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Fresh MLB Power Rankings: Where Do Things Stand at the Three-Quarter Mark?

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2012

Fresh MLB Power Rankings: Where Do Things Stand at the Three-Quarter Mark?

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    The season is now three quarters of the way over, and as we enter the latter weeks of August, the playoff picture continues to take shape.

    As with the first-quarter pole and midseason marks, it is time to award the top hitter and pitcher for each MLB team at this juncture of the season.

    Along with that, here are this week's MLB power rankings. Be sure to check back here each Monday morning for an updated look at where your favorite team stands.

     

    *Note: Rosters taken from MLBDepthCharts.com.

30. Houston Astros (39-83, Previous: 30)

2 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 1-5

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: 2B Jose Altuve (.303/.358/.420, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 68 R)

    Altuve has been the Astros' most consistent hitter all season long, and he is a legitimate building block for the future hitting near the top of the team's lineup and providing terrific contact skills.

    Top Pitcher: SP Lucas Harrell (24 GS, 10-8, 3.81 ERA, 103 Ks, 146.1 IP)

    Despite pitching for a team that has won just 39 games this season, Harrell has posted an impressive stat line and leads the team with 10 wins. At 27 years old and in his first full season, he should be a rotation staple moving forward.


    Current Lineup

    SS Tyler Greene
    2B Jose Altuve
    1B Brett Wallace
    RF Steve Pearce
    3B Scott Moore
    CF Justin Maxwell
    C Jason Castro
    LF Fernando Martinez
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Lucas Harrell
    SP Jordan Lyles
    SP Bud Norris
    SP Dallas Keuchel
    SP Armando Galarraga
    CL Wilton Lopez

29. Minnesota Twins (50-70, Previous: 27)

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    Last Week's Record: 1-5

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: LF Josh Willingham (.258/.370/.543, 31 HR, 89 RBI, 71 R)

    Willingham has been a steal on the three-year, $21 million deal he signed with the Twins this offseason as he has been among the best power hitters in all of baseball. A nod to Joe Mauer (.319 BA, 8 HR, 61 RBI), who is healthy once again.

    Top Pitcher: SP Scott Diamond (19 GS, 10-5, 2.95 ERA, 70 Ks, 128 IP)

    The out-of-nowhere rookie of the season thus far, Diamond has been the lone bright spot in a terrible Twins rotation this year. The 25-year-old has a promising future ahead of him, and while he does not have lights-out stuff, he gets guys out and has proven he knows how to win games.

     

    Current Lineup

    CF Denard Span
    RF Ben Revere
    C Joe Mauer
    LF Josh Willingham
    1B Justin Morneau
    DH Ryan Doumit
    3B Trevor Plouffe
    SS Jamey Carroll 
    2B Alexi Casilla 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Scott Diamond
    SP Cole De Vries
    SP Nick Blackburn
    SP Samuel Deduno 
    SP Brian Duensing
    CL Glen Perkins

28. Chicago Cubs (47-73, Previous: 29)

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    Last Week's Record: 3-4

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: SS Starlin Castro (.280/.311/.427, 12 HR, 61 RBI, 59 R)

    There are still holes in his game, but Castro has continued his ascent to stardom this season, and the Cubs rewarded him with a seven-year, $60 million extension last week. He needs to walk more and play better defense, but at 22, he is well ahead of the curve.

    Top Pitcher: SP Jeff Samardzija (24 GS, 8-11, 4.17 ERA, 146 Ks, 144.2 IP)

    With the trades of Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm and the injury to Matt Garza, Samardzija has assumed the role of ace in the Cubs rotation. While he still has his bad outings, he has shown flashes of greatness this season and will no doubt be a big part of the Cubs rotation moving forward.


    Current Lineup 

    RF David DeJesus
    3B Josh Vitters
    1B Anthony Rizzo
    LF Alfonso Soriano
    SS Starlin Castro
    CF Brett Jackson
    C Steve Clevenger
    2B Darwin Barney
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Jeff Samardzija
    SP Travis Wood
    SP Justin Germano 
    SP Chris Volstad
    SP TBD
    CL Carlos Marmol

27. Colorado Rockies (46-73, Previous: 28)

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    Last Week's Record: 5-2

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: LF Carlos Gonzalez (.320/.389/.542, 20 HR, 79 RBI, 78 R)

    After injuries held his numbers back last season following a breakout year in 2010, Gonzalez is back to dominant form this season. His home/road splits remain somewhat eye-opening, but there is no denying his production.

