MLB Power Rankings: An Updated Look at Where All 30 Teams Stand

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2016

MLB Power Rankings: An Updated Look at Where All 30 Teams Stand

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Roughly one-third of the 2016 MLB season has been played, and at this point everyone is still chasing the Chicago Cubs.

    The No. 1 team in our weekly power rankings for 10 straight weeks dating back to Opening Day, the Cubs have been nothing short of dominant aside from a brief hiccup in the middle of May where they went 4-8 over a 12-game stretch.

    Meanwhile, teams continue to jostle for position in the rankings behind them, and for the fourth straight week we have a new No. 2 team.

    There are 16 teams in all with a winning record, but the hottest team in baseball might be the Houston Astros, who are still two games under .500 but have gone 11-2 over the past two weeks to climb from the depths back to relevance.

    One thing remains true: These rankings are a fluid process, with teams moving up or down based on where they ranked the previous week. If a club keeps winning, it will keep climbing—it's as simple as that.

    Here's a look at where all 30 MLB teams stand.

30. Minnesota Twins (16-40, Previous: 28)

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    SS Eduardo Nunez
    SS Eduardo NunezBruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-6

    Last season, the Minnesota Twins were slow out of the gates before turning in a 20-7 month of May that they used to stay in contention well into the second half.

    Any hopes that they'd follow a similar path this season were quickly halted when they suffered an eight-game losing streak at the beginning of May, and things didn't get much better from there as they'd finish the month with an 8-19 record.

    At this point, they look like clear sellers when July rolls around and strong contenders for the worst record in baseball.

    Reliever Fernando Abad (25 G, 0.92 ERA, 8.2 K/9) might be their most attractive trade chip, while guys like Trevor Plouffe, Ricky Nolasco and Tommy Milone could also be shopped with limited value.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Eduardo Nunez (.320/.337/.550, 8 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 13 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Pat Dean (1-1, 3.43 ERA, 1.238 WHIP, 20 K, 21.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Pat Dean (1-1, 3.43 ERA, 1.238 WHIP, 20 K, 21.0 IP)

29. Atlanta Braves (16-40, Previous: 29)

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    SP Julio Teheran
    SP Julio TeheranCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    The Atlanta Braves won just five games in April, so their 10-18 performance in the month of Maywhile far from impressivewas a marked improvement.

    The continued resurgence of Julio Teheran was the highlight, as he was tied for third among pitchers who threw at least 30 innings last month with a 1.38 ERA, trailing only Clayton Kershaw (0.91) and Madison Bumgarner (1.05) and matching Jose Fernandez.

    The 25-year-old will no doubt be shopped at the deadline, but the Braves' asking price is understandably high, and general manager John Coppolella told Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball that he expects Teheran "to be on the team a long time."

    Alongside 23-year-old Matt Wisler (11 GS, 2-6, 3.98 ERA, 1.120 WHIP) and 24-year-old Mike Foltynewicz (6 GS, 2-2, 3.51 ERA, 1.260 WHIP), the team has some quality young arms to build around.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Gordon Beckham (.299/.405/.478, 6 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 9 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Julio Teheran (1-2, 1.38 ERA, 0.846 WHIP, 37 K, 39.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Mallex Smith (.267/.300/.493, 2 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 12 R)

28. Colorado Rockies (25-31, Previous: 25)

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    SP Jon Gray
    SP Jon GrayJeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    The Colorado Rockies closed out the month of May just three games under .500, but they began June with a four-game losing streak and series losses against the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres before avoiding a sweep Sunday night.

    They sit third in the NL West standings, but it's a distant third at 8.5 games back, and chances are they won't climb any higher between now and the end of the year.

    Tyler Chatwood (11 GS, 6-4, 2.99 ERA) has been terrific all year, and Jon Gray has finally started to pitch up to expectations, including a terrific start Sunday when he allowed five hits and two runs over seven innings while striking out a career-high 12.

    "Seeing a guy like him step up, pound the strike zone and dominate the opponent was great. Every team should have a pitcher like that, who whenever you are limping, he shows up and stops the bleeding. That's exactly what he did tonight," outfielder Carlos Gonzalez told reporters, including Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Charlie Blackmon (.316/.359/.556, 8 2B, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 15 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Tyler Chatwood (3-1, 2.65 ERA, 1.029 WHIP, 19 K, 34.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Jon Gray (3-2, 4.42 ERA, 1.118 WHIP, 37 K, 36.2 IP)

27. Cincinnati Reds (21-36, Previous: 30)

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    LF Adam Duvall
    LF Adam DuvallKen Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    A week after dropping to the No. 30 spot in these rankings, the Cincinnati Reds climb back up to No. 27 after picking up series wins against the Colorado Rockies and Washington Nationals.

