MLB Power Rankings: Who's the New No. 1 Team After Week 17?

Derek CooleyCorrespondent IJuly 18, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: Who's the New No. 1 Team After Week 17?

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    After Week 17 of the 2011 MLB season, which also happens to be the first weekend after the All-Star break, we truly start to see which teams will be in the playoff hunt until the end of the season and which teams will turn into sellers by the July 31 trade deadline.

    According to the power rankings headed into Week 18, we find a new team atop the list for the first time all season. Will this team continue to stay hot and find their 2010 playoff groove in 2011?  Or will the fierce competition prove too much once again?  Only time will tell, and the completion of Week 18 is a step toward answering that question.

    Without further ado, here are Major League Baseball's power rankings headed into Week 18.

30. Houston Astros

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    Record: 31-64

    The worst team in baseball just lost two out of three to the Pittsburgh Pirates at home. The Nationals are coming into town, followed by a trip to Wrigley field for a three-game set with the Chicago Cubs.

29. Chicago Cubs

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    Record: 38-58

    The Cubs currently find themselves 20 games under .500, the low point of the season for them. A couple of blown leads highlighted a 1-3 series at Wrigley against the Florida Marlins.

28. Kansas City Royals

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    Record: 38-57

    Once again, a decent start for the Kansas City Royals was nothing but an illusion for Royals fans.

    KC is coming off a trip to Minnesota where they lost three of four to the Twins. They welcome the Chicago White Sox in for a three-game set starting Monday night.

27. Baltimore Orioles

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    Record: 38-54

    The Baltimore Orioles ended their 10-game skid with back-to-back wins against the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians, salvaging a split in their four-game set.  

26. Seattle Mariners

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    Record: 43-52

    The once-competitive Seattle Mariners are currently losers of nine consecutive games.

    In their most recent series, a four-game home set against Texas, the Mariners were outscored 17-2. Pitiful.

25. San Diego Padres

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    Record: 41-55

    The cellar dwellers of the NL West look to be sellers out of the cellar. After losing three of four at home to the defending champions, look for San Diego to start cleaning house.

24. Oakland Athletics

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    Record: 42-54

    The Oakland A's looked good this weekend, taking three of four from the surging L.A. Angels of Anaheim. Their only loss that series was to AL All-Star starting pitcher Jered Weaver.

23. L.A. Dodgers

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    Record: 42-53

    The L.A. Dodgers are coming off an 1-2 trip to Arizona and now find themselves having to face the defending champions from San Francisco in what seems to be the make-or-break series of the season.  

    The Dodgers are all but done this season, and this next series should be the dagger.

22. Colorado Rockies

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    Record: 45-50

    The Colorado Rockies continue their less-than-stellar play into the second half of the season.  

    After winning the first two games at home against Milwaukee, the Rox dropped the second two to split the series. Colorado now welcomes the hot Atlanta Braves into town for a four-game series.

21. Florida Marlins

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    Record: 46-49

    The Florida Marlins are surging under new/old manager Jack McKeon.  

    After taking three of four at Wrigley over the weekend, the Marlins follow with a make-up game against the Mets on Monday in New York, then six games against the lowly Padres and falling Mets in Florida.

20. Minnesota Twins

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    Record: 44-49

    Speaking of surging teams, the Minnesota Twins have been flying up the standings and now only find themselves six games out of first place in the AL Central.  

    The Twins have the next eight games at home against the division-leading Indians and second-place Tigers.

19. Chicago White Sox

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    Record: 46-49

    The White Sox are coming off a very important series win in Detroit over the weekend and must take that momentum into Kansas City, where they start a three-game set Monday night.

18. Washington Nationals

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    Record: 47-48

    The surprising Washington Nationals are coming off a couple tough losses in Atlanta, but still find themselves in the hunt.  

    Their hard work has been rewarded with a trip to Houston to play baseball's worst team.

17. New York Mets

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    Record: 47-47

    The New York Mets have yet to figure out who they actually are this season.  

    After welcoming Florida in for a game and St. Louis for three, the Mets head on the road for 10 straight headed toward the trade deadline.

16. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Record: 47-49

    The tough luck Toronto Blue Jays continue to tread water in the vaunted AL East.  

    After salvaging a split at home against the Yankees, a sigh of relief appears to be in order when Toronto welcomes Seattle to town.

15. Cincinnati Reds

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    Record: 47-48

    The Reds only find themselves 3.5 games back in the NL Central division race after taking two of three at home against the St. Louis Cardinals; a big three-game set in Pittsburgh awaits.

14. Detroit Tigers

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    Record: 50-45

    The Tigers managed to avoid a sweep this weekend at the hands of the Chicago White Sox by scoring four runs in the sixth inning of a 4-3 victory at Comerica Park.  

    After welcoming the Oakland A's to town, the Tigers have an extremely important series at Target Field against the Twins.

13. Cleveland Indians

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    Record: 49-44

    After splitting a four-game series against the lowly Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, the first-place Indians travel to Minnesota to play the surging Twins.

12. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Record: 50-43

    After suffering their toughest defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss at home to the Red Sox in 16 grueling innings, the Tampa Bay Rays welcome the New York Yankees to the Trop for a four-game series.

11. L.A. Angels of Anaheim

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    Record: 51-45

    The Angels have sort of come back down to earth by losing three of four in Oakland to start the second half.  LAA now welcomes AL West-leading Texas into town for three games.

10. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Record: 50-45

    After losing two of three in Cincinnati, the Cardinals go on the road for a pair of series against the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals then return home to feast on the league's worst two teams in the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Record: 51-44

    All I can say is, the Arizona Diamondbacks continue to get the job done.  

    And starting pitcher Daniel Hudson hasn't lost since May 17.

8. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Record: 49-44

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have been without a doubt the feel-good story of the MLB this season.

    We will truly find out who they are by the end of July, as their next four series involve Cincinnati, St. Louis, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

7. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Record: 51-45

    The NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers have seven more contests out West in Arizona and San Francisco before coming home to Houston and the Chicago Cubs.  

    Will the addition of K-Rod allow them to separate themselves in their division?

6. New York Yankees

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    Record: 55-37

    Following a split in Toronto, the Yankees have four important games starting Monday night in Tampa against the Rays.  

    After that series, the Yankees have 14 straight games against teams currently below .500.

5. Atlanta Braves

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    Record: 56-39

    The surging Braves find themselves right on the doorstep of the NL East, gaining ground on the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies.  

    The next seven will be on the road for the Braves, four in Colorado and three in Cincinnati.

4. San Francisco Giants

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    Record: 55-41

    The defending champion San Francisco Giants are beginning to run away with the NL West and will be looking to really stick it to the Dodgers these next three games at AT&T Park.

3. Boston Red Sox

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    Record: 57-36

    The red-hot Boston Red Sox find themselves atop the AL East with 10 straight laughers ahead on the schedule: three at Baltimore, three at home against Seattle and four at home against Kansas City.  

    Don't be surprised to see an extended winning streak from this bunch.

2. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Record: 59-35

    The team with the best record find themselves second on my power rankings list. The Phillies are baseball's best team, but there is one team that is hotter.

    Philly has the lowly Cubs and Padres on the slate next.

1. Texas Rangers

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    Record: 55-41

    The Texas Rangers, winners of 11 straight games, find themselves atop the MLB Power Rankings going into Week 18 of the 2011 season.  Although the 11 wins have come against lesser foes such as Baltimore, Oakland and Seattle, it's more of how they won than who they beat.  

    In their very latest four-game series in Seattle to start the second half, the Texas Rangers outscored the Mariners 17-2.