MLB Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers (06/13/17)
MLB Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers
With June well underway and every team more than a third of the way through their season, we're back with another edition of Risers and Fallers for this week's MLB Power Rankings. This week features teams that haven't moved all that much in our rankings, with five of the six teams featured moving just four or fewer spots. 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.
The Dodgers reclaim the top spot in this week's rankings from the Houston Astros, likely due to the fact Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers both find themselves on the DL for Houston. The Astros will be put to the test in the next few weeks as their top four starters are all on the disabled list. The Yankees rise a couple spots and land in the 3-hole after some impressive offensive performances this past week, and find themselves with the second-best record in the American League. We welcome two new teams into the Top 10 this week as the Mets and Rays find themselves at 9 and 10, respectively. The pennant winners from last year remain in the Top 10 as well, as the Cubs and Indians sit at 6th and 7th in our rankings this week, showing they have a good chance to make another postseason run this October. Let's get into the meat of the article by starting with the New York Yankees, who moved from 5th to 3rd in this week's rankings.
Top 3 Risers
New York Yankees - #5 up to #3
The Yankees move up two spots this week after a 6-0 stretch in which they scored 60 runs. New York retains the top spot in the AL East with a record of 38-23, and have done so by taking care of their division opponents in June, carrying a 7-3 record into Wednesday against AL East foes. Aaron Judge is the talk of the town as he leads the majors in home runs, runs, OBP, slugging, and WAR. With all of his power comes consistency as well, as he leads the AL in average at .347, and is second behind Miguel Sano in hard contact percentage on batted balls. Gary Sanchez is starting to find his rhythm as well, clubbing four homers in his last four games and posting six for the month of June already. Since Joe Girardi moved him to the 6th spot in the order, Sanchez has gone 9-21 with four homers, two doubles, and 13 RBIs, which surpasses his production from the entire month of May. With his resurgence, the Yankees now have six players with 10 or more homers on the season.
The pitching has been impressive for the Yankees as well, especially with their ace, Masahiro Tanaka, off to a terrible start. Luis Severino has been exceptional, posting a 2.75 ERA with K/9 of 10.04 in 12 starts this season. Jordan Montgomery, Michael Pineda, and CC Sabathia have been superb as well, all posting ERAs below 3.70 and combining for an 18-9 record on the bump. New York will be even more lethal beginning this weekend, as they expect to activate Aroldis Chapman from the DL, renewing the best back-end bullpen in the majors as he'll rejoin Dellin Betances. If Tanaka can get anywhere close to being the pitcher he's been in the last few seasons, the Yankees are primed for an AL East title and an extended run in the playoffs.
New York Mets – #17 up to #9
The whole city of New York can be happy this week, as the Mets jump up eight spots in this week's rankings and find themselves in the Top 10. The Mets welcomed back superstar Yoenis Cespedes to their lineup this past weekend, where he proceeded to hit a grand slam to solidify one of their two victories on Saturday. New York also welcomed back Steven Matz and Seth Lugo, who both went seven innings while allowing just one earned run in their first starts of the season. This is a huge lift for a pitching staff that has lost Noah Syndergaard to the DL and sees their starting rotation ERA at 4.64. Jacob deGrom found his feet last night as well, after allowing 15 ER in his previous two starts, by throwing a complete game against the Cubs. Their success on the mound has led to a 5-1 record over their last six, as they only allowed 10 runs in those six games while scoring 28 of their own. The Mets are just 8.5 games back in the NL East, and with no lead being safe thanks to Washington's bullpen, the Nationals have lost five of six, opening the door slightly for the Mets. If their pitching can maintain their success over the past week and Cespedes can solidify the middle of the order like we all know he's capable of, the Mets still have a shot at the division, let alone a wild card spot in the National League.
