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

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2015

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

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    For the fourth week in a row, we have a new No. 1 club in our power rankings, as a relatively small sample size of games continues to lead to a lot of movement.

    When putting together these rankings, we considered the following factors:

    • Last week's record
    • Quality of opponent
    • Key injuries/trades
    • Recent performance beyond the last week

    The goal is to be as objective as possible, but a certain amount of subjectivity will always come into play with something like this.

    Just remember: This is a fluid process. Teams will rise and fall on a weekly basis relative to where they ranked the previous week. You keep winning, you keep climbing—it's as simple as that.

30. Colorado Rockies (11-17, Previous: 25)

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    Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 0-4

    Rain and eventually snow led to an abridged week for the Colorado Rockies, and in the big picture, that may have been for the best, as they lost the four games they did play and have now run their losing streak to nine.

    The starting rotation has tallied just five quality starts through 28 games, with three of those coming from Jordan Lyles, and its 5.66 ERA as a group is currently the worst in baseball.

    The bullpen is also on its third closer, with Adam Ottavino undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery Thursday and John Axford now stepping into the ninth-inning role.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Justin Morneau (4-for-11, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jordan Lyles (L, 7.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)

29. Philadelphia Phillies (11-21, Previous: 28)

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-4

    Another week, and two more lost series for the Philadelphia Phillies, as they dropped two of three to the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets.

    The offense is averaging a meager 2.84 runs per game, which has played a big part in the team posting an MLB-worst minus-60 run differential to this point.

    Reclamation project Chad Billingsley made his Phillies debut Tuesday and turned in a pair of five-inning, five-run starts last week. The team doesn't really have a better option, so expect it to try to milk everything it can out of the one-year, $1.5 million investment it made in Billingsley.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Ryan Howard (6-for-16, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Cole Hamels (W, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)

28. Cleveland Indians (11-19, Previous: 26)

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    Believe it or not, the Cleveland Indians have not won a series since they took two of three from the Houston Astros to open the season. Their dropping two of three to the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins last week furthered that dubious streak.

    After a somewhat surprising decision to send Danny Salazar to the minors to open the season, he's emerged as the team's best starter since being recalled, going 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA and an impressive 5-48 walk-to-strikeout ratio over 33 innings of work.

    With the offense starting to pick things up, it's now a matter of the rest of the rotation rounding into form. The staff is plenty talented and entered the season with lofty expectations, so the best may well be ahead for the Tribe.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Jason Kipnis (10-for-27, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Danny Salazar (W, L, 14.0 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 20 K)

27. Milwaukee Brewers (11-21, Previous: 29)

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    Only five National League teams entered last week with winning records, and the Milwaukee Brewers split a four-game series with one of them in the Los Angeles Dodgers and took two of three from another in the Chicago Cubs.

    That's enough to bump them up a few spots in the rankings, but this is still a team with a minus-45 run differential on the year and more than a few questions up and down the roster.

    For his part, new manager Craig Counsell seems to have provided the team with a spark.

    "I like us right now. I think we're playing well," Counsell told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "I'm seeing things I like out there that are very meaningful to me."

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Ryan Braun (8-for-23, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 11 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Wily Peralta (W, 8.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

26. Texas Rangers (13-18, Previous: 30)

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    With a three-game sweep of last week's No. 1-ranked Houston Astros and a four-game split with a solid Tampa Bay Rays team, the Texas Rangers climb out of the bottom spot in these rankings and up to No. 26.

    Wandy Rodriguez, who pitched well enough to win a rotation spot with the Atlanta Braves during spring training, has been a terrific addition to a patchwork Rangers rotation. The veteran is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and .181 opponent batting average through four starts.

    It seems like only a matter of time before the team pulls the trigger on demoting second baseman Rougned Odor (.144/.252/.233), with Ed Lucas (.306/.372/.402 in Triple-A) looking like viable candidate to replace him in the short term.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Carlos Peguero (7-for-21, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Wandy Rodriguez (W, ND, 14.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 14 K)

25. Oakland Athletics (12-21, Previous: 20)

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1-6

    The Oakland Athletics have won consecutive games just once in 2015, and after an 8-8 start to the year, they've gone 4-13 to fall into the AL West cellar.

