MLB Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers (07/25/17)

By Mark Dankenbring @MarkDank


MLB Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers


As we approach the end of July and the highly anticipated trade deadline, we welcome you back to another edition of Risers and Fallers for this week's MLB Power Rankings. 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 here.

The Dodgers once again reclaim the top spot in our power rankings this week, as the Astros suffered a key loss with the injury to Carlos Correa. The Dodgers see their star player go down as well in Clayton Kershaw, but their depth and healthy division lead keep them atop the rankings as they're 69-31 through the first 100 games. The rest of the Top 10 stays relatively the same compared to last week, but we do see the Cubs and Indians swap spots, with Chicago taking over the 5th spot and Cleveland dropping to 6th. Both teams have seen success since the All-Star Break, as the Cubs are currently a half game back of the Brewers, while the Indians remain in first in the AL Central by 1.5 games. The Rays fall out of the Top 10 this week, dropping to #13 after losing five in a row and falling to third place in the AL East. The majority of our movement occurs outside the Top 10, but let's get started talking about the Seattle Mariners, who move up four spots to #10 in this week's rankings.



Risers

Seattle Mariners - #14 up to #10

Seattle is seeking their first playoff berth in 16 years, but are currently on the outside looking in as they sit 2.5 games back in the AL Wild Card and see two teams between them and the second wild card spot. They seem to be all in on the 2017 campaign, however, as they traded for reliever David Phelps to aid the bullpen and are rumored to be interested in Oakland's Sonny Gray. Seattle has started a solid 7-4 since the break, including going 3-0 in James Paxton's starts. Paxton has returned to elite form, as he's gone at least 7 innings in three of this last four starts, striking out at least 7 in all four starts and at least 9 in three of those starts. His command has been impressive as well, only walking one batter in his last three starts. Their offense doesn't do anything exceptionally well, but are solid across the board. Jarrod Dyson has provided speed for them on the base paths, as he's currently 5th in the majors with 22 stolen bases, while Nelson Cruz sits in 5th in the majors in RBIs with 75. The biggest surprise for the Mariners this season has been Ben Gamel, who currently leads Seattle in WAR for position players, sitting at 2.1 on the season. If the Mariners want any hope at claiming one of those AL Wild Card spots, however, they'll need Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager to become bigger threats in the middle of the order.

Colorado Rockies - #17 up to #11

Another week, another feature for the Rockies in Risers and Fallers. Colorado has picked it up in July after a terrible end to their June, and have gone 6-2 in their last eight games, averaging 11.5 runs in their six wins. The Rockies are now tied with the Diamondbacks in the NL Wild Card race, sitting on a 5.5 game cushion over the surging Cubs. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon continue to be heads above the rest of the Rockies' roster, as they currently sit 15th and 14th in the majors in WAR, respectively, as Blackmon leads the majors in runs scored while Arenado leads in RBIs. They remain unbelievably consistent and durable as well, playing in 98 (Arenado) and 99 (Blackmon) of the team's 101 games. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Carlos Gonzalez continues his terrible season, as he has the lowest WAR of any player to play in the major leagues this season with -1.6, with the next closest being -1.1. Their pitching staff is led by rookies, as German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, and Jeff Hoffman lead their pitchers in WAR. Greg Holland isn't too far behind as his stellar season continues, but it will be interesting to see how this youthful rotation fares come August and July, as the dog days of August can take a toll on the best players, let alone those experiencing it for the first time.

Pittsburgh Pirates - #16 up to #12

The Pirates have had an excellent beginning to their second half as they've started 8-3, including a 6-1 record against division foes in the Brewers and Cardinals. Starling Marte's return has proven his value to the team, as he lengthens their lineup considerably and provides great outfield defense, as well as tremendous speed on the base paths. In the seven games since his return, Pittsburgh is 5-2 while Marte has batted .323, scored eight runs, and stolen four bases in the process. Their pitching has been superb since the break, as they've allowed just 2.6 runs per game outside of their series in Coors Field, with four runs being their highest total allowed. Jameson Taillon has been great for them after his return from testicular cancer surgery, going 4-2 with a 2.87 ERA in seven starts. Pittsburgh has put themselves right back into contention in the NL Central, sitting just 2.5 games back of the first place Brewers at the moment, and believe they can make a push for a playoff spot.

Fallers

Toronto Blue Jays - #11 down to #15

The Blue Jays have taken a nose dive since the All-Star Break, going just 4-7 and dropping to 9.0 games back in the AL East. They currently have the worst run differential in the American League, in large part due to an offense that has struggled to score runs all season. After finishing in the Top 10 in runs scored in 2016, the Blue Jays find themselves all the way down at 27th in the majors at the moment, and last in the AL in runs scored. Outside of Justin Smoak's career year, Russell Martin is the only other offensive player in the Top 100 in WAR, and he's 99th. Josh Donaldson isn't a top 100 player after winning MVP just two seasons ago, Jose Bautista is on pace for his worst season in his 9th year with the Jays, and Troy Tulowitzki is also on pace for the worst season of his career, slugging just .378 while his career average remains at .495. Their starting staff has really struggled outside of Marcus Stroman, and one of the only bright spots on the team stems from the bullpen and Roberto Osuna, who looks like one of the league's premier closers. At the end of the day, this just isn't Toronto's season, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them try to dump some contracts at the trade deadline.

Detroit Tigers - #13 down to #16

I don't have a whole lot to say about the Tigers, as they've made their intentions clear this season by trading J.D. Martinez and actively seeking trades for Justin Verlander, who has been a cornerstone for their franchise since before I was a teenager. Detroit has really struggled this season on the mound, and you have to believe their rebuild starts there. The Tigers are 3rd worst in the majors with a collective 4.86 ERA, largely due to their lack of depth in the starting rotation and a bullpen that finds itself last in overall WAR, according to FanGraphs. Their offense has been well above average thus far, but the loss of Martinez is a big one, and Miguel Cabrera's down season could be a sign that father time will remain undefeated. The Tigers will look to play spoiler as the season progresses, but will likely go into full rebuild mode before the 2018 season.

Milwaukee Brewers - #19 down to #23

We've been lower on the Brew Crew all season long compared to most sites, as they've seemed to outperform their roster's ability and taken advantage of a weak NL Central. They've come back down to earth quickly in the second half, having lost seven of their last eight and falling to just five games over .500. They've struggled to score runs in that span, as they scored just 15 runs in their seven losses. The road doesn't get any easier for Milwaukee either, as their next three series are against the Nationals and division rivals Cubs and Cardinals. It appears as if the Brewers won't make a move to try to improve at the deadline, as their attitude this whole season has been one of riding their current roster to wherever it takes them. With the Cubs, Cardinals, and Pirates all with more talented rosters and within four games of each other, they don't have too much reason to be optimistic. However, even though this might not be the ultimate breakthrough season, the Brewers have great reason to be optimistic going forward. Travis Shaw looks like their third baseman of the future if they resign him, while Domingo Santana has proven his worth in right field, and obviously Eric Thames has been a great surprise. Even though Milwaukee probably won't make the postseason, this will be great experience for their young players and they can be excited moving forward.