MLB Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers (05/09/17)
MLB Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers
After a week hiatus, we're back with another edition of Risers and Fallers for this week's Power Rankings. With nearly 1/5th of the season accounted for, standings are starting to settle and we're getting a good idea of how things will likely shake out. There's still surprises with the Reds at 17-15, sitting in third in the MLB in runs scored behind the Nationals and Yankees, as well as the Blue Jays, Rangers, and Giants are all early season disappointments who come into today last in their respective divisions.
Our Power Rankings are developed using players on the active depth chart, which causes fluctuation week-to-week based on injuries and who is in and out of the lineup. To see a full description of how our Power Rankings are created, as well as this week's full list of rankings, please visit MLB Rankings - 5/9/17. Within our rankings every week, there are noticeable risers and fallers throughout. The goal of this article is to identify who has gained or lost the most ground in the Majors, whether it be due to injury, roster changes, or just a decline in team performance. Each article will include the Top 3 risers and fallers in the rankings, despite their initial position.
The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers remain atop our Power Rankings after nearly five weeks of games, and even though they aren't the hottest teams in the league right now, we still trust their rosters when simulated against every other team in the league. There was a little movement in our Top 10 since the Week 3 rankings, with the Red Sox and Indians swapping spots, landing the Red Sox at #4 in our rankings. The Top 10 also welcomes Baltimore and Arizona into the Top 10 for the first time, as both teams have shown they have the talent to be competitors all season. There are some major changes outside the Top 10 in this week's rankings, so let's start by taking a look at the Top 3 risers for this week.
Top 3 Risers
Arizona Diamondbacks - #15 up to #10
As mentioned above, the Diamondbacks crack our Top 10 for the first time this season as they enter today with an 18-15 record. The D-Backs have been solid on both sides of the ball so far this season, as they are tied for 4th in the league in runs and are 3rd in overall pitching WAR, according to FanGraphs. Even though they just took a blow with the injury to Shelby Miller and his impending Tommy John surgery, the top of their rotation still looks solid. Zack Greinke is starting to look more like his Cy-Young-self in the early going, and Robbie Ray has found his stride with a 12.14 K/9 mark in his first six starts. Patrick Corbin had been off to a great start as well, holding a 2.29 ERA through six starts, but got lit up in his most recent outing, allowing eight runs at Coors Field and bumping that ERA all the way up to 3.89. Paul Goldschmidt remains the number one threat in the order, as he leads the team in the major three splits posting a .316/.451/.561 triple slash. The Diamondbacks have hit a little rough patch after starting the season 14-8, but if their starting staff and offense can keep it up, Arizona is in good shape to stay in the race all season.
Detroit Tigers - #18 up to #11
The Tigers jump up seven spots compared to two weeks ago, largely due to the return of Miguel Cabrera after a nine-game absence with a groin injury. It's impressive the Tigers are 15-15 after losing Miggy for nine games and starting the season without J.D. Martinez, as well as their league-worst 4.83 team ERA, but Detroit has managed to overcome it all in the early going to remain at .500. Michael Fulmer has been the bright spot in the early going for them, as he's building off his AL Rookie of the Year starting 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA. Justin Wilson has been great for them on the back end as well, posting a 1.32 ERA in 15 games, and may just take over the closer spot here soon with Francisco Rodriguez struggling with an 8.49 ERA and four blown saves. After failing to hit above .220 in his last three seasons, Alex Avila has been scorching hot to begin 2017, hitting .360 with an OPS of 1.107, including four home runs and 13 RBIs, which is more than his total amount of RBIs last season. Detroit sits just 1.5 games back of Cleveland heading into tonight, and will receive a big boost in J.D. Martinez once he returns on Friday, so look for Detroit to move up in the standings throughout the month of May.
Colorado Rockies - #17 up to #12
Colorado has been great since the start of the season, building off their 5-1 start to now sit two games ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West with a 20-12 record. Mark Reynolds is leading the Rockies in terms of offensive production, and seems to love hitting in Coors Field, as he hit .310 there last season and is off to a .327 start this year in his home park. He was meant to be a fill-in until Ian Desmond returned, but Reynolds has made sure his name will be in the lineup every day, leading the Rockies in home runs, average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, and is tied for the lead in runs and RBIs. The Rockies have relied on their slugging to put runs on the board, as they're last in the majors with only five stolen bases, but sit at 5th in slugging with a .444 team slugging percentage. Colorado has also had outstanding production from their two rookie hurlers, as Kyle Freeland is off to a 3-1 start with a 2.65 ERA, and Antonio Senzetela is right on his tail with a 4-1 record and 2.84 ERA to start the year. Greg Holland has been as good as they come in the closer spot as well, saving all 13 of his opportunities. Once the Rockies start getting more from Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray returns, they'll be an even more dangerous team.
Top 3 Fallers
New York Mets - #7 down to #15
The Mets currently have the most talented disabled list in the league, as Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, David Wright, Lucas Duda, Steven Matz, and Travis d'Arnaud all find themselves on the shelf. Add the Matt Harvey situation into the mix and things don't look so great for New York right now. The Mets' rotation has struggled in the early going, as the starting staff that was supposed to be one of the best in the league currently boasts a 5.05 ERA, good for 3rd worst in the MLB. The Mets' offense has actually kept them afloat in the early going, as they're 6th in the majors with 156 runs scored. Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce have done all they can, as Conforto is currently batting .325 with seven home runs, 20 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.040, and Bruce leads the team with nine homers and 25 knocked in. With all of the injuries and pitching staff struggles in the beginning of the season, it's looking less and less likely that the Mets will contend in the NL East with the Nationals, but the first thing New York needs to do is get healthy before they can really focus on closing the gap.
San Francisco Giants - #8 down to #25
A lot has happened to the Giants in the last couple weeks, with the most notable coming in the form of the injury to Madison Bumgarner. His absence, as well as the ineptitude of the offense has led the Giants to an 11-22 record. The Giants' starters have struggled in the early going, posting a 4.95 ERA, good four 4th worst in the majors, with every starter having an ERA of 4.50 or higher. They allowed at least 13 runs three times last week, and their offense has been equally as bad on the other end. The Giants sit second to last in the majors with just 108 runs scored through 33 games, and have failed to score more than four runs in 19 of their last 21 games, resulting in a 6-15 record. Buster Posey remains one of the lone bright spots for the Giants as he continues to post impressive numbers, slashing .363/.437/.505 through 103 at bats, but has struggled to drive in runs with only six RBIs on the year. He's currently hitting .412 with bases empty and .238 with men in scoring position, so the Giants will need Posey to be more of a run producer if they want to start winning games. With a team ERA that's third worst in the league and an offense that's second worst in runs scored, it's safe to say San Francisco has a lot to fix moving forward.
Miami Marlins - #13 down to #17
After a solid 10-8 start to the season, the Marlins have proceeded to go 3-8 in their last 11. Miami's starting staff has gotten beat up through the first 31 games, as they hold the second worst starter's ERA in the majors at 5.11. With Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez both on the DL, Miami is struggling to find someone who can step on the mound and pick up a win. Jose Urena did a great job in his first start, going six scoreless innings and picking up one of the two starters' victories in the last 14 games. Marcell Ozuna has continued to rake for the fish, slashing .325/.383/.642 with 11 homers and 29 RBIs, leading the team in those respective categories. After an 11-game stretch with no dingers, Giancarlo Stanton has hit four in his last three games, including two bombs in New York the other night. Like most teams that are struggling, the Marlins need to find success from their starting pitchers, and continue to capitalize on their opportunities to win, as they've blown four of seven save opportunities.