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

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2015

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

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    There was no shortage of storylines around Major League Baseball this past week.

    Aside from the excitement surrounding the MLB draft, we also saw Albert Pujols pass Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list and Chris Heston of the San Francisco Giants throw the first no-hitter of the season.

    The icing on the cake then came on Sunday, when a pair of top prospects in Byron Buxton and Francisco Lindor both made their big league debuts.

    Meanwhile, there was plenty of action once again in our weekly power rankings, as teams continue to try to separate themselves from the pack and establish themselves as serious contenders.

    When putting together this list, 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 previously. You keep winning, you keep climbing—it's as simple as that.

30. Philadelphia Phillies (22-42, Previous: 30)

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    3B Maikel Franco
    3B Maikel FrancoHunter Martin/Getty Images

    Last Week: 0-6

    Since authoring an unlikely six-game winning streak in the middle of May, the Philadelphia Phillies have gone 5-19.

    That includes 1-9 in their last 10, with sweeps at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates last week, and their run differential now sits at negative-91 on the year.

    As far as something to look forward to for the remainder of the season, aside from a potential fire sale, the team promoted last year's top pick, Aaron Nola, to Triple-A on Sunday. He posted a 1.88 ERA in 76.2 innings of work in Double-A and could potentially step into a rotation spot in the second half.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Maikel Franco (9-for-23, 3 2B, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Cole Hamels (ND, L, 13.0 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 19 K)

29. Colorado Rockies (28-34, Previous: 28)

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    SP Jorge De La Rosa
    SP Jorge De La RosaDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Colorado Rockies began last week with a pair of wins against the St. Louis Cardinals to pull within three games of a .500 record but then dropped four of their next five, including three of four to the Marlins in Miami.

    With three more big flies last week, third baseman Nolan Arenado now has 16 home runs and 49 RBI on the season, to go along with an .857 OPS and a team-best 2.8 WAR. The breakout that began last season has continued here in 2015, as the 24-year-old has become a bona fide star.

    On the pitching side of things, Jorge De La Rosa picked up his 73rd win in a Rockies uniform Sunday with a victory over the Marlins, That broke a tie with Aaron Cook to make him the franchise's all-time wins leader.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B DJ LeMahieu (11-for-30, 4 2B, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jorge De La Rosa (2 W, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 12 K)

28. Milwaukee Brewers (24-40, Previous: 29)

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    SP Taylor Jungmann
    SP Taylor JungmannMike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    A series win over the Pittsburgh Pirates and a four-game split with the Washington Nationals adds up to one of the better weeks of the season for the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Taylor Jungmann, a former University of Texas ace and the No. 12 pick in the 2011 draft, made his major league debut Tuesday with seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball against the Pirates to pick up the victory.

    He wasn't quite as sharp Sunday, suffering the loss (5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER), but he's done enough to earn another start with Wily Peralta still sidelined with an oblique injury.

    Second baseman Scooter Gennett was also recalled from the minors after being demoted nearly a month ago. He hit .307/.340/.500 in 88 minor league at-bats and has quickly gone 5-for-14 with three doubles since rejoining the big league club.

    Hitter of the Week

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

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Taylor Jungmann (W, L, 12.0 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 10 K)

27. Boston Red Sox (27-37, Previous: 17)

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    DH David Ortiz
    DH David OrtizWinslow Townson/Getty Images

    Last Week: 0-6

    A lack of quality pitching has been an issue for the Boston Red Sox all season, but things reached a new level of bad last week in a pair of series sweeps by the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.

    The team's starters allowed 45 hits and 27 earned runs in 32 innings of work for a 7.59 ERA, while the bullpen managed to record three losses and a blown save en route to a 6.00 ERA of their own.

    At this point, there's no reason Brian Johnson (12 GS, 7-4, 2.51 ERA) and Henry Owens (13 GS, 2-5, 3.45 ERA) shouldn't both be on the next plane out of Triple-A Pawtucket. They can't possibly do worse than the current five-man rotation.

    Spending all of that money on Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in the offseason seemed like an odd allocation of funds at the time, as the pitching staff was clearly a bigger need, and that's exactly how things have played out.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH David Ortiz (6-for-18, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • Hmm...I've got nothing.

