Updated MLB Power Rankings

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2012

Updated MLB Power Rankings

0 of 30

    With just over two weeks remaining in the 2012 MLB season, playoff races around the league are reaching their boiling points.

    Most contenders took care of business this past week, so there was not much movement in this week's power rankings nor in the standings.

    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 (48-99, Previous: 30)

1 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    4-3

     

    Team Outlook

    A winning week helped keep the Astros from reaching the 100-loss mark, as they took three of four from a streaking Phillies team to close out the week. 

    Shortstop Jed Lowrie returned from injury last week, as he'll look to pick back up on what was a breakout season. They'll have a chance to play spoiler again this coming week as they take on the Cardinals and Pirates.

     

    Current Lineup

    2B Jose Altuve
    SS Jed Lowrie
    1B Brett Wallace
    CF Justin Maxwell
    C Jason Castro
    LF Fernando Martinez
    3B Matt Dominguez
    RF Jimmy Paredes
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Lucas Harrell
    SP Jordan Lyles
    SP Bud Norris
    SP Fernando Abad
    SP Edgar Gonzalez
    SP Dallas Keuchel
    CL Wilton Lopez

29. Colorado Rockies (58-87, Previous: 28)

2 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    2-4

     

    Team Outlook

    It's been a rough season for the Rockies, but it has not been without its bright spots as young players like Wilin Rosario (.259 BA, 24 HR, 64 RBI), Josh Rutledge (.291 BA, 8 HR, 32 RBI) and Jordan Pacheco (.301 BA, 4 HR, 45 RBI) have shown that there is some hope for the future.

    Their pitching is still rough; some strong starts by Drew Pomeranz and Alex White down the stretch would be nice to build off of moving forward. With an MLB-worst team ERA of 5.15, there's no question their staff needs an overhaul this offseason.


    Current Lineup

    CF Dexter Fowler
    SS Josh Rutledge 
    LF Carlos Gonzalez
    C Wilin Rosario
    RF Tyler Colvin
    1B Jordan Pacheco
    3B Chris Nelson
    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

28. Chicago Cubs (58-88, Previous: 29)

3 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    The Cubs have gone 7-2 in their last nine games, including five of six against the Pirates to put the latter team's playoff chances in serious jeopardy.

    Rookie Anthony Rizzo (.300 BA, 14 HR, 43 RBI) continues to show the makings of a future superstar, while Alfonso Soriano reached the 100-RBI mark this past week as he continues to enjoy a resurgent season.

     

    Current Lineup 

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

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Travis Wood
    SP Justin Germano 
    SP Chris Volstad
    SP Chris Rusin
    SP Jason Berken 
    CL Carlos Marmol

27. Cleveland Indians (61-86, Previous: 27)

4 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    2-5

     

    Team Outlook

    It's hard to believe that the Indians were legitimate contenders as recently as July, but they've gone just 10-34 since the beginning of August and now rank as one of the worst teams in the league.

    Prospect Lonnie Chisenhall has moved into the everyday third base role and hit .333/.444/.600 in six games since being recalled. He'll look to win the starting job for next season with a strong performance down the stretch.

     

    Current Lineup

    RF Shin-Soo Choo
    2B Jason Kipnis
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    C Carlos Santana
    CF Michael Brantley
    DH Russ Canzler
    3B Lonnie Chisenhall
    1B Casey Kotchman
    LF Ezequiel Carrera 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Justin Masterson
    SP Ubaldo Jimenez
    SP Zach McAllister
    SP Corey Kluber
    SP Jeanmar Gomez
    SP David Huff
    CL Chris Perez

26. Minnesota Twins (60-87, Previous: 26)

5 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    2-5

     

    Team Outlook

    The Twins offense has been one of the best in the American League this season, but they continue to have trouble winning games behind one of the worst rotations in baseball.

    Joe Mauer (.321 BA, 10 HR, 77 RBI) is enjoying a terrific bounce-back season, and Josh Willingham (34 HR, 105 RBI) has been perhaps the best bargain signing of the offseason. If the Twins can address their starting pitching this offseason, they have the offensive core to be a contender again very soon.

     

    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Scott Diamond
    SP Liam Hendriks
    SP Samuel Deduno 
    SP P.J. Walters
    SP Esmerling Vasquez
    CL Glen Perkins

25. New York Mets (66-80, Previous: 22)

6 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    1-5

     

    Team Outlook

    The Mets' second-half slide has been a big one, as they've gone 20-40 since the All-Star break. However, they have a good, young group of players that should help them return to contention.