    However, they are still five games behind the Milwaukee Brewers as they look to climb out of the NL Central cellar, and their minus-91 run differential is 29th in the majors ahead of only the Atlanta Braves (minus-93).

    Adam Duvall's .298 on-base percentage and 29.7 percent strikeout rate leave a lot to be desired, but the left fielder has nonetheless been one of the biggest surprises of 2016.

    The 27-year-old's 16 home runs rank second in the National League, and he's been brilliant defensively with nine defensive runs saved, despite playing primarily third base throughout his time in the minors.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Adam Duvall (.289/.314/.691, 6 2B, 11 HR, 24 RBI, 19 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Dan Straily (3-1, 3.47 ERA, 1.266 WHIP, 34 K, 36.1 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Tim Adleman (1-1, 3.72 ERA, 1.397 WHIP, 16 K, 19.1 IP)

26. San Diego Padres (23-35, Previous: 27)

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    SP Drew Pomeranz
    SP Drew PomeranzJake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The San Diego Padres sold off their first big piece last week when they shipped veteran starter James Shields to the Chicago White Sox.

    Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was quick to question the Padres' end of the trade:

    Here is my question about the James Shields trade: How exactly did the Padres make the White Sox hurt? ...

    ... The Pads did not acquire high-end talent for Shields – right-hander Erik Johnson, 26, looks like a back-end starter at best, and infielder Fernando Tatis Jr., 17, was not one of the top 30 prospects in the White Sox's low-rated farm system, according to Baseball America.

    Nor did the Pads shed the majority of Shields' contract – they will cover about $31 million of the $58 million that is owed the veteran right-hander, according to major-league sources.

    The White Sox, then, got off easy.

    Hard to argue with that, but general manager A.J. Preller continues to be proactive if nothing else.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Jon Jay (.277/.324/.446, 11 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 11 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Drew Pomeranz (2-3, 2.25 ERA, 0.972 WHIP, 38 K, 36.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Ryan Buchter (5 HLD, 0.75 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 17 K, 12.0 IP)

25. Arizona Diamondbacks (25-34, Previous: 21)

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    3B Jake Lamb
    3B Jake LambIsaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    It was a tough week on the schedule for the Arizona Diamondbacks, as they ran into a red-hot Houston Astros team before heading to Chicago to take on the first-place Cubs.

    With a pair of series losses, a team that was expected to legitimately contend for a playoff spot is now nine games under .500, 10 games back in the NL West standings and carrying a minus-37 run differential heading into the week.

    An inexplicably bad 9-20 record at home has sunk the D-backs to this point, and at this point it's hard to envision they'll claw their way back into the postseason mix.

    That should make closer Brad Ziegler (11-of-11 SV, 3.00 ERA) a popular name at the trade deadline, as he's set to hit free agency in the offseason. If veteran outfielder Michael Bourn (.288 BA, .373 OBP) keeps playing the way he has, he too could generate some interest.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Jake Lamb (.289/.366/.544, 6 2B, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 15 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Zack Greinke (4-1, 3.82 ERA, 1.121 WHIP, 28 K, 33.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Jake Barrett (1 SV, 1.54 ERA, 0.943 WHIP, 11 K, 11.2 IP)

24. Milwaukee Brewers (26-31, Previous: 24)

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    Junior Guerra
    Junior GuerraBenny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Milwaukee Brewers have quietly been playing much better baseball of late, including a 15-14 record and plus-six run differential in May that, if nothing else, has put some distance between them and the Cincinnati Reds for fourth place.

    Improved pitching has been the biggest difference. They posted an MLB-worst 5.64 ERA in April but pitched to a far more respectable 3.95 mark in May.

    Jimmy Nelson looks like a long-term piece atop the staff, while 31-year-old rookie Junior Guerra has pitched at least six innings in six of his seven starts while going 3-1 with a 3.61 ERA and 1.181 WHIP.

