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

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2015

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

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    Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Once again, there was no shortage of storylines around Major League Baseball this past week.

    Alex Rodriguez tallied career hit No. 3,000 in dramatic fashion Friday with an opposite-field home run, while Max Scherzer twirled the league's second no-hitter in as many weeks with a gem against the Pirates on Saturday.

    Meanwhile, more top prospects made their MLB debuts, as Kyle Schwarber (Cubs), Matt Wisler (Braves), Justin Nicolino (Marlins) and Cody Anderson (Indians) all shined in their first taste of big league action.

    As for what went on in the win-loss column, there was plenty of action once again in our weekly power rankings as teams continue to try to establish themselves heading into the trade season.

    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 (24-47, Previous: 30)

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    SP Adam Morgan
    SP Adam MorganBrian Garfinkel/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-5

    With series losses to the Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals last week, the Philadelphia Phillies are now 3-14 in their last 17 games with a minus-51 run differential during that span.

    It wasn't all bad last week, though. According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the team avoided breaking the NL record for most games without a win by a starter (26) with their victory over the Cardinals on Sunday.

    The winning pitcher in that contest? Left-hander Adam Morgan, who made his major league debut.

    A third-round pick in 2011, Morgan was 0-6 with a 4.74 ERA and 1.580 WHIP in 13 starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, so the 25-year-old was an unlikely candidate to break that streak, to say the least.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Maikel Franco (9-for-26, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Adam Morgan (W, 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)

29. Milwaukee Brewers (25-46, Previous: 28)

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    CF Gerardo Parra
    CF Gerardo ParraJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1-6

    The Milwaukee Brewers managed to climb up to No. 28 in these rankings last week, but after a sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals and a series loss to a Colorado Rockies team that had temporarily dropped below them, they are again challenging the Philadelphia Phillies for the title of worst team in baseball.

    Center fielder Carlos Gomez played just one game last week, as he nursed a hip injury, though he is said to be improving and may still avoid a stint on the disabled list, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

    As one of the team's more valuable trade chips, and perhaps the top bat on the market if he is in fact made available, getting Gomez healthy and productive will be big for the Brewers heading into the summer trade season.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Gerardo Parra (11-for-29, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Taylor Jungmann (W, 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

28. Colorado Rockies (30-39, Previous: 29)

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    3B Nolan Arenado
    3B Nolan ArenadoDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-5

    After being swept by the Houston Astros, the Colorado Rockies managed to pull out a series win over the Milwaukee Brewers to again climb to the No. 28 spot in these rankings.

    Right-hander Chad Bettis continues to be the lone bright spot in an otherwise terrible starting rotation, as he is now 3-2 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.228 WHIP and five quality starts in eight games.

    The 26-year-old was a second-round pick in 2010, and his 1.5 WAR is currently good for second on the team, ahead of everyone but third baseman Nolan Arenado (3.4) and catcher Nick Hundley (1.5).

    Speaking of Arenado, the 24-year-old is now hitting .284/.315/.568 with 16 doubles, 17 home runs and 54 RBI on the season. That includes a .288/.331/.608 line and 11 home runs on the road, as he's more than just a product of his environment offensively.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Nolan Arenado (11-for-28, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chad Bettis (W, L, 11.1 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 10 K)

27. Chicago White Sox (30-38, Previous: 24)

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    SP Chris Sale
    SP Chris SaleJon Durr/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-5

    Chris Sale is really good. The Chicago White Sox's offense is really bad. That about catches you up on the current state of affairs on the South Side.

    Shut out twice last week, the team managed just 11 runs in seven games while hitting .182 with nine extra-base hits in 220 at-bats.

    Their struggles at the plate were never more evident than on Friday against the Texas Rangers, when Sale threw eight shutout innings of two-hit, 14-strikeout baseball and walked away with a no-decision.