26. Miami Marlins (27-37, Previous: 24)

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    RF Giancarlo Stanton
    RF Giancarlo StantonRobert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    It was another losing week for the Miami Marlins, but they finished strong by taking three of four from the Colorado Rockies, and they have the hottest hitter on the planet in Giancarlo Stanton.

    With five home runs and 12 RBI last week, Stanton now leads the majors with 23 home runs and 59 RBI on the season, though he's also tops with 84 strikeouts.

    Since the calendar flipped over to June, Stanton has hit .388/.455/.980 with five doubles, eight home runs and 15 RBI in 49 at-bats.

    The pitching staff also received a shot in the arm Saturday when the Marlins activated Mat Latos from the disabled list. The big right-hander allowed four hits and one earned run while striking out 11 in seven innings in his first start back.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Giancarlo Stanton (13-for-25, 4 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP David Phelps (W, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)

25. Cincinnati Reds (28-34, Previous: 26)

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    1B Joey Votto
    1B Joey VottoJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Cincinnati Reds made the most of their matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies last week, sweeping their three-game set, but they followed that up by dropping three of four to the Chicago Cubs.

    As things stand, this looks like one of the few teams that is a surefire seller when the deadline rolls around, and according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the Yankees and Tigers both had scouts on hand for ace Johnny Cueto's last start.

    While upcoming free agents Cueto and Mike Leake appear to be the most likely players to be dealt, it will be interesting to see how aggressive the Reds are with the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce and others.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Joey Votto (9-for-28, 2 2B, 4 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Anthony DeSclafani (W, ND, 12.2 IP, 16 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 12 K)

24. Chicago White Sox (28-33, Previous: 27)

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    SP Chris Sale
    SP Chris SaleJon Durr/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Chicago White Sox kicked off last week with a bang, sweeping the Houston Astros at home. The Rays returned the favor over the weekend, though, taking three games in St. Petersburg.

    While he took the loss Sunday, Chris Sale is pitching as well as anyone in baseball right now, going 4-2 with a 1.52 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 53.1 innings (13.3 K/9) over his last seven starts.

    Slugger Jose Abreu has also picked up his play here of late, hitting .310/.356/.619 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 42 at-bats this month.

    Now the White Sox need the rest of the roster outside of their two stars to provide some consistency if they hope to climb out of the AL Central cellar.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Jose Abreu (9-for-22, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chris Sale (W, L, 14.2 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 26 K)

23. Oakland Athletics (26-39, Previous: 25)

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    SP Scott Kazmir
    SP Scott KazmirEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Oakland Athletics remain something of an anomaly, as they sit 13 games under .500 but have a plus-15 run differential on the season.

    They picked up a series win against the Texas Rangers last week but then dropped two of three to the Los Angeles Angels, and they are now 14-21 against AL West opponents.

    The star of last week was left-hander Scott Kazmir, who figures to be one of the most sought-after arms on the trade market about a month from now.

    With eight shutout innings of one-hit ball against the Rangers on Thursday, the 31-year-old now has a 2.79 ERA and 1.197 WHIP over 71 innings of work this season.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Josh Reddick (8-for-23, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Scott Kazmir (W, 8.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)

22. Cleveland Indians (29-33, Previous: 20)

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    RF Brandon Moss
    RF Brandon MossDavid Richard-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    Despite a week that featured series losses to the Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers, things wrapped up in exciting fashion for Indians fans, as top prospect Francisco Lindor has finally arrived in Cleveland.

    The Indians drafted Lindor No. 8 overall in 2011, and the 21-year-old entered the season as the No. 9 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America.

    With a .281/.348/.399 line in Triple-A this season, his offensive game is still a work in progress, but he's expected to make an immediate impact defensively, as he's long been considered the best defensive shortstop in the minors.

    Considering the shortstop position in Cleveland has produced a .202/.262/.260 line on the season to this point, Lindor already looked like an upgrade at the plate as well with a base hit in his debut.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Brandon Moss (8-for-24, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Shaun Marcum (W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

21. Seattle Mariners (28-35, Previous: 23)

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    SP Mike Montgomery
    SP Mike MontgomeryBob Levey/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Seattle Mariners continue to spin their tires a handful of games below .500, as they took a series from the Cleveland Indians to begin last week but dropped two of three to the Houston Astros over the weekend.

