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

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2016

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

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    Brad Mangin/Getty Images

    Five weeks' worth of the 2016 MLB season is in the books, but there's still a ton of baseball ahead.

    The Chicago Cubs continued their torrid start with an undefeated week, and at this point, they're still looking down on the other 29 teams from the No. 1 spot in these rankings.

    Things continue to shuffle within the top 10, though.

    The Seattle Mariners were the biggest risers in last week's rankings, and they continued their climb this week into the top 10.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Detroit Tigers plummeted down the rankings with a 0-6 week and a starting rotation that's an absolute mess.

    We're still dealing with a relatively small sample size at this point, so one particularly good or bad week of play can often result in a significant climb or drop in the rankings with so many teams clustered together with similar records.

    One thing remains true: These rankings are a fluid process, with teams rising and falling based on where they were ranked the previous week. If a team keeps winning, it will keep climbing—it's as simple as that.

    Here's a look at where all 30 MLB teams stand.

30. Atlanta Braves (7-23, Previous: 30)

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    Matt Wisler
    Matt WislerBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-5

    Since winning four straight back in the middle of April, the Atlanta Braves have gone 3-14 in their last 17 games and lost seven consecutive series.

    In an effort to spark something out of their ragtag group, a number of moves were made between Triple-A and the MLB roster last week.

    Starter Mike Foltynewicz, infielders Reid Brignac and Chase d'Arnaud and outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo were all promoted, and outfielder Ender Inciarte was activated from the disabled list.

    Heading the other direction, second baseman Jace Peterson, third baseman Adonis Garcia and right-handers John Gant and Chris Withrow were sent to Triple-A and outfielder Drew Stubbs was released.

    So far, it's just been more of the same, though.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Freddie Freeman (7-for-22, 3 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

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

29. Minnesota Twins (8-23, Previous: 29)

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    Eduardo Nunez
    Eduardo NunezTommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-5

    With an AL-worst minus-54 run differential, the losses just keep piling up for a Minnesota Twins team that many expected to take a step toward legitimate contention this year.

    They went through some roster shuffling of their own last week, as catcher Juan Centeno, infielder Jorge Polanco, outfielder Darin Mastroianni and relievers Pat Dean and Brandon Kintzler were all added to the MLB roster.

    In the process, reliever Casey Fien was lost off waivers to the Los Angeles Dodgers, while swingman Tommy Milone somewhat surprisingly cleared waivers and was shipped to Triple-A.

    The future with this club remains bright, but the present has not been pretty.

    Hitter of the Week

    • SS Eduardo Nunez (7-for-19, 4 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Tyler Duffey (L, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

28. Cincinnati Reds (13-19, Previous: 27)

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    Brandon Phillips
    Brandon PhillipsJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Cincinnati Reds managed to walk away with a split in their four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers to close out last week as the battle to avoid last place in the NL Central standings rages on.

    After a strong performance the past few days, second baseman Brandon Phillips is now hitting .286/.313/.533 with six doubles, six home runs and 16 RBI on the year.

    It looked like Jay Bruce was building some legitimate trade value when he started the year hot, but now it's Phillips who could wind up being the more valuable and sought-after chip come July. That is, if he's willing to waive his 10-5 veto powers.

    Meanwhile, the team finally took some steps to address what has been an astonishingly bad bullpen that enters the week with a 6.59 ERA, 10 losses and seven blown saves in nine chances.

    J.J. Hoover was demoted after starting the season as the de facto closer, while Drew Hayes and former All-Star Steve Delabar were added to the relief corps. They're now employing the dreaded closer-by-committee.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Brandon Phillips (9-for-28, 1 2B, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Alfredo Simon (W, 7.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

27. Los Angeles Angels (13-18, Previous: 21)

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    Mike Trout
    Mike TroutBenny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-5

    "The Los Angeles Angels are wasting Mike Trout's prime."

    It's quickly becoming the prominent storyline surrounding the Angels, and to this point in the season, it hasn't been too far from the truth.