    The team is getting a glimpse at the future of their rotation alongside Matt Harvey. Prospect Jenrry Mejia has joined the rotation for the season's final month, and fellow top prospect Jeurys Familia is pitching out of the bullpen.

     

    Current Lineup

    SS Ruben Tejada
    2B Daniel Murphy
    3B David Wright
    1B Ike Davis
    LF Lucas Duda
    RF Mike Baxter
    C Kelly Shoppach
    CF Andres Torres
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP R.A. Dickey
    SP Matt Harvey
    SP Jon Niese
    SP Jenrry Mejia 
    SP Chris Young
    SP Collin McHugh 
    CL Frank Francisco

24. Miami Marlins (65-82, Previous: 23)

7 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    2-4

     

    Team Outlook

    The Marlins have undoubtedly been a huge disappointment this season. They have an interesting road ahead as far as building their team into a winner after spending and then selling big.

    Catcher Rob Brantly (.317/.427/.508), who was acquired from the Tigers at the deadline, looks like he'll be a big part of the team's future. Slugger Giancarlo Stanton has matched his career best with 34 home runs this season, doing it in 92 fewer at-bats than he did in 2011 as he continues to emerge as one of the game's top young hitters.

     

    Current Lineup

    LF Bryan Petersen
    CF Justin Ruggiano
    SS Jose Reyes
    RF Giancarlo Stanton
    1B Carlos Lee
    3B Greg Dobbs
    2B Donovan Solano
    C Rob Brantly
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Josh Johnson
    SP Mark Buehrle
    SP Ricky Nolasco
    SP Nathan Eovaldi
    SP Jacob Turner
    SP Wade LeBlanc
    CL Steven Cishek

23. Boston Red Sox (66-81, Previous: 25)

8 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Red Sox have had a long year and are well out of contention at this point, but they'll play a huge role in determining the postseason picture in the American League.

    With six games each against the Rays and Orioles and three games against the Yankees, they could certainly do some damage to those teams' October hopes. The real fun for Red Sox fans will start this offseason though, as the team has roughly $80 million coming off of their payroll.

     

    Current Lineup

    CF Jacoby Ellsbury
    LF Scott Podsednik
    2B Dustin Pedroia
    1B James Loney
    RF Cody Ross
    C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    DH Mike Aviles
    SS Jose Iglesias
    3B Pedro Ciriaco

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Jon Lester
    SP Clay Buchholz
    SP Felix Doubront
    SP Aaron Cook
    SP Daisuke Matsuzaka
    CL Andrew Bailey

22. Kansas City Royals (66-80, Previous: 24)

9 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Royals have seven games against the Tigers and three against the White Sox down the stretch, as they have a chance to end the season on a positive note. 

    Salvador Perez (.310 BA, 11 HR, 36 RBI) has looked fantastic over just 245 at-bats this season, and Billy Butler (.310 BA, 27 HR, 95 RBI) has taken his offense to the next level. Top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi was called up on Sunday, as he'll be auditioning for a rotation spot next season.

     

    Current Lineup

    CF David Lough
    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 Jeremy Guthrie
    SP Will Smith
    SP Jake Odorizzi
    CL Greg Holland

21. Toronto Blue Jays (66-79, Previous: 21)

10 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    2-4

     

    Team Outlook

    The Blue Jays will no doubt be happy to put this injury-riddled season behind them in a couple weeks. They had the players to make some serious noise in the AL East this season but were hit harder by the injury bug then perhaps anyone else.

    Edwin Encarnacion (40 HR, 102 RBI, .947 OPS) has been the breakout star of 2012 at the plate. The three-year, $27 million extension they signed him to is now looking like an absolute steal.


    Current Lineup

    3B Brett Lawrie
    CF Colby Rasmus
    1B Edwin Encarnacion
    DH Adam Lind
    SS Yunel Escobar
    2B Kelly Johnson
    C J.P. Arencibia
    RF Moises Sierra
    LF Rajai Davis

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Ricky Romero
    SP Brandon Morrow
    SP Carlos Villanueva
    SP Henderson Alvarez
    SP Aaron Laffey
    CL Casey Janssen

20. Seattle Mariners (70-77, Previous: 20)

11 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Mariners play nothing but contenders from here on out, with series against the Orioles, Rangers, Angels and A's before closing things out with another three games against the Angels.

