Tag Archives: Arizona Diamondbacks

Bryan Price brings tremendous experience as new Phillies pitching coach

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Price has been a pitching coach and manager in MLB for two decades

 

Just days after officially hiring Joe Girardi as their new manager, the Phillies have filled one of the key open positions on his coaching staff.

Bryan Price, who most recently served as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 2014 into the 2018 season, has been hired as the Phillies new pitching coach.

Price brings tremendous experience to the job. He previously served as pitching coach with the Seattle Mariners (2000-06), Arizona Diamondbacks (2007-09), and the Reds (2010-13) in addition to his managerial term in Cincinnati.

Girardi and Price have a recent link. Back in the summer, the Phillies new skipper was named as the manager of Team USA for the upcoming international Premier 12 tournament. Price was scheduled to be his pitching coach.

However, on taking the Phillies job, Girardi was replaced as Team USA manager by Scott Brosius. It remains unclear whether Price will remain with Team USA through the Premier 12 tourney, which kicks off the qualifying process for the 2020 Summer Olympics and runs from November 2-17, 2019.

The Mariners pitching staff led the American League in ERA in the 2001 season, earning Price the USA Today Baseball Weekly Pitching Coach of the Year Award. In 2007, his Dbacks staff finished fourth in ERA in the National League and helped the club reach the NLCS. For that performance, Price was named as the Major League Baseball Coach of the Year by Baseball America.

With the Reds, Price guided a pitching staff that twice finished among the top five in National League ERA. However, his managerial stint did not prove as successful. Cincinnati went just 279-387 in parts of five seasons, and he was ultimately fired after a 3-15 start in 2018.

Price was involved in a highly publicized and controversial incident in April of 2015 when he went on an expletive-laden rant against the Cincinnati media after a reporter published what Price felt was information regarding an injury to catcher Devin Mesoraco which put the Reds at a competitive disadvantage.

The 57-year-old Price is a native of San Francisco. He was the eighth round choice of the California Angels in the 1984 MLB Draft as a pitcher out of the University of California-Berkeley, the 190th player selected overall.

Price reached the Double-A level in the Angels organization before being released following the 2016 season. After taking a year off in 2017, Price signed with the Seattle Mariners and eventually reached Triple-A. Over a five-year minor league career he accumulated a 31-19 record with a 3.74 ERA across 90 games, 75 of those as starting assignments.

Price has other prior Phillies connections besides his brief period with Girardi in preparation for their Team USA assignment. Phillies Wall of Famer Pat Gillick hired Price as the pitching coach in Seattle when Gillick was the general manager of the Mariners.

Phillies 2008 World Series hero Jamie Moyer was a pitcher on those Mariners’ staffs under Price.

If I was looking for a pitching coach, he’d be at the top of my list.~ Jamie Moyer

“He’s a student of the game and he cares about his pitchers,” Moyer said per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I think first and foremost that’s what jumps out about him — how much he cares about his pitchers. He was a first-time pitching coach when he came aboard and we had a lot of veterans on that team. He quickly earned their trust with great communication and with a lot of give and take. His style was basically, ‘What do you do well and what can we do with it to make you better?’

On Monday, prior to the announcement of Price’s hiring, Girardi had commented on the pitching coach position. “Just as important is a real ability to relate to the pitchers, sometimes the struggles they’re going through, and that there’s a deep relationship there,” Girardi said per Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “The pitching coach has a tough job because there’s so many pitchers that they deal with. But he has to know each one of them really well, and they have to trust him, and that’s really important.

Based on his long history of success as a pitching coach and Moyer’s comments, it appears that Price fits that need for a strong communicator well. He looks like a perfect fit for the new Phillies coaching staff, which now seeks a similar strong addition for the hitting coach position.

Per Matt Gelb at The Athletic, Price turned down at least two offers to coach elsewhere before taking the job with the Phillies. One concern that he had was the ability to infuse the game’s new shift towards analytics with his more natural old-school style approach.

