Tag Archives: Brian Snitker

NL East Division comparison: Managers

Over a two-week period at the end of January, I presented a series of pieces evaluating and ranking each of the team’s in the National League East Division on a position-by-position basis.

Those rankings can be found here:

First base, second base, shortstop, third base, catcher, left field, center field, right field, bench/reserves, starting pitching, bullpen.

Those players will have the most to say about how each team fares on the field, and thus in the standings, during the coming season. But the men who write out the lineup cards and make the decisions about who is playing and pitching at any given time will have a big say as well.

If you go back and take a look at my evaluations on each of the positions and incorporate these managerial rankings, you will get a good idea of where each of the teams in the division stand as we prepare for the start of spring training.

Phillies pitchers and catchers are due to report on Tuesday of next week with their first formal workouts coming on Wednesday. The full squad will be in camp by the following week.

The first Grapefruit League game will take place on February 22 when the Phillies visit the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. The first home game in Clearwater on the 2020 schedule will come the following afternoon when the Phillies host the Pittsburgh Pirates.

NL EAST – 2020 MANAGER RANKINGS

1) Philadelphia Phillies: Joe Girardi

Girardi will be in his first season with the Phillies in the 2020 season. However, he has more actual managerial experience, more of a winning record, and arguably has been under more of a big-league microscope than any skipper in the division. Girardi got his first managerial experience in the NL East when he guided the then-Florida Marlins to a 78-84 mark back in 2006. Though the Fish had a losing record, they also had the lowest payroll in all of baseball. Girardi kept a Marlins team with largely inferior talent in the playoff race until the final weeks. For that performance he was named as the NL Manager of the Year but a dispute with ownership got Girardi fired after that one season. Less than two years later he was hired to take over the highest-profile team in Major League Baseball when he was named as the manager of the New York Yankees to replace Joe Torre. Under Girardi the Yankees would win the 2009 World Series, defeating the Phillies in six games. Over ten seasons in the Bronx, Girardi would guide the Yankees to a 910-710 record and three AL East Division crowns. However, they were never able to again reach the World Series after that 2009 season and did not capture a division title after 2012. When the Yankees were edged out in seven games by what we now know were a cheating Astros team in the 2017 ALCS, Girardi’s contract was not renewed by New York. Girardi will be 55 years of age for the entirety of the 2020 season.

2) Atlanta Braves: Brian Snitker

At age 64, Snitker is the oldest manager in the division. He took over a young Atlanta club going through a rebuilding program similar to the Phillies during the 2016 season. He guided the club to a somewhat surprising first-place finish by 2018, and they repeated as division champions a year ago. However, the Braves have failed to advance in the postseason, losing to Los Angeles in an NLDS in 2018 and Saint Louis a year ago. In last year’s NLDS they led the Cardinals two games to one and held a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the 8th inning in Game Four only to see Saint Louis rally to tie. The Cards then walked it off in the bottom of the 10th, and put the Braves out with a 13-1 romp in the decisive Game Five.

3) Washington Nationals: Dave Martinez

The 55-year-old Martinez is 175-149 over two seasons with the Nationals, his first two seasons as a big-league manager. Of course, his team won the World Series a year ago, and he deserves a ton of credit for keeping them together after a horrendous start. We need to remember that his first team in 2018 went just 82-80 and the club was sitting at 19-31 on May 23 of last season. That gave Martinez an overall 101-111 mark over his first season-plus. From that point onward, the Nationals took off and went an unreal 74-38 (.661) and then moved dramatically through the postseason. The Nats rallied in the bottom of the 8th inning for a 4-3 victory over Milwaukee in the NL Wildcard Game. Then they rallied from down 2-1 in the NLDS to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, coming from a 3-0 deficit with another 8th inning rally in the decisive Game Five, which they finally won in 10 innings. And with what we now know regarding the Houston Astros cheating scandal, you have to give Martinez and the Nationals a lot of credit in edging out Houston by 4-3 in the World Series. Again they came from behind, winning the final two games after being down 3-2.