    There have been plenty of bright spots, and the team has a run differential of just minus-three, so there is certainly room for improvement. 

    Oakland has played just 13 home games compared to 20 road games, and manager Bob Melvin thinks some time at home could help turn things around.

    "We’re going to start winning when we get home," he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. "We are. Our record’s not indicative of how good we are. We’re in every game. It’s small, little things that are going to make the difference for us. And we’re going to start winning when we get home."

    Hitter of the Week

    • SS Marcus Semien (11-for-25, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Sonny Gray (ND, 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

24. Chicago White Sox (12-16, Previous: 27)

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    Following a tumble down the rankings with a 0-5 performance two weeks ago, the Chicago White Sox climb back up a few spots after taking two of three each from the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds last week.

    Strong starts from John Danks, Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Rodon, in what was his first career start, were all positives. But Chris Sale (5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER) continued his early-season struggles with another poor outing.

    On the offensive side of things, they remain the lowest-scoring team in the American League, putting up 3.54 runs per game.

    Keep an eye out for Jose Abreu potentially playing third base this coming week when the team heads to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers, as that is a very real possibility, according to Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. The move would keep Adam LaRoche's bat in the lineup despite the loss of the designated hitter spot in the NL park.

    Hitter of the Week

    • SS Alexei Ramirez (8-for-23, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP John Danks (ND, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K)

23. Atlanta Braves (14-17, Previous: 19)

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    Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    A series win against the Philadelphia Phillies doesn't carry much weight as far as quality wins are concerned, so a series sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals was enough to knock the Atlanta Braves down a few spots in this week's rankings.

    Shelby Miller continued his hot start with a three-hit shutout against the Phillies on Tuesday. It was the third shutout of his career, and he is now 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA and 0.974 WHIP in six starts.

    Despite a complete lack of protection, Freddie Freeman had a huge week at the plate, and he is now hitting .328/.385/.571 with 14 doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI on the year.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Freddie Freeman (12-for-24, 5 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Shelby Miller (W, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)

22. Arizona Diamondbacks (14-16, Previous: 24)

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Arizona Diamondbacks continue to show flashes of what could be a solid future, and they enter the week with a plus-18 run differential despite their 14-16 overall record.

    The starting pitching has been the big surprise. It may lack a bona fide staff ace, but the rotation currently ranks seventh in the league with a 3.66 starter's ERA.

    Unfortunately, the bullpen has not been nearly as effective, as the relief corps has gone 4-7 with four blown saves in six chances and a 4.22 ERA that ranks 22nd in the league.

    The offense has been hit-and-miss, outside of Paul Goldschmidt (.345/.444/.646, 9 HR, 27 RBI), who remains one of the best hitters in the game and is the clear face of the franchise at this point.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Aaron Hill (8-for-15, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Rubby De La Rosa (W, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

21. Boston Red Sox (14-17, Previous: 15)

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    The starting pitching woes continued for the Boston Red Sox last week, and they dropped series to the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays as a result, leaving them tied for last place in the AL East standings.

    Rick Porcello threw seven shutout innings in his lone start of the week, but the other four starters combined to allow 35 hits and 22 runs in 28.2 innings (6.91 ERA) in the team's remaining five games.

    On the plus side, Hanley Ramirez managed to avoid a trip to the disabled list, as he returned to the lineup Saturday after missing three games with a shoulder injury.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Mookie Betts (8-for-25, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Rick Porcello (W, 7.0 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

20. Cincinnati Reds (15-16, Previous: 21)

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Cincinnati Reds took two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates to begin last week but dropped their weekend series with the Chicago White Sox, leaving them one game under .500 on the year.

    There's a clear need for others to assert themselves in the rotation with Homer Bailey out for the season (Tommy John surgery), and the duo of Mike Leake (1 GS, 1-0, 8.0 IP, 0 ER) and rookie Michael Lorenzen (2 GS, 1-0, 11.0 IP, 2 ER) certainly did their part last week.

