MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand at the End of June

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2015

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand at the End of June

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The St. Louis Cardinals have established themselves as the top team in baseball this month, but the rest of the league continues to shuffle on a weekly basis behind them.

    So how will our MLB power rankings shape up this week?

    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 (27-50, Previous: 30)

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    3B Maikel Franco
    3B Maikel FrancoMatt Slocum/Associated Press

    Last Week: 3-3

    Losing finally got to be too much for Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg last week, as he resigned from his post Friday.

    "In a lot of ways I'm old school, and I'm very much dissatisfied with the record and not pleased at all with that. I think that goes hand in hand with being a manager," Sandberg told reporters (via ESPN.com).

    "So it's been a difficult thing to swallow, but I have thought about it for some time and we've come to this day," Sandberg continued. "The accumulation of losses was something that I take responsibility for and something that really took a toll on me."

    Meanwhile, rookie third baseman Maikel Franco continues to provide hope for the future, as the 22-year-old turned in another big week at the plate. He's now hitting .304/.349/.559 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 41 games.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Maikel Franco (9-for-25, 1 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • RP Ken Giles (W, HLD, 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

29. Miami Marlins (31-46, Previous: 26)

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    RF Giancarlo Stanton
    RF Giancarlo StantonJ Pat Carter/Associated Press

    Last Week: 1-5

    With ace Jose Fernandez on the cusp of finally returning from Tommy John surgery, the Miami Marlins suffered a devastating blow last week when Giancarlo Stanton broke a bone in his wrist.

    The MLB home run leader with 27, Stanton was in the middle of a monster season, but he's now expected to miss four to six weeks after undergoing surgery on a broken hamate bone.

    That comes just ahead of the highly anticipated return of Fernandez, who will make his season debut Thursday against the San Francisco Giants.

    The Marlins are 15 games under .500 and 11.5 games back in the NL East standings, and the season is quickly slipping away from a team that had every intention of contending.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Giancarlo Stanton (5-for-14, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Tom Koehler (W, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

28. Chicago White Sox (32-42, Previous: 27)

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    SP Jeff Samardzija
    SP Jeff SamardzijaHannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-4

    It was another rough week for the Chicago White Sox, as they dropped series to the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers to slip to 15-25 on the season against AL Central foes.

    Working on a string of three straight quality starts, Jeff Samardzija was throwing a gem Sunday before running into serious trouble in the eighth inning and walking away with a no-decision.

    Even with the bumpy ending to his start, his trade value continues to climb with each solid outing he puts together, and he's all but a sure thing to be moved at this point.

    It remains to be seen how aggressively the team will sell beyond looking to move Samardzija, but suffice it to say this season has not gone according to plan.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Adam Eaton (9-for-26, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jeff Samardzija (W, ND, 14.1 IP, 13 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 11 K)

27. Colorado Rockies (33-42, Previous: 28)

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

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Colorado Rockies might not be contenders here in 2015, but the continued rise of Nolan Arenado should make them fun to watch the rest of the way.

    Already viewed as one of the better defensive third basemen in the league and an up-and-coming talent heading into the season, the 24-year-old has broken out as a bona fide superstar this season.

    With a seven-homer, 14-RBI performance last week, Arenado is now hitting .293/.326/.632 with 24 home runs and an MLB-high 68 RBI.

    Now if only he could also pitch for a Rockies team with an MLB-worst 4.94 ERA.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Nolan Arenado (9-for-23, 1 2B, 7 HR, 14 RBI, 10 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chad Bettis (W, 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

26. Milwaukee Brewers (29-48, Previous: 29)

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    SP Jimmy Nelson
    SP Jimmy NelsonMorry Gash/Associated Press

    Last Week: 4-2

    It's been a tough season for the Milwaukee Brewers so far, but they still have a talented roster capable of making noise from time to time.

    Case in point last week, when they picked up series wins against a pair of contending teams in the New York Mets and Minnesota Twins.

    Not many players on the roster figure to be untouchable when the trade market heats up next month, but they do look to have a potential building block in right-hander Jimmy Nelson. In his first full season in the rotation, Nelson has gone 4-8 with a 4.34 ERA in his first 15 starts.

