MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand with 2 Weeks to Go

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2016

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand with 2 Weeks to Go

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    Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Just two weeks remain in the 2016 MLB regular season, and while a handful of teams appear to be locks for the postseason, a number of playoff spots are still up for grabs.

    The Chicago Cubs became the first team to officially clinch a playoff berth on Thursday, while the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are also in comfortable spots atop their respective divisions.

    That leaves the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals to duke it out for the two wild-card spots in the National League, and it's shaping up to be quite the battle with those three teams separated by two games in the standings.

    On the American League side, the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers are sitting pretty, but the AL East is still a dogfight with the Boston Red Sox holding a three-game lead.

    The Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, and Houston Astros are all within four games of one another in the push for a wild-card spot, with the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees fading out of the picture but not technically eliminated just yet.

    Meanwhile, non-contenders are taking a long look at some of their young talent while simultaneously trying to play the role of spoiler.

    At any rate, there was a good deal of shuffling in this week's rankings (like always) as we head down the homestretch.

    One thing remains true: These rankings are a fluid process as teams move up or down based on where they ranked the previous weekIf a club keeps winning, it will keep climbing—it's as simple as that.

30. Minnesota Twins (55-95, Previous: 30)

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    Ervin Santana
    Ervin SantanaBrad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    The Minnesota Twins will need to go 8-4 the rest of the way to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1982 and just the second since the franchise made the move from our nation's capital.

    It may not have been a successful season from a team standpoint, but Brian Dozier continues to tack onto what is one of the most prolific offensive seasons by a second baseman in MLB history.

    The 29-year-old enters the week hitting .280/.353/.573 with 35 doubles, 41 home runs and 98 RBI, with 27 of those home runs coming in 62 games since the All-Star break.

    On the pitching side, Ervin Santana has quietly pitched to a 3.38 ERA and 1.215 WHIP over 170.1 innings, perhaps setting himself up to be a valuable trade chip in a thin market for starting pitching this winter.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Brian Dozier (10-for-29, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Ervin Santana (2 ND, 12.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 13 K)

29. Atlanta Braves (58-91, Previous: 29)

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    Nick Markakis
    Nick MarkakisBrett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Atlanta Braves have gone 4-8 since rattling off a six-game winning streak at the beginning of the month, all but cementing their hold on the worst record in the NL and keeping them in the running for the No. 1 pick in next year's draft.

    That being said, this has been a competitive team in the second half, and Atlanta is fresh off a nice series win over the first-place Washington Nationals. If nothing else, the Braves have some positive momentum to carry over into next season.

    Josh Collmenter made his Braves debut last week after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs for cash, allowing four hits and two runs in five innings to pick up the win.

    The 30-year-old was the D-backs' Opening Day starter as recently as 2015 and is controllable through next season, so he could prove to be a nice scrapheap find for the rebuilding franchise.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Nick Markakis (8-for-21, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • RP Chaz Roe (4 G, W, HLD, 5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

28. San Diego Padres (62-87, Previous: 27)

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    Luis Perdomo
    Luis PerdomoJayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The San Diego Padres kicked off last week with a bang, sweeping the contending San Francisco Giants, but the Colorado Rockies returned the favor over the weekend.

    The Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas won their first Pacific Coast League title over the weekend, with top prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot and former top prospect Austin Hedges leading the way.

    All three of those players could get a taste of the big leagues over the final two weeks now that the MiLB playoffs have wrapped up, and all three could push for a spot on the Opening Day roster next year.

    Meanwhile, Luis Sardinas is making his case to be the team's primary shortstop next season, hitting .291/.356/.443 in 88 plate appearances since being acquired from the Seattle Mariners in August. Still just 23 years old, Sardinas has taken over as the starter since Alexei Ramirez was released.

    Hitter of the Week

    • SS Luis Sardinas (8-for-26, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Luis Perdomo (W, 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

27. Cincinnati Reds (63-86, Previous: 26)

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    Joey Votto
    Joey VottoDavid Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Joey Votto show continues in Cincinnati.

    With an 11-for-29 performance last week, Votto is now hitting .412/.498/.649 in 257 plate appearances since the All-Star break, with a ridiculous ratio of 41 walks to 28 strikeouts.