    The big left-hander has now fanned at least 12 batters in each of his past five starts, going 3-1 with a 0.72 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 37.1 innings (15.7 K/9) during that span.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Melky Cabrera (9-for-26, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chris Sale (ND, 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 14 K)

26. Miami Marlins (30-41, Previous: 26)

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    SP Justin Nicolino
    SP Justin NicolinoJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Miami Marlins are now 14-19 (.424) since Dan Jennings took over as manager after starting the season 16-22 (.421) under Mike Redmond, so it's fair to say the managerial shakeup has not provided the spark the team needed.

    There is still hope on the horizon, though, in the form of right-hander Jose Fernandez. The 22-year-old is officially slated to return from Tommy John surgery on July 2, according to ESPN.com.

    Joining him in the rotation moving forward could be left-hander Justin Nicolino, who threw seven shutout innings against the Cincinnati Reds in his major league debut Saturday. The 23-year-old was the team's No. 3 prospect heading into the season, according to Baseball America.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Derek Dietrich (8-for-22, 3 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Justin Nicolino (W, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K)

25. San Diego Padres (34-38, Previous: 18)

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    SP Ian Kennedy
    SP Ian KennedyKelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    The San Diego Padres entered the season with lofty expectations after a busy offseason, so a 32-33 record through their first 55 games was enough to give incumbent manager Bud Black the ax Monday.

    Black spent eight-plus seasons as the Padres manager, going 649-713 (.477) and winning NL Manager of the Year in 2010 when he won 90 games with a $37.8 million payroll, per Cot's Baseball Contracts.

    Replacing him as the interim manager is Pat Murphy, and general manager A.J. Preller had the following to say about the new bench boss in a press release (via MLB Trade Rumors):

    Murphy's 30 years of experience coaching and managing, and his success at every level, stood out to me as I came to this decision. His leadership ability, his respect in the clubhouse and his familiarity with our system will make this transition a smooth one for our players and coaching staff.

    We'll find out whether he can jump-start the Padres' season.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Matt Kemp (6-for-28, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Ian Kennedy (W, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

24. Boston Red Sox (31-40, Previous: 27)

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    CF Mookie Betts
    CF Mookie BettsJim Rogash/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Boston Red Sox have been steadily sliding down these rankings over the past few weeks. Things have been ugly top to bottom, from an underperforming offense to a starting rotation that ranks among the worst in baseball.

    That being said, things came together nicely this past week, as they split a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves and claimed a series win over the Kansas City Royals with a 13-2 victory Sunday.

    Mookie Betts is as hot as any hitter in baseball right now, and the same goes for Brock Holt, who hit for the cycle Tuesday.

    However, the bigger story last week was the performance of the starting rotation, as it posted a 3.21 ERA as a group. Take away a rough start from Rick Porcello on Saturday (5.0 IP, 6 ER), and that ERA drops to an even more impressive 2.68 in its other six games.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Mookie Betts (18-for-31, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R)
    • UT Brock Holt (13-for-29, 4 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 9 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Wade Miley (2 W, 12.1 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 10 K)

23. Cincinnati Reds (32-36, Previous: 25)

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    RF Jay Bruce
    RF Jay BruceJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    Don't look now, but the Cincinnati Reds are quietly playing pretty decent baseball of late, winning three of their last four series to pull within four games of .500.

    That still leaves them 12.5 games back in the NL Central and 5.5 games back of five other teams for the second NL wild-card spot, so there is work to be done still before they consider being anything but sellers at the deadline.

    One player who has really given his trade value a shot in the arm of late is Jay Bruce, as he's posted an .870 OPS with five doubles, four home runs and 11 RBI in June.

    The 28-year-old is owed $12.5 million next season with a $13 million option for 2017, but he could be one of the few impact bats on the market if the Reds decide to shop him. He struggled through injuries last season but had three straight 30-homer seasons prior to that.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Jay Bruce (10-for-23, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Mike Leake (W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K)

22. Cleveland Indians (32-36, Previous: 22)

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    SP Trevor Bauer
    SP Trevor BauerJason Miller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    The No. 5 starter job continues to be a revolving door for the Cleveland Indians this season, but they may have found the answer in Cody Anderson.