    Despite their improved play, the Brewers still look like a clear seller as they continue to rebuild. Hot starts from Ryan Braun (.337 BA, .959 OPS, 10 2B, 9 HR) and Jonathan Lucroy (.316 BA, .911 OPS, 10 2B, 9 HR) make them two of the hotter names on the rumor mill.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Jonathan Lucroy (.300/.348/.650, 6 2B, 9 HR, 22 RBI, 17 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Jimmy Nelson (2-1, 2.66 ERA, 1.131 WHIP, 34 K, 40.2 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Junior Guerra (3-1, 3.47 ERA, 1.156 WHIP, 36 K, 36.1 IP)

23. Tampa Bay Rays (25-30, Previous: 22)

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    SP Matt Andriese
    SP Matt AndrieseJohn Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    With a minus-three run differential on the year, the Tampa Bay Rays don't necessarily deserve to be in last place in the AL East standings, considering the New York Yankees sit a half-game ahead of them with a minus-31 differential.

    Regardless, they have not looked like contenders to this point with a middling offense and an underperforming starting rotation.

    That makes for an interesting situation as the trade deadline approaches. A lack of viable starting pitching options should lead more than a few teams to come calling about the status of guys like Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore.

    Flipping one of those arms for a quality return would also open up a spot in the rotation for left-hander Blake Snell, who has little left to prove at the minor league level.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Steve Pearce (.317/.406/.622, 4 2B, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 17 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Matt Andriese (3-0, 2.36 ERA, 0.932 WHIP, 20 K, 34.1 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Taylor Motter (.192/.382/.462, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

22. Oakland Athletics (25-32, Previous: 23)

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    3B Danny Valencia
    3B Danny ValenciaMike Carlson/Associated Press

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Oakland Athletics showed some signs of life with a five-game winning streak that briefly propelled them into third place in the AL West standings heading into their weekend series with the Houston Astros.

    However, they were promptly swept and dropped back into last place as a result.

    Despite the overall struggles from a team standpoint, infielder Danny Valencia and starter Rich Hill have continued their strong individual performances and are shaping up to be two of the most coveted trade chips on the market.

    Valencia is hitting .343/.387/.580 with nine home runs and 22 RBI, while Hill has gone 8-3 with a 2.25 ERA, 1.125 WHIP and a .207 opponents' batting average.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Danny Valencia (.359/.386/.692, 2 2B, 8 HR, 19 RBI, 18 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Rich Hill (5-1, 2.13 ERA, 1.026 WHIP, 37 K, 38.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Ryan Dull (1 HLD, 3.95 ERA, 1.244 WHIP, 14 K, 13.2 IP)

21. Los Angeles Angels (26-30, Previous: 26)

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    CF Mike Trout
    CF Mike TroutGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Los Angeles Angels closed out May on a high note with a walk-off win against the Detroit Tigers, but overall it was a trying month as they went 13-15 and more or less spun their tires in the AL West standings.

    Albert Pujols (.822 OPS, 21 RBI) and C.J. Cron (.789 OPS, 20 RBI) both put together productive months, finally helping Mike Trout shoulder some of the run production load.

    Now attention turns to the starting rotation, where the team is without ace Garrett Richards and saw both Jered Weaver (1-4, 6.43 ERA) and Hector Santiago (1-2, 6.75 ERA) struggle mightily last month.

    There is so much money invested in the current roster that the Angels will make every effort to contend before considering the idea of selling, but with the consensus worst farm system in baseball they'd be wise to move what they can if things don't improve.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Mike Trout (.340/.445/.613, 6 2B, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 26 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Matt Shoemaker (2-1, 3.28 ERA, 1.054 WHIP, 29 K, 24.2 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Rafael Ortega (.220/.246/.322, 3 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 10 R)

20. Philadelphia Phillies (28-29, Previous: 16)

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    CF Odubel Herrera
    CF Odubel HerreraBill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    The Philadelphia Phillies were one of the best stories in baseball over the first six weeks or so of the season, but their inability to consistently score runs and a pitching staff that was playing over its head have finally started to catch up to them.

    They are now 4-12 in their last 16 games, including a seven-game losing streak they finally snapped Friday on their way to a four-game split with the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Despite their recent struggles, there have been plenty of bright spots. Center fielder Odubel Herrera has backed up his surprise performance last year with even better numbers, and the trio of Aaron Nola, Vincent Velasquez and Jerad Eickhoff provides plenty of hope for the rotation going forward.