4) Miami Marlins: Don Mattingly

Mattingly was a six-time AL All-Star, nine-time Gold Glove Award winner, three-time Silver Slugger, and the 1985 AL MVP over a 14-year big-league career with the New York Yankees, one that could one day see him enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He is 276-370 over four full seasons from 2016-19 as the skipper in Miami. Prior to that he fashioned a 446-363 mark over five seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. That gives him an overall 722-733 record in nine seasons, making him the manager with the longest continuous streak of managerial experience. Of course, he had a far better cast of players to work with in LA, finishing in first place each of his final three seasons on the west coast. But each of those clubs failed to advance to the World Series, and Mattingly finally paid with his job for that failure to get to the Fall Classic. He landed on his feet almost immediately in South Florida but has been forced to deal with a change in ownership accompanied by a complete rebuilding program. It would appear that it is going to take at least another couple of years for the Fish to raise their on-field talent level to compete in the division. Whether Mattingly can survive through that period and still be around once they are good enough to win remains to be seen. He turns 59 in late April.

5) New York Mets: Luis Rojas

This will be the first season for Rojas as a big-league manager. He brings the experience of having guided a number of the younger Mets players while a minor league skipper. Rojas has been a coach and manager in the Mets minor league system since 2007, rising through each level of the club’s system. He was the 2013 South Atlantic League Manager of the Year after guiding Savannah to a championship, and later led the High-A St. Lucie club to a first place finish. Rojas gained further managerial experience in the Dominican pro leagues, leading Leones del Escogido to a championship. He managed Double-A Binghamton in 2017-18, then served as the Mets minor league quality control coach in 2019. Just over two weeks ago, Rojas got the Mets job when Carlos Beltran was caught up in the Astros’s sign-stealing scandal. At 38 he will be the youngest manager in the division by far as well as the least experienced.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

The two Phillies skippers to win Manager of the Year may surprise you

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Ozark was the first, and is one of just two Phillies managers to ever take home Manager of the Year honors

 

On Tuesday evening the 2019 Major League Baseball Manager of the Year Awards for the National and American Leagues will be announced.

As with Monday’s announcement of the Rookies of the Year, honorees were first named on social media by the IBWAA for their organization. That will be followed by a televised announcement on MLB Network at 6:00 pm EST for the Manager of the Year as chosen by the BBWAA.

The voters from the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America handed their honors out to Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves in the National League and Rocco Baldelli of the Minnesota Twins for the American League.

Finalists for this year’s BBWAA award in the National League are Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers, Mike Shildt of the Saint Louis Cardinals, and Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves.

My choice among these candidates would be Shildt. Prior to the season, most prognosticators had his Cardinals finishing behind the Brewers and Chicago Cubs. But the Cards won their first NL Central Division crown since 2015, turning last year’s worst defense in the NL into the league’s best.

While Shildt would be my pick among those finalists, he would not be my actual pick. I believe that Dave Martinez of the world champion Washington Nationals deserves the honor – and it has little to do with his club winning the first World Series in franchise history.

The Nationals were a dozen games below the .500 mark and sitting in fourth place in the NL East Division as May wound towards a close. Rather than throw in the towel, Martinez kept his team positive and focused. The Nats had the best record in the National League from that point to the end of the season.

Over in the American League, the finalists are Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees, Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Rocco Baldelli of the Minnesota Twins.

A great case can be made for any of these men, as well as Oakland A’s skipper Bob Melvin. But my choice would be Baldelli. While the Twins were considered a possible playoff team entering the season, few saw them winning 101 games and capturing the AL Central crown in nearly wire-to-wire fashion.

The first recognized honors in this category were The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award, established in 1936. From that year through 1985, one winner for all of Major League Baseball was announced. Since 1986, The Sporting News has handed out honors in both the American and National Leagues.