    Heading into Sunday, the likes of Shaun Marcum, T.J. House, Zach McAllister and Bruce Chen had combined to go 3-8 with an 8.94 ERA in 13 starts attempting to round out the staff.

    With Marcum optioned after a two-inning, six-run debacle in his latest start, the team turned to right-hander Cody Anderson, who entered the season as the team's No. 10 prospect, according to Baseball America.

    While it's just one start, the 24-year-old looked awfully sharp Sunday, allowing just six hits in 7.2 scoreless innings for a no-decision.

    On the offensive side of things, second baseman Jason Kipnis currently has the longest hitting streak in the league at 16 games.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Jason Kipnis (9-for-19, 2 2B, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Trevor Bauer (W, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K)

21. Oakland Athletics (31-41, Previous: 23)

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    C Stephen Vogt
    C Stephen VogtCary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    It's been an up-and-down season, but when the Oakland Athletics have been good here in 2015, they've been really good, and we saw that again this past week.

    En route to series wins over the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Angels, the team piled up 46 runs and a plus-20 run differential.

    Strangely enough, ace Sonny Gray proved to be the weak link in the rotation, allowing six runs (five earned) in six innings of work. The rest of the rotation combined to go 4-1 with a 1.77 ERA in its other six games.

    With 11 RBI last week, catcher Stephen Vogt is now tied with Miguel Cabrera for the AL lead with 51 on the season. He also ranks fifth in on-base percentage (.393) and fourth in OPS (.938).

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Stephen Vogt (11-for-24, 3 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jesse Hahn (2 W, 14.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 8 K)

20. Seattle Mariners (32-38, Previous: 21)

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    SP Felix Hernandez
    SP Felix HernandezOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    Despite a winning week that included taking two of three from the division-leading Houston Astros, the Seattle Mariners remain 8.5 games back in the AL West standings.

    Felix Hernandez rebounded from perhaps the worst start of his career with another gem last week, while Taijuan Walker (13.1 IP, 4 ER, 17 K) continues to pitch well with five straight quality starts and a 2.04 ERA during that span.

    However, they remain a mess offensively, with a .231 team average that is worst in the majors and a meager 3.4 runs per game.

    After missing the postseason by just one game last year and entering this season with such lofty expectations, it will be fascinating to see what their approach to the trade deadline will be.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Robinson Cano (7-for-22, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Felix Hernandez (W, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

19. Los Angeles Angels (35-35, Previous: 16)

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    SP C.J. Wilson
    SP C.J. WilsonChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Los Angeles Angels just can't seem to pull away from mediocrity, as they have sat at exactly .500 on 15 different occasions this season, including their current 35-35 record.

    For now, that puts them 5.5 games back in the AL West and just 2.5 games back for the second AL wild-card spot, so they still have a chance to be significant players here in 2015.

    Questions abound, though.

    Can they find enough consistent offensive support for Mike Trout and Albert Pujols? Are Jered Weaver and Matt Shoemaker going to figure things out in the rotation? Can the bullpen trio of Huston Street, Cesar Ramos and Joe Smith continue to shoulder the load?

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Albert Pujols (5-for-23, 1 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP C.J. Wilson (W, 8.0 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K)

18. Arizona Diamondbacks (34-35, Previous: 19)

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    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    1B Paul GoldschmidtChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Arizona Diamondbacks continue to play solid baseball, as they have gone 19-14 in their last 33 games since starting the season at 15-21.

    For as good as Bryce Harper has been, you can certainly make a case for Paul Goldschmidt being the best offensive player in baseball right now.

    After another big week at the plate, the 27-year-old slugger is hitting .356/.474/.656 with 19 home runs and 57 RBI, and he's doing it with a $3.1 million salary.

    That's significant for a Diamondbacks team that is apparently strapped for cash. Otherwise, it's hard to wrap your head around why they would trade top pitching prospect Touki Toussaint to the Atlanta Braves just to unload Bronson Arroyo and his $9.5 million salary.

