Updated MLB Power Rankings: Where Does Your Favorite Team Stand?

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2012

With the season three quarters of the way over, it is time to name our three-quarter pole awards for each team's top hitter and pitcher. Where does your favorite team stand in this week's MLB power rankings?

img1: Washington Nationals (75-46, Previous: 1)

Last Week's Record: 4-2

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 has 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 rode 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 rank among the best pitchers in all of baseball this season.


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

Last Week's Record: 5-2

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 mentioning as he has been dominant all season.


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

Last Week's Record: 5-2

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

Cano is head and shoulders above anyone else at the second base position, and 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 year and has assumed the role of staff ace with CC Sabathia battling injury. Also worth a mention is closer Rafael Soriano (31 Saves, 1.64 ERA) who has filled in great for the injured Mariano Rivera.


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

Last Week's Record: 4-3

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.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-4

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


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

Last Week's Record: 5-2

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, he's 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 in save opportunities, 0.79 ERA) deserves mention as well, as he's come out of nowhere to dominate in the ninth inning.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-4

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

McCutchen has been among the best players in all of Major League Baseball, 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 5-2

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 went 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. The scary thing is he's only 24 years old and should only get better moving forward.


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

Last Week's Record: 4-2

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

Jones has gotten better every year 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-3

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.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-4

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 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 serving 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-3

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.


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

Last Week's Record: 4-2

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 with an injury. He's been reliable if nothing else, and at 39 he still has plenty left in the tank.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-3

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

Cabrera has been phenomenal this year, as is on his way to the best season of his career; That's 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 and while his may not be headed for another MVP, he is squarely in the running to repeat as AL Cy Young. He's a workhorse and is the most reliable pitcher in the game today.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-5

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 when the voting takes place this season. His 0.972 WHIP leads the American League and he has been the unquestionable ace of the Angels staff.


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

Last Week's Record: 4-2

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


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

Last Week's Record: 2-4

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.


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

Last Week's Record: 5-1

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 been one of the best pitchers in the game this season, as he is once again 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-4

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, hitting .254 with 14 HR and 61 RBI in 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-5

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 for the Fightin' Phils. The team awarded him with a six-year, $144 million contract in July, and while the Phillies may be headed for some turnover, Hamels will remain atop the rotation.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-5

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 in Jose Bautista's absence. 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-5

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.


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

Last Week's Record: 5-1

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 OPS (.892, 40 points higher than his previous best). 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 1-5

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. His numbers aren't amazing, 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 in save opportunities, 3.63 ERA, 10.1 K/9)

Since the start of 2010, Perez has racked up 91 saves en route to becoming 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-4

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's been on the field and a .284 BA, 19 HR, 50 RBI line in the first half puts 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)

While his record doesn't necessarily reflect it, Johnson has had a strong year after injuries limited him to just nine starts last season. 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-5

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 trading chips in all of baseball. He's enjoying a bonafide breakout year, and is putting up premium production at a position that has become thin league wide.

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

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


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

Last Week's Record: 5-2

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

After injuries held his numbers back following a breakout year in 2010, Gonzalez is back to dominant form again 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 in save opportunities, 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. Though lacking dominance, he's performed as good as anyone could have hoped for and is the highlight of an awful Rockies staff.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-4

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 need 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' staff moving forward.


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

Last Week's Record: 1-5

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

Willingham has been a steal for the Twins ever since he signed a three-year, $21 million deal this past offseason. He's been among the best power hitters in all of baseball this year and figures to be an important piece to the Twins' rebuilding efforts moving forward.

 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 1-5

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 batting 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. In his first full season as a 27-year-old, he should be a rotation staple moving forward.


    Darvish Placed on 10-Day DL with Triceps Tendonitis

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    Darvish Placed on 10-Day DL with Triceps Tendonitis

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    M's Acquire Colome, Span from Rays

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    M's Acquire Colome, Span from Rays

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    Stanton Still Doesn't Know How to Eat a Kit Kat

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    Stanton Still Doesn't Know How to Eat a Kit Kat

    via Yahoo

    Torres Is Youngest in AL History to HR in 4 Straight Games

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    Torres Is Youngest in AL History to HR in 4 Straight Games

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report