Can anyone unseat the Houston Astros atop our weekly MLB power rankings?
They became the first team to 40 wins this season with a pair of series sweeps last week, wrapping up a dominant 22-7 month of May.
Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers did enough to leapfrog the Colorado Rockies for the top spots among NL teams—just in time for them to meet for the first time this season.
On the individual side of things, Houston standouts Carlos Correa (.386 BA, 1.130 OPS, 7 HR, 26 RBI) and Lance McCullers Jr. (6 GS, 4-0, 0.99 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 9.2 K/9) took home AL Player of the Month and AL Pitcher of the Month honors, respectively.
Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon (.359 BA, 1.037 OPS, 6 HR, 22 RBI) and Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Alex Wood (5 GS, 5-0, 1.27 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 13.0 K/9) claimed NL honors.
Getting back to the rankings, as always, this is a fluid process and teams rise and fall based on where they were ranked the previous week. If a team keeps winning, it will keep climbing—it's as simple as that.
With that in mind, here's an updated look at where all 30 teams stand:
Miami Marlins (up eight spots)
After a 16-29 start to the season, the Miami Marlins have now won three consecutive series, including a sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies and three of four against the Arizona Diamondbacks last week.
Giancarlo Stanton (.932 OPS, 15 HR), Marcell Ozuna (.956 OPS, 14 HR) and Justin Bour (.959 OPS, 16 HR) have been as dangerous as any trio in the game, and the offense is putting up a respectable 4.5 runs per game on the season.
It's the starting rotation that has been the biggest issue, ranking 25th in the majors in ERA (4.83) and tied for last in quality starts (17).
Edinson Volquez threw a pair of games last week, including the first no-hitter of the season, while Dan Straily (6.2 IP, 2 ER) and a finally healthy Jeff Locke (5.2 IP, 1 ER) both looked sharp.
That strong showing last week didn't stop the rumor mill from churning out a doozie from the Marlins, though.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the team is gearing up to listen to offers on the young trio of Ozuna, Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto this summer. All three were seemingly off limits in the team's offseason search for starting pitching help, but the rocky start has been enough for a potential change of course.
The Marlins will hit the road this coming week to take on the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates as they look to build off their recent surge. They're now just a half-game out of second in the NL East standings, albeit still 11 games behind the first-place Nationals.
Seattle Mariners (up seven spots)
The Seattle Mariners endured a brutal 4-12 stretch of games before avoiding a series sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox two Sundays ago.
That seemingly sparked what was the team's best week since the season's first month, as it took three of four in a home/road series with the Colorado Rockies and then swept the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.
With that, the M's are now just two games under .500 and tied for second in the AL West standings.
Left-hander James Paxton—who had been one of the season's breakout stars before landing on the disabled list in early May with a forearm strain—finally returned to action last week, allowing three hits over 5.1 scoreless innings on Wednesday.
"Obviously, before he got hurt, you could just see a different guy out there," manager Scott Servais told Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times. "His confidence was growing, and he's turned into a top-of-the-rotation stud. It's great for our club. I think everybody felt it tonight when he took the mound. Dominant starting pitching does so much for your team. It just lifts everybody's spirits."
Ariel Miranda also continued his impressive run as a surprisingly steady presence at the back of the rotation with two more strong starts. The 28-year-old is now 6-2 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 12 starts this season.
With the pitching perhaps finally rounding into form alongside an offense that has scored a solid 4.6 runs per game, the Mariners will be a team to watch going forward.
San Francisco Giants (down eight spots)
The San Francisco Giants used a 7-1 stretch of games in the middle of May to gradually climb back up these rankings, but they've fallen hard since going 4-10 in their last 14 games.
That includes a sweep at the hands of the Nationals to begin last week and a series loss to a 19-win Phillies team to wrap it up over the weekend.
Right fielder Hunter Pence was finally activated from the disabled list on Sunday, grounding into a double play as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning in his first plate appearance since May 12.
Heading the other way in that roster move was rookie Christian Arroyo.
After initially providing a spark with two home runs in his first five games, Arroyo wound up hitting a brutal .192/.244/.304 with 32 strikeouts in 135 plate appearances. The 22-year-old still has a chance to be a big piece of the future, but it's clear he'll benefit from more time in the minors.
The bigger question now is: What will the Giants do if they can't turn things around over the next month or so?
It's increasingly less likely that Johnny Cueto will opt out of his contract and leave $84 million over four years on the table if he continues to struggle. And if he's not actively shopped, who on the roster really looks like a realistic trade chip?
Either way, we appear to be fast approaching an organizational crossroads.
Cincinnati Reds (down seven spots)
For the second time this season, the Cincinnati Reds jump from the "biggest risers" to the "biggest fallers" list in the span of just one week.