    MLB Trade Rumors collected notable reactions from around the league to a deal that no one seems to fully understand.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Paul Goldschmidt (8-for-24, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Rubby De La Rosa (W, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K)

17. Detroit Tigers (35-34, Previous: 13)

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    SP Anibal Sanchez
    SP Anibal SanchezMike Stobe/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-4

    Series losses to the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees knock the Detroit Tigers out of the upper half of these rankings for the first time this season, as they are now 5.5 games back in the AL Central standings.

    The starting rotation is still the No. 1 concern. A strong week from Anibal Sanchez is certainly promising moving forward, but it came at the same time that Alfredo Simon (2.2 IP, 7 ER) and Justin Verlander (6.2 IP, 6 ER) struggled mightily, and the No. 5 starter job remains a crapshoot.

    Offensively, the team did get a boost from the return of Victor Martinez.

    The Tigers activated the 36-year-old for the team's weekend series with the New York Yankees after missing 27 games with left knee inflammation. After going 1-for-6 in his first two games back, he was 3-for-6 with a home run and four RBI on Sunday.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF J.D. Martinez (9-for-25, 1 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Anibal Sanchez (2 W, 16.0 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 12 K)

16. New York Mets (36-35, Previous: 15)

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    SP Matt Harvey
    SP Matt HarveyDaniel Shirey/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-5

    The month of June has not gone well for the New York Mets, as they've posted an 8-12 record and a minus-22 run differential.

    An anemic offense has been the biggest issue, as they are averaging just 3.4 runs per game after getting shut out for the third time this month Sunday.

    Daniel Murphy is eyeing a return to the active roster by this coming weekend, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.com, as he continues to work his way back from a left quad strain.

    That should help, but if this team has any hope of legitimately contending, it looks like it will need to go out and land at least one impact bat between now and the trade deadline.

    Hitter of the Week

    • IF Ruben Tejada (6-for-21, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Matt Harvey (W, L, 13.2 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K)

15. Minnesota Twins (37-32, Previous: 12)

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    SP Phil Hughes
    SP Phil HughesBruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Minnesota Twins have been all over the place in these rankings of late, climbing as high as the No. 3 spot at the beginning of the month but sliding of late with a 5-11 record in their last 16 games.

    The Twins took a trip through the NL Central last week, splitting a four-game home-away series with the St. Louis Cardinals before dropping two of three to the Chicago Cubs over the weekend.

    A lack of offense has been the big issue during their recent struggles, as they've averaged just 2.63 runs per game during the aforementioned 5-11 rough patch. The Twins called up top prospect Byron Buxton in an effort to provide a spark, but he's gone just 3-for-25 with nine strikeouts in his first eight games.

    That being said, there's a reason he's the top prospect in baseball, and he's not going anywhere, according to manager Paul Molitor.

    "At least until we figure out where this thing is going to go, he's going to be out there. We need him defensively," Molitor told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Kurt Suzuki (6-for-19, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Phil Hughes (W, 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

14. Atlanta Braves (35-35, Previous: 20)

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    SP Matt Wisler
    SP Matt WislerJason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    The Atlanta Braves split their home-away series with what was a struggling Boston Red Sox team, but they finished the week strong with a three-game sweep of the division-rival New York Mets to get their record back to .500.

    Right-hander Matt Wisler, the No. 34 prospect in all of baseball and the No. 15 pitching prospect, according to Baseball America, made his big league debut Friday with eight innings of six-hit, one-run ball.

    The San Diego Padres did their best to hold on to Wisler during their busy offseason, but they finally ended up dealing him to Atlanta in exchange for closer Craig Kimbrel.

    Meanwhile, the Braves were able to pull off an absolute steal Saturday when they acquired pitching prospect Touki Toussaint (No. 71 prospect in MLB, via Baseball America) in exchange for infielder Phil Gosselin and taking on what's left of Bronson Arroyo's $9.5 million contract.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C A.J. Pierzynski (6-for-19, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

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

13. Toronto Blue Jays (37-34, Previous: 2)

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    RF Jose Bautista
    RF Jose BautistaBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Toronto Blue Jays were riding an 11-game winning streak when last week's rankings came out, and they shot up to the No. 2 spot as a result.