What I don’t know, I can learn,” Price said per Gelb. “But one thing I won’t forget is the fundamentals of pitching — of competitiveness and preparation and the detailed work that is really the lifeblood of being a competitive major-league pitcher. There are just essentials to it that aren’t going to be defined by a spreadsheet or technology that tells you if you’re doing it right or wrong. A reasonable mind says they both have a place. To think that one thrives without the other, it doesn’t. I can tell you, in pitching, there’s no uniformity.

Now, who exactly will be the pitchers under his tutelage during the 2020 season? The Phillies staff finished 17th in ERA, 20th in OPS against, and  22nd in batting average against among the 30 teams in Major League Baseball this past season.

Given health, the starting rotation in 2020 is almost certain to include Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. Based on the majority of his performances combined with his age and upside potential, Zach Eflin would also seem a lock. Top pitching prospect Spencer Howard is likely to make a strong push for a rotation spot as well, possibly as early as spring training.

More questionable are the fates of Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta. Each is talented, but neither has been able to establish themselves as a reliable starting pitcher for the Phillies. They both could end up as trade candidates this off-season, or end up in the bullpen if better options are found.

I don’t speak for the Phillies in any way, shape or form. I’m new to the organization,” said Price per Gelb. “We had a good talk about philosophy. We will use our analytics and technology department in a very strong and positive way. But I think the pitching coach’s job is to help extract as much talent and build as much confidence in the group as possible through relationship building. It’s through building trust. It’s through sharing experience and knowledge. We give these guys a goal of becoming something special, instead of something that’s specialized.”

Most observers believe that the Phillies are going to need to add two new, veteran arms to that rotation in free agency in order to compete against talented Washington and Atlanta teams in the NL East. At least one of those new starting pitchers needs to be ace-caliber, someone such as Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg.

That will be the primary job of general manager Matt Klentak this off-season, providing pitching talent of a caliber that can help the Phillies to become winners and return to the postseason for the first time nine years.

 

More on the Philadelphia Phillies and Major League Baseball:

MLB 2019 Power Ranking: August 15

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The Philadelphia Phillies find themselves once again at 14th overall in the 2019 MLB Power Rankings as we reach the heart of the dog days of August.

Five clubs will make the playoffs from the National League. Each division champion will be joined by a pair of Wildcard teams.
In this August 15 version of the Power Rankings, while the Phillies remain right where they were back on August 1 among all teams in Major League Baseball, they have slipped a notch in the National League.
On August 1, the Phillies were the sixth-highest ranked team and were involved in a three-way tie for the two NL Wildcard spots. Now they have slipped a notch, to seventh in the NL. The standings reflect that slippage, as the club is now two games in back of the second Wildcard.
The Phillies have four games left head-to-head with the Nationals, who now control the top NL Wildcard spot, three games ahead of the Phils. Those will take place in Washington at the end of September.
The Cubs are the team in the second Wildcard spot. The Phillies have captured the first two games of a head-to-head series between the two teams, and are 4-2 against Chicago this season.  On Thursday night, the Phillies try to sweep the series and move within a game of the Cubs.
My own personal feelings never have anything to do with the MLB Power Rankings. Instead, the rank is all about actual team performance: results in the standings and statistical breakdowns.
I take what I have found to be key statistical categories and rank each of the 30 teams in Major League baseball on their ability to win ball games and perform on offense, the pitching mound, and in the field. There is never any subjectivity or opinion involved.

The MLB Power Rankings will be updated here at my website on roughly the 1st and 15th of the month for the remainder of the regular season using the following methodology.

RANKINGS METHODOLOGY

Introduced and then upgraded during the course of last season, my formula for compiling the rankings is always being researched to see if it can be improved upon.
That formula carried two categories over from the 2018 season: winning percentage and OPS against. The first is simple, reflecting each team’s ability to actually win ball games. The second reflects a pitching staff’s ability to control the game and limit damage.
As of my first ranking for the 2019 season, runs-per-game replaced last year’s “runs scored” in order to get the offensive component. This was an acknowledgement of the fact that teams play various numbers of games as of the time of each ranking. For example, it wouldn’t be fair to consider a club that had scored 100 runs over 50 games as effective as a club who scored 100 runs over just 45 games.
Also this summer, the defensive component was changed. The defensive metric beginning with the July 15 rankings was switched to “Defensive runs saved” as measured at Fangraphs, replacing the previous “fielding percentage” to gauge a team’s defensive effectiveness.
I then assign each of those four component category team rankings a 1-30 numerical value, and simply add those values up to determine an overall final ratings score. Where there is a tie, it is broken by win-loss percentage since, in the end, winning is what it’s all about.