    After a week that saw the team lose ace Garrett Richards for the season to eventual Tommy John surgery and Andrew Heaney diagnosed with UCL damage of his own, there's a good chance the club will be taking up permanent residence near the bottom of these rankings here in 2016.

    Trout continues to shine, though.

    The 24-year-old superstar is now hitting .313/.398/.565 with six doubles, seven home runs and 23 RBI after turning in a big week.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Mike Trout (10-for-24, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • RP Cam Bedrosian (4 G, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K)

26. Milwaukee Brewers (13-18, Previous: 28)

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    Jonathan Lucroy
    Jonathan LucroyJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    Last Week: 4-3

    A series win over the Los Angeles Angels and a four-game split with the Cincinnati Reds is enough to bump the Milwaukee Brewers up a couple of spots in this week's rankings after they bottomed out at No. 28 last week.

    Much has been made of Jonathan Lucroy (.327 BA, .898 OPS) and Ryan Braun (.367 BA, 1.044 OPS) as potential trade chips, and rightfully so, but slugger Chris Carter is another player who could be of interest when trade season rolls around.

    The 29-year-old was signed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal after being non-tendered by the Houston Astros, and so far this season he has a .998 OPS with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 22 RBI.

    He's still striking out at a healthy 27.0 percent clip, but right-handed power like that is in short supply, and he's not a free agent until after the 2018 season.

    The other sneaky valuable trade chip on the roster is new closer Jeremy Jeffress. He's nailed down all eight of his save chances this year with a 2.63 ERA, and like Carter, he's more than just a rental with three years of team control left.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Jonathan Lucroy (10-for-24, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • RP Jeremy Jeffress (W, 2/2 SV, 4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)

25. Colorado Rockies (15-16, Previous: 20)

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    Tyler Chatwood
    Tyler ChatwoodRon Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The inevitable slide down these rankings continues for a Colorado Rockies team that once again has a dangerous offense but not enough pitching to be a serious threat in the NL West.

    They peaked at No. 16 in these rankings but likely won't see above 20 again this year.

    It's easy to bag on the team's perennial pitching woes, but Tyler Chatwood deserves some attention for what has quietly been a fantastic start to the year.

    After missing most of 2014 and all of 2015 following Tommy John surgery, the 26-year-old has gone 4-2 with a 2.15 ERA. 

    His 0.33 road ERA is tops among pitchers with more than 10 innings of work away from home, and that mark was improved with eight shutout innings in San Diego his last time out.

    "We love having 'Chatty' on the mound," second baseman DJ LeMahieu told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. "For him to be able to do this after sitting out for almost two years, that's impressive. He's better than he was before. That's pretty cool."

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Nolan Arenado (9-for-26, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Tyler Chatwood (W, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

24. San Diego Padres (13-19, Previous: 25)

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    Colin Rea
    Colin ReaJake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    A series win over the Colorado Rockies and a four-game split with the New York Mets leaves the San Diego Padres trending up heading into the new week, but they have their work cut out for them as they head to Chicago for a three-game series with the Cubs.

    Despite a lack of success in the win-loss department, there have been a number of bright spots on an individual basis, and 25-year-old right-hander Colin Rea has quickly joined that conversation.

    The rookie hurler took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his last start before Yoenis Cespedes beat the shift and sneaked a ground-ball single through the right side of the infield with two outs.

    "I don't know how you can get much better, considering what he did," Padres catcher Derek Norris told A.J. Cassavell of MLB.com. "Flirting with a no-hitter through seven innings, that speaks volumes, especially to a team that's been as hot offensively as [the Mets] have been."

    The Padres remain the only team in baseball that has never recorded a no-hitter.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Jon Jay (10-for-27, 4 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Colin Rea (W, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

23. Houston Astros (12-20, Previous: 26)

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    Jose Altuve
    Jose AltuveTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Houston Astros' season-best winning streak now stands at two.

    The club managed to record back-to-back wins for the first time when they won the final two games of their series with the Minnesota Twins last week. That's not exactly a feat we expected to be highlighting when the season began.