    "It's special when you see this type of productivity over this period of time," manager Bryan Price told reporters. "I don't want to take it for granted. I think it's easy to do that when you're around it every day. The numbers don't lie. He's having an unbelievable second half."

    The Reds have quietly gone 31-29 with a plus-23 run differential since the All-Star break, but they move back down in the rankings after dropping three of four to the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Joey Votto (11-for-29, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Dan Straily (2 W, 14.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 13 K)

26. Los Angeles Angels (65-84, Previous: 22)

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    Albert Pujols
    Albert PujolsRick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    After getting swept by the Seattle Mariners, the Los Angeles Angels managed to split a four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend as they continue trying to fill the role of spoiler.

    Albert Pujols reached the 30-homer mark for the 14th time in his 16-year career when he took Francisco Liriano deep on Saturday, tying with Barry Bonds for the second-most 30-home run seasons in MLB history. He trails Alex Rodriguez and Hank Aaron, who both did it 15 times.

    Left-hander Tyler Skaggs received some good news Wednesday when no structural damage was detected in his sore left elbow; the diagnosis is a flexor-pronator strain.

    The 25-year-old has gone 3-3 with a 4.13 ERA in nine starts since finally returning from Tommy John surgery, and he still factors heavily into the team's long-term plans if he can stay healthy.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH Albert Pujols (8-for-27, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jhoulys Chacin (ND, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

25. Arizona Diamondbacks (63-86, Previous: 28)

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    Jean Segura
    Jean SeguraJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    The Arizona Diamondbacks regained some of the ground they lost in last week's rankings, moving up three spots following a sweep of the Colorado Rockies and a four-game split with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Another big week from Jean Segura gives him a .319/.365/.490 line with 38 doubles, 17 home runs, 91 runs scored and 30 stolen bases. He'll be one of the leading candidates for NL Comeback Player of the Year, as he's made the most of his change of scenery.

    With A.J. Pollock sidelined once again, September call-up Mitch Haniger is getting a crack at regular at-bats in center field and holding his own with a .261/.350/.449 line that includes six extra-base hits and 14 RBI in 80 plate appearances.

    Haniger was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers at the 2014 trade deadline in exchange for Gerardo Parra, and he hit .321/.419/.581 with 34 doubles and 25 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A prior to being promoted.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Jean Segura (15-for-33, 2 2B, 5 HR, 8 RBI, 8 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • RP Jake Barrett (4 G, 2 HLD, 4.1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K)

24. Philadelphia Phillies (67-83, Previous: 25)

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    Jeremy Hellickson
    Jeremy HellicksonEric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    A four-game split with the Pittsburgh Pirates and a series win over the Miami Marlins gave the Philadelphia Phillies a winning record last week and bumped them up one spot in the rankings.

    Staring down free agency at the end of the season and arguably the best starting pitching option on the market outside of Rich Hill, right-hander Jeremy Hellickson tossed a gem on Saturday with a three-hit shutout of the Miami Marlins.

    It was the second career shutout for the 29-year-old, and he's now 12-9 with a 3.57 ERA and 1.142 WHIP over 181.1 innings. He'll no doubt be saddled with a qualifying offer after staying put at the trade deadline, but that shouldn't drive down interest with limited options.

    Meanwhile, first baseman Tommy Joseph hit his 20th home run of the season on Saturday, becoming just the sixth player in franchise history and first since Ryan Howard in 2005 to reach that mark as a rookie.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Odubel Herrera (12-for-24, 4 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jeremy Hellickson (2 W, 15.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 11 K)

23. Tampa Bay Rays (64-85, Previous: 23)

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    Alex Cobb
    Alex CobbDan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Tampa Bay Rays continue to be a thorn in the side of the rest of the AL East, as they took two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays and split a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles last week.

    All told, they've gone a respectable 31-39 against fellow AL East clubs as the only non-contender in the division, and more opportunities to play spoiler await this coming week as they host the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

    Somewhat lost in what has been a disappointing season overall from a win-loss perspective has been a fantastic season from Evan Longoria.