2019 AUGUST 1 –  MLB RANKINGS

The Los Angeles Dodgers are again technically at the top of the Power Rankings. It marks a second straight period at the top for the Dodgers, and their third top-ranked position of the six rankings that I’ve done this season.
However, the new top team from the American League was actually tied with the Dodgers in points. That would be the Houston Astros, who held the top position themselves during two of the three periods in which the Dodgers didn’t control the top spot.
Houston was only slotted in at #2 due to the tie-breaker that I use, which is their overall win-loss record. The Astros did pass the Minnesota Twins, who are the only other team besides  the Dodgers or Houston to hold the top position, as the top AL ball club.
The Cleveland Indians continue to move up, now a top five team. The Arizona Diamondbacks, who sit 3.5 games out in the Wildcard race in the actual standings, remain the biggest enigma, with the formula spitting them out as the second-best team in the National League and eighth overall.
On the rise further back are the New York Mets, who have moved into the top twenty for the first time all season.
In parentheses are each team’s position in the June 1, June 15 , July 1, July 15 and August 1 rankings, shown in that order from left to right.
  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (1-3-2-2-1)
  2. Houston Astros (3-1-1-5-3)
  3. Minnesota Twins (2-2-3-1-2)
  4. Oakland Athletics (8-12-5-3-4)
  5. Cleveland Indians (18-18-15-10-6)
  6. Tampa Bay Rays (4-4-4-4-5)
  7. New York Yankees (5-8-9-6-10)
  8. Arizona Diamondbacks (9-5-6-9-7)
  9. Atlanta Braves (12-9-7-12-12)
  10. Chicago Cubs (10-13-11-7-9)
  11. Boston Red Sox (6-6-10-8-8)
  12. Saint Louis Cardinals (14-15-14-14-15)
  13. Washington Nationals (24-19-13-13-13)
  14. Philadelphia Phillies (15-14-18-16-14)
  15. Los Angeles Angels (19-17-19-11-11)
  16. Milwaukee Brewers (7-10-16-19-16)
  17. Cincinnati Reds (13-16-17-18-17)
  18. San Diego Padres (17-20-20-17-20)
  19. New York Mets (22-23-24-25-24)
  20. San Francisco Giants (29-27-25-21-18)
  21. Texas Rangers (16-11-8-15-19)
  22. Kansas City Royals (21-21-22-22-22)
  23. Colorado Rockies (11-7-12-20-21)
  24. Miami Marlins (23-26-21-23-23)
  25. Toronto Blue Jays (28-28-26-28-27)
  26. Chicago White Sox (25-24-28-27-28)
  27. Seattle Mariners (26-22-27-26-26)
  28. Pittsburgh Pirates (20-25-23-24-25)
  29. Baltimore Orioles (30-30-30-30-29)
  30. Detroit Tigers (27-29-29-29-30)

SPOTLIGHT TEAM: ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Previous spotlight teams: Minnesota (6/01), Atlanta (6/15), Texas (7/01), Oakland (7/15), Tampa Bay (8/01)
 
The Arizona Diamondbacks woke up on Thursday morning at 61-60, just barely above the .500 mark. They are a distant second in the NL West Division, 19 games behind the Dodgers in the loss column. They also sit a game ahead of the division-rival Giants.
Manager Torey Lovullo is in his third season at the helm in the Arizona desert. During his first season back in 2017, Lovullo guided the Dbacks to a playoff berth and was named the NL Manager of the Year. Last season, Arizona led the division into September but collapsed in much the same way as did the Phillies.
 