    However, that ERA is skewed by three really bad starts that saw him allow 20 earned runs in 12.1 innings, as he's gone 4-5 with a 2.73 ERA over his other 12 starts.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Adam Lind (10-for-22, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jimmy Nelson (W, 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

25. Cleveland Indians (33-41, Previous: 22)

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    SP Carlos Carrasco
    SP Carlos CarrascoJason Miller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1-5

    The Cleveland Indians appeared to have righted the ship when they closed out the month of May on a 10-3 tear after a 14-23 start to the season.

    That wasn't the case, though, and after being shut out in back-to-back games and swept by the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, they are now 9-15 with a minus-43 run differential in June.

    The offense has been the big issue, as second baseman Jason Kipnis has really been the team's only consistent hitter this season, and that's been especially true this month.

    With the AL Central shaping up to be the dogfight everyone expected, the Indians can't afford to slip any further back in the standings if they have any hopes of contending in 2015.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Roberto Perez (5-for-10, 4 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Carlos Carrasco (W, 8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

24. Cincinnati Reds (34-40, Previous: 23)

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    2B Brandon Phillips
    2B Brandon PhillipsAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-4

    The Cincinnati Reds are probably a better team than their record so far this year might suggest, evidenced by their series win over a very good Pirates team in Pittsburgh last week.

    Consistency remains an issue, though, and after being swept by the New York Mets over the weekend they are now six games under .500 and 6.5 games out of the second NL wild-card spot.

    At this point they still look like sellers, and depending on how aggressive they decide to be, they could have a number of valuable trade chips.

    Upcoming free agents Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake are the two safe bets to be dealt, and both pitchers have been terrific of late. Leake is 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts this month, while Cueto has gone 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA in five starts of his own.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Brandon Phillips (8-for-25, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Mike Leake (W, 7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

23. Arizona Diamondbacks (36-39, Previous: 18)

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    3B Jake Lamb
    3B Jake LambGregory Bull/Associated Press

    Last Week: 2-4

    As a whole, the Arizona Diamondbacks have exceeded expectations so far this season, but series losses to the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres stopped them short of reaching the .500 mark this past week.

    Paul Goldschmidt continues to make a strong case for being the most dangerous hitter in the National League, as he's now hitting .349/.465/.639 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI.

    While he hasn't exactly captured headlines, keep an eye on right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, who has been pitching as well as anyone the past couple of weeks.

    Acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the Wade Miley deal, the 26-year-old has allowed just three runs (two earned) in 22 innings of work in his last three starts, with opponents hitting just .222 against him during that span.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Jake Lamb (7-for-21, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Rubby De La Rosa (ND, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

22. Boston Red Sox (34-43, Previous: 24)

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    SP Clay Buchholz
    SP Clay BuchholzBob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    Another week, another mixed bag both offensively and on the mound for a Boston Red Sox team still searching for a way to string together wins here in 2015.

    Clay Buchholz (7.0 IP, 1 ER), Wade Miley (6.1 IP, 2 ER), Rick Porcello (6.0 IP, 3 ER) and Justin Masterson (5.0 IP, 1 R, 0 ER) all threw the ball well last week, but a rough start from Joe Kelly (3.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER) earned him a trip to the minors.

    While the pitching has been marginally better as a whole this month, and the offense has averaged 4.58 runs per game, they have won consecutive games just three times in June.

    There is still time for things to click and the Red Sox to make a push in an AL East division lacking a truly dominant team, but the hot streak is going to need to come soon.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Alejandro De Aza (6-for-17, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Clay Buchholz (W, 7.0 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

21. Seattle Mariners (34-42, Previous: 20)

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    SP Mike Montgomery
    SP Mike MontgomeryOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-4

    With no clearly dominant team in the AL West, the Seattle Mariners are by no means out of the hunt just yet, but series losses to the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels last week didn't help their cause any.

    The Mike Montgomery renaissance continued last week, as the 25-year-old threw his first career shutout and improved to 2-2 with a 2.04 ERA and 0.991 WHIP in five starts since being called up.

    A first-round pick by the Kansas City Royals in 2008, Montgomery ranked among Baseball America's top 40 prospects in the league for three years running from 2010 to 2012.

    However, he struggled mightily making the jump to the high minors, and the Royals eventually offloaded him to the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wil Myers/James Shields deal. The Mariners then acquired him before the start of this season for Erasmo Ramirez in a trade that just might wind up being one of the biggest steals of the year.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Robinson Cano (5-for-23, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Mike Montgomery (W, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K)

20. San Diego Padres (37-41, Previous: 25)

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    RF Matt Kemp
    RF Matt KempJake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The San Diego Padres were last over the .500 mark earlier this month when they stood at 30-29 and 3.5 games back on June 8.

