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

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2012

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 15:  Johnny Cueto #47 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 15, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Jason Arnold/Getty Images)
Jason Arnold/Getty Images

With a week and a half left in the regular season, where does your favorite team stand in this week's MLB power rankings?


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

Last Week's Record: 4-2

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 the Cy Young.


img 2: Washington Nationals (92-60, Previous: 1)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

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.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-3

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.


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

Last Week's Record: 6-1

All season, the Reds, Nationals and Rangers have clearly been a notch ahead of the rest of the 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 4-2

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.


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

Last Week's Record: 5-1

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 BA, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 21 R 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 5-1

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 with 31.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-4

The A's have dropped five of their past seven games and 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?


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

Last Week's Record: 4-2

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 going 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 5-1

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 next 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 5-2

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.


12: Milwaukee Brewers (79-73, Previous: 15)

Last Week's Record: 5-1

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, and if they can take two of three from the Reds this week they have a realistic shot at catching the Cardinals.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-5

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.


14: Detroit Tigers (80-71, Previous: 11)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

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.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-3

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 on heavily (think Cardinals with Chris Carpenter last season) down the stretch.


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

Last Week's Record: 4-2

A 20-9 stretch by the Phillies has pulled the team back from the depth and into contention for a wild-card spot. A 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, so the Phillies will need to begin taking steps towards the future while still making use of their competitive core in the short term.


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

Last Week's Record: 5-1

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 to a wild-card spot, but beyond.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-5

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 their solid young lineup.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-4

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 in 2012). The future is very bright in San Diego.


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

Last Week's Record: 4-2

By virtue of other teams struggling mightily down the stretch, the Royals have continued to climb up these rankings, and 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 its homegrown core of players with more homegrown players.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-4 

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 out 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-4

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 they opt for a slow, sustainable ground-up rebuild or opt for a big-spending offseason and possible quick return to contention.


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

Last Week's Record: 3-3

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.


img 24: Minnesota Twins (63-89, Previous: 26)

Last Week's Record: 3-2

Behind a rejuvenated Joe Mauer (.326 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 1-5

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.


img 26: Toronto Blue Jays (66-85, Previous: 21)

Last Week's Record: 0-6

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.


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

Last Week's Record: 2-4

After contending early on in the season, the Indians now appear to be a complete tear-down 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.


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

Last Week's Record: 1-6

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.


29: Colorado Rockies (58-94, Previous: 29)

Last Week's Record: 0-7

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.


30: Houston Astros (50-103, Previous: 30)

Last Week's Record: 2-4

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 to be a cause for excitement.


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