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Updated MLB Power Rankings and Team Analysis

Joel ReuterFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2017

Updated MLB Power Rankings and Team Analysis

1 of 31

    With just a week and a half remaining in the 2012 MLB season, teams have just three series left to make their postseason push.

    While three of the five playoff spots have been secured in the National League, nothing has been decided in the American League to this point, and the end of the season promises to be an exciting one.

    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 (50-103, Previous: 30)

2 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    2-4

     

    Team Outlook

    It's safe to say that next season's move to the AL West won't be an easy one for the Astros, as they will likely spend the foreseeable future in last place.

    After trading off all of their veterans, they have been able to get some of their young players some valuable experience in the second half. Expect top prospects Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart to make an impact early next season and be a cause for excitement.

     

    Current Lineup

    2B Jose Altuve
    LF Fernando Martinez
    1B Brett Wallace
    CF Justin Maxwell
    SS Jed Lowrie
    3B Matt Dominguez
    C Jason Castro
    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 (58-94, Previous: 29)

3 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    0-7

     

    Team Outlook

    The Rockies have lost nine straight, as they limp down the home stretch and close out what has been a terrible season, destined to be the first 100-loss year in franchise history.

    Starter Jorge De La Rosa made his season debut last week, as he looks to get in some time down the stretch and return to the form that made him a 16-game winner back in 2009. Regardless, his $11 million option will be declined, but he could be brought back to a team in desperate need of viable starters if he can show something late.


    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 Jhoulys Chacin
    SP Jorge De La Rosa
    CL Rafael Betancourt

28. Chicago Cubs (59-94, Previous: 28)

4 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    1-6

     

    Team Outlook

    It's a fierce battle at the bottom of the standings between the Cubs and Rockies over who will have the second-worst record in baseball this season. 

    The emergence of Anthony Rizzo (.290 BA, 14 HR, 45 RBI) continues to provide hope for the future, and the impressive season of Alfonso Soriano (.263 BA, 31 HR, 105 RBI) continues to make Cubs' fans wonder where that has been the past five years.

     

    Current Lineup 

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

     

    Current Rotation

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

27. Cleveland Indians (63-90, Previous: 27)

5 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    2-4

     

    Team Outlook

    After contending early on in the season, the Indians now appear to be a complete teardown effort moving forward after going 19-49 since the All-Star break.

    They could look to move Shin-Soo Choo and Justin Masterson this offseason in an effort to boost what is a thin farm system, but regardless of what they do, it looks like the Indians have an uphill battle ahead of them.

     

    Current Lineup

    RF Shin-Soo Choo
    2B Jason Kipnis
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    C Carlos Santana
    CF Michael Brantley
    DH Travis Hafner
    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. Toronto Blue Jays (66-85, Previous: 21)

6 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    0-6

     

    Team Outlook

    The Blue Jays have had as bad of luck as any team in baseball this season, as seemingly everyone on their roster has spent significant time on the disabled list.

    One player who has avoided the injury bug is Edwin Encarnacion (.281 BA, 40 HR, 103 RBI), and with him in the fold next season alongside a good core of big leaguers and one of the strongest minor-league systems in baseball, the Blue Jays need only stay healthy to be contenders next season.


    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

25. Miami Marlins (66-87, Previous: 24)

7 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    1-5

     

    Team Outlook

    As far as disappointments go, the Marlins have been as disappointing as it comes this year after spending big on free agents for their fancy new stadium in the offseason.

    After selling big at the deadline, and with them perhaps looking to deal Josh Johnson this offseason, they are now building a good foundation of prospects for future success. It may take longer than the quick fix they were hoping for this year, but they are heading in the right direction long term.

     

    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

24. Minnesota Twins (64-89, Previous: 26)

8 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    3-2

     

    Team Outlook

    Behind a rejuvenated Joe Mauer (.323 BA, 10 HR, 83 RBI) and impressive free-agent signing Josh Willingham (.261 BA, 35 HR, 110 RBI), the Twins' offense has ranked among the best in baseball this season.

    Pitching will be what determines their success in the short term, and that is something that their farm system—and big-league roster, for that matter—are short on. The return of Kyle Gibson from Tommy John surgery and work on the free-agent market will determine how quickly they can return to relevance in the AL Central.

     

    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

23. New York Mets (69-83, Previous: 25)

9 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Mets' second-half slide has overshadowed what was a surprisingly good first half, and the team has the pieces to put together more sustained success moving forward.

