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Saturday, June 15, 2019

MLB Power Rankings: Houston Astros take over the top spot on June 15

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Houston Astros take over top spot with the June 15 rankings

When my first MLB Power Rankings for the 2019 season were released two weeks ago on June 1, I took some guff from a couple of Phillies fans who thought that I was nuts for ranking the club in the #15 slot.
At the time, the Phillies were in first place in the National League East Division, leading the Atlanta Braves by two games. But the Braves came out three places above the Phillies, ranking in the #12 slot. My own personal feelings have nothing to do with it. Instead, it’s all about the results and the statistics. Those rarely prove wrong over the long haul.
As with last season when I began this evaluation process, there will be no subjectivity on my part. I take the key statistics and rank teams based on their ability to actually win ball games as well as their performance on offense, on the pitching mound, and in the field.
The MLB Power Rankings will be updated here at Phillies Nation roughly every two weeks for the remainder of the regular season using the below methodology.

RANKINGS METHODOLOGY

Introduced and then upgraded during the course of last season, my formula for compiling the rankings gets another tweak to begin this year. By the end of 2018, I was researching each of the 30 MLB teams current position in the four categories of winning percentageruns scoredpitching OPS, and fielding percentage.
This year, runs-per-game will be replacing simple runs scored to get the offensive component. I then assign each of those component category team rankings a 1-30 value and add them up to determine an overall final ratings score. Where there was a tie, it was broken by W-L percentage, then by runs-per-game, followed by pitching OPS.

2019 JUNE 15 MLB RANKINGS

The Phillies moved up one place from #15 to #14 on the strength of a defense that went from  a tie for 15th in fielding percentage two weeks ago all the way up to a tie for 6th at this point. They are also still being somewhat buoyed by their 8th-ranked win-loss record. But an offense that is just 14th in runs-per-game is hurting, and even worse is a pitching staff whose collective OPS-against is tied at just 21st overall in MLB.
The top four teams remain the same from two weeks ago, but have been shuffled around, with Houston vaulting Minnesota to take over the top spot. Both the Astros and Twins slipped past the Dodgers, who were at the top on June 1.
The hot risers are the Arizona Dbacks, who moved up four places from #9 to #5, the Texas Rangers who rose from #16 to #11, and the Washington Nationals, up from #24 to the #19 slot as they try to recover from a horrendous start.
On the down side, the Oakland A’s fell out of the top ten, from the #8 spot two weeks ago down to #12 this week. The Chicago Cubs also lost a grip on a ten ten spot, falling from #10 to the #13 place in this week’s rankings.
  1. Houston Astros
  2. Minnesota Twins
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks
  6. Boston Red Sox
  7. Colorado Rockies
  8. New York Yankees
  9. Atlanta Braves
  10. Milwaukee Brewers
  11. Texas Rangers
  12. Oakland Athletics
  13. Chicago Cubs
  14. Philadelphia Phillies
  15. Saint Louis Cardinals
  16. Cincinnati Reds
  17. Los Angeles Angels
  18. Cleveland Indians
  19. Washington Nationals
  20. San Diego Padres
  21. Kansas City Royals
  22. Seattle Mariners
  23. New York Mets
  24. Chicago White Sox
  25. Pittsburgh Pirates
  26. Miami Marlins
  27. San Francisco Giants
  28. Toronto Blue Jays
  29. Detroit Tigers
  30. Baltimore Orioles

SPOTLIGHT TEAM: ATLANTA BRAVES

The Phillies got a taste of the improved Braves attack in Friday night’s opener of the pivotal three-game weekend series between the two clubs. The Braves never let up after the Phillies broke on top early, and the hosts pulled out a 9-8 walkoff victory at SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
Ever since manager Brian Snitker moved Ronald Acuna Jr. the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year, into the leadoff spot in his batting order, the Braves have taken off. They were just 18-20 and had fallen four games behind the Phillies at that point. Since the move, Atlanta has gone 23-9 while the Phillies have stumbled. Now the Braves lead the division by 2.5 games.
The Braves have scored 5 or more runs in 17 of those 32 games including the last six straight, and scored in double-digits five times. Before the lineup change, Atlanta had produced double-digits in runs just twice over the first 38 games of the season. The improved offensive attack has allowed Atlanta to win eight consecutive games heading into Saturday night.
The June 15 rankings find the Braves up three places, from #12 into the top ten at the #9 overall slot. Their runs-per-game are up from 16th to 9th in MLB, which is the primary reason for the rise in both the Power Rankings and in the standings. That offense has covered for an ever-so-slight slippage by their defense and pitching over these last two weeks.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as "2019 MLB Power Ranking: June 15"

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