    With one of the best farm systems in all of baseball and a number of top prospects currently in the high minors, expect the Mariners roster to look dramatically different at this time next season as they begin their homegrown rebuild.


    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Felix Hernandez
    SP Jason Vargas
    SP Kevin Millwood
    SP Hisashi Iwakuma
    SP Blake Beavan
    SP Erasmo Ramirez
    SP Hector Noesi
    CL Tom Wilhelmsen

19. Arizona Diamondbacks (72-74, Previous: 18)

12 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    3-2

     

    Team Outlook

    The Diamondbacks remain on the fringe of the playoff picture, as they are currently 4.5 games back in the wild card. However, there are six teams ahead of them in the standings and a lot will have to break right for them to be playing in October.

    Prospect Adam Eaton has taken over as the everyday center fielder after he hit .375/.456/.523 between Double-A and Triple-A this season. It will be interesting to see what they do with their rotation next season, as Daniel Hudson and Trevor Bauer will be in the running for a spot alongside their five current starters.


    Current Lineup

    CF Adam Eaton
    2B Aaron Hill
    LF Jason Kubel
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    RF Justin Upton
    C Miguel Montero 
    3B Chris Johnson
    SS John McDonald
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Ian Kennedy
    SP Trevor Cahill
    SP Wade Miley
    SP Patrick Corbin
    SP Tyler Skaggs
    CL J.J. Putz

18. San Diego Padres (71-76, Previous: 19)

13 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    5-1


    Team Outlook

    The Padres are 19-6 in their past 25 games, as they are now just six games out of the NL Wild Card and playing some of the best baseball of anyone in the league right now.

    With a deep farm system—and after the decision to keep their veteran pieces at the deadline—the Padres could be right in the thick of things in the NL West next season. Third baseman Chase Headley (.284 BA, 28 HR, 104 RBI) has emerged as one of the best hitters in the league.

     

    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Edinson Volquez
    SP Clayton Richard
    SP Eric Stults
    SP Andrew Werner
    SP Casey Kelly
    SP Andrew Cashner
    CL Luke Gregerson

17. Pittsburgh Pirates (73-72, Previous: 15)

14 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    1-5

     

    Team Outlook

    The Pirates have hit the skids of late, going 3-12 in their last 15 games and falling behind the streaking Brewers and into fourth place in the NL Central.

    While the offense has turned things around in the second half, the pitching has gone in the other direction, and the team has shuffled their rotation a number of times of late. That said, Jeff Locke is gaining some valuable experience and Gerrit Cole could win a rotation spot next spring as the rotation should be better down the line.


    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

    SP A.J. Burnett
    SP Wandy Rodriguez
    SP Jeff Locke
    SP Kevin Correia
    SP Kyle McPherson
    CL Joel Hanrahan

16. Philadelphia Phillies (73-74, Previous: 17)

15 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    4-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Phillies used a seven-game winning streak to climb into the playoff picture but fell back to earth when they dropped three of four to the Astros to close out last week.

    They're not getting any younger, but if they can stay healthy next season, they do still have the tools to compete. However, their farm system is thin; their window of contention may well be closing.


    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Roy Halladay
    SP Cliff Lee
    SP Cole Hamels
    SP Kyle Kendrick
    SP Tyler Cloyd
    CL Jonathan Papelbon

15. Milwaukee Brewers (74-72, Previous: 16)

16 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    5-1

     

    Team Outlook

    The Brewers are 19-6 over their past 25 games, as they have passed the Pirates in the NL Central and finally pulled over .500 with a win against the Braves on Wednesday.

    Ryan Braun is putting up another MVP-caliber season (.312 BA, 40 HR, 103 RBI, 24 SB); teamed with Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez, the team has one of the best middles of the order in baseball. Young starting pitching is reason for excitement too, as Wily Peralta and Michael Fiers look to be the real deal.


    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 Michael Fiers
    SP Marco Estrada
    SP Shaun Marcum
    SP Wily Peralta
    CL John Axford

14. Los Angeles Dodgers (76-71, Previous: 13)

17 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    2-4

     

    Team Outlook

    The Dodgers have as tough a schedule as anyone the rest of the way: They play the Nationals, Reds and Giants as well as the vastly improved Padres. Their only easy series is three games against the Rockies, against whom they've gone just 7-8 on the season.