    Pitching has been the issue all season, with a wildly inconsistent starting rotation and a bullpen that has taken a major step backward despite returning the same core group and adding Ken Giles to the mix.

    Lance McCullers' impending return to action should help. He could rejoin the team at some point during their upcoming four-game series with the Boston Red Sox, according to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle.

    The 22-year-old right-hander was 6-7 with a 3.22 ERA, 1.186 WHIP and 129 strikeouts in 125.2 innings as a rookie last year, but he's been slowed by shoulder soreness in the early going.

    His return will push either Mike Fiers or Chris Devenski to the bullpen, and it could hinge on their next start, as Fiers goes in Monday and Devenski on Tuesday.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Jose Altuve (10-for-25, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 9 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Collin McHugh (2 W, 12.2 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 11 K)

22. Arizona Diamondbacks (15-18, Previous: 23)

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    Brandon Drury
    Brandon DruryJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Arizona Diamondbacks managed to rebound from being swept by the Miami Marlins to return the favor to the Atlanta Braves last week, but then again, a sweep of the seven-win Braves is not exactly a feather in your cap.

    There is some reason for optimism, though.

    Shelby Miller (6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) and Zack Greinke (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER) managed to both throw a quality start in the same week, a small step toward living up to the expectation that they would be one of the best one-two punches in baseball.

    If you're looking for a dark horse for NL Rookie of the Year honors, might I suggest Brandon Drury?

    The 23-year-old has quietly hit .310/.327/.600 with nine doubles, six home runs and 13 RBI. He's also done it while seeing time all over the field with starts at second base and third base as well as both corner outfield spots.

    With a strong offensive track record in the minors, there's no reason to think he can't continue to make an impact.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Brandon Drury (8-for-27, 3 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Patrick Corbin (2 ND, 12.1 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

21. New York Yankees (11-18, Previous: 24)

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    Masahiro Tanaka
    Masahiro TanakaAdam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The New York Yankees climb three spots in this week's rankings thanks in part to a few teams above them dropping down, but a series win against the rival Boston Red Sox didn't hurt their case either.

    That being said, this team is still a long way from where it wants to be, and a long way from relevance for that matter.

    A collective .207 average with runners in scoring position has been one of the biggest issues, while an inconsistent starting rotation behind ace Masahiro Tanaka has not done them any favors either.

    Perhaps the return of flamethrower Aroldis Chapman can provide a spark.

    Their prized offseason acquisition is set to join the active roster on Monday after a 30-game suspension. Manager Joe Girardi has already made it clear that Chapman will immediately step into the closer's role.

    That means Andrew Miller returns to setup duty, despite opening the season a perfect 6-of-6 on save opportunities with a 0.00 ERA and 1-20 BB/K ratio in 11.2 innings.

    "I think we've played well in the last couple of days, and the goal is to keep that going. Wins are what's fun at the end of the day. It doesn't matter if you're saving games for a last-place team," Miller told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Brian McCann (5-for-17, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Masahiro Tanaka (ND, 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

20. Oakland Athletics (14-18, Previous: 18)

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    Josh Reddick
    Josh ReddickKenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-5

    After being swept by the Seattle Mariners and losing two of three to the Baltimore Orioles, the Oakland Athletics slip outside of the top 20 in these rankings after sitting at No. 18 the past two weeks.

    The problem last week, and all season, was the starting pitching.

    A 4.77 starter's ERA ranks 25th in the majors, and outside of Rich Hill, the staff has been inconsistent to say the least.

    Hill, 36, is 4-3 with a 2.39 ERA, 1.168 WHIP and 46 strikeouts in 37.2 innings. His 11.0 K/9 ranks third in the American League among qualified pitchers.

    On the offensive side of things, right fielder Josh Reddick is hitting .319/.375/.474 with six doubles, four home runs and 15 RBI.

    The 29-year-old is a free agent at season's end, and while there have been some rumblings of a potential extension, little progress has been made on that front, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com.