    Marlon Byrd also had by far his most productive week in a Reds uniform, going 8-for-21 with three home runs and eight RBI. He entered the week hitting just .181/.216/.313 with 15 hits, three home runs and nine RBI in his first 23 games.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Marlon Byrd (8-for-21, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Mike Leake (W, 8.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)

19. Seattle Mariners (14-17, Previous: 22)

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    Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    After losing consecutive walk-off games to the Los Angeles Angels last week, the Seattle Mariners picked up a last-at-bat win of their own to kick off their series against the Oakland Athletics on their way to a weekend sweep.

    It's been a streaky couple of weeks and a disappointing season as a whole for the team many picked to win the American League West and more. But there is still plenty of time for the Mariners to turn things around. They stay at home to face the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox this coming week.

    Ace Felix Hernandez, 29, picked up career strikeout No. 2,000 on Sunday, the fourth-youngest player to reach that mark behind Bert Blyleven, Sam McDowell and Walter Johnson, according to Chris Cwik of Yahoo.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Logan Morrison (6-for-22, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Felix Hernandez (2 W, 14.0 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 14 K)

18. Baltimore Orioles (13-16, Previous: 9)

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1-5

    After climbing into the top 10 with a 3-1 performance in a postponement-shortened week two weeks ago, the Baltimore Orioles drop significantly this time around after losing a series to the New York Mets and then dropping three of four to the division-rival New York Yankees.

    The starting pitching continues to be a major area of concern. Wei-Yin Chen allowed one run in seven innings to pick up the team's lone win of the week, but the rest of the starters combined to allow 34 hits and 19 runs in 24 innings (7.13 ERA) in its other five games.

    On a positive note, Jimmy Paredes continues to be one of the biggest surprises of 2015, as he enters the week hitting .355/.380/.684 with six doubles, five home runs and 15 RBI in just 76 at-bats.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH Jimmy Paredes (9-for-25, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Wei-Yin Chen (W, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

17. Tampa Bay Rays (17-15, Previous: 17)

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    David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Tampa Bay Rays continued to get by with a patchwork rotation and a below-average offense, as they took two of three from the Boston Red Sox last week before splitting a four-game series with the Texas Rangers.

    Already without Alex Cobb and Matt Moore, the team will likely be without left-hander Drew Smyly for the duration of 2015 as well. He's currently on the disabled list with a sore shoulder and appears to be headed for season-ending labrum surgery, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

    Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi have both been terrific, and Alex Colome has pitched well since returning from a bout with pneumonia, but the staff is really being tested here in the early going. Despite all of that, it currently leads the AL with a 3.32 starter's ERA.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Evan Longoria (8-for-22, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jake Odorizzi (W, ND, 13.2 IP, 14 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 13 K)

16. Los Angeles Angels (15-17, Previous: 16)

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    Beyond their 4-3 record last week, the Los Angeles Angels look to be a team on the rise after four of their five starters pitched brilliantly in their last outings.

    Jered Weaver entered the week at 0-4 with a 6.29 ERA but rebounded to throw a complete-game shutout against the Houston Astros on Friday.

    Behind him, Hector Santiago allowed one hit in 6.1 scoreless innings, C.J. Wilson threw seven strong innings and Garrett Richards took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Sunday.

    The offense is still a work in progress behind Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun, but more consistency from the starting rotation would go a long way in pulling the team back into the AL West picture.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Mike Trout (7-for-26, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jered Weaver (W, 9.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

15. Minnesota Twins (18-14, Previous: 23)

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5-2

    I was cautiously optimistic about the Minnesota Twins in last week's rankings, bumping them up three spots after a 5-2 performance.

    However, with another 5-2 performance that included series wins against the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics, they have officially forced their way into the upper half of the rankings and are eyeing a spot in the top 10 if they keep it up.

    They continued to win despite more struggles from Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco as well as a rough week from Trevor May in the rotation.