    Top Pitcher: RP Rafael Betancourt (46 G, 23-for-28 SV, 2.64 ERA, 8.1 K/9)

    A setup man for the bulk of his career, the 37-year-old Betancourt opened the season as the Rockies closer, and while he has not been dominant, he has performed as well as anyone could have hoped in the role and is the highlight of an awful Rockies staff.

     

    Current Lineup

    RF Eric Young Jr.
    SS Josh Rutledge 
    CF Dexter Fowler
    LF Carlos Gonzalez
    1B Tyler Colvin
    C Wilin Rosario
    3B Jordan Pacheco
    2B D.J. LeMahieu
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation 

    SP Jeff Francis
    SP Drew Pomeranz
    SP Tyler Chatwood
    SP Alex White
    SP Jhoulys Chacin
    CL Rafael Betancourt

26. San Diego Padres (53-70, Previous: 24)

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    Last Week's Record: 2-5

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: 3B Chase Headley (.275/.366/.463, 20 HR, 76 RBI, 63 R)

    Headley grabbed plenty of headlines during the trade deadline, as he was among the most talked-about trade chips in all of baseball. He's enjoying a bona fide breakout year and putting up premium production at a position that has become thin league-wide.

    Top Pitcher: RP Huston Street (37 G, 21-of-21 SV, 0.75 ERA, 45 Ks, 36 IP)

    Street was acquired from the Rockies this past offseason in what equated to a salary dump, and he has been among the most dominant closers in baseball this season when healthy. The Padres opted against moving him at the deadline and instead inked him to a two-year, $14 million extension.

     

    Current Lineup

    2B Alexi Amarista
    SS Everth Cabrera
    3B Chase Headley
    LF Carlos Quentin
    C Yasmani Grandal
    1B Yonder Alonso
    RF Will Venable
    CF Cameron Maybin
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Edinson Volquez
    SP Clayton Richard
    SP Jason Marquis
    SP Eric Stults
    SP TBD
    CL Dale Thayer

25. Miami Marlins (55-67, Previous: 25)

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    Last Week's Record: 3-4

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: RF Giancarlo Stanton (.287/.361/.579, 24 HR, 61 RBI, 53 R)

    Stanton missed the bulk of July, but he's produced at a high level when he has been on the field, and a .284 BA, 19 HR, 50 RBI line in the first half put him among the most productive hitters in the league. A nod to Justin Ruggiano (.330 BA, 10 HR, 26 RBI), who has enjoyed a breakout year at the age of 30.

    Top Pitcher: SP Josh Johnson (25 GS, 7-10, 3.73 ERA, 133 Ks, 154.1 IP)

    After injuries limited him to just nine starts last season, Johnson has been healthy this season, and while his record does not necessarily reflect it, he's returned strong this year. The Marlins shopped him at the deadline and could again look to move him in the offseason, but he's been the team's top arm this year.


    Current Lineup

    CF Emilio Bonifacio
    LF Justin Ruggiano
    SS Jose Reyes
    1B Carlos Lee
    RF Giancarlo Stanton
    3B Greg Dobbs
    C John Buck
    2B Donovan Solano
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Josh Johnson
    SP Mark Buehrle
    SP Ricky Nolasco
    SP Wade LeBlanc
    SP Nathan Eovaldi
    CL Heath Bell

24. Cleveland Indians (54-67, Previous: 22)

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    Last Week's Record: 1-5

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: RF Shin-Soo Choo (.286/.370/.474, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 71 R)

    The Indians have struggled offensively this season, but Choo has posted solid numbers across the board once again this season. He doesn't do anything amazingly, but he does everything well, posting good on-base numbers with potential for a 20-20 season.

    Top Pitcher: RP Chris Perez (48 G, 32-of-36 SV, 3.63 ERA, 10.1 K/9)

    Since the start of 2010, Perez has racked up 91 saves and become one of the top closers in baseball. Starters Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson have been largely disappointing this season, but Perez has remained reliable at the back end of the bullpen.


    Current Lineup

    2B Jason Kipnis
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    RF Shin-Soo Choo
    C Carlos Santana
    CF Michael Brantley
    1B Casey Kotchman
    DH Shelley Duncan
    3B Jack Hannahan
    LF Ezequiel Carrera 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Justin Masterson
    SP Ubaldo Jimenez
    SP Zach McAllister
    SP Corey Kluber
    SP Roberto Hernandez 
    CL Chris Perez

23. Kansas City Royals (54-66, Previous: 26)

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    Last Week's Record: 5-1

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: DH Billy Butler (.306/.376/.519, 25 HR, 79 RBI, 52 R)

    Still only 26 years old, Butler has taken a step forward offensively this season as he has already tallied a career high in home runs, and his .895 OPS is nearly 40 points higher than his previous career high. He'll continue to play a major role in the Royals' return to contention.