    If the A's decide to deal, he'd be one of the top trade chips on the market come July.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Josh Reddick (13-for-24, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Rich Hill (W, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K)

19. Toronto Blue Jays (16-17, Previous: 16)

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    Kevin Pillar
    Kevin PillarReinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Toronto Blue Jays picked up a nice series win last week when they took three of four from the Texas Rangers, but they followed that up by losing two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers at home.

    Their bullpen woes continued on Sunday, with Roberto Osuna suffering his first blown save of the season and Drew Storen taking the loss.

    That leaves the relief corps with a 3.87 ERA, 10 losses and six blown saves.

    Storen in particular has been nothing short of awful. He now sports a 9.00 ERA, 1.909 WHIP and a .367 opponent batting average through 14 appearances. At some point, the team has to stop trusting him in high-leverage situations.

    Things won't get any easier in the immediate future, as they now head on the road to take on the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers this coming week.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Kevin Pillar (11-for-27, 6 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Marco Estrada (2 ND, 13.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 11 K)

18. Detroit Tigers (14-16, Previous: 7)

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    Nick Castellanos
    Nick CastellanosKen Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 0-6

    Yikes.

    After going 6-1 two weeks ago to climb to No. 7 in these rankings, the Detroit Tigers free-fall back down to No. 18 after being swept by the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers last week.

    A road trip to take on the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles is not exactly the best time to have zero momentum on your side, but that's exactly what the Tigers have waiting for them this coming week.

    Jordan Zimmermann remains one of the best signings of the offseason. He sits at 5-1 with a 1.10 ERA through six starts, but the other four-fifths of the rotation has been a complete dumpster fire to this point.

    Justin Verlander (5.40 ERA), Anibal Sanchez (5.87 ERA), Mike Pelfrey (6.23 ERA) and Michael Fulmer (6.30 ERA) make up the rest of the staff.

    So what's the answer? Manager Brad Ausmus seems to be wondering the same thing.

    "We don’t have a ton of options, that’s the thing," Ausmus told Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press. "If there is a good change to be made, we will make a good change. We have to decide if that’s the case or not."

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Nick Castellanos (9-for-21, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jordan Zimmermann (L, 8.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)

17. Miami Marlins (16-14, Previous: 17)

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    Tom Koehler
    Tom KoehlerJayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    Before losing back-to-back games to the Philadelphia Phillies to close out the week, the Miami Marlins put together an impressive 11-1 stretch of games that sent them climbing up these rankings after dropping as low as No. 26.

    The offense has been firing on all cylinders of late, and Derek Dietrich has done a terrific job filling in for the suspended Dee Gordon with a .310/.403/.569 line over 67 plate appearances.

    The starting rotation remains the biggest question mark, but a strong start from Tom Koehler last week was a good sign. He lowered his ERA from 7.25 to 5.83 with seven innings of one-run ball.

    Meanwhile, the trio of Kyle Barraclough (13 G, 7 HLD, 1.64 ERA, 13.9 K/9), David Phelps (16 G, 6 HLD, 1.89 ERA, 10.4 K/9) and A.J. Ramos (13 G, 9/9 SV, 0.73 ERA, 13.1 K/9) has been surprisingly great at the back of the bullpen and helped ease the loss of Carter Capps.

    This is a talented Marlins team with a chance to contend; they just need to find more consistency in the rotation.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Marcell Ozuna (10-for-24, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Tom Koehler (ND, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)

16. Philadelphia Phillies (18-14, Previous: 15)

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    Aaron Nola
    Aaron NolaEric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The No. 28 team in our Opening Day rankings, the Philadelphia Phillies have been one of the biggest surprises of the season.

    They slip one spot after a losing week, but they still managed to end on a high note with a weekend series win over the Miami Marlins.

    The young duo of Vincent Velasquez (4-1, 2.17 ERA, 44 K, 37.1 IP) and Aaron Nola (2-2, 3.13 ERA, 49 K, 46.0 IP) has been one of the highlights in the early going, and the pitching staff as a whole leads all of baseball with 192 strikeouts.