    The New York Mets promptly snapped that streak, and after splitting their home-away series with them, the Blue Jays dropped two of three to the division-rival Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, which was enough to bump them out of the top 10.

    It wasn't all bad by any means, as the starting rotation in particular performed well outside of Scott Copeland (2 GS, 5.1 IP, 16 H, 10 ER), but the bullpen is a growing concern.

    Brett Cecil allowed multiple runs in each of his three outings last week, picking up a blown save and two losses along the way. It comes as no surprise that the team is reportedly showing interest in Milwaukee Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez, according to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Jose Bautista (8-for-20, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Marco Estrada (W, 7.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K)

12. Los Angeles Dodgers (39-31, Previous: 4)

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    3B Justin Turner
    3B Justin TurnerRichard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    Dropped series to the Texas Rangers and rival San Francisco Giants bump the Los Angeles Dodgers outside of the top 10 in these rankings for the first time in a long time, but don't expect that to last long.

    Andre Ethier (2-for-18), Yasiel Puig (5-for-29) and Adrian Gonzalez (5-for-29) all suffered through rough weeks at the plate, and the team scored just 14 runs in six games before exploding for 10 to avoid a sweep Sunday.

    The curious case of Zack Greinke and his lack of run support continued last week, as he pitched seven scoreless innings but again left with a no-decision.

    He is now winless in his last eight starts, despite posting a 1.99 ERA and seven quality starts during that span.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Justin Turner (10-for-23, 3 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Zack Greinke (ND, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K)

11. New York Yankees (38-31, Previous: 14)

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    LF Brett Gardner
    LF Brett GardnerJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    Despite a rough 12-4 loss Sunday, it was still a good week for the New York Yankees, and they currently sit just one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East standings.

    The bats were working last week, as they launched 14 home runs as a team, but none was bigger than the opposite-field blast from Alex Rodriguez on Friday for his 3,000th career hit.

    The 39-year-old continues to enjoy a surprisingly good season, as he's now hitting .282/.384/.524 with 14 home runs and 40 RBI.

    While the offense was firing on all cylinders, the starting rotation remains a consistent concern, and it currently ranks 21st in the majors with a 4.27 starters' ERA.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Brett Gardner (10-for-30, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Michael Pineda (W, 6.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

10. Washington Nationals (37-33, Previous: 10)

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    SP Max Scherzer
    SP Max ScherzerRob Carr/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Washington Nationals dropped three of four in their home-away series with the Tampa Rays, but they followed that up by sweeping a very good Pittsburgh Pirates team over the weekend.

    The story of the week was Max Scherzer, who followed up a 16-strikeout, one-hit shutout in his previous start with a no-hitter against the Pirates on Saturday.

    • 18 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 26 K

    The most dominant two-start stretch in baseball history? Maybe.

    When Johnny Vander Meer threw back-to-back no-hitters back in 1938, the only pitcher to ever accomplish that feat, he did it with 11 walks and just 11 strikeouts over those 18 innings of work.

    At any rate, it's not out of line to say that Scherzer has staked claim to the title of best pitcher in baseball at this moment in time. He's now 8-5 with a 1.76 ERA, 0.801 WHIP and 123 strikeouts in 102.1 innings on the year.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Bryce Harper (8-for-22, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Max Scherzer (W, 9.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K)

9. Baltimore Orioles (36-33, Previous: 17)

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    3B Manny Machado
    3B Manny MachadoTom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5-2

    After an uninspired 23-26 first two months of the season, the Baltimore Orioles finally appear to be hitting their stride at 13-4 in their last 17 games.

    The O's made the head-scratching decision to option starter Wei-Yin Chen to the minors Tuesday to deal with "general fatigue," according to the Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina, though that doesn't quite add up as it was immediately following a start in which he threw eight shutout innings.