    Top Pitcher: RP Kelvin Herrera (55 G, 2.47 ERA, 60 Ks, 62 IP)

    The Royals' starting pitching has been abysmal this season, and they dealt their top bullpen arm Jonathan Broxton to the Reds at the deadline. Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Greg Holland have all been solid relievers, but I'll give the nod to Herrera as the team's top arm so far this season.

     

    Current Lineup

    CF Lorenzo Cain
    SS Alcides Escobar 
    LF Alex Gordon
    DH Billy Butler
    C Salvador Perez
    3B Mike Moustakas
    RF Jeff Francoeur
    1B Eric Hosmer
    2B Johnny Giavotella

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Bruce Chen
    SP Luke Hochevar
    SP Luis Mendoza
    SP Will Smith
    SP Jeremy Guthrie
    CL Greg Holland

22. Milwaukee Brewers (54-66, Previous: 20)

10 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 2-5

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: LF Ryan Braun (.305/.382/.594, 33 HR, 83 RBI, 78 R)

    Braun has enjoyed a terrific season in light of a controversial offseason, and he continues to rank among the best hitters in all of baseball. His power/speed combination makes him a rare producer, and while the Brewers have struggled this year, he has not missed a beat.

    Top Pitcher: SP Yovani Gallardo (25 GS, 12-8, 3.67 ERA, 154 Ks, 154.2 IP)

    Gallardo has hit his stride of late, going 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA over his last four starts, and as a result his numbers now better reflect his status as the team's staff ace. The 26-year-old is signed through 2015 and will be at the core of the Brewers' rebuilding efforts.


    Current Lineup

    RF Norichika Aoki
    2B Rickie Weeks
    LF Ryan Braun
    3B Aramis Ramirez
    1B Corey Hart
    C Jonathan Lucroy
    CF Carlos Gomez
    SS Jean Segura 
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Yovani Gallardo
    SP Randy Wolf
    SP Michael Fiers
    SP Marco Estrada
    SP Mark Rogers
    CL Jim Henderson

21. Toronto Blue Jays (56-65, Previous: 19)

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    Last Week's Record: 2-5

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: DH Edwin Encarnacion (.289/.386/.560, 31 HR, 82 RBI, 73 R)

    Encarnacion has been one of the breakout stars of 2012, as he has finally tapped into his tremendous potential and carried the Blue Jays offense with Jose Bautista missing time throughout the season. His performance earned him a three-year, $27 million extension.

    Top Pitcher: RP Darren Oliver (48 G, 2-2, 1.84 ERA, 42 Ks, 44 IP)

    The Blue Jays have been hit hard by injuries this season, especially to their pitching staff, and as a result, the bright spots on the mound have been few and far between. The 41-year-old has a 2.86 ERA in 396 appearances over the past seven seasons.


    Current Lineup

    LF Rajai Davis
    CF Colby Rasmus
    1B Edwin Encarnacion
    DH David Cooper
    SS Yunel Escobar
    2B Kelly Johnson
    C Jeff Mathis
    RF Anthony Gose 
    3B Adeiny Hechavarria 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Ricky Romero
    SP Aaron Laffey
    SP Carlos Villanueva
    SP Henderson Alvarez
    SP J.A. Happ
    CL Casey Janssen

20. Philadelphia Phillies (56-65, Previous: 21)

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    Last Week's Record: 2-5

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: C Carlos Ruiz (.335/.399/.559, 14 HR, 58 RBI, 47 R)

    The Phillies have been a major disappointment this season, and a number of their star hitters have been sidelined by injuries and struggled upon return. Ruiz, however, has been phenomenal, ranking among the best offensive catchers in all of baseball.

    Top Pitcher: SP Cole Hamels (24 GS, 14-6, 2.94 ERA, 168 Ks, 171.1 IP)

    While Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay have underperformed this season, Cole Hamels has been terrific once again this season. That earned him a six-year, $144 million contract, and while the Phillies may be headed for some turnover from a roster standpoint, Hamels will remain atop the rotation.


    Current Lineup

    SS Jimmy Rollins
    LF Juan Pierre
    2B Chase Utley
    1B Ryan Howard
    RF Domonic Brown
    CF John Mayberry Jr.
    3B Kevin Frandsen
    C Erik Kratz
    Pitcher 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Roy Halladay
    SP Cliff Lee
    SP Cole Hamels
    SP Vance Worley
    SP Kyle Kendrick
    CL Jonathan Papelbon

19. New York Mets (57-64, Previous: 18)

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    Last Week's Record: 2-4

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: 3B David Wright (.320/.411/.521, 16 HR, 75 RBI, 73 R)

    Wright struggled through the worst season of his career last year, posting a .254 BA, 14 HR, 61 RBI line and playing just 102 games. He's turned it around this season, though, and is once again producing at a premier level.