    More promising young talent will arrive in the weeks to come as they start calling up prospects, and they figure to add more high-end talent Thursday when they pick No. 1 overall in this year's amateur draft. Even if they're not destined for the playoffs, it's an exciting time in Philly.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Odubel Herrera (.324/.393/.467, 4 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 13 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Aaron Nola (3-2, 2.31 ERA, 0.974 WHIP, 39 K, 39.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Tyler Goeddel (.288/.342/.452, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 9 R)

19. Chicago White Sox (29-28, Previous: 15)

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    SP Chris Sale
    SP Chris SaleRick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    The fall continues for a Chicago White Sox team that sat in the No. 2 spot in these rankings less than a month ago.

    After picking up a nice series victory over the New York Mets to begin last week, they were swept by the Detroit Tigers over the weekend and have now gone 6-18 in their last 24 games.

    The addition of James Shields in a trade with the San Diego Padres last week should help shore up the rotation behind Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. Even if he's not the Shields of old, he's still a workhorse, and that should help take some pressure off what has been an overtaxed bullpen.

    Shields is slated to make his White Sox debut Wednesday against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals, while Miguel Gonzalez moves to the bullpen and Mat Latos holds on to the No. 5 starter job for the time being, per MLB.com.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Melky Cabrera (.287/.342/.417, 6 2B, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 13 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Chris Sale (4-1, 2.88 ERA, 1.057 WHIP, 44 K, 40.2 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Matt Purke (3 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.705 WHIP, 1 K, 5.2 IP)

18. New York Yankees (26-30, Previous: 13)

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    RF Carlos Beltran
    RF Carlos BeltranTommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    After briefly trending upward on the strength of a six-game winning streak, the New York Yankees have gone 4-8 in their last 12 games and find themselves sliding down the rankings as a result.

    It's been a trying season for veteran Mark Teixeira (.180 BA, .535 OPS), and things went from bad to worse over the weekend when he landed on the disabled list with torn knee cartilage.

    "At the moment, the plan is to rest the knee and see if the discomfort subsides enough for Teixeira to return," Billy Witz of the New York Times wrote. "If not, he will have surgery, which would most likely end his season."

    Starting pitching was the question mark for the Yankees heading into the season, but instead it's an offense that averages 3.79 runs per game that has been exposed as their biggest weakness.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Carlos Beltran (.276/.318/.612, 9 2B, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 16 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Andrew Miller (6 HLD, 1.54 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 23 K, 11.2 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Nick Goody (8 G, 3.48 ERA, 0.968 WHIP, 8 K, 10.1 IP)

17. Detroit Tigers (28-28, Previous: 19)

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    SP Michael Fulmer
    SP Michael FulmerTommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    Despite a disastrous 1-11 stretch of games in early May, the Detroit Tigers are back to .500 after sweeping the Chicago White Sox over the weekend.

    They've gone 13-7 since snapping out of that aforementioned funk, but the starting rotation is still in a state of flux.

    Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann have been solid, and Mike Pelfrey has thrown the ball better of late at 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in his last five starts, but they have a pair of rookies holding down the final two spots at the moment.

    Michael Fulmer has been brilliant his past three starts but is still an unproven commodity, while Matt Boyd recently took over for Anibal Sanchez, who was demoted to the bullpen after posting a 6.67 ERA through 11 starts.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Miguel Cabrera (.333/.415/.618, 3 2B, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 16 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Justin Verlander (2-3, 3.16 ERA, 0.937 WHIP, 46 K, 42.2 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Michael Fulmer (3-1, 4.03 ERA, 1.345 WHIP, 32 K, 29.0 IP)

16. Miami Marlins (30-27, Previous: 17)

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    SP Jose Fernandez
    SP Jose FernandezSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Miami Marlins entered the month of May four games back in the NL East standings and riding a seven-game winning streak.

    Heading into the upcoming week, they are still four games behind the Washington Nationals, so while they haven't managed to make up any ground, they are still right in the thick of things.

    Clayton Kershaw and Daniel Murphy earned NL Pitcher and Player of the Month honors, respectively, but Jose Fernandez and Marcell Ozuna were strong candidates as well, as the numbers below illustrate.