    Chen's reaction to the move on Twitter (via Yahoo Sports) didn't exactly back up the "fatigue" story either, as it was an all-around weird set of circumstance for a pitcher who has a 2.89 ERA in 13 starts.

    Meanwhile, on the offensive side of things, Manny Machado continues to enjoy a breakout season offensively, as he is now hitting .303/.361/.521 with 14 home runs and 38 RBI.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Manny Machado (13-for-29, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Wei-Yin Chen (W, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K)

8. San Francisco Giants (38-33, Previous: 11)

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    3B Matt Duffy
    3B Matt DuffyBob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The San Francisco Giants struggled in their head-to-head matchups with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers last season, going 9-10 with a minus-21 run differential.

    It's been a different story this season, though. After taking two of three at Chavez Ravine over the weekend, the Giants are now 9-3 against the Dodgers on the year, though they do still trail them in the NL West standings by 1.5 games.

    The starting pitching has been better as a whole recently, but the wheels have really fallen off for Tim Lincecum.

    After going 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA over his first eight starts, he's now posted a 7.00 ERA in his last six starts, including the shortest outing of his career Sunday when he allowed seven hits and five runs in 1.1 innings.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Matt Duffy (10-for-28, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Ryan Vogelsong (W, 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)

7. Texas Rangers (37-33, Previous: 9)

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    1B Prince Fielder
    1B Prince FielderKevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Texas Rangers took three of four from the Los Angeles Dodgers to kick off last week but followed that up by losing a series to the offensively inept Chicago White Sox.

    Pitching remains the strength of the team, which is shocking considering the likes of Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Martin Perez, Matt Harrison and Nick Tepesch are currently on the disabled list.

    It took them some time to sort out the staff, but the current five-man rotation of Yovani Gallardo, Nick Martinez, Colby Lewis, Wandy Rodriguez and Chi Chi Gonzalez has been phenomenal.

    Those five have combined to go 24-15 with a 3.07 ERA in 58 starts.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Prince Fielder (6-for-20, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Yovani Gallardo (W, ND, 12.0 IP, 9 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K)

6. Chicago Cubs (37-30, Previous: 5)

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    SP Jake Arrieta
    SP Jake ArrietaGreg Fiume/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Chicago Cubs split six games against the AL Central last week, dropping two of three to the Cleveland Indians but rebounding to take two of three from the Minnesota Twins over the weekend.

    The need for a designated hitter led to the fun decision to call up top prospect Kyle Schwarber for a week in the majors, ahead of a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A.

    The No. 4 pick in last year's draft, the 22-year-old was hitting .320/.438/.579 with 10 doubles and 13 home runs at the time of the promotion. He more than held his own in his six-game stint with the big club, going 8-for-22 with one triple, one home run and six RBI. Now he'll return to the minors to continue seeing everyday at-bats and working on his defensive game.

    Jake Arrieta capped off the week by tossing his second career shutout and the second shutout of the season for the Cubs on Sunday, allowing four hits and striking out seven.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Anthony Rizzo (8-for-24, 2 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jake Arrieta (W, L, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 13 K)

5. Houston Astros (41-30, Previous: 8)

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    RF George Springer
    RF George SpringerEvan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    The critics have had plenty to say about the Houston Astros this season, and there is a lot of truth to what they're saying.

    • They strike out too much.

    Hard to argue with that, as they currently lead all of baseball with 665 strikeouts as a team.

    • They don't have enough high-average guys.

    True. Their .241 team average ranks 25th in the league, and Jose Altuve (.287 BA) and George Springer (.284 BA) are the only regulars hitting over .275, along with rookie phenom Carlos Correa (.304 BA)

    • They lack experienced starting pitching.

    Also very true. Dallas Keuchel (27), Collin McHugh (28), Brett Oberholtzer (25), Lance McCullers (21) and Vincent Velasquez (23) have a combined 179 career starts under their belt, and 82 of those belong to Keuchel.