    Meanwhile, Kyle Gibson (3-2, 2.97 ERA) is quietly putting together a terrific season through his first six starts, thanks to six more shutout innings in his latest effort.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Torii Hunter (11-for-29, 2 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 9 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Kyle Gibson (W, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)

14. Toronto Blue Jays (16-16, Previous: 18)

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Toronto Blue Jays pulled to .500 last week for the first time since they were 9-9, as they took two of three from a pair of division foes in the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

    Rookie Aaron Sanchez enjoyed the best start of his career on Friday against the Red Sox, allowing just two hits in seven shutout innings. His command was still spotty at best, though, as he walked five hitters in the game.

    Standout second baseman Devon Travis suffered through his first truly bad week of the season last week, going 4-for-24. The team really needs him to snap out of it quickly, as he's currently slotted in the leadoff spot with Jose Reyes sidelined due to a cracked rib.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Russell Martin (10-for-17, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Aaron Sanchez (W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 3 K)

13. Miami Marlins (15-17, Previous: 11)

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Miami Marlins climbed eight spots in last week's rankings, and they entered this past week on a 9-2 hot streak, but a series loss to the Washington Nationals and a four-game split with the San Francisco Giants knocks them back down to No. 13.

    With 10 more hits in 23 at-bats, Dee Gordon continued his ridiculous start to the year, as the speedster is now hitting .439. He leads baseball with 54 hits and enters the week working on an MLB-best 13-game hitting streak.

    The biggest positives of the week were a pair of solid starts from Mat Latos, including his first win in a Marlins uniform. The burly right-hander entered the week at 0-3 with a 6.86 ERA but managed to trim that down to a 4.72 mark after allowing just nine hits and two runs in 13.1 innings of work.

    Meanwhile, the continued struggles of closer Steve Cishek (1-2, 3-of-6 SV, 8.18 ERA) have to lead to a change in the ninth inning sometime soon.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Dee Gordon (10-for-23, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Mat Latos (W, ND, 13.1 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 11 K)

12. Chicago Cubs (15-15, Previous: 10)

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    It was a rough week for the Chicago Cubs, as they dropped three of four to the rival St. Louis Cardinals before dropping a series to the cellar-dwelling Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend.

    They are now 3-8 in their last 11 games after a 13-8 start to the season, and inconsistency from the bullpen has been by far the biggest culprit in their recent struggles. Quietly one of the best relief corps in baseball a year ago, the bullpen has gotten progressively worse in 2015 and now ranks 26th in the league with a 4.56 ERA.

    Justin Grimm returned from the disabled list last week, and Neil Ramirez (shoulder) is moving closer to returning himself, so the team may be able to regain some stability in the days and weeks to come.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Anthony Rizzo (11-for-31, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jason Hammel (W, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K)

11. San Diego Padres (17-16, Previous: 8)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-4

    With a series loss to the San Francisco Giants and a four-game split with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Diego Padres slip out of the top 10 for the first time this season.

    Rookie Cory Spangenberg appears to have shown enough in limited action to warrant a more substantial role, as he's started and hit either first or second in each of the team's last six games. He has split his time between second and third base, going 6-for-19 with a triple and three runs scored last week.

    Closer Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the season last week and has allowed a run in two of his previous three appearances, pushing his ERA to 5.68 on the year. The bullpen as a whole has been a major issue for the first time in recent memory, as it ranks 24th in the league with a 4.48 ERA.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Wil Myers (10-for-26, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Ian Kennedy (W, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

10. San Francisco Giants (16-16, Previous: 13)

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    After a rough 4-10 start to the season, the San Francisco Giants have gone 12-6 in their last 18 games, including a series win against the San Diego Padres and a four-game split with the Miami Marlins last week.

    Slowly but surely, the starting pitching has begun rounding into form, and it enters the week ranked 10th in the league with a 3.84 ERA. Veteran Ryan Vogelsong enjoyed his two best starts of the season last week, going seven innings each time out and allowing just one earned run between the two outings.

