MLB Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers (06/20/17)
MLB Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers
As we enter the second to last week of June baseball, we're back with another edition of Risers and Fallers for this week's MLB Power Rankings. This week features some high-profile teams on the move, as five of our six featured teams originated in our Top 10 from last week. 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 - 6/13/17.
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.
There is a ton of movement within our Top 10 this week, as five of the Top 10 teams from last week will be featured as a riser or faller. The Indians and Cubs find themselves among baseball's best as they sit at #2 and #3, in this week's rankings, respectively. The Astros fall down a few spots with their top two starters hitting the DL, and the Mets fall out of the Top 10 again as they continue to struggle with big-name injuries throughout their roster. The Cardinals and Tigers find their way back into our Top 10, and even though they're struggling, their rosters are both nearly completely healthy and should be performing better than their current state. The Yankees drop a couple spots down to #5 after being on the wrong end of a 4-game sweep in Oakland, as they've now lost six in a row and will hope to right the ship back home against the Angels. The aforementioned Indians rose five spots in this week's rankings, so let's take a look at what they've done to turn the corner.
Top 3 Risers
Cleveland Indians - #7 up to #2
Cleveland is beginning to look like the AL Champs from a season ago, as they've strung together six consecutive wins and bring a 2.5 game division lead into Tuesday night. The Indians have had great success on the offensive side of the ball in their current streak, having averaged nearly 8.7 runs per game. Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion have led the way for the Tribe, as Ramirez won AL Player of the Week after going 16-31 with eight doubles, three homers, and seven RBIs in a 7-game stretch. Ramirez followed that up by going 3-6 with two doubles and a triple in the Indians 12-0 beat down of the Orioles last night, and extends his streak with two or more hits to seven games. Encarnacion found his stroke this past week as well, as he's gone 10-24 with four home runs, 10 RBIs, 14 runs, and 11 walks in his last seven games, all contributing to an OPS of 1.530 over that stretch. Ramirez and Encarnacion combined with some excellent pitching performances have jump-started the Indians and allowed them to take the AL Central lead from the Twins, and we don't expect them to look back.
Chicago Cubs - #6 up to #3
The Chicago Cubs move up alongside their 2016 World Series counterpart and take over the #3 spot in this week's power rankings. Chicago is starting to show some signs of life, as they've won 4 of 6 and may have found the answer to their lineup issues. Anthony Rizzo now finds himself as the leadoff man for the defending champs, and he has yet to be retired when leading off a game this season, including hitting two leadoff homers in his first two games. Since his move to the leadoff spot, Chicago has averaged 6.7 runs, and Rizzo holds an OPS of 1.424. Javier Baez has brought some energy and production off the bench in the absence of Ben Zobrist, contributing four hits in his last two games. John Lackey picked up his first win in over a month on Sunday, holding his opponent to one earned run or fewer for just the third time all season and the first time since May 9th. The Cubs will need continued success from their starting staff moving forward if they want to deserve this #3 ranking, as Joe Maddon might have finally found his leadoff man nearly three months into the season.
Oakland Athletics - #23 up to #17
The A's won four games in a row this past weekend for the first time since mid-April, and are 4-0 since calling up heralded prospect Matt Chapman. Oakland is hoping Chapman can keep their success going, especially on the offensive side of the ball, as he's hit 80 homers in just 317 minor league games. The A's have had great success at home this season, carrying a 22-14 record into tonight's game against the Astros, but their downfall has come on the road, as they hold a dismal 9-25 record away from the Coliseum. Ryon Healy has really come on for them in the month of June, hitting .306 with eight homers and 18 RBIs, including three multi-homer games in the month. He's destroyed lefties this season, especially at home, where he holds a .486 batting average and OPS of 1.428. The Athletics main goal has to be learning how to make their game travel, but until that point the A's will remain a last-place team in the AL West.
Top 3 Fallers
Houston Astros - #2 down to #6
After their 11-game winning streak to end May and open up June, the Astros have fallen on hard times, going just 5-8 in their last 13. Their decline can largely be attributed to the health of their starting rotation, as their top four starters are currently on the DL, including AL Cy Young candidate Dallas Keuchel, who was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA before taking his second trip to the disabled list. The Astros have managed to stay afloat without their ace and subsequent starting staff largely in part to their offense, which has scored the second most runs in the majors. They lead the major leagues in home runs with 112, as George Springer leads the team with 20 from the leadoff spot, and they also lead the majors with a .279 team batting average. Their fall from the #2 spot is entirely attributed to their injuries, and they still maintain the best record in the AL by nearly eight games, so the Astros don't have a whole lot to worry about other than getting their pitchers healthy.
New York Mets - #9 down to #15
New York jumped up our rankings last week with the return of Yoenis Cespedes, but find themselves quickly outside the Top 10 once again. After their initial 3-game winning streak upon his return, the Mets have managed to drop five of six and can't find any success out of their starting rotation outside of Jacob deGrom. In their current 2-5 stretch, the Mets have a team ERA of 6.21 and have allowed seven or more runs in all five of their losses. Zack Wheeler has gotten tattooed in his last two starts, failing to last more than two innings in either one while allowing 15 earned runs and five homers, causing his ERA to balloon to 5.29 on the season. Their team ERA of 4.92 remains the 5th worst in all of baseball as Noah Syndergaard remains on the DL and won't begin throwing for another four weeks. The Mets added Asdrubal Cabrera to their list of injured starters last week, and with only three games left at home before the All-Star break, New York will likely fall even further out of contention in the NL East.
Tampa Bay Rays - #10 down to #13
The Rays drop a few spots in our rankings this week, finding themselves at #13. Even with four offensive starters currently on the DL, the Rays have managed to stay afloat and boast a 37-36 record. Even though they're in the Top 10 in overall offense and runs scored this season, the Rays have struggled a bit in June without their full complement of players. They've scored just 81 runs in the month of June, which is 8th worst in the majors, and have struggled on the mound as well, posting a 4.98 ERA, good enough for 10th worst in the majors. Their offense continues to hit the long-ball, as they're currently second in the majors in homers with 111 and have five different players with 10 or more. Jacob Faria has been the bright spot in their rotation, as he's gone 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his first three big league starts. He's only allowed one earned run in all three of those outings, including against the Blue Jays and Tigers who both have potent offenses. Overall, the Rays will still have success as the season goes on, and could use some health throughout their lineup to improve their chances at making the postseason. They've put up solid numbers offensively and defensively, and will look to continue that trend leading into the All-Star Break.