    That pitching staff is the reason they have a winning record, because the offense is hitting .227 with a .643 OPS and averaging 3.25 runs per game.

    Props to Odubel Herrera, though, as he enters the week batting .324/.445/.432 and still has more walks (25) than strikeouts (23).

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Odubel Herrera (11-for-28, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Aaron Nola (W, ND, 13.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 12 K)

15. Tampa Bay Rays (15-14, Previous: 19)

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    Curt Casali
    Curt CasaliReinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-1

    With a sweep of the reeling Los Angeles Angels over the weekend, the Tampa Bay Rays are now back over .500 on the year and just 2.5 games back in the AL East standings.

    Matt Andriese was the latest starter to get a crack at nailing down the No. 5 starter gig on Sunday, and he made the most of his opportunity with seven innings of one-run ball.

    Erasmo Ramirez began the season as part of the rotation, but he's shined as the long man out of the bullpen with six wins and a 1.32 ERA in 27.1 innings over 14 appearances.

    Alex Colome has also impressed after an injury to Brad Boxberger presented him with a chance to close. He's converted all nine of his save opportunities with a 2.08 ERA and 11.1 K/9.

    The offense is never going to carry this team, even after a solid performance last week, so continued results from the pitching staff are key if they hope to make a run at the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox in the division standings.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Curt Casali (6-for-16, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Matt Andriese (W, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K)

14. Kansas City Royals (15-15, Previous: 9)

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    Ian Kennedy
    Ian KennedyKen Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    For the first time this year, the defending champion Kansas City Royals rank outside of the top 10.

    It's been a tale of two seasons in the early going:

    • First 18 games: 12-6, plus-15 run differential
    • Last 12 games: 3-9, minus-29 run differential

    On the year, the offense is averaging just 3.4 runs per game. A number of key players have underwhelmed, led by Kendrys Morales (.205 BA, .578 OPS) and Alex Gordon (.220 BA, .643 OPS).

    The pitching situation has been equally concerning.

    Ian Kennedy and Edinson Volquez are a solid duo atop the rotation, and Yordano Ventura has been passable, but Kris Medlen (6.85 ERA) and Chris Young (5.76 ERA) have combined for just two quality starts in 11 games.

    Dillon Gee (15.1 IP, 2.93 ERA) and Chien-Ming Wang (10.1 IP, 3.48 ERA) are both potential starting options pitching out of the bullpen, so the time may be coming for the team to make a switch.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Eric Hosmer (7-for-20, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Ian Kennedy (W, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)

13. Cleveland Indians (15-13, Previous: 22)

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    Corey Kluber
    Corey KluberBill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-1

    Things finally seem to be clicking for a Cleveland Indians team that entered last week two games below .500 and six games back in the AL Central standings.

    A sweep of the Detroit Tigers and a series win over the Kansas City Royals last week has put the division on notice. They have a great chance to keep things rolling this coming week as they take on the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins.

    With three straight quality starts and a five-hit shutout against the Tigers his last time out, ace Corey Kluber officially appears to be over his early-season struggles.

    Danny Salazar and Josh Tomlin have also pitched well, but guys like Trevor Bauer and Cody Anderson need to step their game up, especially with Carlos Carrasco sidelined with a hamstring injury.

    Offensively, Mike Napoli had a big week and is starting to look more and more like the right-handed run-producer the team has been lacking in the middle of their lineup the past several seasons.

    A 7-for-18 performance from Michael Brantley was also great to see as he continues to shake off the rust after getting a late start following offseason shoulder surgery.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Mike Napoli (7-for-21, 2 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Corey Kluber (W, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

12. St. Louis Cardinals (16-16, Previous: 13)

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    Stephen Piscotty
    Stephen PiscottyJeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The St. Louis Cardinals were able to take care of business against the Philadelphia Phillies, but they dropped two of three to the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend.