    Hunter Pence began a rehab assignment Friday, though he still may not return this coming week as he looks to play catch-up after missing a good chunk of spring training and all of the regular season to this point with a fractured forearm.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Brandon Belt (13-for-25, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Ryan Vogelsong (W, ND, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

9. Pittsburgh Pirates (15-16, Previous: 12)

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    Despite dropping two of three to the Cincinnati Reds to begin last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates climb into the top 10 after taking a hard-fought weekend series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

    With shortstop Jordy Mercer (.194 BA, .481 OPS) and third baseman Josh Harrison (.173 BA, .491 OPS) both struggling mightily, Jung-ho Kang has seen his playing time expand, as he started five games last week.

    The Korean import is hitting .333/.377/.521 on the year with three doubles, two home runs and nine RBI in 48 at-bats. He came through big on Sunday, going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in the team's 4-3 victory.

    On the pitching side of things, Charlie Morton continues on the rehab trail and could rejoin the rotation soon after throwing seven innings of shutout ball and allowing just two hits in his first rehab start in Double-A on Friday.

    Hitter of the Week

    • IF Jung-ho Kang (7-for-16, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP A.J. Burnett (W, 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K)

8. Detroit Tigers (19-13, Previous: 4)

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-4

    After dropping two of three to a Chicago White Sox team that had been struggling mightily, the Detroit Tigers lost two of three to the division-rival Kansas City Royals over the weekend to fall a game-and-a-half behind them in the standings.

    The Royals lead the head-to-head series 4-3 on the year, after the Tigers dominated the series 13-6 last season, and it is quickly turning into one of the more underrated rivalries in baseball.

    A knee injury landed catcher Alex Avila on the disabled list last week, and he could wind up requiring surgery. He's currently slated to be sidelined anywhere from two to six weeks, according to George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press.

    Rookie James McCann has taken the starting role in his absence, and he was 6-for-17 last week to bring his season average up to a respectable .288.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH Victor Martinez (8-for-23, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Kyle Lobstein (W, 7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

7. Washington Nationals (17-15, Previous: 14)

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5-1

    A 7-13 start to the season was enough to drop the Washington Nationals to as low as the No. 21 spot in these rankings, but they've been playing more like the team everyone expected them to be of late, going 10-2 in their last 12 games.

    There has been a lot of talk about this perhaps being the year Bryce Harper puts it all together, and he certainly added some legitimacy to that idea with a monster performance last week.

    He was 8-for-12 with six home runs and 12 RBI over a three-game stretch last week, including the first three-homer game of his career on Wednesday. The 22-year-old is now hitting .300/.435/.655 on the year with six doubles, 11 home runs, 28 RBI and an MLB-high 27 walks.

    Gabe Lacques of USA Today wrote a piece worth reading on the positive steps Harper has taken in his game this season.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Bryce Harper (10-for-22, 1 2B, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 8 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Gio Gonzalez (W, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)

6. Houston Astros (20-12, Previous: 1)

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    After climbing to the top spot in last week's rankings, the Houston Astros found themselves promptly swept by a Texas Rangers team that occupied the No. 30 spot, as parity continues to be the name of the game in Major League Baseball.

    They managed to save face by splitting a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend, and they still enter the week with a five-game lead in the AL West standings.

    Plate discipline continues to be an area of concern, as they fanned 64 times last week against 19 walks, and their .304 on-base percentage as a team currently ranks 24th in the league.

    Still, with a better-than-expected pitching staff and an offense with plenty of firepower, don't be surprised if the Astros rebound and hang around the top 10 for a while.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Jose Altuve (6-for-25, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Dallas Keuchel (W, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 15 K)

5. New York Mets (20-11, Previous: 7)

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-1

    A quick two-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles and a series win over the lowly Philadelphia Phillies is enough to push the New York Mets back into the top five, after a 2-5 performance two weeks ago bumped them from the top spot.

    The starting rotation now boasts an MLB-best 2.99 ERA as well as a league-high 17 wins, and Bartolo Colon (3.30 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) became the first NL pitcher with six wins with a victory over the Phillies on Sunday (Felix Hernandez later joined him).