    Re-signing David Wright will be a big first step, but with top pitching prospects Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler ready to join Cy Young candidate R.A. Dickey (19-6, 2.66 ERA) atop the Mets' rotation, the future is bright.

     

    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 Jeremy Hefner
    SP Jon Niese
    SP Jenrry Mejia 
    SP Chris Young
    CL Frank Francisco

22. Boston Red Sox (69-85, Previous: 23)

10 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    3-4

     

    Team Outlook

    For all the bad luck and results the Red Sox have had this season, they were equally lucky to find a team willing to take on $270 million in payroll.

    In total, the team will have roughly $80 million in payroll free this offseason alone, and it will be very interesting to see what direction the team goes—whether it opts for a slow, sustainable, ground-up rebuild or for a big-spending offseason and possible quick return to contention.

     

    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

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

21. Seattle Mariners (72-81, Previous: 20)

11 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    2-4

     

    Team Outlook

    It's been a tough season for the Mariners, especially on the offensive side of things, but the future is bright for a team with one of the best farm systems in baseball. If nothing else, they can take solace in the fact that they should have no problem finishing ahead of last place next season thanks to the Astros' arrival.

    I recently wrote an article on the top-20 prospects expected to debut next season and included Nick Franklin, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen from the Mariners as impact players on their way. Those three, along with Jesus Montero, Kyle Seager, Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas will form a solid core that should only get better.


    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
    CL Tom Wilhelmsen

20. Kansas City Royals (70-82, Previous: 22)

12 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    By virtue of other teams struggling mightily down the stretch, the Royals have continued to climb up these rankings. They played spoiler in taking two of three from the White Sox to open the week.

    Top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi made his big-league debut last week, going 5.1 innings and allowing three runs in a loss. He'll be an integral part of the team's future, as will Wil Myers, as the team continues to build around their homegrown core of players with more homegrown players.

     

    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

19. San Diego Padres (73-80, Previous: 18)

13 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    2-4


    Team Outlook

    The Padres made a valiant run at the Diamondbacks for third place in the NL West, but it looks as though they'll have to settle for fourth place.

    That said, the team has an impressive young core of players led by breakout star Chase Headley and what I feel is the deepest farm system in all of baseball, currently fronted by second baseman Jedd Gyorko (.311 BA, 30 HR, 100 RBI). The future is very bright in San Diego.

     

    Current Lineup

    SS Everth Cabrera
    2B Logan Forsythe
    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 Eric Stults
    SP Andrew Werner
    SP Casey Kelly
    CL Huston Street

18. Pittsburgh Pirates (75-77, Previous: 17)

14 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    2-5

     

    Team Outlook

    The dream appears to be over for the Pirates, as they have fallen to 6.5 games behind the Cardinals for the second wild-card spot.

    They still have a chance at a winning season, which would be a long-awaited step forward, but the team is headed for bigger things in the near future. Prospects Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson have gotten a taste of the big-league rotation this season and will likely be joined by Gerrit Cole next season, as the team looks to build a rotation to match its solid, young lineup.


    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

17. Arizona Diamondbacks (77-75, Previous: 19)

15 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    5-1

     

    Team Outlook

    The Diamondbacks won't go away in the NL wild-card chase, and with four games against the Rockies and three against the Cubs remaining on their schedule, they certainly still have a chance.

    Top prospect Adam Eaton has provided a spark atop the lineup (.380 OBP, 15 R, 16 G), and with a strong rotation backed by one of the best bullpens in all of baseball, they have the horses to make a run not just at a wild-card spot, but beyond.


    Current Lineup

    CF Adam Eaton
    2B Aaron Hill
    LF Jason Kubel
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    C Miguel Montero 
    RF Justin Upton
    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

16. Philadelphia Phillies (77-76, Previous: 16)

16 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    A 20-9 stretch by the Phillies has pulled the team back from the depths and into contention for a wild-card spot. At five games back, their hopes are slim, but they will end the season on a positive note nonetheless.

    Their core group of superstars is not getting any younger, and their minor-league system is thin, as the Phillies will need to begin taking steps toward the future while still making use of their competitive core in the short term.


    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. Los Angeles Dodgers (79-74, Previous: 14)

17 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    With the Giants having run away with the NL West, the Dodgers have only the wild card to rely on if they hope to make the postseason, and they are currently three games behind the Cardinals for the final spot.