    The 30-year-old has posted an .857 OPS while setting a new career-high with 35 home runs. With 205 home runs as a team, the Rays rank fifth in the majors after finishing 13th in that category with 167 a year ago.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Evan Longoria (11-for-31, 1 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Alex Cobb (W, 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K)

22. Oakland Athletics (66-83, Previous: 24)

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    Khris Davis
    Khris DavisTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 6-1

    The Oakland Athletics are pushing hard to avoid the AL West cellar, and a 6-1 performance last week moved them one game ahead of the Los Angeles Angels in the standings.

    A four-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals was followed up by a series win over the Texas Rangers, and the A's are playing perhaps their best baseball of the season here down the stretch.

    Slugger Khris Davis reached the 40-homer mark with two more long balls on Sunday, becoming the 12th player in franchise history and the first since Jason Giambi (43, 2000) to reach that milestone.

    "He's really comfortable here," manager Bob Melvin told reporters. "He likes it here, gets along great with the guys. A lot of power hitters don't really want to come to Oakland, based on the fact it's a little tougher to hit the ball out of the park, but I don't think that crosses his mind."

    Davis will need a strong late push to pass Mark Trumbo (43) and Brian Dozier (41) for the AL lead.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Khris Davis (10-for-25, 1 2B, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 9 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Daniel Mengden (W, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

21. Milwaukee Brewers (68-82, Previous: 21)

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    Junior Guerra
    Junior GuerraCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Milwaukee Brewers are now 11-6 with a plus-32 run differential in September after taking three of four from the Chicago Cubs over the weekend.

    In an alternate universe where Corey Seager and Trea Turner play in the American League, we might be talking about Junior Guerra as a Rookie of the Year candidate.

    The unheralded 31-year-old, who has been shut down by the Brewers after reaching his innings limit, is 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.126 WHIP in 20 starts after being claimed off waivers from the Chicago White Sox during the offseason.

    Another player who was enjoying a breakout season, center fielder Keon Broxton, was lost for the remainder of the season when he suffered a fractured wrist crashing into the unforgiving outfield wall at Wrigley Field. The 26-year-old will have to hold off top prospect Lewis Brinson to keep the starting center field job next season.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Scooter Gennett (9-for-21, 4 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Junior Guerra (W, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

20. Chicago White Sox (72-77, Previous: 19)

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    Chris Sale
    Chris SaleDavid Banks-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Chicago White Sox wrapped up a successful 6-4 homestand last week that included series wins over the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians, but they dropped two of three on the road against the Kansas City Royals.

    With the AL Cy Young still up for grabs, Chris Sale threw his sixth complete game of the year against the Royals on Friday. He's now gone at least eight innings in six consecutive starts, and he discussed his workload with reporters after Friday's game:

    As a starting pitcher, job No. 1 is going out there every fifth day. After that it's about filling up innings -- for me personally anyways. So, yeah, I take a lot of pride in that. I like going out there and saving my guys. Regardless of whether we have X-amount of guys if they are fresh or whatever, I still like giving them the day off.

    The 27-year-old ace is now 16-8 with a 3.03 ERA (second in AL), 1.016 WHIP (third in AL) and 215 strikeouts (fourth in AL) over 210.2 innings (second in AL).

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Todd Frazier (9-for-27, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chris Sale (W, 9.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K)

19. Miami Marlins (74-75, Previous: 18)

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    Dee Gordon
    Dee GordonCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Miami Marlins' playoff hopes have all but evaporated at this point, but they're still playing for their first winning season since 2009.

    Jose Fernandez has already set a new franchise record for strikeouts in a season with 241, soaring past the 209 fanned by Ryan Dempster in 2000. At 15-8 with a 2.99 ERA and 1.153 WHIP, Fernandez is at least in the NL Cy Young conversation.

    There has been no shortage of individual bright spots, with Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto enjoying breakout seasons offensively and Kyle Barraclough emerging as one of the game's most dominant setup relievers.