    Now they need a few more players to follow suit—specifically behind Fernandez in the rotation, where lefties Adam Conley and Wei-Yin Chen are both more than capable of being solid No. 2 starters.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Marcell Ozuna (.411/.450/.705, 8 2B, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 25 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Jose Fernandez (6-0, 1.38 ERA, 0.974 WHIP, 56 K, 39.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Kyle Barraclough (5 HLD, 4.09 ERA, 2.000 WHIP, 22 K, 11.0 IP)

15. Houston Astros (28-30, Previous: 20)

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    RF George Springer
    RF George SpringerTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 6-1

    The Houston Astros bottomed out at the No. 26 spot in these rankings two weeks ago, but they've gone 11-2 since and climbed 11 spots in the process.

    The offense has been the catalyst for that recent run of success, as they've averaged 5.31 runs per game and posted a plus-23 run differential over that 13-game stretch.

    Manager A.J. Hinch seems to have expected such a turnaround to come eventually.

    "It's not a surprise to me, it's more we're playing our brand of baseball and being rewarded for it with some wins," Hinch told reporters (via MLB.com). "We've been playing good baseball. There's nothing we can't do on the field. We have a lot of confidence now. We don't feel have that nervous energy when you fall behind."

    Perhaps the biggest positive of the week was a 2-for-4 performance out of Carlos Gomez on Sunday that included a double and a home run.

    It was his first home run of the season, as he entered the game hitting .182/.239/.242 in what has been a rough year so far, but Sunday's performance could be a turning point.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • George Springer (.296/.404/.548, 5 2B, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 21 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Doug Fister (3-0, 2.84 ERA, 1.158 WHIP, 25 K, 38.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Chris Devenski (0-1, 4.05 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 16 K, 20.0 IP)

14. Seattle Mariners (31-25, Previous: 11)

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    1B Dae-Ho Lee
    1B Dae-Ho LeeJoe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Seattle Mariners had been one of the hottest teams in baseball before being swept by the Minnesota Twins two weeks ago, and they've now gone just 3-7 in their last 10 games.

    This is still a dangerous team with the look of a legitimate contender, though, and their plus-49 run differential ranks second in the AL and fifth in the majors entering the week.

    Kyle Seager (1.051 OPS), Robinson Cano (1.032 OPS), Nelson Cruz (.941 OPS) and Leonys Martin (.922 OPS) all enjoyed terrific months of May, while the bullpen also rounded into form behind the unlikely trio of Mike Montgomery (12 G, 0.47 ERA), Steve Johnson (10 G, 0.79 ERA) and Vidal Nuno (13 G, 0.84 ERA).

    Being swept by the Texas Rangers over the weekend was a blow, as the two teams were tied atop the AL West standing heading into that series, but the Mariners will have a chance at revenge this coming weekend when they host the Rangers for another three-game set.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Robinson Cano (.345/.395/.637, 10 2B, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 24  R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Nate Karns (3-0, 3.31 ERA, 1.245 WHIP, 33 K, 35.1 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Dae-Ho Lee (.260/.302/.560, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 6 R)

13. Pittsburgh Pirates (30-26, Previous: 5)

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    RF Gregory Polanco
    RF Gregory PolancoTim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    After shooting up to the No. 5 spot last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates drop back outside the top 10 after series losses to the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Angels.

    They now hold a slim half-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for second in the NL Central, and those two teams are set to meet for a three-game series at PNC Park this coming weekend.

    Did anyone have a better offseason on the bargain-free-agent market than the Pirates?

    The following players will cost the team a combined $14.9 million in 2016, per Spotrac:

    • OF Matt Joyce (90 PA, .324 BA, 1.129 OPS, 6 HR, 22 RBI)
    • IF David Freese (187 PA, .291 BA, .799 OPS, 4 HR, 18 RBI)
    • 1B John Jaso (195 PA, .289 BA, .777 OPS, 9 2B, 20 R)
    • RP Neftali Feliz (26 G, 13 HLD, 2.61 ERA, 0.726 WHIP, 10.4 K/9)
    • SP Juan Nicasio (10 GS, 4 QS, 4-4, 4.75 ERA, 1.396 WHIP, 53.0 IP)

    That's how you build a contender on a budget, folks.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Gregory Polanco (.317/.369/.604, 9 2B, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 21 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Gerrit Cole (3-2, 2.68 ERA, 1.432 WHIP, 29 K, 37.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Wilfredo Boscan (3 G, 2.25 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 5 K, 8.0 IP)

12. St. Louis Cardinals (30-27, Previous: 14)

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    RP Seung Hwan Oh
    RP Seung Hwan OhJeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    It was a good week for the St. Louis Cardinals, as they picked up a pair of series wins against the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants to pull within a half-game of the Pittsburgh Pirates for second in the NL Central.