    They've gone just 7-12 since, but the rest of the division has not exactly pulled away in the meantime, as they are still just 6.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West standings.

    It was nice to see some power from Matt Kemp this past week, as he homered twice to bring his season total to six. If he can get hot, it could be a real game-changer for their lineup.

    After a quick two-game series against the Seattle Mariners at home to begin the week, they kick off a 10-game road trip against the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers.

    That will take them into the All-Star break and could very well prove to be the make-or-break stretch in their season.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Matt Kemp (7-for-23, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Tyson Ross (W, 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 7 K)

19. Oakland Athletics (34-44, Previous: 21)

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    C Josh Phegley
    C Josh PhegleyRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    The roller-coaster season continued for the Oakland Athletics last week, as they swept the Texas Rangers to begin the week but then had the favor returned by the Kansas City Royals over the weekend.

    Despite the fact that they are 10 games under .500, this is a team with a plus-40 run differential, the fifth-best mark in the American League. So why hasn't that translated to a better win-loss record?

    A 6-19 record in one-run games and 0-6 mark in extra innings certainly doesn't help any.

    They do have the Texas Rangers' number, though. After sweeping them last week they are now 9-4 with a plus-32 differential against them on the season.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Josh Phegley (4-for-12, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Kendall Graveman (W, 7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K)

18. Atlanta Braves (36-40, Previous: 14)

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    SP Shelby Miller
    SP Shelby MillerNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1-5

    If there is one player the Atlanta Braves could not afford to lose for an extended period of time, it's first baseman Freddie Freeman, and he's now on the disabled list with a right wrist contusion.

    Freeman was hitting .299/.367/.520 on the year, and his 12 home runs and 41 RBI were both tops on the team.

    In fact, his 12 long balls account for over 27 percent of the team's MLB-low 44 home runs on the season, and he's really been the only consistent source of power.

    Chris Johnson and Joey Terdoslavich will split time at first base until Freeman returns, while the trio of Nick Markakis, A.J. Pierzynski and Juan Uribe will make up the 3-4-5 hitters. Yikes.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Cameron Maybin (6-for-23, 2 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Shelby Miller (ND, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

17. Texas Rangers (38-38, Previous: 7)

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    1B Prince Fielder
    1B Prince FielderTom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1-5

    The Texas Rangers have now dropped three straight series to the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays, and that's enough to drop them to .500 on the year and send them tumbling down these rankings.

    Luckily, reinforcements are on the way, with Josh Hamilton, Martin Perez, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz and Ross Ohlendorf all currently out on minor league rehab assignments.

    Meanwhile, Prince Fielder continued his impressive bounce-back season with another big week at the plate, and he's now hitting .351/.418/.538 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI on the year.

    What this team has been able to accomplish so far this season with so many key pieces sidelined has been nothing short of amazing, and it's not out of the question to think the Rangers' best baseball may still be ahead of them.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Prince Fielder (11-for-23, 3 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Yovani Gallardo (W, 8.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K)

16. Minnesota Twins (40-35, Previous: 15)

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    RF Torii Hunter
    RF Torii HunterJason Miller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    After briefly climbing into the top five in these rankings, the Minnesota Twins have been spinning their tires a bit of late, going 8-14 in their last 22 games and winning back-to-back games just once.

    While the pitching continues to be significantly improved from a year ago, the offense has gone cold in June, as they're hitting just .233 as a team and averaging 3.38 runs per game.

    In fact, Brian Dozier (.286/.360/.541, 7 2B, 6 HR, 12 RBI) is the only regular hitting over .270 for the month.

    The Twins currently sit 5.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals in second place in the AL Central standings, and those two teams will meet up for a big four-game series this coming weekend.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Torii Hunter (7-for-22, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Phil Hughes (W, 8.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

15. Los Angeles Angels (39-37, Previous: 19)

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    SP Garrett Richards
    SP Garrett RichardsJason O. Watson/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Los Angeles Angels had the best offense in baseball a year ago, but this season they've struggled to consistently back a starting rotation that's been better than expected.

    Top prospect Andrew Heaney was originally expected to break camp with a rotation spot, but he wound up optioned to the minors after a shaky spring.

