MLB Power Rankings: Where Does Your Favorite Team Stand?

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 31: Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds receives a high five from Chris Heisey #28 of the Cincinnati Reds and Ryan Ludwick #48 of the Cincinnati Reds after hitting a three run home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 31, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

As we begin the final month of the 2012 season, where does your favorite team stand in this week's MLB power rankings?

1: Cincinnati Reds (82-53, Previous: 2)

Last Week's Record: 5-1

Up 9.5 games in the NL Central, the Reds hold the biggest division lead in baseball, despite the fact that the Cardinals have come on strong of late and the Pirates have played well all season.

With 12 games left against the Cubs, Marlins, Astros and Phillies, it should be relatively smooth sailing to the NL Central crown as they turn their sights towards a lengthy postseason run. It can't be overstated how well this team has played without Joey Votto and how scary his return could make them in October.


img 2: Washington Nationals (81-52, Previous: 1)

Last Week's Record: 4-2

Already up 6.5 games in the NL East, the Nationals have a chance to put things out of reach as their next 10 games are against the Cubs, Marlins and Mets. 

Much has been made of how John Lannan will likely step into Stephen Strasburg's rotation spot once he's shut down, but the team could turn to another veteran left-hander in Zach Duke. The former Pirate went 15-5 with a 3.51 ERA at Triple-A this year and was among the team's September call-ups.


3: Texas Rangers (79-54, Previous: 3)

Last Week's Record: 4-2

The Rangers have seen their lead in the AL West trimmed to just three games, as the surging A's are closing on them and the Angels are only 8.5 games back themselves now.

Jurickson Profar provided the highlight of the week, as the 19-year-old phenom homered in his first big league at-bat. He'll look to keep providing a spark, as the team attempts to extend their lead with 13 of their next 19 games against teams with losing records before squaring off against the A's seven times in their last 10 games.


4: Oakland Athletics (76-57, Previous: 13)

Last Week's Record: 7-0

It's still hard to believe, but it looks as though it's time to consider the A's a legitimate contender, as they made a big move in the standings again this past week and are now 33-14 since the All-Star break.

Chris Carter has given the offense a huge boost, hitting 14 HR with 33 RBI in just 51 games and filling what was a glaring hole at first base. Left-hander Brett Anderson has also been a big addition as he's gone 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three starts since returning from injury.


5: San Francisco Giants (76-58, Previous: 8)

Last Week's Record: 5-1

The Giants remain atop the NL West, as another good week extended their lead over the Dodgers to 4.5 games. The two teams meet up for a big three-game series in San Francisco this weekend.

Catcher Buster Posey continues to lead the offensive charge, as he's hitting .396 BA, 9 HR, 40 RBI since the All-Star break. His .330 BA, 19 HR, 85 RBI line makes him a legitimate NL MVP candidate, and with Andrew McCutchen struggling in August he could be viewed as the front-runner as of now.


6: New York Yankees (76-57, Previous: 4)

Last Week's Record: 2-4

The Yankees have dropped eight of their last 12 games, as the Orioles are closing on them quickly in the AL East with the Rays not far behind either.

Getting back third baseman Alex Rodriguez could give them a spark, but it also means Eric Chavez (.289 BA, 13 HR, 33 RBI) heads to the bench and he had been one of the team's most productive hitters of late. Meanwhile, the team could also have Andy Pettitte back soon after he felt "really good" after his latest bullpen session (Roderick Boone of Newsday).


7: Atlanta Braves (75-59, Previous: 5)

Last Week's Record: 2-4

The Braves have a firm grasp on the first wild-card spot in the NL right now, as it would take quite a slide to keep them out of the postseason at this point.

Struggling second baseman Dan Uggla (.208 BA, 17 HR, 64 RBI) has been benched, with the team shifting Martin Prado in from left field to play second and going with a Jose Constanza/Reed Johnson platoon in his place.


img 8: Baltimore Orioles (74-59, Previous: 11)

Last Week's Record: 5-2

Another solid week by the Orioles has them just two games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 1.5 games up on the Rays for the second wild-card spot in the American League.

Zach Britton, who has won his last three starts, will be recalled to fill the fifth rotation spot on Tuesday and another strong start should be enough to lock him into a rotation spot for the remainder of the season. If not, the Orioles have plenty of pitching depth with Randy Wolf, Tommy Hunter and Steve Johnson in the bullpen all capable of starting.


9: St. Louis Cardinals (72-62, Previous: 7)

Last Week's Record: 2-5

They took a step back last week, but the Cardinals remain in possession of the second wild-card spot in the National League. They'll square off against the Mets and Brewers this coming week, two teams that are fresh off solid weeks themselves.

Lance Berkman is back from injury, but he'll remain in a reserve role as Allen Craig (.311 BA, 20 HR, 73 RBI in 360 AB) has put up phenomenal numbers in his absence and has to be used in an everyday capacity at this point. 