    However, all of that is overshadowed by a 17-27 record and minus-33 run differential since the beginning of August.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Dee Gordon (10-for-32, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 5 R, 6 SB)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jose Fernandez (W, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

18. Colorado Rockies (72-77, Previous: 17)

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    Jon Gray
    Jon GrayIsaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    Jon Gray has officially arrived, folks.

    The No. 3 overall pick back in 2013, Gray has shown flashes of his front-line potential in the past but nothing close to what he did on Saturday against the San Diego Padres.

    Gray allowed just four hits and no walks while striking out 16 in his first career shutout, turning in the most dominant start in Coors Field history, according to R.J. Anderson of CBSSports.com.

    That win was part of a nice bounce-back sweep of the Padres after the Rockies were swept themselves earlier in the week and outscored 34-19 in a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    A winning record is still within reach, but it will take a 10-3 finish with the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers awaiting in the week ahead.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Charlie Blackmon (12-for-26, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 8 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jon Gray (W, 9.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 16 K)

17. Pittsburgh Pirates (74-75, Previous: 20)

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    Sean Rodriguez
    Sean RodriguezJoe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-3

    The Pittsburgh Pirates entered last week in a 2-11 funk that had dropped them under .500 and essentially out of the wild-card race.

    They got things back on track with a four-game split against the Philadelphia Phillies and a series win over the Cincinnati Reds last week, but at five games back with 13 to play, they have a serious uphill battle if they hope to reach the postseason for a fourth consecutive year.

    It will be interesting to see what type of interest Sean Rodriguez generates as a free agent this coming offseason.

    The 31-year-old has been a valuable utility option throughout his time in the big leagues, and he re-signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $2.5 million deal last winter.

    He's put together a breakout season offensively, though, hitting .265/.348/.523 with 14 doubles, 17 home runs and 51 RBI in 297 plate appearances. That could be enough for someone to take a chance on him as an everyday option on a multiyear deal.

    Hitter of the Week

    • IF Sean Rodriguez (12-for-29, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chad Kuhl (W, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

16. Detroit Tigers (79-70, Previous: 16)

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    Miguel Cabrera
    Miguel CabreraKen Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Detroit Tigers shot up the rankings with an 11-3 stretch of games at the end of August and into September, but they've gone just 4-8 since to fall to two games back for the second AL wild-card spot.

    The last-place Minnesota Twins and a struggling Kansas City Royals team await this coming week, so they'll look to improve their position ahead of the season's final week.

    The starting rotation will need to snap out of it quickly if they're going to do that, with Michael Fulmer, Anibal Sanchez, Matt Boyd and Mike Pelfrey going 0-3 with a 14.40 ERA and lasting a combined 14.1 innings in their four starts last week.

    Justin Verlander was terrific once again, though, allowing just one hit in seven scoreless innings. He's now 14-8 with a 3.22 ERA (seventh in AL), 1.014 WHIP (second in AL) and 223 strikeouts (first in AL) in 207 innings (third in AL) and has to be included in the AL Cy Young conversation.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Miguel Cabrera (7-for-24, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Justin Verlander (ND, 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K)

15. Kansas City Royals (76-73, Previous: 11)

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    Kendrys Morales
    Kendrys MoralesPeter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    It was another tough week for the Kansas City Royals, who are now 7-11 in their last 18 games and hanging on by a thread in the AL wild-card race.

    They are currently five games back with five teams to pass and only 13 games left on the schedule, so time is clearly not on their side.

    The bullpen that had been so dominant has faltered of late, and the pitching staff as a whole has struggled to a 5.83 ERA so far in September.

    Jason Vargas returned to the mound on Saturday for the first time since July 21, 2015, allowing two hits and one run over three innings of work in his return from Tommy John surgery. The 33-year-old is signed for $8 million next season, and a strong finish would provide some hope that he can fill a rotation spot in 2017.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH Kendrys Morales (8-for-26, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Danny Duffy (W, ND, 14.1 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 14 K)

14. New York Yankees (77-72, Previous: 9)

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    Starlin Castro
    Starlin CastroBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-6

    The New York Yankees hanging around in the AL wild-card picture after selling at the trade deadline has been one of the biggest surprises of the season, but it would appear the magic has finally run out.