    Stephen Piscotty enters the week sporting a .485 average and an MLB-best 16 hits with runners in scoring position. That performance hasn't gone unnoticed by manager Mike Matheny, who talked with Mark Saxon of ESPN.com about his young outfielder:

    Stephen’s been just a very consistent spot for us. He’s had his times, too, when it didn’t look quite right and he’s going to continue to, [and] we’ll try to help him wade through that. But he’s got a very simple approach with a lot of ability and it’s going to be fun to continue to watch him adjust and adapt to this league.

    The biggest thing for the Cardinals at this point is getting the starting pitching closer to where it was last season, when they led the majors with a 2.99 starter's ERA.

    That's climbed to 4.18 so far this season, good for 14th in the majors.

    Mike Leake (6.03 ERA) and Adam Wainwright (6.30 ERA) have played a significant role in inflating that number.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Stephen Piscotty (13-for-29, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jaime Garcia (W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

11. Los Angeles Dodgers (16-15, Previous: 12)

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    Clayton Kershaw
    Clayton KershawKevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-2

    The Los Angeles Dodgers continued to play well away from Dodger Stadium last week, taking two of three from the Blue Jays in Toronto to improve to 11-7 on the road.

    Compare that to just 5-8 at home, where they were an MLB-best 55-26 a year ago.

    A strong outing from Ross Stripling last week was perhaps the biggest positive takeaway, as he had not thrown the ball well since his 7.1 no-hit innings in his MLB debut.

    He allowed just one hit over six innings on Sunday against an underperforming but dangerous Blue Jays lineup.

    The starting rotation beyond Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda has been an issue all season, so more quality starts from Stripling would go a long way.

    As for the bullpen, which has struggled as well, the team has considered promoting top prospect Julio Urias to help out there, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group.

    The 19-year-old is 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA, 0.708 WHIP and 10.9 K/9 in four Triple-A starts.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Joc Pederson (5-for-16, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Clayton Kershaw (W, 7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K)

10. Pittsburgh Pirates (17-14, Previous: 6)

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    Francisco Liriano
    Francisco LirianoCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    The Pittsburgh Pirates were swept by the Chicago Cubs at home last week, but they rebounded nicely to take two of three from the St. Louis Cardinals on the road.

    They'll stay on the road and in the division this coming week to take on the Cincinnati Reds and then the Cubs again, as they look to keep the North Siders within shouting distance in the NL Central standings.

    Jung Ho Kang returned to action with a bang Friday, going 2-for-4 with two home runs in what was the culmination of a long offseason rehabbing the gruesome leg injury he suffered last September.

    "I think everybody in the organization that’s been a part of this or watched this whole process take place is blown away by this man’s courage, determination, resiliency, perseverance," manager Clint Hurdle told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It’s been crazy good."

    On the pitching side of things, we'll just say this:

    • Jon Niese (5.94 ERA, 5.0 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 3 K last start)
    • Tyler Glasnow (1.64 ERA, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K last start) 

    Might be time to make that call to Triple-A.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Starling Marte (8-for-21, 3 2B, 1 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Francisco Liriano (W, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K)

9. San Francisco Giants (17-16, Previous: 14)

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    Jeff Samardzija
    Jeff SamardzijaKenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    A series win against the Cincinnati Reds and a four-game split with the Colorado Rockies leaves the San Francisco Giants tied atop the NL West standings with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Hunter Pence is hitting .302/.396/.500 with six doubles, five home runs and a team-high 24 RBI.

    The Giants are a different team with him in the lineup; that was obvious last season.

    They were 34-18 (.654) when he suited up, compared to 50-60 (.455) without him as he missed significant time to injury.

    As for the pitching staff, they can't keep trotting out Matt Cain and Jake Peavy every fifth day.

    Cain allowed 10 hits and eight runs (six earned) in four innings in his last start to raise his ERA to 7.84, while Peavy allowed eight hits and seven earned runs in six innings to put his ERA at an even 9.00.