    The offense has started to show signs of life around Nelson Cruz, but the starting rotation that was expected to be so good remains a work in progress.

    Felix Hernandez is coming off perhaps the worst outing of his career, as he only managed to get one out in his start Friday against the Astros, allowing five hits and eight earned runs along the way.

    On the plus side, Mike Montgomery (3 GS, 1-1, 1.89 ERA, 1.105 WHIP) has provided a boost since joining the rotation, and the former Kansas City Royals top prospect earned his first big league victory Saturday.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Kyle Seager (6-for-20, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Mike Montgomery (W, 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K)

20. Atlanta Braves (30-33, Previous: 22)

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    2B Jace Peterson
    2B Jace PetersonDale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    They lost a half-game in the standings last week, but the Atlanta Braves remain very much in the NL East picture, as they are currently 3.5 games behind the New York Mets and three games behind the Washington Nationals.

    For all the offensive firepower they traded in the offseason, the foursome of Jace Peterson (.356 OBP), Cameron Maybin (.371 OBP), Freddie Freeman (.376 OBP) and Nick Markakis (.394 OBP) atop the lineup has done a terrific job getting on base and leading the way at the plate.

    Were it not for a bullpen that has converted just 20 of 33 save chances and ranks last in the NL with a 4.64 ERA, this team could be sitting atop the division standings.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Jace Peterson (13-for-31, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP/RP Williams Perez (W, SV, 8.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

19. Arizona Diamondbacks (30-32, Previous: 21)

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    SP Chase Anderson
    SP Chase AndersonJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    It was a mixed bag for the Arizona Diamondbacks last week, as they were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers but turned things around to sweep the San Francisco Giants over the weekend.

    That leaves them in fourth place in the NL West and 6.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers, which is by no means cause for celebration but is a big step forward so far for a team that lost 98 games just a season ago.

    The starting rotation is the biggest weakness right now, ranking 25th in the majors with a 4.54 ERA, but Chase Anderson has certainly done his part.

    The 27-year-old has a 2.82 ERA (3.20 FIP) and 1.132 WHIP over 73.1 innings so far this season, and he held the Giants hitless through 6.1 innings of work in his last start.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Paul Goldschmidt (11-for-22, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chase Anderson (W, 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)

18. San Diego Padres (32-33, Previous: 13)

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    RP Craig Kimbrel
    RP Craig KimbrelBrett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The San Diego Padres entered last week having won or split their previous four series. They kept that streak going with a four-game split against the Braves in Atlanta before dropping two of three to the division-rival Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend.

    Center fielder Wil Myers returned from a stint on the disabled list last week, and Jedd Gyorko ended up optioned to the minors as the odd man out among position players.

    He's fallen a long way since his 23-homer rookie season in 2013 that earned him a five-year, $35 million extension, but perhaps a trip to the minors is exactly what the 26-year-old needs to get back on track.

    Hitter of the Week

    • OF Will Venable (9-for-27, 3 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • RP Craig Kimbrel (3-of-3 SV, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)

17. Baltimore Orioles (31-31, Previous: 19)

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    3B Manny Machado
    3B Manny MachadoTommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-1

    Despite sweeping a struggling Boston Red Sox team and taking two of three from the New York Yankees over the weekend, the Baltimore Orioles climb just two spots in the rankings due to concerns about their starting rotation.

    The staff combined for a 5.52 ERA and did not record a single quality start last week, and Miguel Gonzalez, arguably their best starter so far this year, landed on the disabled list with a groin strain.

    The offense is firing on all cylinders right now behind Adam Jones and Manny Machado, but if this team is going to seize the opportunity in a wide-open AL East, it may need to bolster the rotation.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Manny Machado (11-for-24, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 9 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Wei-Yin Chen (W, 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

16. Los Angeles Angels (32-31, Previous: 18)

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    1B Albert Pujols
    1B Albert PujolsJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    It was another historic week for Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols, and his contributions helped the team to a pair of series wins over the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics.

    With career home run No. 537 on Thursday night, Pujols passed Mickey Mantle on the all-time list to move into 16th place.