The  Baseball Writers Association of America began honoring a Manager of the Year for both leagues with the 1983 season. Each member of a 30-member committee of the BBWAA submits a ballot listing a first, second, and third place finisher among the managers of each league. The manager with the highest score in each league wins the award.

Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa have won the BBWAA award four times, more than any other manager in history. Jim Leyland is the only skipper to be named Manager of the Year four times by The Sporting News.

The Phillies new manager Joe Girardi is the only person to be named as the BBWAA Manager of the Year while piloting a losing club. Girardi took those honors for keeping the 2006 Florida Marlins in the Wildcard playoff hunt until the season’s final weeks, despite working with the game’s lowest payroll.

Yesterday, I wrote about the four players who won the Rookie of the Year Award as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Today, we’ll look at the history of the club in Manager of the Year Award voting.

It’s not much of a history, mind you. Only one manager of the club has ever taken the award as handed out by the BBWAA. And that manager was not either of the men who guided the Phillies to World Series glory. He was also honored in the same year by The Sporting News, which has named just one other Phillies manager as a winner of their award.

As I said earlier, the BBWAA award did not begin until 1983, so Dallas Green obviously would not have a plaque on his shelf for that 1980 championship. That year, The Sporting News chose to honor Bill Virdon of the Houston Astros, whose team the Phillies defeated in the NLCS, as their NL Manager of the Year.

And after guiding the Phillies to a second consecutive NL East crown and the 2008 World Series championship, Charlie Manuel finished as the runner-up to Lou Piniella of the Chicago Cubs in that year’s BBWAA voting.

Manuel would lead the Phillies to five consecutive NL East crowns, but never was awarded the Manager of the Year by the BBWAA or The Sporting News. Not even in 2007, when an underdog Phillies team rallied from seven games back on September 12 to capture their first division title in 14 years.

Manuel finished second to Bob Melvin of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 BBWAA voting. With his team established as favorites, ‘Uncle Charlie’ would finish just 6th in 2009, 5th in 2010, and 4th in 2011. That last was after guiding the Phillies to a 102-win season, the most regular season victories in franchise history.

Despite leading the “Whiz Kids” to a surprise National League pennant in 1950, manager Eddie Sawyer was passed over by The Sporting News in favor of Detroit Tigers skipper Red Rolfe, whose club had finished as the American League runners-up to the New York Yankees that year.

Paul Owens guided the Phillies “Wheeze Kids” to a 1983 NL pennant, but The Sporting News honors that year went to Tony La Russa, who had led the Chicago White Sox to a 99-win season and the AL West Division title in his first year as manager. In their first season giving out an award that year, the BBWAA handed the honors to the manager of the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda.

A decade later, Jim Fregosi skippered the ‘Macho Row’ Phillies to a stunning NL East crown in a wire-to-wire performance, then on to a National League pennant. But Fregosi finished a close runner-up to Dusty Baker of the San Francisco Giants, whose club had won 103 games but finished as runners-up in the NL West. The Sporting News gave their award to Bobby Cox of the NL West champion Atlanta Braves.

So, which Phillies managers have been recognized as the Manager of the Year?

The first was Danny Ozark, who The Sporting News named as their winner after he guided the Phillies to the first of three consecutive National League East Division titles in the 1976 season.

It would then be a quarter-century until a second Phillies skipper was so honored. For leading the club to a second place finish in the NL East in 2001, Larry Bowa won the Manager of the Year Award from both The Sporting News and the BBWAA.

That’s it, Ozark and Bowa, the only two men to ever be named as the Manager of the Year with the Phillies. The hope now is that Girardi can put a second career Manager of the Year award in his trophy case and on his resume’ as soon as next year at this time.

 

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Slumping Braves arrive in South Philly to face hot Phillies

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Mike Soroka takes mound for opener of key weekend series

The first-place Atlanta Braves (60-43) arrive at Citizens Bank Park for a three-game weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies (54-48) following a Thursday off-day in the schedule for both clubs.