    For all of their wheeling and dealing in July and August, they have not been able to come together and make a sizable run of any sort down the stretch. With ace Clayton Kershaw battling a hip injury, their chances seem even slimmer, as they don't have their ace to lean heavily on (think Cardinals with Chris Carpenter last season) down the stretch.


    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 Kenley Jansen

14. Detroit Tigers (80-72, Previous: 11)

18 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Tigers had a chance to take charge in the AL Central with the Sox struggling to a 2-5 week, but they only managed to gain 1.5 games. They face the Royals seven times and the Twins three times to close out the season.

    Expect to see Justin Verlander pitching on short rest over the next week and a half, as the team looks to do whatever it takes. Also, Miguel Cabrera's run at the Triple Crown will likely take center stage if he remains in the hunt heading into the final games of the season.

     

    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

13. Chicago White Sox (81-71, Previous: 9)

19 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    2-5

     

    Team Outlook

    Try as the Tigers might to let them run away with the division, the White Sox seem intent on making things interesting in the AL Central, as they dropped two of three to the Royals to open the week and have lost five straight overall.

    That's left them clinging to a half-game lead in the division, and with six of their final 10 games against the lowly Indians, one would think they were in a good position to be playing in October. They're 8-4 on the season against the Indians, and if they can weather a four-game series with the Rays, they should be in decent shape. Then again, they could lose their next 10 the way they're playing right now, so who knows?


    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

12. Milwaukee Brewers (79-74, Previous: 15)

20 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    5-1

     

    Team Outlook

    Had the Brewers known they were going to make such an impressive late-season push, they may have thought twice about moving Zack Greinke at the deadline, as they've pulled into the thick of the wild-card race thanks to a 21-6 stretch.

    With prospects Michael Fiers and Wily Peralta teaming with swingman Marco Estrada in the rotation, the run has been an unlikely one. However, there is no ignoring the Brewers' offense. If they can take two of three from the Reds this week, they have a realistic shot at catching the Cardinals.


    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

11. Tampa Rays (83-70, Previous: 13)

21 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    5-2

     

    Team Outlook

    It looks as though the AL East will come down to the Orioles and Yankees, but thanks to a five-game winning streak, the Rays are still very much alive in the AL wild-card picture.

    As they have all season, they'll make it as far as their pitching and timely hitting can take them. Expect David Price (18-5, 2.58 ERA) to be at the ready for some big starts, perhaps on short rest, as the Rays look to capture some late-season magic once again this year.

     

    Current Lineup

    LF Desmond Jennings
    CF B.J. Upton
    SS Ben Zobrist
    3B Evan Longoria
    RF Matt Joyce
    2B Jeff Keppinger
    DH Luke Scott
    1B Carlos Pena
    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

10. St. Louis Cardinals (82-71, Previous: 12)

22 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    5-1

     

    Team Outlook

    The return of Chris Carpenter (5 IP, 2 ER, ND) may be just the boost the Cardinals need to hold off the charging Brewers, among others, for the second NL wild-card spot.

    The team opens this week with a three-game series against the Astros before closing things out with the Nationals and Reds. As daunting as that sounds, it may work in their favor, as those teams could be resting guys for the postseason at that point.


    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 Lance Lynn
    SP Chris Carpenter
    CL Jason Motte

9. Los Angeles Angels (84-69, Previous: 10)

23 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    After closing out last week with a sweep of the White Sox, the Angels have a pair of three-game series with the Mariners sandwiched between a three-game series with the division-leading Rangers.

    He got off to a shaky start in Los Angeles, but Zack Greinke has been a stud over his last six starts, going 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA and lasting at least seven innings each game. If their pitching can live up to its reputation on paper and the offense can continue to perform, the 2.5-game gap between them and the A's could be bridged.


    Current Lineup

    CF Mike Trout
    RF Torii Hunter
    1B Albert Pujols
    DH Kendrys Morales
    2B Howie Kendrick
    SS Erick Aybar
    LF Vernon Wells
    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

8. Oakland Athletics (86-66, Previous: 4)

24 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    2-4

     

    Team Outlook

    The A's have dropped five of their past seven games, as the Angels have pulled within 2.5 games of them for the final wild-card spot. Things don't get easier, either, as they have seven games remaining against the Rangers.

    After losing their top-two starters in Bartolo Colon and Brandon McCarthy, the A's lost another arm this past week when Brett Anderson was lost for the rest of the season with a strained oblique. Do the A's have enough second-half magic left to hold on and capture a wild-card spot?