    Top Pitcher: SP R.A. Dickey (25 G, 24 GS, 15-4, 2.89 ERA, 175 Ks, 168.1 IP)

    Dickey has been one of the biggest stories of 2012, as he reinvented himself as a knuckleball pitcher a few years back but has taken his game to the next level this season. A spike from 5.8 K/9 to 9.4 K/9 shows just how much better his stuff has been this year.


    Current Lineup

    SS Ruben Tejada
    RF Mike Baxter
    3B David Wright
    1B Ike Davis
    2B Daniel Murphy
    LF Jordany Valdespin
    CF Andres Torres
    C Josh Thole
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP R.A. Dickey
    SP Matt Harvey
    SP Johan Santana
    SP Jon Niese
    SP Chris Young
    SP Jeremy Hefner
    CL Frank Francisco

18. Seattle Mariners (58-64, Previous: 23)

14 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 5-1

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: 3B Kyle Seager (.249/.312/.399, 13 HR, 68 RBI, 46 R)

    The Mariners offense has been abysmal this season from top to bottom, and the 24-year-old Seager has been among the lone bright spots. He leads the team in home runs and RBI and has also swiped 10 bases on the season.

    Top Pitcher: SP Felix Hernandez (25 GS, 11-5, 2.60 ERA, 174 Ks, 180 IP)

    Hernandez has once again been one of the best pitchers in the game this season, as he is posting terrific numbers across the board and is a true staff ace. Left-hander Jason Vargas (13-8, 3.53 ERA) is also deserving of a mention, as he has enjoyed a breakout year.


    Current Lineup

    2B Dustin Ackley
    CF Michael Saunders
    DH Jesus Montero
    C John Jaso
    3B Kyle Seager
    1B Justin Smoak
    LF Trayvon Robinson
    RF Eric Thames
    SS Brendan Ryan

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Felix Hernandez
    SP Jason Vargas
    SP Kevin Millwood
    SP Hisashi Iwakuma
    SP Blake Beavan
    CL Tom Wilhelmsen

17. Boston Red Sox (59-63, Previous: 17)

15 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 2-4

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: DH David Ortiz (.316/.414/.609, 23 HR, 58 RBI, 65 R)

    While he has played just 89 games this season, it is hard to ignore the numbers that Ortiz was able to put up through 320 at-bats. Adrian Gonzalez (.308 BA, 14 HR, 84 RBI) has been a solid run producer and is worth mention as well.

    Top Pitcher: P Franklin Morales (36 G, 8 GS, 3-4, 3.67 ERA, 73 Ks, 73.2 IP)

    It's been a trying year for the Red Sox pitching staff, but they have gotten a boost from Franklin Morales, who has pitched well as both a reliever and starter this season. He's 3-3 with a 3.98 ERA in eight starts and has a 3.23 ERA and one save in 28 relief appearances.


    Current Lineup

    CF Jacoby Ellsbury
    LF Carl Crawford
    2B Dustin Pedroia
    1B Adrian Gonzalez 
    DH Cody Ross
    C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    SS Mike Aviles
    RF Scott Podsednik
    3B Nick Punto

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Josh Beckett
    SP Jon Lester
    SP Aaron Cook
    SP Clay Buchholz
    SP Franklin Morales
    CL Alfredo Aceves

16. Arizona Diamondbacks (62-59, Previous: 16)

16 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: LF Jason Kubel (.275/.344/.537, 25 HR, 77 RBI, 63 R)

    Eyebrows were raised when the Diamondbacks signed Kubel this offseason, as his addition moved Gold Glove winner Gerardo Parra to the bench. However, he has been the team's primary run producer this season, and with Chris Young struggling, Parra has wound up in a starting role anyway.

    Top Pitcher: SP Wade Miley (24 G, 21 GS, 13-8, 2.96 ERA, 104 Ks, 143 IP)

    Miley opened the season as a reliever but moved to the rotation after Josh Collmenter struggled through his first three starts. That move proved huge for the Diamondbacks, as Miley wound up being the team's All-Star representative and most reliable starter.


    Current Lineup

    SS Stephen Drew
    2B Aaron Hill
    LF Jason Kubel
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    RF Justin Upton
    C Miguel Montero 
    3B Chris Johnson
    CF Gerardo Parra
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Ian Kennedy
    SP Trevor Cahill
    SP Wade Miley
    SP Joe Saunders
    SP Patrick Corbin
    CL J.J. Putz

15. Los Angeles Angels (62-60, Previous: 12)

17 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 2-5

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: CF Mike Trout (.343/.405/.608, 24 HR, 70 RBI, 96 R)

    As a 21-year-old rookie, Trout has not only been the best hitter on the Angels but perhaps the single best player in all of baseball this season. His numbers are among the best ever for a rookie, and he helped turn the Angels season around after they struggled early.