    Pujols added another long ball Saturday to give him an AL-best 18 on the season. After hitting just .208 with a .654 OPS and three home runs in April, he's now hit .310/.341/.639 with 15 home runs over his last 39 games.

    With the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers both exceeding expectations with unproven starting rotations, the AL West title is still well within reach if the Angels can keep playing well.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Albert Pujols (10-for-23, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP C.J. Wilson (W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K)

15. New York Mets (34-30, Previous: 14)

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    CF Juan Lagares
    CF Juan LagaresJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    The New York Mets enter the week with a half-game lead in the NL East standings, but they have a tough matchup against the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays for four games to start things off this week.

    Travis d'Arnaud, Dilson Herrera and Bobby Parnell all returned to the active roster last week, and Daniel Murphy is currently on a rehab assignment of his own, so slowly but surely, the team is getting healthy.

    While the lineup is getting closer to full strength, some question marks have popped up in the rotation, specifically the recent struggles of Matt Harvey.

    After going 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA over his first eight starts, he's gone 1-3 with a 7.20 ERA and 1.320 WHIP over his last four turns.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Juan Lagares (8-for-24, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jacob deGrom (ND, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K)

14. New York Yankees (34-28, Previous: 11)

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    SP Masahiro Tanaka
    SP Masahiro TanakaMike Stobe/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-3

    A series loss to the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend cost the New York Yankees their lead in the AL East, as they are now tied atop the standings with the Tampa Bay Rays.

    That being said, another strong start from Masahiro Tanaka is a huge positive takeaway, as the right-hander has now gone seven innings and allowed one run in each of his first two starts back from the disabled list.

    The bullpen had a busy week, as the Yankees traded David Carpenter, placed Andrew Miller on the disabled list and outrighted Esmil Rogers.

    Taking their place on the roster is a pair of minor leaguers in Chris Martin and Jose Ramirez, as well as veteran Sergio Santos, who was pitching in Double-A after being scooped up in free agency.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Mark Teixeira (8-for-17, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

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

13. Detroit Tigers (33-30, Previous: 15)

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    1B Miguel Cabrera
    1B Miguel CabreraLeon Halip/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-2

    After splitting a quick two-game series with the Chicago Cubs, the Detroit Tigers took two of three from the Cleveland Indians, and they are now just three games back in the AL Central standings.

    Ace David Price twirled the third shutout of his career (seems like it should be more, no?) against the Indians on Friday, giving the workhorse left-hander his second consecutive complete game and third of the season.

    Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera has caught fire at the plate, as he's put to rest any thoughts that he may be on the decline after a "down year" of sorts last season.

    After a 10-for-17 performance last week, he's now hitting .341/.444/.592 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI in 2015.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Miguel Cabrera (10-for-17, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP David Price (W, 9.0 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K)

12. Minnesota Twins (34-28, Previous: 5)

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    SP Tommy Milone
    SP Tommy MiloneTim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-5

    The Minnesota Twins tumble out of the top 10 this week after being swept by the Kansas City Royals before dropping a series to the Texas Rangers over the weekend. They are now 1.5 games behind the Royals in the AL Central standings.

    However, this week will likely be remembered for center fielder Byron Buxton's big league debut, as the team finally pulled the trigger on promoting the player many considered the top prospect in baseball.

    The 21-year-old went 0-for-4 in his debut Sunday with a pair of strikeouts, but he did score the winning run in the ninth inning.

    "It was amazing, especially making your debut and scoring the winning run," Buxton told Rhett Bollinger of "It's an amazing feeling. It's a day I'll cherish forever."

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Brian Dozier (5-for-21, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Tommy Milone (ND, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)

11. San Francisco Giants (34-30, Previous: 4)

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    SP Chris Heston
    SP Chris HestonAl Bello/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-4

    The San Francisco Giants began the week on a strong note, taking two of three from the New York Mets, but the Arizona Diamondbacks swept them at AT&T Park over the weekend.

    That leaves them 3.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West standings and 1.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild-card spot were the season to end today.

    However, the story of the week was Chris Heston, who twirled the first no-hitter of the season Tuesday against the Mets. He struck out 11 and didn't walk a batter, though he did hit three guys.