10: Detroit Tigers (72-61, Previous: 10)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

The Tigers pulled off a big sweep of the White Sox last week, and with 13 more games against the Royals and Twins, they are in a good position to edge out Chicago for the AL Central title.

Max Scherzer continues to serve as a second ace alongside Justin Verlander, as he's gone 15-6, 3.93 ERA, 204 Ks, 162.2 IP and he will be as important as anyone on the roster down the stretch.


img 11: Los Angeles Angels (71-63, Previous: 14)

Last Week's Record: 5-1

Despite a 5-1 week, the Angels were unable to make up any ground as the A's were an even more impressive 7-0 on the week and are now 4.5 games ahead in the AL West.

Seven of the team's next 10 games are against Oakland, and that span will go a long way toward determining whether or not the Angels will be playing in October. They'll need their starting rotation behind Jered Weaver to step up in the days and weeks ahead.


12: Tampa Bay Rays (73-61, Previous: 9)

Last Week's Record: 3-4

After making a significant climb up the rankings and standings since Evan Longoria returned from injury, the Rays have struggled to a 3-6 record in their past nine games and have fallen behind Baltimore for the final wild-card spot.

The face-off against the Yankees and Rangers this coming week, so things aren't going to get any easier from here. Still, with a fantastic pitching staff led by AL Cy Young candidate David Price (17-5, 2.54 ERA), they have plenty of time to get back on track.


13: Los Angeles Dodgers (72-63, Previous: 12)

Last Week's Record: 3-4

The overhauled Dodgers are currently just a half game out of the final wild-card spot in the National League. They have a huge three-game series with the Giants in San Francisco this coming weekend.

Josh Beckett was terrific in his second start with the team, but Adrian Gonzalez has gone just 9-for-42 this season since the trade. He'll need to pick up the production if the team wants to make a serious run at the NL pennant.


14: Chicago White Sox (72-61, Previous: 6)

Last Week's Record: 1-6

A sweep at the hands of the Tigers pulled them even with Chicago in the AL Central, but the White Sox are in a great position to bounce back facing the Royals and Twins this week.

With Gavin Floyd landing back on the DL, reliever Hector Santiago will slide into the fifth-starter spot. The rotation has gotten a boost all season from Jose Quintana (5-3, 3.17 ERA, 17 GS), and they will now look to Santiago to give them a similar contribution.


15: Pittsburgh Pirates (70-63, Previous: 15)

Last Week's Record: 2-4

An 11-17 performance in August has been a major blow to the Pirates' postseason hopes, and while they are still just 2.5 games back in the NL wild-card race, they are now behind the Cardinals, Braves and Dodgers.

Veteran Erik Bedard was released, and his rotation spot has been filled by pitching prospect Jeff Locke, who went 10-5 with a 2.48 ERA in 24 starts at Triple-A this season. The 24-year-old entered the season as the team's No. 10 prospect, and he could provide a major impact down the stretch.


16: Milwaukee Brewers (65-68, Previous: 20)

Last Week's Record: 6-1

The Brewers are among the hottest teams in all of baseball right now, as they are 11-2 in their last 13 games, and they're averaging over six runs per game during that span.

The trio of Corey Hart, Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun is among the most potent in all of baseball, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy continues to enjoy a breakout year offensively. With Mark Rogers being shut down for the year, the team will need to decide on a fifth starter for the season's final month.


17: Arizona Diamondbacks (66-69, Previous: 16)

Last Week's Record: 2-5

A 4-10 skid has all but pushed the Diamondbacks out of the playoff picture, as they are 11.5 games out in the NL West and 7.5 games back in the NL wild card.

Rookies Wade Miley, Pat Corbin and Tyler Skaggs have all made an impact this year, and Trevor Bauer will likely be brought back up again soon. It'll be interesting to see how the team sorts out their rotation next year as those four join Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill and Daniel Hudson.


18: Seattle Mariners (65-70, Previous: 17)

Last Week's Record: 4-3

The Mariners went 16-13 in August to pull themselves into respectability, as they currently stand just five games under .500 after suffering through a terrible start to the year.

The offense needs a complete overhaul, and the rotation is thin, but reinforcements are on the way as the team has one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. Things should only move up from here in Seattle.


19: New York Mets (64-70, Previous: 22)

Last Week's Record: 5-1

The Mets put together a solid week last week on the road against Phillies and Marlins, as they look to close out what has been a rough second half to the season on a positive note.

Kelly Shoppach (.303 BA, 3 HR, 9 RBI) has been a solid pickup at catcher, and the team could opt to bring him back next season as he's set to hit free agency. The team has also added 25-year-old Collin McHugh to the rotation for the final month, as he looks to earn a spot in the team's future plans.


img 20: Philadelphia Phillies (64-70, Previous: 19)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

The Phillies have gone 10-5 in their last 15 games, as they actually played better since dealing off several pieces of their roster at the deadline.