    Shortstop Jhonny Peralta is expected to return from the disabled list Tuesday, and the infield alignment will be shuffled to accommodate him at the expense of second baseman Kolten Wong, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN.com: "Hot-hitting rookie Aledmys Diaz will remain at shortstop, Peralta will shift to third and Matt Carpenter will get the bulk of his playing time at second base. Wong could be left without a position many days, which could make him a trade chip or a candidate to be optioned to Triple-A."

    How that situation unfolds in the weeks to come could influence the Cardinals' plans when the deadline approaches now that the starting pitching has started to round into form.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Matt Carpenter (.309/.398/.649, 11 2B, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 21 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Mike Leake (4-1, 2.31 ERA, 0.949 WHIP, 23 K, 39.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Seung Hwan Oh (4 HLD, 2.45 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 18 K, 14.2 IP)

11. Toronto Blue Jays (31-27, Previous: 18)

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    SP Marco Estrada
    SP Marco EstradaBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-1

    Another team that has played significantly better baseball of late, the Toronto Blue Jays have won five consecutive series and gone 12-4 in their last 16 games to climb back into the AL East hunt.

    They enter the week 2.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox, and they host those Orioles for a four-game series starting Thursday.

    For all that was made of their high-powered offense and the potential emergence of Marcus Stroman as a bona fide ace heading into the year, they've scored just 4.24 runs per game (18th in MLB), and Stroman has been the team's worst starter with a 4.82 ERA on the year.

    The rest of the starting rotation has shouldered the load, ranking sixth in the majors and second in the AL with a 3.52 starters' ERA despite the mediocre play of their ace.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Edwin Encarnacion (.232/.326/.491, 8 2B, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 13 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Marco Estrada (2-0, 2.14 ERA, 0.833 WHIP, 33 K, 42.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Joe Biagini (1 SV, 0.63 ERA, 0.768 WHIP, 10 K, 14.1 IP) 

10. Kansas City Royals (30-26, Previous: 7)

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    1B Eric Hosmer
    1B Eric HosmerKen Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Kansas City Royals' struggles away from Kauffman Stadium continued last week, as they followed up a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays at home by being swept in a four-game series with the Indians in Cleveland.

    That leaves the reigning World Series champs at 19-7 with a plus-22 run differential at home, compared to 11-19 with a minus-31 differential on the road.

    They'll have a chance to shake that stigma this coming week as they continue their current road trip with series against the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox.

    Salvador Perez returned to action over the weekend from the bruised quad that had sidelined him, and getting him back to full strength will certainly help on both sides of the ball.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Eric Hosmer (.333/.381/.593, 7 2B, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 20 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Ian Kennedy (2-1, 3.24 ERA, 1.230 WHIP, 36 K, 33.1 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Whit Merrifield (.356/.356/.467, 5 2B, 4 RBI, 10 R)

9. New York Mets (31-24, Previous: 9)

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    SP Steven Matz
    SP Steven MatzBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    After dropping a series to the struggling Chicago White Sox, the New York Mets righted the ship to take two of three from the Miami Marlins over the weekend.

    They still lost a game in the standings to the Washington Nationals and are now two games back in the NL East heading into the week.

    Aledmys Diaz (Cardinals) and Trevor Story (Rockies) both got off to red-hot starts, and Corey Seager (Dodgers) has caught fire of late, but if the season ended today, Steven Matz would have a convincing case for NL Rookie of the Year honors.

    The left-hander put together a brilliant month of May with a 1.83 ERA in 34.1 innings of work, and overall he's gone 7-1 with a 2.60 ERA, 1.048 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in 55.1 innings.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Yoenis Cespedes (.262/.342/.544, 5 2B, 8 HR, 14 RBI, 17 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Steven Matz (4-0, 1.83 ERA, 0.757 WHIP, 31 K, 34.1 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Steven Matz (4-0, 1.83 ERA, 0.757 WHIP, 31 K, 34.1 IP)

8. Cleveland Indians (31-24, Previous: 12)

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    UT Jose Ramirez
    UT Jose RamirezKen Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    For the first time this season, the Cleveland Indians earn a spot inside the top 10 in these rankings after sweeping a four-game series from the Kansas City Royals to wrap up last week.

