By: Chris Larson
It's that time already - time for another MLB Top 15 Power Rankings report along with a look back at the five key moments and takeaways from this past week. It's been yet another week of some exciting matchups around the league and we FINALLY got a resolution on both Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel. Those sweepstakes definitely took long enough, but now both guys can get settled in and hopefully pitch up to their capabilities sooner than later.
Both the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves should benefit tremendously from the additions of Kimbrel and Keuchel. For the Cubs, they were missing that lock down guy at the back end of their bullpen, that opposing team's hitters would fear, but they have that now in Kimbrel who should help lead the Cubs efforts to playing deep into October tremendously. Additionally, Dallas Keuchel is a huge addition for the Atlanta Braves, who needed that additional starting rotation depth, and were in need of a veteran to put up top of the rotation. Furthermore, Keuchel is familiar with throwing to catcher, Brian McCann, and has been to the postseason before so he knows what it takes.
With that being said and while both Kimbrel and Keuchel dominated headlines this week, let's review what the other Top 5 Key Moments from this week were.
Top 5 Key Moments
1. Houston Astros (45-22) [Ranking Last Week: 2]
12. Cleveland Indians (33-32) [Ranking Last Week: N/A]
13. Arizona Diamondbacks (34-32) [Ranking Last Week: N/A]
14. Texas Rangers (34-30) [Ranking Last Week: 14]
15. New York Mets (32-33) [Ranking Last Week: N/A]
Overall, this week's Top 15 Power Rankings list is pretty chalk and similar to last week's list. There are a couple of differences in position, but overall the teams are in the same ranking. Starting out with the Top 3 teams, it was very difficult to try and decipher which teams should be ranked in which spot within those positions. However, both the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers are the two best teams in baseball right now and it's hard to argue that point. For the Astros, they continue to just call up prospects who make an immediate impact and have such a good 25-man roster. It's scary to think that they're continuing to play this well without impact guys such as: Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer. For the Dodgers, everything revolves around the starting rotation and that potent offense. It's hard to argue that the starting rotation isn't the best in the game and that the lineup doesn't rival that of the Astros. The only separator between the two lies in the bullpen and the quality of options available. Most fans would probably favor the Astros bullpen over the Dodgers, but that's not to say that can't change come the July 31st Trade Deadline.
As for the Minnesota Twins, they continue to be a very impressive squad and once again broke a record this week by becoming the first team to hit 125 home runs, in the fewest games in MLB history. That offense is really something to write home about and still has yet to fully come back down to Earth. Over the next few weeks, it might end up becoming closer to league average, but many would likely still take some of those star names in the Twins lineup any day of the week. This past week, some of the Twins pitchers started to show a few blemishes, which has always been and remains a concern for the club. It was reported that the Twins were in on Craig Kimbrel, but weren't willing to go to three years like Kimbrel and his camp wanted. Rather, they only offered a two-year deal and that might be something that the Twins end up regretting down the stretch. It's hard to believe that they weren't in on starting pitcher, Dallas Keuchel, more either. Many expected them to land one of those two guys, but there's still plenty of time to make a significant upgrade or two to the pitching staff before the final bell on July 31st.
Moving along, the remainder of the Top 10 is virtually the same, but some of the positioning changed overall. For example, the Tampa Bay Rays moved ahead of the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs gained a spot over the Philadelphia Phillies. The reason for the switch for the Tampa Bay Rays is simply that they have a more impactful 25-man roster at the moment and have taken advantage of the Yankees injury situation which continues to lag on. Yes, the Yankees got Didi Gregorious back this week, but they just added Domingo German to the Injured List and that starting rotation has definitely taken a beating as far as depth goes. As far as the Chicago Cubs moving up over the Philadelphia Phillies, it all relates to recent play. The Cubs have a 6-4 record over their last 10 games, while the Philadelphia Phillies have a 4-6 record over that same span. Right now, many would probably prefer the Cubs 25-man roster from top to bottom over the Phillies roster, but that could change anytime. Still, the Cubs seem like they would be in second place if you were making a list of the teams in the National League by pecking order.
Outside of the Top 10, the rankings continue to change with some teams being eliminated from the list and new teams entering the picture once again. For instance, the Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks weren't on the rankings list last week, but because of how they have played recently, they warrant consideration in the Top 15 overall. Both teams still fall outside of the Top 10 for obvious reasons and unless they go on an extreme hot stretch sometime soon, that likely won't change. Rounding out the Top 15 is the New York Mets who still have yet to find their grove and go on a serious run in the National League East. Still, the Mets have a talented roster if everything is clicking at the same time, but they've been hit by the injury bug and that bullpen has been a serious disaster overall.
Cool Stats of the Week
Top 5 Isolated Power Leaders:
1. Christian Yelich (Milwaukee Brewers) = .399
2. Joey Gallo (Texas Rangers) = .376
3. Joc Pederson (Los Angeles Dodgers) = .362
4. Josh Bell (Pittsburgh Pirates) = .347
5. Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles Dodgers) = .344
Top 5 Fielding Independent Percentage Leaders:
1. Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) = 2.04
2. Lucas Giolito (Chicago White Sox) = 2.47
3. Hyun-Jin Ryu (Los Angeles Dodgers) = 2.53
4. Charlie Morton (Tampa Bay Rays) = 2.69
5. Mike Soroka (Atlanta Braves) = 2.70