    Yes, they're veterans who have the respect of their teammates, and yes, they're both owed a good amount of money, but the Giants need to take a page out of the Chicago White Sox's book and cut one or both of them loose like they did with John Danks.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Brandon Belt (11-for-24, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jeff Samardzija (W, L, 15.2 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 18 K)

8. Boston Red Sox (18-13, Previous: 8)

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    Steven Wright
    Steven WrightTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    Losing a series to the rival New York Yankees is never easy to swallow, but the Boston Red Sox did it on the heels of a series win against a good Chicago White Sox team, so it wasn't all bad last week by any means.

    For all the hype that came with signing David Price to a record contract, who would have guessed it would be knuckleballer Steven Wright (3-3, 1.52 ERA, 0.992 WHIP) dominating in the Red Sox rotation?

    "He’s been extremely dependable. You have a pretty good sense of what he’s going to give you each time he walks to the mound," manager John Farrell told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.

    As for the offensive side of things, why is David Ortiz retiring again?

    The 40-year-old enters the week hitting .308/.393/.673 with 12 doubles, nine home runs and 27 RBI, the last two of which rank second in the American League.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH David Ortiz (7-for-25, 1 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Steven Wright (W, L, 15.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 13 K)

7. Baltimore Orioles (18-12, Previous: 10)

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    Kevin Gausman
    Kevin GausmanEvan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Baltimore Orioles handled their business last week, picking up series wins against the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics to maintain a half-game lead in the AL East standings.

    Starting pitching is still a concern in Baltimore, but the return of Kevin Gausman has provided a spark.

    The hard-throwing righty has a 1.42 ERA and 0.684 WHIP in three starts since coming off of the disabled list, but unfortunately that's resulted in two no decisions and a loss.

    "My confidence is growing," Gausman told Eddie Matz of ESPN.com. "Some guys get to the big leagues and already are comfortable. This is the first year I’ve really felt I know what I’m doing."

    Offensively, Manny Machado has continued to rake while making the move to shortstop defensively in place of the injured J.J. Hardy.

    We said earlier that Robinson Cano would probably be the AL MVP if the season ended today, but it wouldn't be unanimous with the season Machado is having.

    The 23-year-old enters the week hitting .350/.403/.691 with 15 doubles, nine home runs and 22 RBI.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Manny Machado (8-for-23, 5 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Kevin Gausman (ND, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

6. Washington Nationals (19-12, Previous: 4)

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    Daniel Murphy
    Daniel MurphyPeter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    Getting swept in a four-game series is never going to help a team's standing in these rankings, but there are worse crimes right now than being swept by the Chicago Cubs, so the Washington Nationals still have a spot inside the top 10.

    One has to wonder if more teams will take the same approach the Cubs did with Bryce Harper going forward.

    Harper was walked a whopping 13 times in four games, including six times Sunday when the game went 13 innings. He ended up with just four official at-bats in the series.

    So what's the answer to getting Harper more pitches to hit?

    Ryan Zimmerman hitting better than .231 with runners in scoring position out of the cleanup spot would be a good place to start.

    At some point, moving Daniel Murphy and his .458 average with runners in scoring position into the cleanup spot might make sense, even though it would mean putting a pair of lefties back-to-back.

    At any rate, the Nationals still have the second-best starting pitching in the league with a 2.58 ERA and a team that looks more than capable of contending for a title. They could quickly climb back into the top five with a strong week.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Daniel Murphy (14-for-29, 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 8 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Joe Ross (L, 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

5. New York Mets (19-11, Previous: 5)

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    Bartolo Colon
    Bartolo ColonBill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The New York Mets took two of three from the Atlanta Braves and split a four-game series with the San Diego Padres last week, but all of that takes a back seat to one moment in Saturday's game.

    BARTOLO COLON HIT A HOME RUN!

    Isn't baseball great?

    Anyway, the Mets jump the Washington Nationals both in these rankings and in the NL East standings, as they now hold a half-game lead in the division.

    They'll look to extend that lead this coming week as they hit the road to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies.