    A 12th-round pick in 2009 and a fringe prospect entering the season, the 27-year-old has performed well for the Giants in the wake of injuries, going 6-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 13 starts.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Joe Panik (8-for-25, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chris Heston (W, L, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 17 K)

10. Washington Nationals (33-30, Previous: 7)

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    SP Max Scherzer
    SP Max ScherzerMike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    After a 2-5 performance last week, the Washington Nationals were unable to capitalize on a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers last week, walking away with a split to remain a half-game behind the New York Mets in the NL East standings.

    While it wasn't a no-hitter thanks to Carlos Gomez, Max Scherzer turned in perhaps the most dominant start of 2015 on Sunday.

    Gomez led off the seventh inning with a broken-bat single to break up what was then a perfect game, and Scherzer finished things up allowing just that one hit, issuing one walk and striking out 16.

    It's hard to say anyone is worth $210 million, but 13 starts into that massive seven-year deal he signed during the offseason, Scherzer has been worth every penny.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Bryce Harper (9-for-17, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Max Scherzer (W, L, 15.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 23 K)

9. Texas Rangers (33-30, Previous: 8)

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    SP Nick Martinez
    SP Nick MartinezEd Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Texas Rangers looked to be headed for another long season when they began the year 8-16, but they've gone 25-14 since and look to be legitimate contenders.

    Remember when calling up Joey Gallo was just temporary to fill in while Adrian Beltre was hurt?

    I have a feeling the Rangers might rethink that, as Gallo has gone 12-for-40 in his first 11 games, including four home runs that have gone 423, 471, 439 and 430 feet.

    Turning to the pitching side of things, Nick Martinez continues to be huge in an injury-plagued rotation. The right-hander has gone 5-2 with a 2.76 ERA and 10 quality starts in 13 games so far this season.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Mitch Moreland (7-for-22, 3 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Nick Martinez (W, ND, 13.0 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 8 K)

8. Houston Astros (36-28, Previous: 3)

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    RF George Springer
    RF George SpringerScott Halleran/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-4

    While they still have the most wins in the American League, the Houston Astros have gone just 2-8 in their last 10 games. As a result, their AL West division lead has shrunk to 2.5 games.

    The team has already used 10 different starting pitchers this season, but things are finally starting to fall into place from a personnel standpoint.

    Vincent Velasquez threw five scoreless innings in his debut last week, Lance McCullers (3-1, 2.00 ERA) has been fantastic six starts into his big league career and Brett Oberholtzer (8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER) had his best start of the season last time out.

    It's the offensive issues that have started to catch up to them, as they rank 28th in team batting average (.236), 30th in strikeouts (586) and 26th with runners in scoring position (.227). The MLB-best 85 home runs are nice, but they weren't going to be able to lean on that forever.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF George Springer (11-for-25, 4 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Brett Oberholtzer (W, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

7. Tampa Bay Rays (35-29, Previous: 12)

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    DH Joey Butler
    DH Joey ButlerKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    Pictured above is Joey Butler. If you're not a Tampa Bay Rays fan, there's a good chance you've never heard of him.

    Well, he just might be the best hitter right now on a Rays team that is tied for the AL East lead after sweeping the Chicago White Sox over the weekend.

    That's not meant to be a knock on Butler (.339/.369/.516), who has been a great story breaking through at the age of 29, but it's not exactly a ringing endorsement for the team's offensive prowess, either.

    Once again, it's the pitching that is the driving force behind the Rays' success, as they currently lead the AL with a 3.29 team ERA.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH Joey Butler (9-for-24, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 1 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chris Archer (ND, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

6. Kansas City Royals (34-25, Previous: 9)

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    C Salvador Perez
    C Salvador PerezBrad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-2

    The Kansas City Royals entered last week trailing the Minnesota Twins by two games in the win column and five spots in these rankings, but they were able to overtake them in both thanks to a three-game sweep.

    Unfortunately, they followed that by losing a pair of games to the St. Louis Cardinals before rain postponed Sunday's series finale, so for the time being, they sit just outside the top five.

    While their offense has been terrific all season, the starting rotation remains a major question mark for the Royals, as they rank 23rd in MLB with a 4.33 starters' ERA.