    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 Jarrod Parker
    SP Tommy Milone
    SP A.J. Griffin
    SP Daniel Straily
    SP Travis Blackley
    CL Grant Balfour

7. Baltimore Orioles (87-65, Previous: 8)

25 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    5-1

     

    Team Outlook

    The Orioles have a relatively easy road this coming week, facing off against the struggling Blue Jays and Rays. And while the postseason is their ultimate goal, they will be looking to overtake the Yankees and capture the AL East crown.

    Top prospect Dylan Bundy made his big-league debut on Sunday at the age of 19, and he'll serve as another cog in what has been a true team effort on the hill for the Orioles this season. Offensively, power continues to be their calling card, with five players over 20 home runs, led by Adam Jones' 31.


    Current Lineup

    LF Nate McLouth
    SS J.J. Hardy
    CF Adam Jones 
    C Matt Wieters
    DH Jim Thome
    1B Mark Reynolds
    RF Chris Davis
    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 

6. New York Yankees (88-64, Previous: 7)

26 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    5-1

     

    Team Outlook

    With the Orioles right on their heels, the Yankees close out the season with what should be a relatively easy slate of games. They'll take on the Twins and Blue Jays on the road this coming week before closing things out with three games against the rival Red Sox.

    After a slow start in the Bronx, Ichiro has come around in a big way and is currently hitting .331 with five home runs, 23 RBI and 21 runs since joining the Yankees. Andy Pettitte rejoined the rotation last week with five shutout innings, and he could be a big contributor down the stretch as well.

     

    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

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

5. Atlanta Braves (88-65, Previous: 5)

27 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    With a six-game lead over the second-place team, the Braves have the No. 1 wild-card spot in the NL locked up, and they'll be a tough draw for whoever comes away with the other wild card.

    They close the season against the Mets, Marlins and Pirates, as they should be able to coast into the postseason. It will be interesting to see how the Braves stack their postseason rotation, and whether they'll go with veteran Tim Hudson or emergent ace Kris Medlen as their No. 1 starter.

     

    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. San Francisco Giants (89-64, Previous: 6)

28 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    6-1

     

    Team Outlook

    All season, the Reds, Nationals and Rangers have clearly been a notch ahead of the rest of MLB, but as they have continued to play well and run away with the NL West, the Giants have effectively joined that trio in the upper echelon of MLB teams.

    With a legitimate MVP candidate in Buster Posey (.332 BA, 23 HR, 98 RBI) and a starting rotation that rivals any in baseball fronted by Matt Cain (15-5, 2.86 ERA), Madison Bumgarner (16-10, 3.26 ERA) and Ryan Vogelsong (13-9, 3.58 ERA), they should be a dangerous team come October.

     

    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

3. Texas Rangers (90-62, Previous: 2)

29 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Rangers remain the cream of the AL crop, and they'll need to defend their spot atop the AL West to close out the season, with seven games against the A's and three against the Angels.

    Rookie Yu Darvish has emerged as a legitimate staff ace of late, going 5-1 with a 2.13 ERA and 10.8 K/9 in his past seven starts. He and Matt Harrison, alongside Ryan Dempster and Derek Holland, should give the Rangers more than enough pitching to back their potent lineup down the stretch.

     

    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 

2. Washington Nationals (93-60, Previous: 1)

30 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    3-3


    Team Outlook

    The Nationals haven't lost a beat since shutting down Stephen Strasburg, as they are still in the race for the best record in baseball. They've already clinched the first playoff berth in Washington since the 1933 Washington Senators.

    John Lannan got roughed up in his last start (3.2 IP, 6 ER) and the team could give Chien Ming-Wang a start the next time through the rotation. Either way, neither of them will be part of the postseason roster, and the four who will continue to be among the best in all of baseball.

     

    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
    SP Chien-Ming Wang
    CL Tyler Clippard

1. Cincinnati Reds (92-61, Previous: 3)

31 of 31

    Last Week's Record

    4-2

     

    Team Outlook 

    With a healthy lineup and a rotation that has seen their five Opening Day starters make every start but one this season, little has changed for the Reds since the start of the season.

    Jonathan Broxton has been a big addition in the setup role, but aside from that, things have gone exactly according to plan for the Reds this season. Todd Frazier is one of the front-runners for NL Rookie of the Year and Johnny Cueto should get plenty of support for Cy Young.

     

    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

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