    That puts them in first place in the AL Central standings, 1.5 games up on the Royals, and their plus-46 run differential is good for third in the AL.

    Josh Harrison (Pirates) and Brock Holt (Red Sox) turned superutility roles into All-Star appearances in recent seasons, and Jose Ramirez could follow suit with the Indians this year.

    He's hitting .317/.387/.460 with 20 RBI and 26 runs scored while splitting his time between third base (27 games) and left field (26) and also seeing action at second base (4) and shortstop (2).

    Ramirez is also batting .394 with runners in scoring position, tops on the team and third in the AL among players with at least 30 such at-bats.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Jose Ramirez (.314/.423/.465, 7 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 16 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Danny Salazar (3-2, 2.41 ERA, 1.205 WHIP, 46 K, 37.1 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Ryan Merritt (1 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.231 WHIP, 2 K, 4.1 IP)

7. Baltimore Orioles (32-23, Previous: 10)

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    SP Chris Tillman
    SP Chris TillmanTommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    After splitting a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles took two of three from the New York Yankees and gained a game on the Red Sox in the process.

    The two teams are now tied atop the AL East standings, and they are set to meet up again in Boston for a three-game series starting June 14.

    First, the Orioles will have to navigate a tough week ahead. They host the Kansas City Royals for three games before heading to Toronto for a four-game set with a hot Blue Jays team.

    With three more home runs last week, Mark Trumbo is now tied for the MLB lead with 18. He's one of three Orioles players already in double figures, and they rank third in the majors as a team with 80 long balls.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Manny Machado (.292/.385/.566, 11 2B, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 18 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Chris Tillman (5-0, 2.72 ERA, 1.160 WHIP, 37 K, 39.2 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Mychal Givens (8 G, 1.64 ERA, 1.364 WHIP, 12 K, 11.0 IP)

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (31-27, Previous: 8)

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    SS Corey Seager
    SS Corey SeagerMatt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Los Angeles Dodgers dropped three of four to the Chicago Cubs on the road to begin last week but took care of business over the weekend with a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves.

    Clayton Kershaw lowered his ERA to an MLB-best 1.46 with six shutout innings Saturday, but he was uncharacteristically wild as he walked one batter. That brings his season walk total to six, compared to 109 strikeouts in 92.2 innings.

    Absolutely ridiculous.

    Meanwhile, the Corey Seager train has officially left the station, as he homered three times Friday and then launched two more Sunday. He now leads the Dodgers in home runs (14), RBI (35) and runs scored (38) and has a strong case as the best shortstop in the National League.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Corey Seager (.301/.352/.540, 6 2B, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 19 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Clayton Kershaw (5-0, 0.91 ERA, 0.523 WHIP, 65 K, 49.2 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Corey Seager (.301/.352/.540, 6 2B, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 19 R)

5. Washington Nationals (34-23, Previous: 6)

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    2B Daniel Murphy
    2B Daniel MurphyJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Washington Nationals needed a win Sunday to avoid being swept by the Cincinnati Reds, but it was still a positive week thanks to a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies.

    They managed to pick up a game on the New York Mets in the NL East standings, with their next meeting coming in three weeks.

    Second baseman Daniel Murphy continues to be one of the best signings of the offseason, and he took home NL Player of the Month honors in May with a .416 average, 15 extra-base hits and 23 RBI.

    Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post wrote the following on what kind of player the Nationals got in Murphy:

    Since he and Mets hitting coach Kevin Long radically changed his approach, Murphy has turned himself into a new and far better hitter. He’s probably now a .300 to .320 hitter with 20-to-25-homer power and, because he likes to whack away rather than draw walks, a knack for collecting 90 or more RBI. The Nats, who thought they had bought a nice No. 2 or 6 hitter, probably just got a quality No. 4 or 5 hitter who usually would cost more than $100 million.

    One thing is for sure: Given the chance to offer a three-year, $37.5 million deal again, the Nationals would have skipped their pursuits of Brandon Phillips and Ben Zobrist and gone straight to signing Murphy.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Daniel Murphy (.416/.424/.673, 8 2B, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 17 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Stephen Strasburg (5-0, 3.11 ERA, 1.168 WHIP, 50 K, 37.2 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • None

4. Boston Red Sox (33-24, Previous: 4)

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    CF Jackie Bradley
    CF Jackie BradleyTommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Boston Red Sox lost a series to the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend and in the process lost a game to the Baltimore Orioles, who are now tied with them for first place in the AL East standings.