    The 24-year-old finally made his Angels debut Wednesday, and it proved to be worth the wait, as he allowed four hits and one earned run in six innings for a no-decision.

    With Jered Weaver shelved with a hip injury, the team is now counting on Heaney to step up and fill that spot in the rotation, and he could prove to be a real X-factor going forward.

    Hitter of the Week

    • SS Erick Aybar (8-for-17, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Garrett Richards (W, 7.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)

14. New York Yankees (41-35, Previous: 11)

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    SP Ivan Nova
    SP Ivan NovaKathy Willens/Associated Press

    Last Week: 3-4

    A series loss to the lowly Philadelphia Phillies knocks the New York Yankees down a few spots in the rankings, but the return of right-hander Ivan Nova is the big takeaway from the week.

    Sidelined at the start of last season following Tommy John surgery, Nova finally returned to the roster Wednesday, allowing just three hits in 6.2 scoreless innings.

    The team will go with a six-man rotation for the time being, but expect either Nathan Eovaldi or Adam Warren to get bumped to the bullpen at some point.

    Warren has been great stepping into an expanded role (5-5, 3.59 ERA), but he's already set a new career high with 82.2 innings pitched after working primarily out of the bullpen the past two years. Limiting his innings will be important moving forward.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Brett Gardner (13-for-26, 4 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 9 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Ivan Nova (W, 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)

13. New York Mets (40-37, Previous: 16)

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    SP Jacob deGrom
    SP Jacob deGromMike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    A bright future on the mound for the New York Mets was on full display last week:

    • Jacob deGrom, 27 years old (W, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)
    • Noah Syndergaard, 22 years old (W, 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)
    • Steven Matz, 24 years old (W, 7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K)
    • Matt Harvey, 26 years old (ND, 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

    The start everyone will be talking about was Sunday's big league debut of Steven Matz, as he not only picked up the victory with 7.2 strong innings, but also went 3-for-3 with a double and four RBI at the plate.

    For what it's worth, Matz was 7-for-23 with three RBI in the minors this season, so the offensive outburst was not a complete shock. Quite a debut, nonetheless.

    Now the Mets will go with a six-man rotation for the time being, in an effort to limit innings for some of their young arms and make the most of their impressive pitching depth.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Curtis Granderson (11-for-24, 2 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jacob deGrom (W, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)

12. Detroit Tigers (39-36, Previous: 17)

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    SP David Price
    SP David PriceJason O. Watson/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    After sliding to their lowest ranking of the season at No. 17 last week, the Detroit Tigers climb back up a few spots after series wins over the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.

    The bullpen received a shot in the arm last week with the return of hard-throwing Bruce Rondon, who missed all of last season and the first two-plus months of this year recovering from Tommy John surgery and then dealing with biceps tendinitis.

    Now the team will need to sort out the starting rotation, as Kyle Ryan and Buck Farmer have not been the answer at the No. 5 starter with Kyle Lobstein sidelined.

    This is a team that is very capable of contending but with some clear areas of need heading into trade season. The problem is the Tigers have arguably the weakest farm system in baseball and may not be able to land the impact player they need.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Yoenis Cespedes (7-for-24, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP David Price (W, ND, 12.2 IP, 15 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 12 K)

11. Chicago Cubs (39-35, Previous: 6)

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    SP Jake Arrieta
    SP Jake ArrietaJeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    Squaring off against two of the best teams in the National League in the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs suffered through a tough week, and they are riding a five-game losing streak heading into Monday's action.

    That being said, no one is beating the Cardinals right now, and the Cubs did best Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke to begin last week, so one bad week in the win-loss column is no reason to panic.

    The return of Neil Ramirez is big for the bullpen, but the No. 5 starter job is still a big question mark, and it's really only a matter of time before the Cubs pull the trigger on trading for someone.

    Donn Roach was the latest to try his hand at filling out the rotation Saturday. The 25-year-old was 7-1 with a 2.29 ERA and 1.101 WHIP in 14 Triple-A starts, but he lasted just 3.1 innings against the Cardinals, allowing eight hits and four earned runs.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Kris Bryant (5-for-21, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jake Arrieta (ND, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

10. Los Angeles Dodgers (43-34, Previous: 12)

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    1B Adrian Gonzalez
    1B Adrian GonzalezRob Foldy/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Los Angeles Dodgers split a four-game series with the Chicago Cubs before taking two of three from the Miami Marlins over the weekend, but the big story was Zack Greinke finally picking up a win.