Tyler Cloyd has joined the rotation with Vance Worley on the disabled list, and he's likely pitching for a rotation spot next year. The has also opted to stick with Kevin Frandsen at third base instead of Placido Polanco.


img 21: San Diego Padres (62-73, Previous: 21)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

The Padres have played well of late, as they went 18-10 in the month of August, and they have a legitimate shot at pulling ahead of the Diamondbacks into third place in the division.

Call-ups Andrew Werner (1-1, 3.00 ERA) and Casey Kelly (1-0, 3.86 ERA) have both looked good in making two starts each, as the team looks for long-term answers in their rotation behind Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard.


img 22: Boston Red Sox (62-73, Previous: 18)

Last Week's Record: 1-6

What's left of the Red Sox following their blockbuster deal with the Dodgers is a team that could very well struggle to stay out of the cellar in the AL East this season.

However, they will get a long look at Jose Iglesias down the stretch and could decide if he is the answer at shortstop for next season. It'll be an interesting offseason for a team that has freed up over $60 million in salary for next year.


23: Kansas City Royals (60-73, Previous: 23)

Last Week's Record: 4-3

The 2012 campaign has been a disappointing one for the Royals, as the club has seemingly taken a step back after they appeared to be heading in the right direction last year.

It is looking more and more like top prospect Wil Myers won't get the call-up this year, but 26-year-old David Lough has been promoted and taken over as the everyday right fielder and leadoff hitter.


img 24: Toronto Blue Jays (60-73, Previous: 25)

Last Week's Record: 4-3

The Blue Jays fall out of contention this season was a swift one, as their roster was absolutely decimated by injury and still has 11 players currently on the disabled list.

While the injuries clearly hurt them this season, in the long run, guys like Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra and Adeiny Hechavarria have all gained valuable experience this season which should only help the team moving forward.


img 25: Miami Marlins (59-75, Previous: 24)

Last Week's Record: 1-4

The Marlins have a number of spots up for grabs in 2013, as they look to rebuild just one year after spending big in free agency before blowing things up at the deadline with the team struggling.

Catcher Rob Brantly, who was acquired from the Tigers in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante deal has taken over as the everyday catcher and the 23-year-old has a good chance of serving in that role moving forward, even with John Buck on the books for $6 million next season.


26: Colorado Rockies (55-77, Previous: 27)

Last Week's Record: 4-2

It's been a lost season for the Rockies, as the team has been unable to overcome a consistently ineffective starting rotation despite a solid offensive attack.

Jhoulys Chacin has looked sharp in three starts since missing over three months with injury, going 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA. That, coupled with the impending return of superstar Troy Tulowitzki who has a rehab plan mapped out for the coming week (Troy Renck of Denver Post) should at least give fans some cause for optimism.


img 27: Minnesota Twins (55-79, Previous: 28)

Last Week's Record: 3-4

The Twins offense remains a strength, but it is the development and transition of their pitching staff that will determine how quickly they an return to contention. Scott Diamond looks like a keeper, and Samuel Deduno has been solid in 10 starts but there's not much else to like about their rotation.

Offensively, 24-year-old slugger Chris Parmelee will be one to watch down the stretch as he will see everyday at-bats in right field until Denard Span returns but is auditioning to be the long-term answer at first base once Justin Morneau's contract is up after next season.


28: Cleveland Indians (56-78, Previous: 26)

Last Week's Record: 1-6

The Indians have gone a dismal 17-40 since July 1, as they went from fringe contenders to arguably the worst team in the American League.

They have a lot of work to do this offseason, as their rotation is full of holes and their lineup, which has a solid base of young talent, needs some serious help at key positions as well. With a weak farm system and little tradable veteran talent, the rebuilding process in Cleveland could be a long, slow one.


29: Chicago Cubs (51-82, Previous: 29)

Last Week's Record: 2-5

The season's final month will be all about talent evaluation for the Cubs, as guys like Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters and Wellington Castillo will be playing for a shot at an everyday job next season.

The rotation could change on a weekly basis from here on out, as Brooks Raley has been shut down and ace Jeff Samardzija could be headed that way. Chris Rusin will make his second start of the season on Tuesday and will be auditioning for a role next year as well.


30: Houston Astros (41-93, Previous: 30)

Last Week's Record: 1-5

It was another rough week for the Astros, as they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs before September 1 and are on pace to lose 113 games.

Their September call-ups could see as much action as any in baseball, and third baseman Matt Dominguez is certainly auditioning for an everyday job next season. The biggest headline grabber right now, however, is the potential return of 50-year-old Roger Clemens to the team.


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