The Braves are struggling a bit, having dropped six of their last eight games. Meanwhile, the Phillies have come out on top in seven of their last 10 games. They have won five of six games for just the third time all season.
Despite those recent results, Atlanta still maintains control in the NL East Division standings. They are 4.5 games ahead of the second place Washington Nationals, and 5.5 ahead (five in the loss column) of the third place Phillies.
The Phillies will enter this series just one game off the pace in the race for the final NL Wildcard playoff spot. In the Friday night opener, the Phillies will be looking for a fourth straight victory for what would be the fifth time this season. They have not yet won five in a row during all of 2019. They will also be trying to win six of seven for the first time all year.
These two division rivals have already met nine times this year with the Phillies capturing five of those games. When last they met at the start of the month, the Braves took two of three in Atlanta. The hosts scored 21 runs in a pair of blowouts by 9-2 and 12-6 scores in the final two games after an Aaron Nola shutout had given the Phillies a win in that series opener.
Averaging 5.22 runs per game, the Braves are the third-most productive offense in the National League. Their collective OPS of .790 is ranked sixth in all of Major League Baseball. But during this recent eight-game struggle, Atlanta’s offense has averaged only 3.375 runs per game.
The Braves are coming off a 2-0 shutout at the hands of the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday. It was just the third time that Atlanta has been white-washed all year. The last time, after putting up a goose egg against Nola and the Phillies, their hitters broke out with 21 runs over the following two games. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again this time.

ATLANTA BRAVES

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Freddie Freeman (29/1B): .303/.388/.563, 25 HR, 53 XBH, 79 RBIs, 75 runs, 4 steals
Ronald Acuna Jr.(21/CF): .292/.377/.504, 24 HR, 38 XBH, 58 RBIs, 79 runs, 22 steals
Ozzie Albies (22/2B): .284/.342/.469, 14 HR, 42 XBH, 51 RBIs, 62 runs, 8 steals
Josh Donaldson (33/3B): .259/.376/.520, 23 HR, 45 XBH, 60 RBIs, 58 runs, 3 steals
Nick Markakis (35/RF): .286/.358/.431, 9 HR, 33 XBH, 55 RBIs, 56 runs, 2 steals
Dansby Swanson (25/SS): .265/.468, 17 HR, 41 XBH, 57 RBIs, 64 runs, 7 steals

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Brian McCann (35/C): The now 35-year-old catcher was born in Athens, just about 60 miles from Atlanta. The lefty hitter was the Braves second round choice way back in the 2002 MLB Draft out of a Georgia high school and reached the big-leagues in 2005. By the next season he was beginning a stretch of six straight and seven of eight NL All-Star seasons, establishing himself as the top offensive catcher in the game.
In December 2013, McCann signed a five-year, $85 million contract as a free agent with the New York Yankees. With the Yanks, McCann won a 2015 AL Silver Slugger. Then in November 2016 he was dealt to the Houston Astros. Splitting time with Evan Gattis behind the plate in Houston, McCann helped lead the Astros to the first World Series championship in franchise history in 2017.
A free agent once again this past off-season, McCann opted to return home as a veteran influence for a young, talented Braves ball club. He has split time as the left-handed half of a platoon with the righty hitting Tyler Flowers. Facing mostly right-handed pitching, McCann has thrived with a .274/.336/.458 slash line, 9 home runs and 34 RBIs.
McCann has been a Phillies killer over the course of his career. His 23 home runs against them are the most of the 279 which he has blasted in his career against any opponent, and the 85 RBIs and 30 doubles are second-most. He has 13 career homers and 19 doubles at Citizens Bank Park.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

