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

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 25: Jason Heyward #22 of the Atlanta Braves (center) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a three run home run against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park on August 25, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

With just over three weeks left in the regular season, where does your favorite team stand in this week's MLB power rankings?

img 1: Washington Nationals (86-54, Previous: 2)

Last Week's Record: 5-2

The Nationals swept a four-game series from the Cubs in dominant fashion last week before dropping two of three to a subpar Marlins team. Still, they have the best record in baseball and a 5.5-game lead over the Braves in the NL East.

Ace Stephen Strasburg has officially been shut down for the season at 159.1 innings with a 15-6 record and 3.16 ERA. In his place, the team will turn to former Opening Day starter John Lannan, who went 9-11 with a 4.30 ERA in 24 Triple-A starts.

2: Texas Rangers (83-57, Previous: 3)

Last Week's Record: 4-3

After taking three of four from the Royals, the Rangers dropped two of three to the Rays as they closed out the week with a 3.5-game lead over the A's and a six-game lead over the Angels. They have a chance to gain some ground this coming week as they face the Indians and Mariners.

The team's pitching continues to be just good enough to win games behind their high-powered offense, and in the end it's hard to imagine anyone catching them in the AL West. They're still the favorites in the AL in my mind, and have been all season.

3: Cincinnati Reds (84-57, Previous: 1)

Last Week's Record: 2-4

The Reds had a somewhat easy slate last week as they faced off against the Phillies and Astros, but they dropped two of three in each series. This coming week they'll take on the struggling Pirates and Marlins as they look to extend their 8.5-game lead in the NL Central.

Zack Cozart (oblique) and Scott Rolen (back) are both battling injuries right now, but that is offset by the return of Joey Votto to the lineup, and Todd Frazier actually ranks as a better option than Rolen at third base even if Dusty Baker doesn't see it. 

4: Atlanta Braves (81-60, Previous: 7)

Last Week's Record: 6-1

The Braves used a stellar week to build on an already big lead for the first wild-card spot in the NL, as they have a 5.5-game cushion over the Cardinals for that spot and have pulled within 5.5 games of the Nationals in the NL East.

After a short benching, Dan Uggla has returned to the starting lineup, though he has been moved down the lineup where there will be less pressure on him. Meanwhile, Kris Medlen has continued his brilliance as a starter as he's gone 7-0 with an 0.81 ERA in eight starts and will be counted on big-time down the stretch.

5: Oakland Athletics (79-60, Previous: 4)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

The A's rattled off a nine-game winning streak two weeks ago, but had that streak snapped when they were swept by the Angels. They bounced back with a three-game sweep of the Mariners and currently hold the top wild-card spot in the American League.

The team lost ace Brandon McCarthy to a gruesome injury when he took a line drive off the head and suffered a fractured skull. He's likely lost for the season, and the team will need what is now an incredibly young rotation to step up in his absence.

6: San Francisco Giants (79-61, Previous: 5)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

The Giants took two of three from the division rival Dodgers to close out last week, as they've extended their division lead to 5.5 games. Their next 19 games are against the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Padres before they close out the season with three games against the Dodgers.

Catcher Buster Posey (.327 BA, 20 HR, 87 RBI) is a legitimate MVP candidate this season, and he's been an anchor in the middle of the team's lineup all year. As long as the starting rotation continues to pitch like they have, they'll be tough to catch in the division.

7: New York Yankees (79-61, Previous: 6)

Last Week's Record: 3-4

The Yankees had a chance to extend their lead over the Orioles this past week, but instead split a four-game series with them in Baltimore as they maintain a one-game lead in the division over the Orioles and a two-game lead over the Rays.

Mark Teixeira's calf injury has not gotten better to this point, and he'll have an MRI on it that could result in him missing the upcoming Red Sox series and perhaps the remainder of the season, depending on where he's at (h/t NY Daily News)

img 8: Baltimore Orioles (78-62, Previous: 8)

Last Week's Record: 4-3

The Orioles are 11-5 in their last 16 games, and after splitting a four-game series with the Yankees this past week they are currently just one game back in the AL East and hold the second wild-card spot.

The team was dealt a blow when Nick Markakis fractured his thumb this past week, and he is expected to be out for six weeks. While he has been a key contributor, Markakis missed time earlier this season as well and the team kept winning, so they have the pieces to overcome this loss.

img 9: Los Angeles Angels (77-63, Previous: 11)

Last Week's Record: 6-0

The Angels swept a pair of playoff hopefuls in the A's and Tigers this past week, and as a result they are back in the playoff picture just a game out of the final wild-card spot which currently belongs to the Orioles.

Ace Jered Weaver will miss his next start with shoulder tendinitis, and the team will certainly need him to pitch like he has all season down the stretch if they hope to make a serious postseason run. If he misses more than one start, the team may consider giving top prospect Nick Maronde a start.