    However, they hold on to a spot inside the top 10 for now, as we're still talking about the best offense in baseball by a wide margin and a team that went 18-10 with a plus-59 run differential in May.

    The starting rotation remains the elephant in the room, though.

    David Price is slowly regressing toward his 3.35 FIP after some awful early luck, and Steven Wright has been a revelation, but the rest of the staff remains shaky at best.

    They rank 22nd in starters' ERA at 4.73 and have gotten just 12 quality starts in 34 games from pitchers not named Price or Wright.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Jackie Bradley (.381/.474/.701, 7 2B, 8 HR, 24 RBI, 17 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Steven Wright (3-2, 3.12 ERA, 1.062 WHIP, 36 K, 43.1 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Marco Hernandez (.231/.231/.462, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R)

3. San Francisco Giants (35-24, Previous: 2)

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    SP Madison Bumgarner
    SP Madison BumgarnerJason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The San Francisco Giants were an obvious choice for the No. 2 spot in these rankings last week and appeared to be the one team capable of making a run at unseating the Chicago Cubs.

    However, they suffered a huge blow last week when Hunter Pence suffered a hamstring injury that will require surgery and is expected to sideline him for two months, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). 

    Just how important is Pence to the success of the Giants?

    Last season, injuries limited Pence to just 52 games. The Giants were 34-18 (.654) when he played, compared to 50-60 (.455) without him.

    "This sucks, basically," first baseman Brandon Belt told reporters (via ESPN.com). "He's obviously a big part of this team. It's going to be hard to replace somebody like him for two months."

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Hunter Pence (.319/.367/.505, 8 2B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 13 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Madison Bumgarner (4-0, 1.05 ERA, 0.961 WHIP, 45 K, 42.2 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Derek Law (2 HLD, 3.00 ERA, 1.083 WHIP, 7 K, 12.0 IP)

2. Texas Rangers (34-22, Previous: 3)

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    SP Colby Lewis
    SP Colby LewisThomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-1

    The Texas Rangers just keep plugging along.

    This is their eighth consecutive week ranked inside the top 10 but their highest ranking overall in the No. 2 spot.

    The team already boasted the best starters' ERA in the AL before Yu Darvish returned, and he's only made them better with a 3.38 ERA, 1.031 WHIP, 10.1 K/9 and a pair of wins in his first two starts back.

    Former top prospect Jurickson Profar has been the latest player to get in on the fun. Rougned Odor's suspension opened the door for him to see some action, and he's hit .390/.405/.634 in his first 42 plate appearances.

    After a series win over the Cleveland Indians and a sweep of the Seattle Mariners to move into first place in the AL West standings last week, they once again look like the team to beat on the American League side of things.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Ian Desmond (.345/.368/.555, 11 2B, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 19 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Colby Lewis (3-0, 3.00 ERA, 0.846 WHIP, 27 K, 39.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • Nomar Mazara (.283/.319/.491, 1 2B, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 12 R)

1. Chicago Cubs (39-16, Previous: 1)

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    2B Ben Zobrist
    2B Ben ZobristDavid Banks-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    The Chicago Cubs wrapped up their recent 10-game homestand at 8-2, picking up series victories over the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks last week.

    Yet it still felt like a missed opportunity Sunday when they couldn't close out a sweep of the D-backs with ace Jake Arrieta on the mound.

    That's where we're at with the level of expectation surrounding this team, and why not?

    The Cubs have been absolutely dominant through the first third of the season, boasting an outrageous plus-141 run differential and on pace to win 115 games.

    Sure, they could use some help at the back of the bullpen, and it would be great if Jason Heyward picked up his production at the plate, but at this point it's hard to poke holes in what's going on at Wrigley Field.

    The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves await this coming week as the Cubs look to extend their 9.5-game lead in the NL Central.

     

    Hitter of the Month

    • Ben Zobrist (.406/.483/.653, 7 2B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 25 R)

     

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Jake Arrieta (4-0, 2.08 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 43 K, 39.0 IP)

     

    Rookie of the Month

    • None

     

    All standard and advanced stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. Team statistics accurate through Sunday, June 5. Hitter, Pitcher and Rookie of the Month stats reflect games played from Sunday, May 1 through Tuesday, May 31.