    Lack of a reliable starter behind Clayton Kershaw remains a big issue, as do the struggles of deadline acquisitions Adrian Gonzalez and Shane Victorino. In other words, they have their work cut out for them if they hope to make the postseason.


    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Clayton Kershaw
    SP Aaron Harang
    SP Chris Capuano
    SP Josh Beckett
    SP Joe Blanton
    SP Stephen Fife
    CL Brandon League

13. Tampa Bay Rays (78-68, Previous: 10)

18 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    1-5

     

    Team Outlook

    With a win over the Yankees two weeks ago, the Rays had pulled within 1.5 games of New York in the AL East, but they've gone 3-7 since then and now sit four games back for the second wild-card spot in the AL.

    Six of their next nine games are against the Red Sox, so they have a chance to regain some ground. However, they wrap things up with series against the White Sox and Orioles in what will be a tough way to end the season.

     

    Current Lineup

    LF Desmond Jennings
    CF B.J. Upton
    RF Matt Joyce
    3B Evan Longoria
    SS Ben Zobrist
    DH Luke Scott
    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
    SP Chris Archer
    CL Fernando Rodney

12. St. Louis Cardinals (77-70, Previous: 11)

19 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    2-5

     

    Team Outlook

    After sitting in third place behind the Reds and Pirates in the NL Central for much of the season, the Cardinals have once again made a late-season push to climb into the playoff picture.

    Their next nine games are against the Astros, Cubs and the Astros again, as they have a great chance to put some distance between themselves and the field for the second wild-card spot. They are currently clinging to a one-game lead over the Dodgers.


    Current Lineup

    CF Jon Jay
    RF Carlos Beltran
    LF Matt Holliday
    1B Allen Craig
    C Yadier Molina
    3B David Freese
    2B Skip Schumaker
    SS Pete Kozma 
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

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

11. Detroit Tigers (77-68, Previous: 14)

20 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    The Tigers continue to battle it out with the White Sox for the AL Central crown, as they currently trail the Chicago White Sox by just two games. With so many teams in the wild-card hunt, it will likely be the division or nothing for one of those teams, so there is a lot riding on these next two weeks.

    Despite currently trailing, the Tigers could be considered favorites in the division as they have six games with the Twins and seven with the Royals once they finish up a three-game series with the A's to open this week.

     

    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

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

10. Los Angeles Angels (80-67, Previous: 9)

21 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    3-4

     

    Team Outlook

    The Angels climbed back into the playoff picture on the strength of an 11-1 stretch, but they've gone just 3-4 since and are currently 2.5 games back for the second wild card in the AL with no one between them and the Orioles.

    They have a tough week coming up as they face the White Sox and Rangers. If they can weather that storm, six of their final nine games are against the Mariners.


    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

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

9. Chicago White Sox (79-66, Previous: 12)

22 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    With 12 combined games remaining against the Royals, Twins and Indians, the White Sox appear to be in decent shape to hold onto their two-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central.

    The team has enjoyed unexpected levels of production from a number of players, and they will need guys like Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, A.J. Pierzynski and Jake Peavy to continue to play at a high level if they hope to hold off the Tigers and go anywhere in October.


    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

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

8. Baltimore Orioles (82-64, Previous: 8)

23 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    One of the hottest teams in baseball of late, the Orioles have done everything in their power to keep pace in the AL East. They've got a favorable schedule the rest of the way, as their season-ending series with the Rays are their only remaining games against a team above .500.

    After losing Nick Markakis to a fractured thumb earlier this month, the Orioles were dealt another blow this past weekend when DH/3B Wilson Betemit (.261 BA, 12 HR, 40 RBI) was lost for the season with a wrist injury.


    Current Lineup

    LF Nate McLouth
    SS J.J. Hardy
    CF Adam Jones 
    C Matt Wieters
    1B Mark Reynolds
    DH Chris Davis
    LF Lew Ford
    3B Manny Machado
    2B Robert Andino 

     

    Current Rotation 

    SP Wei-Yin Chen
    SP Joe Saunders
    SP Chris Tillman
    SP Zach Britton
    SP Randy Wolf
    SP Miguel Gonzalez
    CL Jim Johnson 

7. New York Yankees (83-63, Previous: 7)

24 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    The Yankees have been forced to shuffle around their lineup with Mark Teixeira sidelined by a calf injury, but they will benefit from the return of Ivan Nova from injury. He certainly ranks as an upgrade over Freddy Garcia.