    Top Pitcher: SP Jered Weaver (22 GS, 15-3, 2.74 ERA, 108 Ks, 141 IP)

    After finishing second to Justin Verlander in AL Cy Young voting last season, Weaver should once again be right in the thick of things this season. His 0.972 WHIP leads the American League, and he has been the unquestioned ace of the Angels staff.


    Current Lineup

    CF Mike Trout
    RF Torii Hunter
    1B Albert Pujols
    DH Kendrys Morales
    LF Mark Trumbo
    3B Alberto Callaspo
    2B Howie Kendrick
    SS Erick Aybar
    C Chris Iannetta

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Jered Weaver
    SP C.J. Wilson
    SP Dan Haren
    SP Zack Greinke
    SP Ervin Santana
    CL Ernesto Frieri

14. Detroit Tigers (64-57, Previous: 13)

18 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: 3B Miguel Cabrera (.331/.397/.592, 31 HR, 104 RBI, 82 R)

    Cabrera has been phenomenal this season, as he is on his way to the best season of his career, and that is saying something given how productive he has been over his 10 years in the league. He's no doubt benefited from the protection Prince Fielder has provided in the lineup.

    Top Pitcher: SP Justin Verlander (25 GS, 12-7, 2.53 ERA, 180 Ks, 181.2 IP)

    The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner, Verlander is putting together another phenomenal season. While he may not be headed for another MVP, he is squarely in the running to repeat as AL Cy Young. He's a workhorse and the most reliable pitcher in the game today.


    Current Lineup

    CF Austin Jackson
    LF Andy Dirks
    3B Miguel Cabrera
    1B Prince Fielder
    C Alex Avila 
    DH Delmon Young
    RF Brennan Boesch 
    SS Jhonny Peralta 
    2B Omar Infante 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Justin Verlander
    SP Doug Fister
    SP Max Scherzer
    SP Rick Porcello
    SP Anibal Sanchez
    CL Jose Valverde

13. Oakland Athletics (65-55, Previous: 14)

19 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: LF Yoenis Cespedes (.307/.368/.520, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 43 R)

    It was a tough choice between Cespedes and Josh Reddick (.251 BA, 25 HR, 61 RBI), but the Cuban import gets the nod. He's driven in just one less run than Reddick in 124 fewer at-bats, and if not for the presence of Mike Trout, he'd be squarely in the running for Rookie of the Year.

    Top Pitcher: SP Bartolo Colon (24 GS, 10-9, 3.43 ERA, 91 Ks, 152.1 IP)

    Signed to a one-year, $2 million contract to fill out the A's rotation, Colon has instead emerged as the team's ace with Brandon McCarthy missing time due to injury. He's been reliable if nothing else, and at 39, he still has plenty left in the tank.


    Current Lineup

    CF Coco Crisp
    2B Jemile Weeks
    RF Josh Reddick
    LF Yoenis Cespedes
    DH Chris Carter
    1B Brandon Moss
    3B Josh Donaldson
    C Derek Norris
    SS Cliff Pennington

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Brandon McCarthy
    SP Bartolo Colon
    SP Tom Milone
    SP Jarrod Parker
    SP Daniel Straily 
    CL Grant Balfour

12. San Francisco Giants (66-55, Previous: 10)

20 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: C Buster Posey (.330/.405/.545, 19 HR, 77 RBI, 56 R)

    The choice here would have been Melky Cabrera (.346 BA, 11 HR, 60 RBI) if not for his recent PED-related suspension. Posey is more than deserving of the honor, though, as he has come back stronger than ever after missing much of last season with a broken leg.

    Top Pitcher: SP Matt Cain (24 GS, 12-5, 2.90 ERA, 154 Ks, 167.2 IP)

    Highlighted by a perfect game, Cain has had a terrific season and emerged as the ace of the Giants staff. Close behind him are teammates Ryan Vogelsong (10-7, 2.85 ERA) and Madison Bumgarner (13-7, 2.97 ERA) as the Giants are pitching rich, even with the struggles of Tim Lincecum.