    Prior to earning the victory Sunday, Greinke endured a ridiculous nine-start stretch in which he went 0-2 despite tallying eight quality starts and pitching to a 1.79 ERA during that span.

    Their pitching staff as a whole was especially important this past week, as they hit a miserable .208 (47-for-226) as a team and scored 22 runs in seven games.

    On a positive note offensively, Adrian Gonzalez seems to have snapped out of his mini-slump, as he was hitting .238/.307/.375 in June before going 9-for-25 last week.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Adrian Gonzalez (9-for-25, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Zack Greinke (W, ND, 13.2 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 11 K)

9. Tampa Bay Rays (42-35, Previous: 2)

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    SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    SS Asdrubal CabreraKen Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    After climbing to the top spot among AL teams and No. 2 overall last week, the Tampa Bay Rays slip to No. 9 after series losses to the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.

    In the Rays' continued search for cheap offense, they added Marc Krauss and Grady Sizemore to the active roster last week.

    Krauss was 1-for-2 with a double and RBI in his first game with the team Saturday, while Sizemore went 3-for-5 with a double and RBI in his debut Sunday, so it's so far so good.

    As good as the team's starting pitching has been (AL-best 3.11 ERA), former All-Star Matt Moore will be welcomed back with open arms once he returns. That was originally supposed to be this coming Thursday, but those plans may have changed, according to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.

    Hitter of the Week

    • SS Asdrubal Cabrera (10-for-25, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Nate Karns (ND, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K)

8. Houston Astros (44-34, Previous: 5)

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    SS Carlos Correa
    SS Carlos CorreaDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Last Week: 3-4

    Roughly three years after the fact, it certainly looks like the Houston Astros made the right decision selecting Carlos Correa with the No. 1 overall pick.

    Just 20 games into his big league career, the 20-year-old shortstop already looks like a superstar, as he's hitting .314/.337/.593 with nine doubles, five home runs and 15 RBI while playing terrific defense.

    The search for a reliable No. 5 starter continues, though, as Houston optioned Brett Oberholtzer to the minors after he got shelled Saturday.

    If this team is serious about contending, it appears the Astros will need to pull the trigger on trading for an established arm at the deadline, and they certainly have the assets to do that without hurting their long-term outlook.

    Hitter of the Week

    • SS Carlos Correa (10-for-30, 5 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Dallas Keuchel (W, 9.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K)

7. Toronto Blue Jays (41-36, Previous: 13)

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    SP Marco Estrada
    SP Marco EstradaTom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    Two weeks removed from their 11-game winning streak, the Toronto Blue Jays still look like a legitimate top-10 team after series victories over the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers last week.

    The trade of Adam Lind for Marco Estrada didn't receive the same attention some of the bigger offseason deals did, but it's proved to be the rare win-win swap of big league talent.

    Lind is hitting .291/.362/.494 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI for the Milwaukee Brewers and should be a valuable trade chip if nothing else.

    Meanwhile, Estrada has gone 5-3 with a 3.45 ERA in 10 starts and six relief appearances, including 4-0 with a 2.94 ERA in June after taking a perfect game into the eighth inning last time out.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Edwin Encarnacion (6-for-21, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Marco Estrada (ND, 8.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K)

6. San Francisco Giants (42-35, Previous: 8)

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    SP Madison Bumgarner
    SP Madison BumgarnerLachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-2

    With series wins over the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies last week, the San Francisco Giants are now just one game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West standings heading into the final week of June.

    After Angel Pagan batted in the No. 3 spot when Hunter Pence was sidelined to start the season, it's Matt Duffy who has been penciled into that key spot in the lineup for the past five games as he continues his surprising breakout performance.

    Viewed mostly as a utility infield type heading into the season, Duffy quickly supplanted a struggling Casey McGehee at third base, and he's currently hitting .303/.349/.491 with 11 doubles, eight home runs and 37 RBI.

    On the pitching side of things, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy are both expected to return this coming week, with Cain slated to take the ball Thursday against the Miami Marlins and Peavy scheduled for Friday against the Washington Nationals.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Matt Duffy (10-for-25, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 11 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Madison Bumgarner (W, ND, 15.0 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 22 K)

5. Pittsburgh Pirates (42-33, Previous: 3)

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    SP Francisco Liriano
    SP Francisco LirianoJared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Pittsburgh Pirates ran into a bit of trouble last week with a series loss to the Cincinnati Reds at home, but they have still been one of the best teams in baseball this month, going 16-9 overall.