    With seven more games against the Blue Jays, as well as a three-game series against the Twins, the Yankees appear to be in good shape to hold off the Orioles for the AL East title. Getting Teixeira back for playoffs and having Andy Pettitte pitch well upon his return would go a long way towards making the Yankees World Series contenders.


    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

    SP CC Sabathia
    SP Hiroki Kuroda
    SP Phil Hughes
    SP Ivan Nova
    SP David Phelps
    CL Rafael Soriano

6. San Francisco Giants (83-63, Previous: 6)

25 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    The Giants have a comfortable lead in the NL West right now, as they are 7.5 games up on the Dodgers. Those two teams meet up to close out the season when the Giants could have a chance to play spoiler and keep the rival Dodgers out of the postseason.

    Catcher Buster Posey (.333/.407/.545, 22 HR, 93 RBI) has to be viewed as a legitimate NL MVP contender, and the pitching staff remains one of the best in the game. Even Barry Zito (12-8, 4.21 ERA) is having a solid season as the team has not missed a beat despite the struggles of ace Tim Lincecum (9-14, 5.09 ERA).

     

    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

5. Atlanta Braves (84-63, Previous: 4)

26 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Braves have had a firm hold on the first NL Wild Card spot for some time now, as they are currently seven games up on the Cardinals for the spot. 

    They swept the Nationals to close out last week and pull within 5.5 games of the NL East lead. Despite the fact that they will likely wind up as the wild card, they have to be viewed as legitimate title contenders. Kris Medlen remains the biggest X-factor, as he has pitched like an ace since moving to the rotation but lacks the proven track record of success.

     

    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

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

4. Oakland Athletics (84-62, Previous: 5)

27 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    5-2

     

    Team Outlook

    There has been no hotter team in baseball since the All-Star break than the A's, as they've gone 41-19 after a 43-43 start to the season. Not only that, but they've also been particularly good of late, winning eight of their last 10.

    The team lacks a true superstar but has gotten contributions from up and down the lineup all season long. It will be interesting to see how their incredibly young pitching staff—sans Bartolo Colon and Brandon McCarthy—handles the season's final weeks.


    Current Lineup

    CF Coco Crisp
    DH Seth Smith
    RF Josh Reddick
    LF Yoenis Cespedes
    1B Brandon Moss
    3B Josh Donaldson
    SS Stephen Drew
    C Derek Norris
    2B Cliff Pennington

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Tom Milone
    SP Jarrod Parker
    SP Brett Anderson
    SP A.J. Griffin
    SP Daniel Straily
    CL Grant Balfour

3. Cincinnati Reds (88-59, Previous: 3)

28 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook 

    The Reds have a bigger lead than any other division winner. They are 11 games up on the Cardinals in the NL Central and should be able to coast into the playoffs.

    Having Joey Votto back makes them all the more dangerous, but manager Dusty Baker has to find a way to get Todd Frazier into the lineup. The NL Rookie of the Year candidate was bumped to the bench in favor of Scott Rolen when he returned from injury. There is no question it was a step down in production.

     

    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

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

2. Texas Rangers (87-59, Previous: 2)

29 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    The Rangers welcomed back catcher Mike Napoli this past week, as the team no doubt hopes he can match the fantastic numbers he put up last October, his first season with the team.

    Yu Darvish has hit his stride of late, going 4-1 with a 2.32 ERA and 10.8 K/9 in his last six starts. He could be viewed as the ace of the staff right now and will be relied on heavily in the playoffs. The Rangers still need to hold off the charging A's though, as their division lead has shrunk to just three games. 

     

    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Derek Holland
    SP Yu Darvish
    SP Matt Harrison
    SP Ryan Dempster
    SP Martin Perez
    CL Joe Nathan 

1. Washington Nationals (89-57, Previous: 1)

30 of 30

    Last Week's Record

    3-3


    Team Outlook

    Despite shutting down Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals remain atop these rankings as they still have a fantastic pitching staff led by Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez (19-8, 2.95 ERA) and a well-balanced offensive attack.

    They have a relatively tough schedule the rest of the way, facing off against the Dodgers, Brewers and Cardinals, along with six games against the Phillies. They should have no problem holding off the Braves for the division crown and bringing postseason baseball to our nation's capital for the first time since the 1933 Washington Senators.

     

    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 Gio Gonzalez
    SP Jordan Zimmermann
    SP Edwin Jackson
    SP Ross Detwiler
    SP John Lannan
    CL Tyler Clippard