    Current Lineup 

    CF Angel Pagan
    2B Marco Scutaro
    3B Pablo Sandoval
    C Buster Posey
    RF Hunter Pence
    1B Brandon Belt
    LF Gregor Blanco
    SS Brandon Crawford
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Tim Lincecum
    SP Madison Bumgarner
    SP Matt Cain
    SP Barry Zito
    SP Ryan Vogelsong
    CL Sergio Romo

11. Chicago White Sox (65-55, Previous: 7)

21 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 3-4

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: C A.J. Pierzynski (.294/.344/.543, 23 HR, 67 RBI, 53 R)

    The White Sox offense has been much better than expected all season, as Alex Rios (.301 BA, 19 HR, 70 RBI) and Adam Dunn (35 HR, 83 RBI) have enjoyed bounce-back seasons, and Paul Konerko (.314 BA, 20 HR, 57 RBI) was great before missing time. Pierzynski has been the most significant producer all season, though, and he has an impressive .887 OPS.

    Top Pitcher: SP Chris Sale (22 G, 21 GS, 14-4, 2.72 ERA, 137 Ks, 145.1 IP)

    Sale has been nothing short of phenomenal in his first season as a starter after spending the past two seasons as the team's primary setup man. The team will be careful with their future ace down the stretch, as he is in uncharted inning territory, but he's a big part of why they're in contention.


    Current Lineup

    CF Alejandro De Aza
    3B Kevin Youkilis
    1B Adam Dunn
    DH Paul Konerko
    RF Alex Rios
    C A.J. Pierzynski
    SS Alexei Ramirez
    LF Dayan Viciedo
    2B Gordon Beckham 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Jake Peavy
    SP Chris Sale
    SP Jose Quintana
    SP Gavin Floyd
    SP Francisco Liriano
    CL Addison Reed

10. St. Louis Cardinals (65-56, Previous: 9)

22 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: LF Matt Holliday (.301/.381/.519, 23 HR, 81 RBI, 76 R)

    The Cardinals have a number of worthy candidates, as Yadier Molina (.317 BA, 16 HR, 56 RBI), Allen Craig (.941 OPS, 18 HR, 62 RBI, 79 G) and Carlos Beltran (28 HR, 85 RBI) have all been great. Holliday is the choice here, though, as he's been a consistent force all season amid a number of injuries.

    Top Pitcher: SP Kyle Lohse (25 GS, 12-2, 2.61 ERA, 101 Ks, 162 IP)

    When the Cardinals lost Chris Carpenter before the season even started, Lohse stepped into the role of staff ace and was named the team's Opening Day starter. He's been great all year and leads a pitching staff that has exceeded expectations all season long.


    Current Lineup

    CF Jon Jay
    1B Allen Craig
    LF Matt Holliday
    RF Carlos Beltran
    3B David Freese
    C Yadier Molina
    2B Daniel Descalso
    SS Rafael Furcal
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Kyle Lohse
    SP Adam Wainwright
    SP Lance Lynn
    SP Jake Westbrook
    SP Jaime Garcia
    CL Jason Motte

9. Baltimore Orioles (66-55, Previous: 11)

23 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: CF Adam Jones (.292/.339/.515, 24 HR, 62 RBI, 74 R)

    Jones has gotten better every season since he joined the Orioles in the deal that sent Erik Bedard to the Mariners. He's taken a big step forward this season and is the face of an up-and-coming Orioles franchise. The team inked him to a six-year, $85.5 million extension earlier this season.

    Top Pitcher: SP Wei-Yin Chen (25 GS, 12-7, 3.87 ERA, 122 Ks, 151 IP)

    Signed to a three-year, $11.09 million deal out of Japan this past offseason, Chen has been the Orioles' most reliable starter this season and looks to have a bright future at 26 years old. Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.54 ERA) has been solid as well, but injuries have limited him to just 18 starts.


    Current Lineup

    RF Nick Markakis
    SS J.J. Hardy
    LF Nate McLouth
    CF Adam Jones 
    C Matt Wieters
    DH Chris Davis
    1B Mark Reynolds
    3B Manny Machado
    2B Omar Quintanilla

     

    Current Rotation 

    SP Wei-Yin Chen
    SP Miguel Gonzalez
    SP Chris Tillman
    SP Tommy Hunter
    SP Zach Britton
    CL Jim Johnson 

8. Los Angeles Dodgers (67-55, Previous: 15)

24 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 5-2

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: CF Matt Kemp (.338/.407/.605, 17 HR, 51 RBI, 55 R)

    Kemp has played just 70 games this season but remains the Dodgers' most impressive hitter on the season with an impressive 1.012 OPS. He was on an absolute tear to open the season, and he appears to be settling in once again.