21-year-old right-hander Mike Soroka made the NL All-Star team this year as a rookie. He pitches the series opener on Friday night for Braves. (Erik Drost)
FRIDAY – Mike Soroka (21/RH): 10-2, 2.46 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 1.094 WHIP, 88 hits allowed over 102.1 IP across 17 starts with an 86/24 K:BB. Soroka is a native of Alberta, Canada who was the Braves first round pick at 28th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft out of high school. Still considered a rookie this year after making five starts in 2018, Soroka is one of the leading NL Rookie of the Year contenders. He made his first NL All-Star team earlier this month. The Phillies hit him hard on Independence Day in Atlanta, and yet still were romped as the Braves offense covered.
SATURDAY – Max Fried (25/LH): 10-4, 4.08 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 1.389 WHIP, 113 hits allowed over 103.2 IP across 21 appearances (19 starts) with a 102/31 K:BB. Fried is a SoCal native who was the San Diego Padres first round choice at 7th overall in the 2012 MLB Draft out of high school. He came to Atlanta in a December 2014 trade as part of a package in return for Justin Upton. The southpaw has been on the 10-day IL with a blister on the index finger of his pitching hand, but is expected to be activated for this start. He has already faced the Phillies three times this year, twice in relief during the opening series of the season at Citizens Bank Park, and again in a start on June 14 in Atlanta. The Phillies ripped him for seven hits (including two homers) and five runs in that outing, driving him from the game after 4.2 innings.
SUNDAY – Kevin Gausman (28/RH): 3-5, 5.71 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 1.428 WHIP, 75 hits allowed over 69.1 IP across 14 starts with a 72/24 K:BB. Gausman is a Colorado native who was the first round choice at fourth overall in the 2012 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles out of LSU. He was dealt to the Braves at last year’s trade deadline along with reliever Darren O’Day in exchange for a four-prospect package. Gausman missed most of June and July while on the IL suffering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He returned on July 21 and was sensational in a big start against the Washington Nationals, going seven strong innings, striking out eight while walking none and allowing just one run on five hits in a 7-1 win for Atlanta.

THE SKIPPER

Brian Snitker: We have covered Snitker in detail during previous series opposition previews this year. He is a 63-year-old native of Illinois who attended the University of New Orleans. The Braves are 281-270 in his tenure over parts of four seasons, and he guided the club to the NL East crown a year ago.
Here is his official bio from the Atlanta Braves website: Brian Snitker bio

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

FRIDAY:  It will be mostly sunny and 85 degrees with nearly the same real-feel conditions at the 7:05 PM first pitch. No chance of precipitation with winds light and temps dropping through the 80’s to the upper-70’s as the game rolls on.
SATURDAY: Mostly sunny and in the upper-80’s at the 7:05 PM first pitch, with real-feels again the same, winds again light, and once again almost no chance of precipitation.
SUNDAY: A sunny afternoon with highs around 90 degrees at the 1:05 PM first pitch. For a third straight game in the series it is expected that there will be no chance of precipitation and light winds, with real-feels the same as the temps.
South Philly weekend weather forecast from The Weather Channel

Phillies head to Atlanta for key early July series with first-place Braves

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The Freeze will be doing his race thing this weekend in Atlanta

The Philadelphia Phillies (44-40) slumped during the month of June, and watched as the defending NL East Division champion Atlanta Braves (50-35) stormed past them to take over the division lead.

With the calendar flipped to a new month, the Phillies hope to make a clean start. They will try to begin pecking away at the Braves five-game lead in the loss column during a three-game series this week at SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
The two teams have met for two series in the 2019 season’s first half. At Citizens Bank Park in late March, the Phillies swept the Braves, setting the stage for the first two months which saw the Phillies hold the division lead for all but seven days.
In mid-June, Atlanta took two of three games in front of their home fans at SunTrust Park, winning the opener in walkoff fashion and then blowing the doors off the Phillies with a 15-1 thrashing on Father’s Day.