    They peaked at 11 games over .500 after a 13-4 stretch of success, but they're now 1-7 in their last eight games, including a current five-game losing streak that was punctuated by a four-game sweep at the hands of the rival Boston Red Sox.

    "You can just do the math, and I think we're all aware that we're going to have to win a lot more games than we lose," manager Joe Girardi told reporters. "If you go .500, you pretty much know that's not going to be enough."

    On a positive note, Masahiro Tanaka is now the AL ERA leader at 2.97 after allowing one run in seven innings of work his last time out. 

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Starlin Castro (12-for-24, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Masahiro Tanaka (ND, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K)

13. San Francisco Giants (79-70, Previous: 13)

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    Johnny Cueto
    Johnny CuetoJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    The San Francisco Giants were swept by the San Diego Padres at home to begin last week before splitting a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

    That leaves them one game up on the Cardinals for the second wild-card spot and five games behind the rival Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West lead, with those two teams set to kick off the upcoming week with a three-game series in LA.

    If the Giants do hold on to reach the postseason, they'll be limping into the playoffs with no winning streak longer than three games since early July.

    Still, the prospect of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija fronting the rotation in October makes them a potentially tough draw on the NL side.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Buster Posey (9-for-25, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Johnny Cueto (W, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

12. Houston Astros (78-71, Previous: 15)

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    Collin McHugh
    Collin McHughJerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Houston Astros are hanging on in the AL wild-card race at three games back with three teams to pass for the No. 2 spot. A weekend series win over the Seattle Mariners helped their cause, as Seattle is one of the teams currently ahead of them.

    Collin McHugh (7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER), Mike Fiers (6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER), Brad Peacock (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) and Joe Musgrove (6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) all threw the ball well last week for a starting rotation that is currently without its two best starters, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers.

    The bullpen coughed up a pair of leads, though, and it can't afford to not close out games with wins at such a high premium right now.

    A three-game series with the A's in Oakland and home for four against the Los Angeles Angels is what's waiting for the Astros this coming week.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH Yulieski Gurriel (7-for-25, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 1 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Collin McHugh (W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)

11. Toronto Blue Jays (81-68, Previous: 14)

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    Devon Travis
    Devon TravisWendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Toronto Blue Jays looked like the best team in the AL East for much of the season, but they've hit a rough patch at the worst possible time.

    With a series loss to the Tampa Bay Rays and a four-game split against the Los Angeles Angels last week, they're now 6-12 in their last 18 games. Along the way, they've seen a two-game lead in the AL East standings turn into a four-game deficit, and they are currently clinging to a two-game advantage for the second AL wild card.

    Aaron Sanchez is set to take the ball on Wednesday after a blister problem led to his last start being skipped, and he'll be up against Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners.

    Meanwhile, it was revealed last week that Marco Estrada has been pitching through a herniated disk in his back, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. That might explain his 7.53 ERA over his last six starts.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Devon Travis (11-for-29, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP R.A. Dickey (W, 5.0 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

10. St. Louis Cardinals (78-71, Previous: 12)

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    Alex Reyes
    Alex ReyesJeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The St. Louis Cardinals dropped two of three to the rival Chicago Cubs at home to begin last week before splitting a big four-game series with the San Francisco Giants in a battle of two wild-card contenders.

    The NL wild card is essentially a three-horse race at this point, with the New York Mets holding a one-game lead over the Giants and the Giants a game up on the Cardinals.

    Jaime Garcia was relegated to the bullpen after lasting just 1.2 innings in his start on Tuesday against the Cubs, with rookie Alex Reyes moving back to the rotation to replace him and tossing seven scoreless innings on Sunday to earn the win.

    "Coming into the series, you know it's going to be a playoff atmosphere," Reyes told reporters. "Being on the field for the first time in San Francisco, it was fun. It's amazing. I try not to think about [the magnitude] and just try to go out there and give my team a chance to win and execute pitches."

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Randal Grichuk (6-for-23, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP/RP Alex Reyes (2 W, 11.1 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 8 BB, 10 K)

9. Seattle Mariners (79-70, Previous: 10)

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    Taijuan Walker
    Taijuan WalkerJoe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Seattle Mariners followed up a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels by dropping two of three to the Houston Astros, but a winning week still keeps them in the AL wild-card hunt.