10: Tampa Bay Rays (77-63, Previous: 12)

Last Week's Record: 4-2

The Rays have gone 21-11 since Evan Longoria returned to the lineup, as their entire season has turned around and they are now pushing the Yankees for the AL East title and sit just two games back.

They have a huge week coming up as they face the Orioles and Yankees on the road, and where they are by the end of those two series could go a long way toward determining whether or not they make the playoffs.

11: St. Louis Cardinals (75-65, Previous: 9)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

While they have managed to pass the sliding Pirates in the NL Central, the Cardinals themselves have not played great of late, going 4-8 in their last 12 games.

They are currently 1.5 games up on the Dodgers for the final wild-card spot, but they have a tough road ahead with series against the Dodgers, Nationals, Reds and vastly improved Padres. This is where the team's postseason experience could pay dividends as they look to defend their title.

12: Chicago White Sox (75-64, Previous: 14)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

The White Sox open next week with an incredibly important four-game series against the Tigers, who they currently hold a two-game lead over in the AL Central.

Rookies Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago have made a major impact in the rotation, and the White Sox will need their starting pitching to continue to perform at the level it has if they hope to hold on and capture a division title.

13: Los Angeles Dodgers (74-67, Previous: 13)

Last Week's Record: 2-4

The Dodgers dropped two of three to the NL West leading Giants to close out the week, as they failed to gain any ground in the NL West. They were swept by the Padres to open the week and currently sit 5.5 games back in the division and 1.5 games back for a wild-card spot.

Matt Kemp is currently battling a sore shoulder and ace Clayton Kershaw was scratched from his Sunday start with a hip issue. If those two players miss any significant amount of time, the team will have their work cut out for them down the stretch.

14: Detroit Tigers (73-66, Previous: 10)

Last Week's Record: 1-5

It was a tough week for the Tigers, as they now trail the White Sox by two games in the AL Central and have a huge series coming up against Chicago to open this week.

The team's final 13 games of the season are against the Twins and Royals and they meet the struggling Indians for three games to close out this coming week as they are still in a great position to make the playoffs.

15: Pittsburgh Pirates (72-67, Previous: 15)

Last Week's Record: 2-4

They are still just 2.5 games out of a wild-card spot, but the Pirates are mired in a rough patch right now and have gone 5-13 over their past 18 games. With that, the Cardinals have passed them to move into second place in the NL Central and into a wild-card spot.

Second base prospect Brock Holt (12-for-29) has been fantastic in replacing the injured Neil Walker, and Starling Marte is once again in the everyday lineup with Travis Snider shelved. They're still very much in the playoff hunt, but they need to turn things around fast.

16: Milwaukee Brewers (69-71, Previous: 16)

Last Week's Record: 4-3

The Brewers offense has been solid all season, as they rank third in the majors in runs scored and have been led by the trio of Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart all season long.

The pitching staff is another story, and with Zack Greinke gone and Shaun Marcum set to hit free agency the team will have some decisions to make moving forward. Michael Fiers (9-7, 3.05 ERA) has been great and youngsters Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta are also in a good position for a rotation spot next season.

img 17: Philadelphia Phillies (69-71, Previous: 20)

Last Week's Record: 5-1

The Phillies have been a huge disappointment this season, but there is some reason for optimism as they've gone 23-14 since the beginning of August.

There is no question the team has gotten old and will have some work to do as far as rebuilding, but they may not be as bad off as they appeared early in the year, and with a terrific rotation and veteran stars on offense they could be back in contention next season.

18: Arizona Diamondbacks (69-72, Previous: 17)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

The Diamondbacks are still on the fringe of contention, but their role down the stretch is more likely to be that of spoiler. They took two of three from the NL West-leading Giants this past week, and have six games remaining against them.

It's been a disappointing season after winning the division last year, but they have a terrific young core and should be right back in the thick of things next season and for many years beyond that.

img 19: San Diego Padres (66-75, Previous: 21)

Last Week's Record: 4-2

The Padres have played their best baseball of the season down the stretch, as they've gone 14-5 in their last 19 games and have quickly closed on the Diamondbacks for third place in the NL West.

After keeping Carlos Quentin, Huston Street and Chase Headley at the deadline, and with one of the best farm systems in all of baseball, they are a team to watch in 2013 as their return to contention could be a quick one.

20: Seattle Mariners (67-74, Previous: 18)

Last Week's Record: 2-4

The Mariners have been a different team in the second half, going 31-23 since the All-Star break as their young players have improved throughout the course of the season; they are a franchise heading in the right direction.