    Making matters worse, Yordano Ventura is set to have an MRI on his arm after experiencing numbness in his throwing hand during his start Friday, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Salvador Perez (7-for-19, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chris Young (W, 6.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K)

5. Chicago Cubs (34-27, Previous: 6)

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    SP Kyle Hendricks
    SP Kyle HendricksJon Durr/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    With back-to-back walk-off wins to close out the week and secure a series win over the Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs are now seven games over .500 for the first time this season.

    They are still 6.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals and third in the NL Central standings, but if the season ended today, they would be the second NL wild-card team.

    For as well as they have played to this point, there is still work to be done if the Cubs are going to legitimately contend for a playoff spot.

    The No. 5 starter job is up in the air, as Tsuyoshi Wada has been hit-and-miss since taking over for Travis Wood, while the bullpen is now employing a closer-by-committee approach that will likely need to be resolved at some point.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Miguel Montero (7-for-20, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Kyle Hendricks (ND, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (37-26, Previous: 10)

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    RF Yasiel Puig
    RF Yasiel PuigMark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Last Week: 5-1

    A tough series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals dropped the Los Angeles Dodgers down the rankings a few spots last week, but they vault back into the top five thanks to a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and a series win over the San Diego Padres.

    Now if only they could find a way to score runs when Zack Greinke is on the mound.

    Despite posting a 1.95 ERA and 12 quality starts in 13 games, Greinke is just 5-2 on the year, including 0-2 in his last seven starts despite a 2.28 ERA during that span.

    The team also has some decisions to make in the bullpen coming up, as Brandon League, Joel Peralta and Paco Rodriguez are all currently on minor league rehab assignments.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Yasiel Puig (10-for-20, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Zack Greinke (L, 8.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (35-27, Previous: 2)

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    SP Charlie Morton
    SP Charlie MortonJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Pittsburgh Pirates had a chance to make up some significant ground on the St. Louis Cardinals last week with series against the two worst teams in the league in the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies.

    While they did sweep the Phillies over the weekend to secure a winning record for the week, they dropped two of three to the Brewers at home, and that's enough to knock them down a spot in this week's rankings.

    Chalk that up as a missed opportunity, but this is still one of the best teams in baseball and a group that appears to be hitting its stride of late.

    Remember when losing Russell Martin looked like a huge blow for this team heading into the season?

    Not so much, as the catcher position has produced a fantastic .320/.384/.396 line, and the pitching staff ranks second in the league with a 2.83 ERA.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Starling Marte (11-for-28, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Charlie Morton (W, 7.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K)

2. Toronto Blue Jays (34-30, Previous: 16)

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    C Russell Martin
    C Russell MartinBruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 6-0

    Winners of 11 straight following series sweeps of the Miami Marlins and Boston Red Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays are easily the hottest team in baseball.

    Now they'll need to prove they belong this high in the rankings, as they get set to take on a pair of quality teams in the New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles this coming week.

    Pitching will be the key, but their offense has been an absolute juggernaut of late.

    Last week, they hit .314 (69-for-220) as a team with 12 doubles, two triples and 10 home runs while averaging 8.83 runs per game.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Russell Martin (9-for-21, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Scott Copeland (W, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

1. St. Louis Cardinals (41-21, Previous: 1)

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    SP Jaime Garcia
    SP Jaime GarciaMike Stobe/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-2

    A series loss to the Colorado Rockies is not exactly what you would expect from the No. 1 team in these rankings, but there was enough ground between the St. Louis Cardinals and the rest of the league that they remain in the top spot for the time being.

    Guys just continue to step in and perform for this team, as no franchise in baseball does a better job of overcoming injuries.

    Jaime Garcia is now 2-3 with a 2.06 ERA in five starts since returning from the disabled list, and he certainly looks like the answer to replacing Adam Wainwright.

    Meanwhile, Mark Reynolds has hit .273/.355/.364 since taking over at first base for Matt Adams, who was lost to a quad injury on May 26.

    Throw in the performances of Matt Belisle (25 G, 2.05 ERA) and Seth Maness (30 G, 3.52 ERA) replacing Jordan Walden as the right-handed setup man, and there has yet to be a hole this team couldn't plug here in 2015.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Mark Reynolds (5-for-17, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jaime Garcia (W, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

    All standard and advanced stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference, unless otherwise noted. Hitter and pitcher of the week stats reflect games played from Monday, June 8, through Sunday, June 14.


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