This year, the Dbacks have bounced back and forth between second place and third in the division since the start of July. They have also again mirrored the Phillies in a way, in that they have not been able to go on either a long winning streak to solidy a playoff berth or a deep losing skid to fall out of the race.
 
Arizona ranks as the top team in baseball defensively – by a wide margin – and that is a major reason for their high finish in the Power Rankings. They also rank 8th in runs-per-game, and their 11th ranked pitching staff is also solid. 
 
Despite a strong defense, productive offense, and that solid pitching the Dbacks just cannot seem to win consistently. With a bunch of really good ballplayers, they seem to be lacking that one big star, the “straw that stirs the drink” type player.
 
Here in the middle of August, eight teams are within 4.5 games of one another in the battle for the two NL Wildcard playoff berths. My bet is that by the time these MLB Power Rankings are next updated on September 1, at least a couple of those will have fallen out of the race. My bet is that Arizona will not be one of those.

Rookie Zac Gallen and Dbacks shut down Phillies

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The Arizona Diamondbacks (58-57) defeated the Philadelphia Phillies (59-55) by a score of 6-1 on Wednesday night at Chase Field in Phoenix. The victory was a second straight for the hosts after the Phillies had taken the opener, giving the series to the Dbacks, who took four of the six match-ups between the two teams this year.
With the victory, Arizona moves back above the .500 mark on the season and pulls to within 1.5 games of the final National League Wildcard playoff spot. The Phillies are now tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for that second NL Wildcard berth, though Milwaukee has one more loss.
This was a game in which the visiting Phillies simply failed to show up to play in any way. The offense generated just five hits on the night, going 0-3 with runners in scoring position.
The Dbacks scored twice each in the 3rd, 4th and 8th innings to secure the victory. In the 3rd, a hit batsman, a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly put the home team in front. In the 4th it was three singles and then the first RBI in the career of Arizona starter Zac Gallen that got the runs home.
Gallen’s RBI came on a poor play by Scott Kingery, who continues to be played out of position by the Phillies, this time at third base.
With runners at first and third and one out, Gallen laid down a bunt that was fielded by Kingery, who opted to throw to first base to get Gallen while the runner at third, Nick Ahmed, was right behind him. Kingery could have been more situationally aware were he a natural or more experienced third baseman, pump-faking to first and turning to get Ahmed in an easy rundown.
Meanwhile, Gallen was mowing the Phillies down on the mound. The rookie from South Jersey allowed just one hit over his five innings and left with a 4-0 lead after throwing 85 pitches.
Arizona tacked on two more runs for good measure in the home 8th inning on RBI singles by Jarrod Dyson and Ketel Marte to put the Dbacks on top by a 6-0 margin. In the top of the 9th, Bryce Harper lofted his 20th home run of the season, but all that did was provide the final score in a 6-1 defeat.
The Phillies will now move on to the City by the Bay to face the San Francisco Giants in a four-game long weekend series at Oracle Park.
SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE
Phillies – Jason Vargas: 5 IP, 4 earned, 3 walks, 1 strikeout. 82 pitches, 48 for strikes.
Dbacks: Zac Gallen: 5 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts. 85 pitches, 54 for strikes.
PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: ZAC GALLEN
The rookie just turned 24-years-old last week, and was making his first start in a Diamondbacks uniform since arriving from the Miami Marlins in a trade deadline deal for shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm.
Gallen was born in Gibbsboro, New Jersey and was raised in the Somerdale area, right across the river from Philly in Camden County. He made few mistakes on this night, shutting down the Phillies offense on one hit over five innings. He also registered his first career RBI on a 4th inning sacrifice bunt.
TICKET IQ NEXT GAME