    Top Pitcher: SP Clayton Kershaw (25 GS, 11-6, 2.90 ERA, 165 Ks, 170.2 IP)

    His numbers are not as eye-popping as his Cy Young winning 2011 stats (21-5, 2.28 ERA, 248 Ks), but Kershaw is nonetheless one of baseball's best, and the scary thing is he's only 24 years old and should only get better moving forward.


    Current Lineup

    LF Shane Victorino
    2B Mark Ellis
    CF Matt Kemp
    RF Andre Ethier
    SS Hanley Ramirez
    1B James Loney
    3B Luis Cruz
    C A.J. Ellis
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Clayton Kershaw
    SP Aaron Harang
    SP Chris Capuano
    SP Chad Billingsley
    SP Joe Blanton
    CL Kenley Jansen

7. Pittsburgh Pirates (67-54, Previous: 6)

25 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 3-4

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: CF Andrew McCutchen (.354/.420/.592, 24 HR, 76 RBI, 85 R)

    McCutchen has been among the best players in all of baseball this season, as he single-handedly carried the Pirates offense through the first half of the season. He's in position to win the batting title, and the six-year, $51.5 million extension he signed before the season looks like an absolute steal now.

    Top Pitcher: SP A.J. Burnett (22 GS, 15-4, 3.54 ERA, 126 Ks, 145 IP)

    Burnett went a combined 21-26 with a 5.20 ERA over the past two seasons with the Yankees, and when the Pirates acquired him in a cost-cutting move this past offseason, it looked as though New York got the better end of things. Instead, he's been a legitimate staff ace and a huge addition to a surprise postseason contender.


    Current Lineup

    LF Jose Tabata
    RF Travis Snider
    CF Andrew McCutchen
    1B Garrett Jones
    2B Neil Walker
    3B Pedro Alvarez
    C Rod Barajas
    SS Clint Barmes
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Erik Bedard
    SP James McDonald
    SP A.J. Burnett
    SP Jeff Karstens
    SP Wandy Rodriguez
    CL Joel Hanrahan

6. Tampa Bay Rays (67-54, Previous: 8)

26 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 5-2

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: 3B Evan Longoria (.299/.385/.504, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 20 R)

    While he has played in just 35 games on the season, Longoria has had an incredibly profound impact on the Rays offense this year. The team is 9-2 since he returned from injury in early August and 24-10 overall when he is in the lineup, proving just how valuable he's been to the team's success.

    Top Pitcher: SP David Price (24 GS, 16-4, 2.39 ERA, 159 Ks, 162 IP)

    Price currently leads the AL in wins and ERA, as he has officially joined the ranks of baseball's elite pitchers this season. Closer Fernando Rodney (38-of-40 SV, 0.79 ERA) deserves mention as well, as he's come out of nowhere to dominate in the ninth inning.

     

    Current Lineup

    LF Desmond Jennings
    CF B.J. Upton
    RF Matt Joyce
    DH Evan Longoria
    SS Ben Zobrist
    3B Jeff Keppinger
    1B Carlos Pena
    2B Ryan Roberts
    C Jose Molina

     

    Current Rotation

    SP David Price
    SP James Shields
    SP Alex Cobb
    SP Matt Moore
    SP Jeremy Hellickson
    CL Fernando Rodney

5. Texas Rangers (70-50, Previous: 2)

27 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 3-4

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: LF Josh Hamilton (.287/.353/.586, 34 HR, 102 RBI, 77 R)

    While he has slumped in the second half, Hamilton's overall stat line remains among the most impressive in all of baseball. He's playing for his next contract, and if he can get hot down the stretch, he could put himself squarely in the AL MVP conversation.

    Top Pitcher: SP Matt Harrison (24 GS, 14-7, 3.19 ERA, 96 Ks, 161 IP)

    Harrison was solid last season in going 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA, but he has stepped up as the ace of the Rangers staff this season with the rotation saddled by injuries. The 26-year-old is yet another valuable piece acquired in the Mark Teixeira deal back in 2007.


    Current Lineup

    2B Ian Kinsler
    SS Elvis Andrus
    CF Josh Hamilton
    3B Adrian Beltre
    RF Nelson Cruz
    DH Michael Young
    LF David Murphy
    C Geovany Soto
    1B Mitch Moreland

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Derek Holland
    SP Yu Darvish
    SP Matt Harrison
    SP Scott Feldman
    SP Roy Oswalt
    CL Joe Nathan 

4. Atlanta Braves (70-51, Previous: 5)

28 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 4-3

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: 3B Chipper Jones (.313/.391/.525, 13 HR, 54 RBI, 45 R)

    In what is to be the final season of his Hall of Fame career, Jones continues to put up terrific numbers even at the age of 40. He's been immensely valuable to his team, as they have gone 47-31 with him in the lineup, and he'll be counted on to keep it up down the stretch.