Los Angeles Angels - #25 up to #21
The Angels have managed to stay afloat in the absence of Mike Trout, as they've gone 7-7 since his injury on May 28. Kole Calhoun has really found his stride for the Angels, hitting .421 in June with five homers and 14 RBIs, including a slugging percentage of .816. Cameron Maybin has come off the DL scorching hot as well, hitting .500 in his three games back including six stolen bases and seven runs scored. Yunel Escobar has picked up the slack as well, hitting .333 in the month of June. Rookie Alex Meyer has begun to pitch better for the Angels, allowing just three earned runs in his last three starts, but hasn't gotten the run support just yet, going 0-1 in those three starts. After a 1-2 record in his first seven starts, Matt Shoemaker has won five of his last six, improving to a 6-3 record. The Angels will attempt to remain around .500 with Trout on the DL, and they've succeeded at that so far, but with Trout out another 4-6 weeks, it'll be tough to maintain their current level of success.
Top 3 Fallers
Seattle Mariners - #9 down to #13
The Mariners take a small tumble down to 13th in our Power Rankings this week after their brief stint in the Top 10. After winning 9 of 10, the Mariners have come back down to earth and have gone just 2-3 in their last five. James Paxton suffered his first loss of the season last week in his shortest outing thus far, giving up four earned on eight hits in just four innings. He's struggled since his return from the DL, having given up seven runs in his last two starts after allowing just six in his six starts prior to his DL stint. Seattle did welcome back Mitch Haniger on Sunday, and he's picked up right where he left off by going 4-6 with a double and two RBIs, bringing his average up to .348 on the season. The Mariners are still waiting for Kyle Seager to show his 2016 form, as he's slugging 80 points less than last season and has seen his OPS drop from .858 in 2016 to .756 so far in 2017. Despite dropping four spots, the Mariners are still one of the better teams in the AL, and will receive Felix Hernandez back from the DL after one more rehab start. If King Felix pitches well and Seager starts to hit like he did in 2016, Seattle will be poised for a potential postseason run via the AL Wild Card.
Miami Marlins - #15 down to #19
The Marlins appear to be a league average team that will go on runs of winning and losing, but never really gain much momentum either way. This is likely due to their unreliable starting rotation and volatile lineup, as neither have been a model of consistency this season. When looking at their team statistics, Miami falls right around the average in nearly every offensive category, and below average in most pitching categories. The starting rotation has been manipulated in every way possible, as 10 different pitchers have already recorded a start for the Marlins. This makeshift rotation has resulted in the 6th worst ERA in the majors at 4.84, and their relievers haven't been much better, posting the 7th worst WAR among all major league bullpens, according to FanGraphs. They've really struggled closing out games, having blown 9 of their 18 save opportunities on the season. Miami's offense remains solid, with Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton leading the way, but Justin Bour's trip to the DL hurts as he leads the team in slugging. Overall, the Marlins will likely remain a middle of the road team that shows flashes of excellence offensively, but their rotation and bullpen will likely handcuff any real success this season.
Oakland Athletics - #19 down to #23
After a decent start to their 2017 campaign, the A's have fallen on hard times in the last few weeks. Oakland has struggled to score runs this season, especially on the road, which is surprising with such a pitcher friendly park as their home field. In almost 100 fewer at bats, the A's having hit 17 more homers and have an OPS 100 points higher than when they play away from Oakland. Even with their solid numbers at home, they've scored the 7th fewest runs in the majors and have the 6th worst batting average. Yonder Alonso has had a breakout season for them, batting .310 with a team high .655 slugging percentage. He's hit 17 home runs in just 197 plate appearances, compared to the 12 he hit in the last two seasons in 934 plate appearances. He's embraced the fly-ball movement currently taking form in the majors, as his fly balls are up nearly 20% compared to his career average. Their pitching staff has been decent thus far, especially when talking about the starters. Their starters ERA sits at 4.51 while their bullpen nears five at 4.96. Jesse Hahn and Sean Manaea lead the way for the starters with ERAs in the 3.60s, but Sonny Gray is still trying to find his form in his return from the DL, as he's gone just 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA. The A's will likely be a bottom-10 team when all is said and done this season, and them dropping to 23rd this week is an early indication of that fact.