    They enter the week tied with the Detroit Tigers at two games out for the second spot, with both teams currently chasing the slumping Toronto Blue Jays.

    Taijuan Walker picked a great time for the best start of his career, allowing just three hits and striking out 11 in a complete-game shutout against the Angels on Tuesday. It was the first career shutout for the talented but inconsistent 24-year-old, who is just two starts removed from allowing six runs and not making it out of the first inning.

    "When you put it all together and everybody gets on the same page, great things can happen," manager Scott Servais told reporters. "And tonight was really fun to watch. He executed all his pitches and was in total command of his game. He looked like a guy out there that had fear of no one. Respects everyone, but had fear of no one. It was great to see."

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Nori Aoki (9-for-21, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Taijuan Walker (W, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K)

8. New York Mets (80-69, Previous: 8)

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    Bartolo Colon
    Bartolo ColonBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The New York Mets salvaged their week with a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins after dropping two of three to the Washington Nationals.

    It was more bad news on the injury front when it was announced that Jacob deGrom is headed for elbow surgery and likely finished for the season. Manager Terry Collins discussed deGrom's situation with reporters:

    It’s likely that this will require a surgical repair, not a significant surgical procedure at least with respect to risk going forward. But it’s something that will have to take place at some point. He was hoping to be able to pitch through it, but given the fact that this thing flares up at unpredictable times, and unpredictable circumstances, I think it’s unlikely that he’ll pitch again this season.

    On the flip side, left-hander Steven Matz threw a successful bullpen session on Saturday and will likely rejoin the team at some point this coming week after missing nearly a month with a shoulder impingement.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B T.J. Rivera (9-for-20, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Bartolo Colon (W, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)

7. Baltimore Orioles (82-67, Previous: 7)

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    J.J. Hardy
    J.J. HardyTommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Baltimore Orioles picked up a huge series win over the Boston Red Sox, then split a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays to build a one-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays for the No. 1 AL wild-card spot.

    The AL East title is still within reach for the Orioleswho currently trail the Red Sox by three gamesbut the right to host the Wild Card Round game is equally important, as they've gone 47-27 at home, compared to 35-40 on the road.

    Kevin Gausman was terrific once again last week with eight shutout innings against the Red Sox in a pitcher's duel with AL Cy Young candidate Rick Porcello. Gausman is now 6-2 with a 2.06 ERA and 1.147 WHIP in nine starts since the beginning of August.

    "It's a lot of fun," Gausman told reporters of his big start at Fenway Park. "Obviously the rubber match in this ballpark, the atmosphere tonight was just incredible so you try to feed off of that."

    Those two teams meet up again to begin the upcoming week, this time for four games in Baltimore.

    Hitter of the Week

    • SS J.J. Hardy (10-for-21, 1 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

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

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (84-65, Previous: 6)

25 of 30

    Clayton Kershaw
    Clayton KershawRichard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Los Angeles Dodgers picked up two games in the NL West standings last week with a series win over the New York Yankees and a four-game split with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    They now lead the San Francisco Giants by a relatively comfortable five games as they look to make it four straight division titles.

    Clayton Kershaw was sharp in his second game back from the disabled list after struggling to shake off the rust in his first start, allowing just one hit in five shutout innings while dealing with a pair of rain delays. His next start will be on Monday against Madison Bumgarner and the Giants to kick off a big three-game series.

    "Those guys' backs are against the wall. We have an opportunity to be on the offensive and essentially put them away, and that's our goal," manager Dave Roberts told reporters of the rival Giants.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Justin Turner (7-for-29, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Clayton Kershaw (ND, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

5. Cleveland Indians (86-63, Previous: 3)

26 of 30

    Josh Tomlin
    Josh TomlinDavid Richard-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    Despite a losing week that included dropping three of four to the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians still hold a commanding seven-game lead in the AL Central heading into the week.