They have as tough a schedule as anyone to close out the season, with six games against the Rangers, three against the A's, three against the Orioles and three against the Angels. They'll certainly be in a position to play the role of spoiler.

img 21: Toronto Blue Jays (64-75, Previous: 24)

Last Week's Record: 4-2

Injuries derailed any hopes the Blue Jays had of contending this season, but they've begun to get healthy and could string together some wins down the stretch as they've currently won four straight.

Third baseman Brett Lawrie and catcher J.P. Arencibia rejoined the lineup this past week after missing significant time, and while it has been a tough season the experience that young guys like Moises Sierra, Anthony Gose and Adeiny Hechavarria among others have gained will be invaluable moving forward.

22: New York Mets (65-75, Previous: 19)

Last Week's Record: 1-5

The Mets ran into some good competition last week, as they faced playoff hopefuls in Atlanta and St. Louis, and it will be more of the same this coming week when they open things up against the Nationals.

Their second-half collapse was disheartening, but there are certainly still positives to take away from this season as Matt Harvey (3-4, 3.04 ERA, 8 GS) has pitched well in his debut and R.A. Dickey (18-4, 2.64 ERA) has emerged as a bonafide ace.

img 23: Miami Marlins (63-78, Previous: 25)

Last Week's Record: 4-3

The Marlins rank as one of baseball's most disappointing teams this season, but there is still talent on their roster as they showed in taking two of three from the Nationals to close out the week.

Outfield Justin Ruggiano (.321/.384/.563, 13 HR, 33 RBI, 12 SB) has been a revelation this season, as the 30-year-old never got a chance in Tampa and joined the Astros as a free agent in the offseason before being dealt to the Marlins for catching prospect Jobduan Morales in May.

24: Kansas City Royals (63-77, Previous: 23)

Last Week's Record: 3-4

The Royals took two of three from the division-leading White Sox to close out the week, they have gone a solid 21-17 since the beginning of August and will look to close out this season on a positive note.

The team has opted against calling up top prospects outfield Wil Myers and right-hander Jake Odorizzi down the stretch, but expect the duo to have every chance to win a job in the spring as they've put up terrific numbers in the minors this season.

img 25: Boston Red Sox (63-79, Previous: 22)

Last Week's Record: 1-5

There are few teams more excited for the season to come to an end than the Red Sox, as the 2012 campaign has been a nightmare and the team appears headed for a reload as a result.

Utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco (.301 BA, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 11 SB) has performed well as the everyday third baseman, and career minor leaguer Mauro Gomez (.310 BA, 24 HR, 74 RBI, .960 OPS at Triple-A) has played well in his first taste of big league action, as the team is finding production from unexpected sources.

img 26: Minnesota Twins (58-82, Previous: 27)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

The Twins enjoyed an offensive explosion in beating the White Sox 18-9 on Tuesday, and they finished the week a game behind the Indians in the AL Central as they try to make their way out of last place.

Eduardo Escobar, who was acquired from the White Sox in the Francisco Liriano trade, has taken over as the starting shortstop, and the 23-year-old will look to earn a shot at shoring up a position that has been a revolving door in recent years.

27: Cleveland Indians (59-81, Previous: 28)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

After struggling through a 1-15 stretch, the Indians have righted the ship a bit as they played well this past week facing the Tigers and Twins on the road.

Rays castoff Russ Canzler has moved into the everyday DH role and gone 10-for-26 in seven games since being called up. The International League MVP last season, he hit .265 BA, 22 HR, 79 RBI in Triple-A this year and could be auditioning for an everyday job next year.

28: Colorado Rockies (56-83, Previous: 26)

Last Week's Record: 1-6

It's been a long season in Colorado, and things didn't get any better this past week as the team has currently dropped five straight after putting together a nice 11-5 stretch prior to that.

Moving forward, the team has gotten promising contributions from youngsters Josh Rutledge, Tyler Colvin and Wilin Rosario. They still need to sort out their pitching staff, though, if they hope to make their way back to contention.

29: Chicago Cubs (54-86, Previous: 29)

Last Week's Record: 3-4

After being swept by the Nationals, the Cubs turned things around and doled out a sweep of their own in three games against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

The team shut down emerging ace Jeff Samardzija for the season at 174.2 innings, and he'll be replaced in the rotation by Jason Berken, who was claimed off of waivers from the Orioles on Friday after going 5-6 with a 3.50 ERA in 26 Triple-A starts.

30: Houston Astros (44-96, Previous: 30)

Last Week's Record: 3-3

The Astros had a successful week, as they took two of three from the division-leading Reds in Cincinnati and prolonged the inevitable milestone of 100 losses for a bit longer.

They still have a chance to play spoiler, with six games against the Cardinals and three against the Pirates. Right-hander Edgar Gonzalez has been a bright spot in September, going 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in two starts since joining the rotation.


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