Phillies might only have to fend off the Braves. Jake Arrieta pitched admirably against his former team Monday in Chicago, scattering eight hits over six innings of one-run ball to lower his season ERA to 3.77.
7. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 5
The Rays dropped two of three to the division-rival Yankees over the weekend and are currently a game back of New York for first place in the American League East standings. The bullpen is filled with talented arms, but Tampa Bay is having to lean a little too heavily on those arms right now with only two traditional starters on the active roster in Blake Snell and Charlie Morton. Tyler Glasnow was placed on the injured list May 11 after being diagnosed with a forearm strain and will probably be sidelined through at least mid-June. If the Rays are going to fend off the Yankees and the suddenly-surging Red Sox, they may have to get aggressive on the trade market.
8. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 8
Milwaukee swept the Phillies last week before losing two of three in Atlanta over the weekend. That concluded a 5-5 road trip, which is kind of par for the course with this year's Brewers team. They are 16-8 at Miller Park and 12-13 everywhere else. Christian Yelich, the reigning National League MVP, has batted .406 with a 1.655 OPS and 15 home runs in 19 games this season at home and .269 with an .828 OPS and four home runs in 25 games on the road. He did slug two home runs at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park last Thursday as part of an 11-3 blowout victory, and he hit a solo shot in a 3-2 extra-innings win over the Braves on Sunday at SunTrust Park.
9. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 9
The Red Sox snapped the Astros' 10-game winning streak on Sunday and then trounced the Blue Jays by a score of 12-2 on Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre. David Price started that game in Toronto, fresh off an injured list stint for left elbow tendinitis, and worked five solid innings on just 67 pitches to earn his first win since April 14. He could have easily gone deeper, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora decided to play things safe with his team up big. Another positive development from that one: Jackie Bradley, who has been one of the least-productive regulars in the majors this year, slugged his first home run of the season in the top of the sixth.
10. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 13
The Braves hit some bumpy pavement between mid-April and the early part of May, but they're 8-2 over their last 10 games, including a 4-1 win over the Giants on Monday that featured many highlights from the team's many young stars. Ronald Acuna, 21, slugged two home runs while pushing his season OPS back above .900. Austin Riley, 22, also went deep and is batting .409/.435/.864 with three homers and six RBI in six games since getting called up from Triple-A Gwinnett last Wednesday. Oh, and 21-year-old right-hander Mike Soroka gave up just one run over eight innings while moving to 5-1 with a miniscule 1.01 ERA through seven rotation turns.
11. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 14
Cleveland took three of four from the Orioles over the weekend, with Shane Bieber delivering one of the best pitching performances of the year in Sunday's series finale, a 10-0 victory. The young right-hander tallied a career-high 15 strikeouts while issuing zero walks over nine scoreless innings, needing just 107 pitches to record the first shutout of his career. Corey Kluber still has no timetable in his recovery from a fractured ulna bone, but Mike Clevinger (back) could begin a minor league rehab assignment toward the end of this week and the Indians are staying afloat as one of only six American League teams currently sporting a winning record.
12. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 16
Josh Bell stayed hot this weekend in San Diego as the Pirates took three of four from the host Padres and moved right near the top of the National League Wild Card standings -- though it's obviously a little too early to be looking closely at that race. Bell greatly disappointed as a sophomore in 2018 after finishing third in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting in 2017, but the 26-year-old first baseman is currently batting .333/.404/.697 with 14 home runs and 44 RBI through his first 44 games in 2019. Gregory Polanco has played well too since returning from major shoulder surgery. Might the Bucs be buyers again at this year's July 31 trade deadline?
13. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 10
It has been a miserable three-week stretch for the Cardinals. They earned a franchise-record-tying 18 wins in the month of April but are suddenly just one game above .500 with a 5-13 record since the calendar flipped to May. Matt Carpenter, who received down-ballot MVP votes last year and got a mini contract extension this spring, has batted just .205/.318/.351 through his first 201 plate appearances to open the 2019 campaign. It might be time to drop him from the leadoff spot. Also hurting matters is that Paul Goldschmidt, the team's everyday No. 2 hitter, has slashed .215/.319/.266 with 27 strikeouts in 21 games since April 28. Better table-setting is badly needed.
14. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 11
Padres rookie Chris Paddack had the worst start of his young career last Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, but he rebounded with six innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks on Monday night in San Diego. The 23-year-old right-hander now has a 1.93 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, and 56/11 K/BB ratio through his first 51 1/2 major league innings. But he's going to hit a workload wall at some point -- Paddack threw only 90 innings last year in the minors -- and the Friars will probably need reinforcements at multiple spots to make a real run at a Wild Card spot. They are 7-11 since the calendar flipped to May, after going 17-13 between March and April.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 12
Arizona has lost three straight to fall six games back of the Dodgers for first place in the National League West standings. We'd bet against that gap shrinking very much in the coming weeks and months. It will be interesting to see how Zack Greinke holds up in his start Tuesday night against the Padres after he experienced tightness in his abdominal muscles in an outing last Wednesday versus the Pirates. The 35-year-old right-hander is 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 62/8 K/BB ratio through 64 2/3 innings (10 starts) this season, and it is absolutely imperative that he isn't forced to miss any time, whether for trade purposes or perhaps a Wild Card run.