    Yet here we are closing in on the month of July, and the Astros still have the second-best record in the American League and a 3.5-game lead in the AL West.

    Is their performance sustainable for a full season? Maybe not, but they've been awfully fun to watch so far.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF George Springer (14-for-31, 4 HR, 5 RBI, 8 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Brett Oberholtzer (W, 6.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

4. Kansas City Royals (39-27, Previous: 6)

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    CF Lorenzo Cain
    CF Lorenzo CainEd Zurga/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5-2

    The Kansas City Royals took full advantage of their home-away series with the Milwaukee Brewers last week, sweeping both ends, before dropping two of three to the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.

    That leaves them 3.5 games up in the AL Central standings and a half-game up on the Houston Astros for the best record in the American League.

    Perhaps sparked by his nonsensical leading of the AL All-Star game voting, Omar Infante snapped out of a season-long slump last week to go 11-for-27 with three doubles and raise his season triple-slash numbers from .204/.213/.283 to .229/.237/.312.

    Totally All-Star-worthy now.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Lorenzo Cain (10-for-27, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jeremy Guthrie (W, 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (39-30, Previous: 3)

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    SP Gerrit Cole
    SP Gerrit ColeJon Durr/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    Last week started on a high note for the Pittsburgh Pirates with a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox, but the tables quickly turned when the Nationals swept them in Washington, D.C., over the weekend.

    Despite that bump in the road, this is a very good Pirates team playing some great baseball right now, as they were riding an eight-game winning streak and a 21-5 streak overall prior to their weekend struggles.

    Gerrit Cole continues to cement his place among the game's top starters with each passing start. He's now 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA, 1.066 WHIP and 97 strikeouts in 91 innings of work.

    The catching tandem of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart also remains one of the biggest surprises of the season, as they have combined to hit .308/.377/.397 on the year while helping the staff to a 2.88 ERA.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Josh Harrison (11-for-27, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Gerrit Cole (W, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K)

2. Tampa Bay Rays (40-31, Previous: 7)

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    SP Erasmo Ramirez
    SP Erasmo RamirezKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    That's right, folks. The Tampa Bay Rays, winners of 16 of their last 22 games, are officially the highest-ranked team in the American League.

    While the Royals, Astros and Rangers all lost a series last week, the Rays just kept stringing together wins with series victories over the Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians.

    Already without Alex Cobb, Matt Moore, Drew Smyly and Jake Odorizzi in the rotation, the team suffered yet another injury to a starting pitcher when Erasmo Ramirez left his start Saturday with a groin strain.

    Matt Andriese is scheduled to start Monday in what has been a revolving door in Odorizzi's spot, while Ramirez's status is still up in the air at this point for his Friday start.

    Despite those obstacles, they just keep winning, and the pitching staff has been the biggest reason why, as it currently ranks first in the American League with a 3.28 ERA.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Steven Souza (7-for-23, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Erasmo Ramirez (W, ND, 9.0 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K)

1. St. Louis Cardinals (45-24, Previous: 1)

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    SP John Lackey
    SP John LackeyDilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    Already without Adam Wainwright, Matt Adams and Jordan Walden, the St. Louis Cardinals have also sent Lance Lynn and Matt Holliday to the disabled list this month.

    Tyler Lyons has made a pair of starts in place of Lynn, going five innings in each of them and allowing three and two runs to pick up a pair of wins. The 27-year-old left-hander is not a future star, but he's been solid depth the past few seasons.

    Meanwhile, the Holliday injury has opened up regular at-bats for Randal Grichuk, and he's hitting .333/.341/.769 with four home runs and eight RBI in 10 games since Holliday went on the disabled list.

    No team has been better over the past several seasons at replacing injured or departed talent than the Cardinals, and they're doing it once again to perfection here in 2015.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Randal Grichuk (9-for-24, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP John Lackey (2 W, 15.0 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 K)

    All standard and advanced stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted. Hitter and pitcher of the week stats reflect games played from Monday, June 15, through Sunday, June 21.

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