    Josh Tomlin returned to the rotation on Wednesday and looked sharp in his first start since Aug. 30. He struggled to an 11.48 ERA and allowed 10 home runs in 26.2 innings in August, leading to his demotion to the bullpen. Injuries opened the door for him to return as a starter, and he tossed five strong innings without allowing a home run for the win.

    With Danny Salazar (forearm strain) and Carlos Carrasco (fractured hand) both sidelined, the staff needs someone to step up behind Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, especially if those two wind up being unavailable in October.

    Mike Clevinger and Cody Anderson have joined Tomlin at the back of the rotation.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Jose Ramirez (9-for-26, 1 2B, 1 3B, 6 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Josh Tomlin (W, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)

4. Boston Red Sox (85-64, Previous: 5)

27 of 30

    Hanley Ramirez
    Hanley RamirezGreg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    It was a good weekend for the Boston Red Sox, as they delivered a crushing blow to the playoff hopes of the rival New York Yankees with a four-game sweep and built their lead in the AL East standings to three games in the process.

    The relief corps has stepped up big of late, pitching to a 0.94 ERA so far this month.

    "My gosh. What they’ve doing in the last three weeks is remarkable,” manager John Farrell told reporters of his bullpen.

    Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez has been the team's hottest hitter with a .381/.435/.841 line in September that includes nine home runs and 22 RBI in 16 games.

    "The run that Hanley's on right now, you can probably attach any word you want to it, how impressive he is," Farrell told reporters. "He’s a major force right now."

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Hanley Ramirez (12-for-26, 1 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Rick Porcello (L, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

3. Texas Rangers (88-62, Previous: 4)

28 of 30

    Carlos Gomez
    Carlos GomezTim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Texas Rangers split the week with a series win over the Houston Astros and a series loss to the Oakland Athletics over the weekend, leaving them with an 8.5-game lead over the Seattle Mariners entering the week.

    Carlos Gomez put together a nice week at the plate, and he's now hitting a respectable .244/.344/.513 with six home runs and 16 RBI in 90 plate appearances while taking over as the team's primary left fielder and leadoff hitter.

    Meanwhile, Colby Lewis struggled in his second start back from the disabled list, walking five and allowing three earned runs in 5.1 innings.

    That leaves the team's postseason rotation largely up in the air, as A.J. Griffin and Martin Perez are battling Lewis for the No. 3 and 4 starter jobs behind Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Carlos Gomez (6-for-23, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP A.J. Griffin (ND, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

2. Washington Nationals (88-61, Previous: 2)

29 of 30

    Trea Turner
    Trea TurnerMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Washington Nationals enter the week with an eight-game lead over the New York Mets in the NL East standings, and they took two of three against the Mets last week before dropping their weekend series with the Atlanta Braves.

    Trea Turner led the way offensively once again last week, and he's now hitting .355/.377/.590 with 13 doubles, seven triples, 11 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 60 games.

    "There's a little bit of luck and some hard work," Turner told reporters. "I just learned a lot in the last two, three months. I feel like I've become a more consistent player. I put the ball in play, but you still have to get lucky and find some holes, and I've done that."

    On the pitching side, Stephen Strasburg played catch on Saturday morning for the first time since exiting a start with elbow soreness 10 days earlier. There's still no timetable for his return, but it's a step in the right direction.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Trea Turner (12-for-26, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 8 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

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

1. Chicago Cubs (94-55, Previous: 1)

30 of 30

    Jon Lester
    Jon LesterMichael Thomas/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Chicago Cubs became the first team to a clinch a playoff spot here in 2016 when the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.

    They trotted out a shell lineup the next two games and wound up losing three of four to the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend, but they're still in line to reach the 100-win mark for the first time since 1935.

    The big story the rest of the way will likely be the Cy Young candidacy of Kyle Hendricks, who flirted with a no-hitter last week and currently boasts an MLB-best 2.06 ERA after allowing two runs over six innings in a loss on Sunday.

    His next start will come on Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals and Alex Reyes, and the Cubs will look to spoil things for their biggest rivals, who are battling for a wild-card spot.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Anthony Rizzo (5-for-20, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jon Lester (W, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted. Hitter and pitcher of the week stats reflect the week from Monday, Sept. 12 through Sunday, Sept. 18.

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