    Top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard will make his big league debut against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, filling in for the injured Dillon Gee (groin). It's not out of the question to think a strong start or two could secure that spot in the rotation moving forward for the big right-hander, as he has little left to prove in the minors.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Dilson Herrera (5-for-13, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jacob deGrom (W, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K)

4. New York Yankees (20-12, Previous: 5)

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    Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The New York Yankees rebounded from dropping a series to the Toronto Blue Jays early last week to take three of four from the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend. Their division lead currently stands at three games over Tampa Bay heading into the week.

    Michael Pineda turned in perhaps the most dominant single-game pitching performance of the season Sunday, striking out 16 hitters and allowing one run in seven innings of work against the Orioles before being lifted at 111 pitches.

    Finally healthy, the right-hander is thriving, as he's gone 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 46.1 innings, stepping into the role of staff ace with Masahiro Tanaka sidelined.

    "That's as good as we've seen," manager Joe Girardi told reporters, via ESPN.com. "God, he was really good."

    Hitter of the Week

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Michael Pineda (2 W, 15.0 IP, 11 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 22 K)

3. Kansas City Royals (20-11, Previous: 6)

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Last Week: 4-2

    With a big series win against the Tigers in Detroit over the weekend, the Kansas City Royals are now a game-and-a-half up in the AL Central standings.

    The team's starting pitching has slowly rounded into form after the offense did much of the heavy lifting early in the season, but the Royals could be without veteran Jason Vargas for an extended period of time as he's dealing with a strained flexor tendon.

    Chris Young took his turn in the rotation Sunday and pitched six shutout innings of three-hit ball. He's now 2-0 with a 0.78 ERA in two starts and six relief appearances spanning 23 innings. Not bad production out of a one-year, $675,000 deal.

    The Royals take on the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees this coming week as they look to put some distance between themselves and the Tigers.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Eric Hosmer (9-for-26, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP/RP Chris Young (2 G, 1 GS, 8.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (20-10, Previous: 3)

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    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    A four-game split with the Milwaukee Brewers and a weather-shortened two-game series sweep of the Colorado Rockies gave the Los Angeles Dodgers another winning week and extended their lead in the NL West standings to 4.5 games.

    Catcher Yasmani Grandal turned in the individual performance of the week, going 4-for-4 with two home runs and eight RBI against the Brewers on Thursday.

    The team continues to make the most of its depth and the versatility of guys like Alex Guerrero (.333 BA, 6 HR, 14 RBI) and Justin Turner (.327 BA, 5 HR, 12 RBI). Neither player has a position to call his own, but they have been among the team's most productive hitters nonetheless.

    Closer Kenley Jansen could return sometime this coming week, leaving the team with a tough decision about which player to trim from a bullpen that has been terrific so far with a 1.85 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 92.1 innings of work.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Yasmani Grandal (9-for-14, 2 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Zack Greinke (W, 7.2 IP, 2 H, 1 E, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

1. St. Louis Cardinals (22-9, Previous: 2)

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    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    It was a tough call between the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals for the No. 1 spot a week ago, but with the Astros suffering through a 2-5 week, the Cardinals are an easy choice for the top spot this time around.

    That's despite losing two of three to the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend, as they still have the best record in baseball and a 6.5-game lead in the NL Central standings.

    There were plenty of positive takeaways last week, but a terrific outing from John Lackey (7.2 IP, 1 ER, 10 K) and a red-hot Kolten Wong (12-for-25, 2 HR, 9 RBI) top the list.

    On the flip side, starter Carlos Martinez struggled mightily in his two starts, allowing seven earned runs both times out, raising his ERA from 1.73 to 4.89 in the process.

    Jaime Garcia (2.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER) and Marco Gonzales (2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER) both returned to the mound in Triple-A last week, but neither was sharp, which probably means at least one more start for Tyler Lyons filling in for the injured Adam Wainwright.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Kolten Wong (12-for-25, 2 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP John Lackey (W, 7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K)

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted. Pitcher and hitter of the week stats reflect games from Monday, May 4, through Sunday, May 10.