Phillies visit the Arizona desert for key series with host Diamondbacks

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The Philadelphia Phillies (58-53) are tied for the second of two National League Wildcard playoff positions as they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks (56-56) in a three-game series starting on Monday night at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Dbacks 2019 regular season has gone much as the Phillies own season, see-sawing back and forth between control of one of those NL Wildcard spots and then sitting just on the outside looking in at a possible postseason berth.
Victories in 10 of 14 games at the start of June lifted the Dbacks from fourth place to second place in the National League West Division. But then Arizona dropped six straight, and the club has pretty much tread water ever since.
At the MLB trade deadline, general manager Mike Hazen was a busy man. He made four trades on July 31, highlighted by a deal in which he dealt away the club’s pitching ace, Zack Greinke, to the Houston Astros for a four-prospect package.
Hazen also brought in two new arms for the rotation in veteran Mike Leake from Seattle and young Zac Gallen from Miam. Both of those pitchers will make their debut with the Dbacks in this series.
The Arizona offensive attack has been fairly solid this year, currently ranking ninth in all of Major League Baseball by scoring 5.21 runs per game. That is almost a half-run per game better than the 16th ranked Phillies. The Dbacks hitters rank 5th in the National League in both batting average and OPS, and have the fourth-fewest strikeouts in the league.
On the mound, Arizona pitching ranks 5th in the National League in batting average against and sixth in strikeouts. An area where the club truly excels is on defense, where they are by far the top-ranked defensive unit in baseball according to Fangraphs. That helped the Dbacks finish 7th in the August 1 MLB Power Rankings here at Phillies Nation.
These two teams met once earlier this season, with Arizona taking two of three games at Citizens Bank Park in the second week of June by two very different methods. They crushed the ball in a 13-8 victory in the opener, then received a gem from Merrill Kelly, who pitches the opener this time around, in a 2-0 victory in that June series finale. The Phillies won the middle contest by a 7-4 score.
This is a chance for Arizona to make up ground head-to-head with one of the teams it trails in the playoff hunt. It is also an opportunity for the Phillies to distance themselves from one of their nearest pursuers. If it goes anything like the vast majority of this 2019 Phillies campaign, one of these teams will simply take two of three. Which team remains to be seen.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Eduardo Escobar (30/3B): .279/.336/.531, 24 HR, 53 XBH, 88 RBIs, 69 runs, 4 steals
Christian Walker (28/1B): .257/.349/.483, 20 HR, 41 XBH, 53 RBIs, 59 runs, 7 steals
Nick Ahmed (29/SS): .265/.326/.429, 11 HR, 38 XBH, 55 RBIs, 58 runs, 7 steals
Carson Kelly (24/C): .263/.348/.535, 14 HR, 31 XBH, 37 RBIs, 29 runs (247 plate appearances)
David Peralta (31/LF): .282/.347/.457, 9 HR, 37 XBH, 47 RBIs, 43 runs
Adam Jones (33/RF):. 270/.320/.433, 13 HR, 36 XBH, 51 RBIs, 56 runs
Jarrod Dyson (34/OF): .250/.333/.356, 6 HR, 16 XBH, 23 RBIs, 48 runs, 24 steals

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Ketel Marte (25/CF): The switch-hitting Dominican made his big-league debut with the Seattle Mariners at the 2015 MLB trade deadline, then spent most of the remainder of that season and all of the following as the Mariners starting shortstop.
In November 2016, Seattle shipped Marte and pitcher Taijuan Walker to Arizona for current Phillies shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Mitch Haniger and pitcher Zac Curtis.
Marte’s career with the Dbacks organization saw him begin back at Triple-A. Following his promotion back to the big-leagues on June 28, 2018 he took over as the starting shortstop in Arizona.
This season, Marte has been used much as the Phillies have used Scott Kingery, as a super-utility player. He was featured mostly at second base and in center field, with occasional appearances at his natural shortstop position, for most of the first couple of months.
Now, Marte appears to have settled in as the regular center fielder, though manager Torey Lovullo will flip him back into the infield at times. He has responded well, breaking out to become a first time National League All-Star.
Marte enters this series with a .319/.380/.577 slash line His 24 home runs, 56 extra-base hits, 66 RBIs, 75 runs scored, and six stolen bases make him the single most dangerous all-around offensive performer in the Arizona lineup. And at just 25 years of age, he appears to be only scratching the surface of his talents and production.
Marte also has a Phillies connection. His uncle is former Phillies 2010-11 popular utility player Wilson Valdez. Marte is married to a cousin of Toronto Blue Jays third base phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

