The top three teams from last week’s Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings remain the top three teams in this week’s Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings, as the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros have really begun to distance themselves from the pack.
A couple of surprise teams from the National League East -- the Braves and the Phillies -- continue to surge up these rankings, and we’re finally showing a little love to the Pirates, even after a rather uninspiring weekend.
The biggest fallers are the Diamondbacks and the Angels, for reasons laid out within …
1. New York Yankees
Last Week: 1
Gleyber Torres hit two of the Yankees’ four home runs in Monday night’s 10-5 victory over the Rangers, and the 21-year-old top infield prospect now has six home runs, 18 RBI, and a stellar .321/.389/.571 batting line through his first 25 games at the major league level. The Yankees, as a team, have tallied at least four home runs in three straight games, which is the first such stretch in the storied 116-year history of the franchise. This year’s edition of the Bronx Bombers leads all major league teams in runs scored and OPS. In fact, they’re the only team in the majors with a combined OPS above .800 -- it’s currently .812.
2. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 2
Boston has won four of its last five. David Price threw his first complete game since August 2016 in Thursday’s series opener against the Orioles, a 6-2 win, and J.D. Martinez logged his first multi-homer game as a member of the Red Sox in Sunday’s series finale, a 5-0 victory. Martinez is batting .343/.397/.680 with 15 home runs and a team-high 41 RBI. Mookie Betts owns a ridiculous .365/.438/.760 slash line with 15 home runs and 11 stolen bases. He has scored 48 runs in 43 games played.
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3. Houston Astros
Last Week: 3
A number of important Houston hitters are off to underwhelming starts, including reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve, but the Astros’ rotation has been absolutely amazing. Lance McCullers entered Sunday’s series finale against the Indians with the highest ERA of the group at 3.63 and worked seven innings of scoreless, one-hit ball in a 3-1 victory to lower that number to 3.20. Justin Verlander has a 1.05 ERA and 84/14 K/BB ratio in 68 2/3 innings. Gerrit Cole: 1.75 ERA, 93/14 K/BB ratio in 61 2/3 frames. Charlie Morton: 1.94 ERA. Dallas Keuchel’s 3.43 ERA is now the highest of the group, and yet it’s top-20 in the American League.
4. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 5
A highly-anticipated late-May series between the Braves and Phillies? What year is this? Atlanta lost Monday night’s series opener at Citizens Bank Park, but the Braves still hold a half-game lead over Philadelphia in the National League East standings and they have the second-best run differential (+62) in the majors. Ozzie Albies has an .895 OPS, 13 home runs, and 42 runs scored in 46 games. Freddie Freeman is batting .324/.428/.561 with nine homers and 35 RBI. Nick Markakis is slashing .341/.409/.514. Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb have combined for a 2.52 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 105 2/3 innings.
5. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 6
The Brewers have won six of their last eight games, including a 4-2 victory in Monday’s series opener against the cratering Diamondbacks. Travis Shaw, Lorenzo Cain, and Domingo Santana all went yard off Zack Greinke in that one and Chase Anderson (illness) worked six pretty good innings in his return from the 10-day disabled list. Shaw has a team-high 11 home runs in 47 games this year and Cain leads all Brewers with a .383 on-base percentage and 45 hits. Milwaukee’s bullpen ranks No. 1 in combined ERA (2.58) and No. 2 in combined strikeouts (208), behind only the Yankees’ group of relievers.
6. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 10
Philly is 11-6 in May and breathing down the neck of the National League East-leading Braves. Those two clubs met Monday for the first of three somewhat crucial late-May games and the Phillies won 3-0 behind a combined shutout by Nick Pivetta, Seranthony Dominguez, and Hector Neris. Pivetta boasts a 3.23 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 60/12 K/BB ratio in 53 innings (10 starts) this season. Dominguez, a highly-ranked 23-year-old relief prospect, has allowed just one hit over 7 2/3 scoreless innings since his promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on May 7. Pitching is leading the way for the Fightin’ Phils. Who would’ve thought?
7. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 9
The Cardinals split a two-game series last week at Target Field and then went loss-win-loss-win in a four-game set with the Phillies before blanking the Royals 5-0 on Monday night as Miles Mikolas delivered his first career shutout as a major leaguer. Mikolas, the former Padres prospect who pitched his way out of Major League Baseball as a member of the Rangers in 2014, now stands 6-0 with a 2.24 ERA and 46/6 K/BB ratio in 60 1/3 innings this season with St. Louis. He signed a two-year, $15.5 million free agent contract with the Cardinals in December after posting eye-popping numbers during a three-year stint in Japan.
8. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 12
Chicago just took three of four from the Reds, with Yu Darvish earning his first win of the season in Sunday’s series finale at Great American Ball Park. Darvish has a 1.80 ERA in two starts (10 innings) since getting 11 days off to recover from a flu bug and generally reset himself. He had a 6.00 ERA over his first six outings with the Cubs, who signed him to a six-year, $126 million free agent contract this offseason. The North Siders have the third-best bullpen in baseball, at least in terms of ERA (2.62), and the other elements of this roster look poised to shift into another gear.
9. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 8
The Nationals lost three games this weekend against the Dodgers, but they clobbered the Padres 10-2 in Monday night’s series opener in Washington, D.C. 19-year-old top outfield prospect Juan Soto belted his first major league homer in his second major league at-bat as part of that rout. It was a three-run opposite-field bomb in the bottom of the second, and he also singled and scored another run in the bottom of the sixth. Soto forced his way to the major league level by batting .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and 52 RBI through 39 games this season between Low-A Hagerstown, High-A Potomac, and Double-A Harrisburg. The kid is going to be a star.
10. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 4
Shohei Ohtani struck out nine batters and worked into the eighth inning of Sunday’s 5-2 victory over the Rays as the Angels halted a season-worst five-game losing streak. Ohtani is now 4-1 with a 3.35 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings as a major league pitcher. And he’s batting .321/.367/.619 with six home runs and 17 RBI in 24 games as a part-time designated hitter. The Angels need more offense out of guys like Ian Kinsler (.577 OPS) and Kole Calhoun (.401 OPS). Mike Trout continues to do his part and then some.
11. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 11
The biggest Mariners-centric headline from the last week was veteran second baseman Robinson Cano getting hit with an 80-game suspension last Tuesday -- about an hour after our Week 7 Rotoworld MLB Power Rankings went live -- for a violation of baseball’s joint drug agreement. Cano tested positive for furosemide, which is a diuretic often used to mask performance-enhancing drug use. He’ll be out until mid-August and won’t be eligible to participate in the 2018 postseason, which is obviously a big blow to the M’s, but they’ve managed to win three straight games and five of their last seven.
12. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 15
The Pirates were in a great groove entering the weekend, having won eight of their last nine games, but they dropped three straight against the lowly Padres, with usually-reliable closer Felipe Vazquez getting knocked around for four runs -- three earned -- in the ninth inning of Sunday’s series finale. It was the first blown save of the season for Vazquez, who entered that outing with a 2.41 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. Pittsburgh sits in fourth place in a National League Central division that features four teams with records above .500.
13. New York Mets
Last Week: 17
Jason Vargas was 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA through his first three starts this season, but he struck out seven batters and gave up just two hits over five scoreless innings in Monday night’s series opener against the Marlins to earn a victory and pull that ERA under 10.00. The Mets had been in a freefall for much of May, but they swept a three-game series this past weekend against the Diamondbacks and have now won four straight. Jacob deGrom struck out 13 batters over seven innings of one-run ball on Friday versus Arizona and Noah Syndergaard did something similar to the Snakes on Sunday. Those two have combined for a 2.37 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 110 innings this year.
14. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 13
The Rockies have played .500 baseball for the last two weeks, but that has been good enough to leapfrog them over the freefalling Diamondbacks in the National League West standings. Colorado is the only division-leading team with a negative run differential (-23). Lineup depth remains an issue and the pitching staff hasn’t tamed the Coors Field effect like it did last season. The Rockies are 7-11 at home and 19-11 on the road. They beat the Dodgers 2-1 in Monday night’s series opener in Los Angeles, with German Marquez working seven innings of one-run, two-hit ball and Wade Davis nailing down his MLB-best 17th save.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 7
Arizona has lost 11 of its last 12 games and its claim to the top spot in the National League West standings. Injuries are a big factor -- A.J. Pollock is out 4-8 weeks with a fractured thumb, Robbie Ray remains sidelined with a strained oblique, and Taijuan Walker is done for the year following Tommy John surgery -- but the ongoing struggles of Paul Goldschmidt might be the greatest concern in the desert. A key cog in the Diamondbacks’ offense for six years running, the first baseman is batting just .201 with a .683 OPS through 47 games. He is tied for the most strikeouts in the National League with 61.
16. Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 14
The Indians still can’t get anything going -- their longest winning streak this month is two games -- but they have managed to remain in first place in the American League Central despite the rollercoaster results and they are the only team in the division with a positive run differential (+18) here on May 22. Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Michael Brantley are all above .930 in the OPS department, but a number of other everyday players, like Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso, and Jason Kipnis, have badly underperformed.
17. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 20
Oakland took two of three from the Red Sox early last week at Fenway Park and then swept a four-game series at Toronto’s Rogers Centre to complete a 7-3 road trip against some of the top teams in the American League East (the A’s lost two of three last weekend at Yankee Stadium). The offense is humming, though Khris Davis is likely facing a lengthy disabled list stint after suffering a right groin strain in Sunday’s series finale against the Blue Jays. Davis currently leads the Athletics in home runs (13) and RBI (38).
18. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 16
The Twins fell into another ugly rut last week before salvaging Sunday’s series finale against the Brewers with a 2-1 victory and topping the Tigers 4-2 in Monday night’s series opener. May has been a far better month for this club than April was, but Joe Mauer is back on the disabled list with a recurrence of concussion symptoms and Jason Castro is done for the year following major right knee surgery. At least Miguel Sano (hamstring) appears to be getting close. Even with the inauspicious start to the season, the Twins are just one game back of the Indians for first place in the American League Central standings.
19. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 19
Ty Blach’s 4.37 ERA is the lowest of the Giants’ current active starters. This team obviously misses Johnny Cueto (elbow) and Madison Bumgarner (finger), as any team would. Cueto is expected to be out until at least early July with a right elbow sprain, but Bumgarner has begun throwing bullpen sessions in his recovery from a fractured left pinkie and could be ready by mid-June. Jeff Samardzija has registered a 6.30 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, and 23/18 K/BB ratio in 30 innings (six starts) since returning April 20 from a pectoral strain.
20. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 23
Tampa Bay mounted a six-game winning streak last week against the Royals and Angels before falling 5-2 in Sunday’s series finale in Anaheim. Wilson Ramos is batting .315/.357/.554 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 24 games since April 17. He could be big-time trade bait for the Rays as the July 31 deadline draws closer with multiple contending teams needing help at the catcher position. Johnny Field is slashing .308/.348/.554 with four home runs in 22 games since his mid-April callup. He’s getting everyday playing time with Carlos Gomez (groin) on the shelf.
21. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 18
The Blue Jays have lost four straight games and seven of their last eight. This club looked like a potential American League Wild Card contender three weeks ago, after going 15-10 in April, but they are 6-13 in May and currently have one of the worst pitching staffs in the league by team ERA (4.60). Marcus Stroman remains in shutdown mode with right shoulder fatigue and All-Star closer Roberto Osuna has been on MLB’s administrative leave list since getting arrested May 8 in Toronto for allegedly assaulting a woman.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 21
The Dodgers showed a little life last week with a four-game winning streak against the Marlins and Nationals before falling 2-1 to the Rockies in Monday night’s series opener at Dodger Stadium. The reigning National League champions are 8-11 in May after going 12-16 in March and April. Hyun-Jin Ryu is out through the All-Star break with a complete tear of his left groin, Corey Seager is done for the season following Tommy John surgery, and Clayton Kershaw is still working his way back from a biceps injury, though it sounds like he’s getting close. Oh, and Rich Hill is again having blister issues on his left hand.
23. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 22
The Tigers have lost four straight games and five of their last six, averaging just two runs per game over that stretch. Miguel Cabrera has been sidelined since May 4 with a strained right hamstring and is probably still at least a week away, and Jeimer Candelario has joined him on the disabled list with left wrist tendinitis. John Hicks is having a nice month and Nicholas Castellanos is slashing .316/.367/.500, but they can’t carry the offense on their own. Victor Martinez is batting .234/.304/.369 in the final year of a four-year, $68 million deal, and yet manager Ron Gardenhire had him hitting third in Monday night’s loss to the Twins.
24. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 25
The Padres won three straight games this weekend in Pittsburgh before getting thrashed 10-2 by the Nationals on Monday night in the nation’s capital. Robbie Erlin was lit up for six earned runs over just four innings in that one as his season ERA jumped from 3.63 to 4.80. Erlin is back in the rotation after spending five weeks in the bullpen because rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi, who holds a cool 3.23 ERA in nine starts this year, is on the disabled list with a right hip strain. San Diego is also still without Wil Myers, who has appeared in just 10 games this season because of elbow and oblique issues. Myers is not expected back until closer to mid-June.
25. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 24
Bartolo Colon entered Monday night’s series opener against the Yankees with a team-best 2.82 ERA, but it shot up to 3.51 after he allowed six runs on eight hits -- four homers -- in a 10-5 loss. Cole Hamels now holds the best ERA on the team at 3.48, but he has been scratched from two straight scheduled starts because of ongoing neck stiffness. The hope is he’ll feel well enough to take the mound Tuesday night versus the visiting Yanks. Joey Gallo leads the Rangers in home runs (14) and RBI (31), but he’s sporting a .201 batting average and .281 on-base percentage. Adrian Beltre is still a few weeks away from returning from a left hamstring strain.
26. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 27
Miami is tied with Kansas City for the worst run differential (-90) in the major leagues. The bullpen blew a five-run lead in the ninth inning of Sunday’s series finale against the Braves, with four of those runs getting charged to veteran closer Brad Ziegler. He has a 7.20 ERA in 20 appearances this season. Marlins relievers have yielded 118 earned runs, by far the most of any team. In fact, no other bullpen group has allowed more than 93. They've only risen in this week's rankings by default.
27. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 26
Cincinnati rattled off six consecutive wins earlier this month against the Mets and Dodgers, but there’s a good chance that goes down as the Reds’ longest winning streak of the year. They’ve lost five of their last seven and were outscored 16-1 in the final two games of their three-game weekend series against the Cubs. Reds starting pitchers have posted a combined 5.60 ERA in 239 1/3 innings this season, which is the third-highest rotation ERA in the majors. Reds hitters have produced a combined .689 OPS, which ranks 26th-lowest.
28. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 28
Manny Machado hit his 15th home run of the season in Monday night’s series opener against the White Sox and is batting .343/.420/.663 with a team-high 62 hits, 43 RBI, and 27 runs scored in 47 games this season. But there’s not much else to talk about here -- nothing positive, at least. The offense as a whole ranks 23rd in runs scored, 24th in batting average (.233), and 28th in on-base percentage (.296). Baltimore’s pitching staff is 27th in the majors in team ERA (5.02), and the combined ERA of the starting rotation sits at 5.58.
29. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 30
The White Sox took three of four games this weekend against the Rangers before falling 3-2 to the Orioles in Monday night’s series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field. White Sox hitters have produced the fewest runs in the American League and they rank only above the Marlins on the MLB leaderboard for combined runs scored. White Sox starters have a 5.73 ERA as a staff, which ranks dead-last among all major league clubs. Michael Kopech enjoyed his best start of the year Friday at Triple-A Charlotte. It might be time for some new faces on the South Side.
30. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 29
The Royals have lost eight of their last nine games and scored a combined 17 runs in those eight losses. Jorge Soler got off to a nice start this season and still holds a decent .866 OPS, but he’s managed just two hits in his last 29 plate appearances. Danny Duffy struggled again on his last turn through the rotation, yielding five runs in four innings in a loss to the Yankees as his season ERA rose to 6.88. He was the Opening Day starter for Kansas City. Jason Hammel has a 6.28 ERA. Eric Skoglund: 6.15 ERA. Ian Kennedy: 5.30 ERA.