    Top Pitcher: RP Craig Kimbrel (45 G, 31-of-33 SV, 1.20 ERA, 15.8 K/9)

    The Braves rotation has had some question marks this season, and while Tim Hudson (12-4, 3.59 ERA) has remained solid as the staff's ace, Kimbrel has been lights out in the ninth inning while posting dominant numbers.


    Current Lineup

    CF Michael Bourn
    LF Martin Prado
    RF Jason Heyward
    3B Chipper Jones
    1B Freddie Freeman
    2B Dan Uggla
    C Brian McCann
    SS Paul Janish
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Tim Hudson
    SP Mike Minor
    SP Kris Medlen
    SP Ben Sheets
    SP Paul Maholm
    SP Tommy Hanson
    CL Craig Kimbrel

3. New York Yankees (72-49, Previous: 4)

29 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 5-2

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: 2B Robinson Cano (.305/.368/.540, 25 HR, 68 RBI, 74 R)

    Cano is head and shoulders above anyone else at second base, and he has become the Yankees' biggest run producer over the past few seasons. The team has gotten good production up and down the lineup this season, but Cano and his .908 OPS earn the nod as top hitter.

    Top Pitcher: SP Hiroki Kuroda (25 GS, 12-8, 2.96 ERA, 125 Ks, 167 IP)

    Signed to a one-year, $10 million deal to shore up the Yankees rotation this offseason, Kuroda has been great this season, and with CC Sabathia battling injury, Kuroda has assumed the role of staff ace. Also worth a mention is closer Rafael Soriano (31 SV, 1.64 ERA) who has filled in very well for the injured Mariano Rivera.


    Current Lineup

    SS Derek Jeter
    RF Nick Swisher
    2B Robinson Cano
    1B Mark Teixeira
    3B Eric Chavez
    CF Curtis Granderson
    DH Raul Ibanez
    LF Ichiro Suzuki
    C Russell Martin

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Hiroki Kuroda
    SP Freddy Garcia
    SP Ivan Nova
    SP Phil Hughes
    SP David Phelps
    CL Rafael Soriano

2. Cincinnati Reds (74-48, Previous: 3)

30 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 5-2

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: 1B Joey Votto (.342/.465/.604, 14 HR, 49 RBI, 52 R)

    A knee injury has limited him to just 86 games this season, but his numbers prior to hitting the DL are simply too good to be ignored. His 1.069 OPS and .465 OBP would rank tops in all of baseball if he had the at-bats, and once he returns, the Reds could run away with the NL Central.

    Top Pitcher: SP Johnny Cueto (25 GS, 16-6, 2.44 ERA, 135 Ks, 169.2 IP)

    Cueto has stepped up as a true staff ace this season, as he leads the NL with 16 wins and has gone 6-1 in the second half of the season. Aroldis Chapman (29 SV, 1.35 ERA, 16.5 K/9) is also worth mention, as he has been dominant all season.


    Current Lineup

    SS Zack Cozart
    CF Drew Stubbs
    2B Brandon Phillips
    LF Ryan Ludwick
    RF Jay Bruce
    1B Todd Frazier
    3B Scott Rolen
    C Ryan Hanigan
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Johnny Cueto
    SP Mat Latos
    SP Bronson Arroyo
    SP Homer Bailey
    SP Mike Leake
    CL Aroldis Chapman

1. Washington Nationals (75-46, Previous: 1)

31 of 31

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Three-Quarter Pole Awards

    Top Hitter: 3B Ryan Zimmerman (.281/.350/.461, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 72 R)

    After a slow first half, Zimmerman has been as hot as any hitter in baseball since the All-Star break with a .353 BA, 8 HR, 26 RBI and 1.029 OPS. Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche have also provided a boost offensively.

    Top Pitcher: SP Stephen Strasburg (24 GS, 14-5, 2.91 ERA, 173 Ks, 139.1 IP)

    The Nationals have ridden their fantastic pitching staff to the top of these rankings, and while Strasburg has been every bit the staff ace this season, Gio Gonzalez (16-6, 3.23 ERA) and Jordan Zimmermann (9-7, 2.38 ERA) also both rank among the best pitchers in all of baseball this season.


    Current Lineup

    RF Jayson Werth
    CF Bryce Harper
    3B Ryan Zimmerman
    1B Adam LaRoche
    LF Michael Morse
    SS Ian Desmond
    2B Danny Espinosa
    C Kurt Suzuki
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Stephen Strasburg
    SP Gio Gonzalez
    SP Jordan Zimmermann
    SP Edwin Jackson
    SP Ross Detwiler
    CL Tyler Clippard

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