ATLANTA BRAVES

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Freddie Freeman: .312/.399/.592, 22 homers, 47 extra-base hits, 65 RBIs, 63 runs, 3 steals
Ronald Acuna Jr. .295/.376/.513, 20 homers, 33 extra-base hits, 52 RBIs, 64 runs, 13 steals
Ozzie Albies: .281/.342/.465, 13 homers, 32 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs, 51 runs, 6 steals
Nick Markakis: .275/.354/.426, 8 homers, 27 extra-base hits, 48 RBIs, 54 runs, 0 steals
Dansby Swanson: .269/.332/.483, 15 homers, 36 extra-base hits, 52 RBIs, 55 runs, 7 steals
Josh Donaldson: .253/.358/.478, 15 homers, 35 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, 44 runs, 2 steals
Austin Riley: .273/.326/.582, 14 homers, 22 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs, 32 runs, 0 steals (just 43 game; promoted 5/15)

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Brian McCann: .267/.339/.466, 8 homers, 13 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs, 17 runs scored.
The 35-year-old played the first nine seasons of his now 15-year big-league career in Atlanta after the club originally selected him in the second round of the 2002 MLB Draft out of a local Georgia high school. He became a 7x NL All-Star during that first stint with the club and won five Silve Slugger Awards, becoming recognized as the top offensive catcher in the National League over the first decade of the 21st century.
McCann became a free agent following the 2013 season and signed with the New York Yankees, where he won an American League Silver Slugger in the 2015 campaign. The Yanks dealt him to the Houston Astros in November 2016, and McCann helped Houston to win the franchise (and his) first World Series championship in 2017.
A free agent once again this past off-season, McCann returned to the Braves, inking a one-year deal. He has proven a bargain at $2 million bucks, taking on the role of the lefty side of a catching platoon with the righty-swinging Tyler Flowers.
McCann is a noted Phillies-killer, slashing .280/.351/.484 with 23 home runs. That marks the most that he has blasted against any one team, and he has consistently produced at key moments over 136 career games against the Phillies. He produced a three-hit game that included one of those homers back on June 14 during a 9-8 Phillies victory in Atlanta.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Dallas Keuchel: 31-year-old veteran lefty is 1-1, 5.06 ERA, 1.781 WHIP, 16 hits over 10.2 IP with a 5/3 K:BB. Signed with the Braves as a free agent on June 6 and joined the big club after making two minor league tuneup starts. This will be just his third start in an Atlanta uniform, his first in front of the home crowd. Keuchel has made two career starts vs the Phillies, but those were way back in 2012 and 2014 while he was with the Houston Astros.
SATURDAY – Bryse Wilson: 21-year-old rookie right-hander is ranked as the Braves #5 prospect. He has pitched in three big-league games, making two starts, allowing 11 hits over 8.2 IP with a 10/5 K:BB. Wilson started against the Phillies back on March 30, allowing 4 earned runs on 5 hits over just 3.1 innings and surrendering a homer run to Maikel Franco.
SUNDAY – Mike Soroka: One of the leading contenders for the National League Rookie of the Year Award, the 21-year-old righty has been named to the NL All-Star team. He has gone 9-1, 2.13 ERA, 0.980 WHIP. Soroka has allowed 64 hits over 84.2 IP with a 67/19 K:BB over 14 starts after debuting in 2018 with five solid starts. This will be his first time facing the Phillies.

THE SKIPPER

Guys are starting to feel it,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said per Mark Bowman for MLB.comafter his squad crushed the Phillies on Father’s Day. “I kind of felt as the weather got warm we’d get going.” Man, have they ever got going? Snitker’s club has gone 32-15 since ending a four-game losing skid on May 9 that left them two games below the .500 mark.
The 63-year-old Snitker worked his way up the ladder in the Braves organization, taking over as skipper during the 2016 campaign. He has fashioned an overall 271-262 record as the manager, leading the Braves to the 2018 NL East crown.

THE BALLPARK

SunTrust Park is located 10 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta. The ballpark opened for the 2017 season, and has a regular capacity of just over 41,000 seats.
Dimensions at the ballpark are 335 to left and 325 feet down the right field line. It is 375 to right-center and 385 out to left-center, and a shot to dead-center field will have to clear the fence at an even 400 feet away.
The Freeze‘ is a between innings foot-race attraction, as a lucky (?) gets a chance with a large head start to defeat a member of the Braves grounds crew in a foot race.

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