DBACKS SHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

MONDAY – Merrill Kelly (30/RH): 7-11, 4.52 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 1.277 WHIP, 127 hits over 125.1 IP across 22 starts with a 100/33 K:BB
TUESDAY – Mike Leake (31/RH): 9-8, 4.27 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 1.255 WHIP, 153 hits over 137 IP across 22 starts with a 100/19 K:BB, all with the Seattle Mariners.
WEDNESDAY – Zac Gallen (24/RH): 1-3, 2.72 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 1.183 WHIP, 25 hits over 36.1 IP across 7 starts with a 43/18 K:BB, all with the Miami Marlins in this, his rookie season, following a June 20 promotion.

THE SKIPPER

Torey Lovullo: Having turned 54 years old just last week, Lovullo is now in his third full season at the helm in Phoenix. He has a career 231-205 mark thus far. After leading Arizona to a 93-win, second place season and an NL Wildcard playoff berth in his first year back in 2017, Lovullo was named the National League Manager of the Year.
During those 2017 playoffs, Lovullo’s Dbacks outscored the division-rival Colorado Rockies by 11-8 in Phoenix to win the Wildcard Game. However, they were promptly swept out in three straight by the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in an NLDS.
Arizona entered September in first place a year ago, but the Dbacks collapsed to lose 20 of their final 28 games to finish in third place. Despite a second straight winning record for Lovullo, it was considered a disappointing finish after the club had led the division for most of the season.
Lovullo is a SoCal native from Santa Monica. As a player, he was the fifth round choice of the Detroit Tigers in the 1987 MLB Draft out of UCLA. He would play in parts of eight big-league seasons, though only in 1993 with the California (now Los Angeles) Angels did he play regularly, spending much of that season as the Halos second baseman.
Lovullo actually wrapped up his playing career in Major League Baseball with the Phillies, appearing in 17 games with the club in the 1999 season. His final big-league home run came in a Phillies uniform on September 8 of that year against the Houston Astros. On October 2, he registered his final hit against the Montreal Expos at Veteran’s Stadium.
After playing the 2000 season with the Yakult Swallows in Japan, Lovullo retired. He was then hired by the Cleveland Indians to tutor their minor league infielders during the 2001 season, beginning a lengthy career as a coach and manager in the minor leagues.
After spending the decade of the 2000’s as a respected manager in the Indians farm system, Lovullo had become one of the top candidates any time a big-league managerial opening occurred. He interviewed for a few positions, and was finally brought on board as a coach under John Farrell with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010.
When Farrell left for the Boston Red Sox managerial job after the 2012 season he brought Lovullo with him as the bench coach in Boston. The two would win the 2014 World Series together in Boston. Meanwhile, Lovullo continued to be one of the hottest names for any MLB managerial opening.
When Hazen took over as the Dbacks general manager in October 2016, Lovullo was his top name to take over as the new skipper in Arizona. Lovullo was hired on November 4, and has been in the position ever since. Highly respected in the game and with a strong relationship with Hazen, look for Lovullo to be just at the start of a long run as Dbacks manager.

THE BALLPARK

Chase Field: The first stadium in the United States to be built with a retractable roof, one that protects fans from the brutal heat of summers in the Arizona desert, Chase Field opened with the Diamondbacks first game as an MLB expansion team for the 1998 season, and has been their home ever since.
Located in dowtown Phoenix, Arizona, the fences are 330 and 334 respectively to left and right field. It is 374 to left-center, 413 feet to what is known as deep left-center, and 407 straightaway to center field. Around to deep right-center field the fence is 413 feet away, and then 374 to right-center field.
The stadium has played host to the 2001 World Series, in which the Dbacks led by pitchers Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling won the franchise only world championship. It was also host to the 2011 MLB All-Star Game.
Originally having a natural grass playing surface, for last season the Diamondbacks went to a synthetic sports turf. Chase Field also has a swimming pool located in right-center field, which is rented to patrons as a suite holding 35 guests.

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