    The trio of Gerrit Cole (11-3, 2.16 ERA), A.J. Burnett (6-3, 2.01 ERA) and Francisco Liriano (4-6, 3.21 ERA, .189 BAA) might be the best 1-2-3 of any rotation in the league right now, and they've been the team's biggest strength.

    The back of the rotation is still something of a question mark, though Jeff Locke has pitched much better this month with a 2.96 ERA in five June starts.

    The Pirates square off against a pair of AL Central teams this coming week in the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians as they look to chip away at the St. Louis Cardinals' nine-game lead in the NL Central standings.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Andrew McCutchen (7-for-18, 3 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Francisco Liriano (ND, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K)

4. Washington Nationals (42-34, Previous: 10)

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    SP Stephen Strasburg
    SP Stephen StrasburgRob Carr/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5-1

    With a sweep of the Atlanta Braves and a series victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Washington Nationals are back in the top five of these rankings for the first time in several weeks.

    After pitching to a 6.55 ERA in his first 10 starts, then missing nearly a month with neck tightness, Stephen Strasburg returned for a pair of starts last week, and he looked like the dominant pitcher of old in Sunday's outing.

    A return to form from Strasburg would be huge for a rotation that has been disappointing relative to expectations, aside from current NL Cy Young front-runner Max Scherzer.

    While Scherzer is 9-5 with a 1.79 ERA in 110.1 innings, the rest of the team's starters have gone 23-20 with a 4.49 ERA on the year. Not terrible, but not exactly the best rotation of all time either.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Michael Taylor (9-for-25, 4 2B, 3 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Stephen Strasburg (2 W, 12.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 15 K)

3. Baltimore Orioles (41-34, Previous: 9)

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    DH Jimmy Paredes
    DH Jimmy ParedesThomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-1

    The Baltimore Orioles are playing as well as any team in the league right now, going 16-4 in their last 20 games and climbing from No. 17 to No. 9 and now to No. 3 in these rankings over the past three weeks.

    While the starting rotation is still a work in progress, ranked 18th in the league with a 4.20 ERA, things are looking up moving forward.

    Chris Tillman was terrific his last time out, while Kevin Gausman is also set to rejoin the big league roster after a trip to the disabled list and some time in the minors. The O's have capable arms; it's just a matter of stringing together quality starts.

    Luckily, their staff has the backing of one of the better offenses in the league, as even after losing Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis they rank third in the majors at 4.64 runs per game.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH Jimmy Paredes (9-for-18, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chris Tillman (W, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

2. Kansas City Royals (44-28, Previous: 4)

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    3B Mike Moustakas
    3B Mike MoustakasOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5-1

    A series win over the Seattle Mariners and sweep of the Oakland Athletics put the Kansas City Royals in the top spot among AL teams again and No. 2 overall in these rankings.

    Their starting rotation has been shaky at times this season (4.31 ERA, 21st in MLB), and veterans Chris Young and Joe Blanton have stepped into surprisingly important roles for a contending team, but it's hard to argue with the results.

    Yordano Ventura will make one more rehab start before rejoining the rotation, and it will be interesting to see who gets the boot when he does return. It should probably be Jeremy Guthrie (5.68 ERA), but either way the team has wound up with more rotation depth than expected.

    The Royals will look to extend their 5.5-game lead in the AL Central standings this coming week when they take on the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Mike Moustakas (7-for-24, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Edinson Volquez (W, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)

1. St. Louis Cardinals (51-24, Previous: 1)

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    2B Kolten Wong
    2B Kolten WongHunter Martin/Getty Images

    Last Week: 6-0

    Love them or hate them, it's hard not to respect what the St. Louis Cardinals have been able to accomplish so far this season despite a number of key injuries.

    Their ability to plug roster holes internally and their overall "next man up" mentality are the reasons they've strung together such an impressive run of success in recent years, and it's why they're the first team to 50 wins this season.

    With series sweeps of the Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs last week, they are now 18-7 with a plus-38 run differential in June, and they have a ridiculous 29-7 record at home on the year.

    You don't see many nine-game division leads before the calendar turns over to July, and at this point it's pretty clear the rest of the league is chasing the Cardinals.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Kolten Wong (9-for-24, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jaime Garcia (W, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 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 22, through Sunday, June 28.

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