    Colon squares off against Clayton Kershaw on Thursday as he sits just 11 home runs behind Nolan Arenado for the NL lead.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Yoenis Cespedes (8-for-25, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Bartolo Colon (2 W, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 12 K)

4. Texas Rangers (18-14, Previous: 3)

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    Cole Hamels
    Cole HamelsJerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    Despite dropping three of four to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Texas Rangers managed to salvage the week with a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers.

    That leaves them a half-game back in the AL West standings, as the surging Seattle Mariners have overtaken them in the standings and in these rankings.

    With Derek Holland struggling and A.J. Griffin landing on the disabled list with shoulder stiffness, Yu Darvish watch has taken center stage.

    He made his second rehab start Friday, allowing two hits and one earned run while walking one and striking out three over three innings. He threw 50 pitches, 30 for strikes.

    "The ball was fresh, and the velocity was there," manager Brian Banister told Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. "The delivery looked good. All pluses."

    The Rangers host the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays this coming week in what will be a real test of their status as one of the top teams in the American League.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Rougned Odor (11-for-33, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Cole Hamels (W, 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

3. Seattle Mariners (18-13, Previous: 11)

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    Robinson Cano
    Robinson CanoTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    The Seattle Mariners were the biggest risers in last week's rankings, and they just keep winning as they swept the Oakland Athletics and split a four-game set with the Houston Astros last week.

    Since starting the year 5-8, the Mariners have gone 13-5 and won five consecutive series before splitting with the Astros.

    If the season ended today, there's a good chance Robinson Cano would be your AL MVP.

    He's hitting .305/.355/.633 and leading the American League with 12 home runs and 33 RBI.

    He hit home run No. 12 on Aug. 7 last year.

    Kyle Seager has also started to pick it up offensively.

    After hitting .159/.266/.378 in April, he's gone 14-for-34 with four doubles, two triples and two home runs so far in May.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Robinson Cano (16-for-31, 3 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Nathan Karns (W, ND, 12.1 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 14 K)

2. Chicago White Sox (22-10, Previous: 2)

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    Jose Quintana
    Jose QuintanaKelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    Despite dropping a series to the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox remain the No. 2 team in our rankings and the top team on the American League side of things.

    A three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins allowed them to still finish up the week with a winning record, and they're five games up on the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central standings.

    In a tough call for the organization, but one that needed to be made, veteran starter John Danks was released Tuesday after going 0-4 with a 7.25 ERA in four starts.

    Miguel Gonzalez will get the start in his place Monday, and the team has some other in-house options in Erik Johnson, Chris Beck and Jacob Turner.

    They've also been identified as one of four teams that have shown interest in signing Tim Lincecum after his showcase, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Jose Abreu (7-for-23, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jose Quintana (2 W, 15.0 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K)

1. Chicago Cubs (24-6, Previous: 1)

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    Ben Zobrist
    Ben ZobristPatrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 7-0

    So much for that whole "they haven't played any good teams yet" argument.

    In their toughest test to date, the Chicago Cubs came up with a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates on the road and then followed that up with a four-game sweep of the Washington Nationals that left zero question who the best team in the National League is right now.

    A 15-RBI week from Ben Zobrist serves as a further reminder of just how deep and talented their lineup is, and they enter the week averaging an MLB-best 6.13 runs per game.

    Pair that with a starting rotation that leads the majors with a 2.26 ERA and a bullpen that ranks seventh with a 2.99 ERA, and it's hard to find a weakness on the roster.

    That combination of offensive firepower and dominant pitching has left the Cubs with a plus-102 run differential through 30 games.

    They're the second-fastest team to reach plus-100 in that category since 1900, trailing the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates who needed 26 games to hit triple digits.

    The Cubs aren't just winning, they're flat-out dominating.

    Even when ace Jake Arrieta didn't have his best stuff Sunday, they still found a way to win with a dramatic 13-inning victory capped by a walk-off home run from Javier Baez.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Ben Zobrist (9-for-25, 1 2B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 8 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

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

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Hitter and Pitcher of the Week stats cover games from Monday, May 2 through Sunday, May 8.