That's life for a talented but still rebuilding team.
The starting rotation was once again largely to blame for the team's struggles last week, as the starter failed to finish the fifth inning in four of the team's six games.
The team's 6.13 starters' ERA is far and away the worst in the majors, with the Phillies (5.31) checking in as the only other club with a mark north of 5.00.
It hasn't all been bad, though.
Scott Schebler (.849 OPS, 16 HR) continues to rank as one of the season's breakout stars, and Zack Cozart (.344/.432/.622, 27 XBH) is shaping up to be a very valuable trade chip.
This is a team that most predicted to finish in the NL Central cellar, so a 25-30 start over their first 55 games is a positive result on a lot of levels.
MVPs of the Week
AL MVP: CF George Springer, HOU
Stats: 15-for-30, 1 2B, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 11 R
The Astros' winning streak is up to 10 games, and it was George Springer who stood out offensively in a week where the team piled up 60 runs in six games.
Springer is now up to 16 home runs on the season after slugging five more last week, leaving him trailing only Aaron Judge (18) and Khris Davis (17) on the American League side of things.
He's also hitting .280/.350/.545 out of the leadoff spot in the lineup, trailing only Judge in runs scored (43) and serving as a catalyst for an offense that is averaging 5.5 runs per game.
The 27-year-old has teased the jump from occasional standout to true star in the past, and it looks like those pieces are finally falling into place here in 2017.
NL MVP: SP Edinson Volquez, MIA
Stats: 2 W, 15.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 14 K
In the course of two starts last week, Edinson Volquez lowered his ERA from 4.82 to 3.79.
After throwing six innings of three-hit, one-run ball against the Phillies on Monday, he tossed the first no-hitter of the season while facing the Diamondbacks on Saturday.
With a nasty changeup working all day, Volquez needed just 98 pitches to complete his gem, walking two and striking out 10—including striking out the side swinging in the ninth.
Volquez dedicated the no-hitter to former teammate and close friend Yordano Ventura on what would have been his 26th birthday, as well as former Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, both of whom tragically lost their lives last year.
He's now the sixth pitcher in Marlins history to throw a no-hitter, joining Al Leiter (1996), Kevin Brown (1997), A.J. Burnett (2001), Anibal Sanchez (2006) and Henderson Alvarez (2013).
Stats of the Week
Let's dive right into some of the better nuggets from around the league.
We'll start with the red-hot Houston Astros, who remain the easy choice as baseball's best team with two-plus months in the books.
Just how dominant was their offense during a 22-7 month of May?
They led the majors in batting average (.280), OPS (850), hits (281), home runs (52) and runs scored (180) en route to a plus-67 run differential.
Those 52 home runs tied a franchise record for a single month, and they certainly closed the month out on a bang, piling up 40 runs in three games against the Minnesota Twins—a team record for a three-game series.
We also saw some individual history made last week when Albert Pujols joined the 600-home-run club with a grand slam on Saturday.
That proved to be history for both Pujols and the grand slam itself.
And one more interesting tidbit from the Pujols homer:
For the record, Belisle will turn 37 on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel is somewhat quietly having the most dominant season of any pitcher.
His 1.07 ERA is backed by a ridiculous 0.47 WHIP and a career-best 17.1 K/9, and he's been legitimately unhittable of late.
Prior to giving up a one-out single in the ninth inning on Saturday in what turned out to be a two-hit, one-run inning, Kimbrel had faced 30 straight batters without allowing a hit, striking out 18 and walking just one during that span.
That one-out single to Mark Trumbo was also the first hit he had allowed to a right-handed batter this season after they started out 0-for-47 with 26 strikeouts.
Think the Red Sox will exercise their $13 million team option this coming offseason?
In case you missed it, Jon Lester did this:
Way to go, Tommy Pham. You got greedy with your 50-foot lead and ruined it for everyone.
And finally, I'll leave you this week with a ridiculous note on Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart.
That's how you get after it in a contract year, folks.
Must-See Upcoming Matchup
Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (June 5-7)
The No. 2 and No. 3 teams in our current power rankings and the top two teams in the National League will meet up to kick off the upcoming week when the Washington Nationals head west to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Nationals have quickly built a 10.5-game lead in the NL East standings, while the Dodgers trail the Rockies by a half-game but are coming on strong at 13-5 in their last 18 games.
Stephen Strasburg (11 GS, 7-1, 2.91 ERA, 81 K, 74.1 IP) will take the ball on Wednesday for the Nationals against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (12 GS, 7-2, 2.28 ERA, 92 K, 83.0 IP) in the must-see matchup of the series.
It's the first time the two teams will meet this season after the Dodgers eliminated the Nationals in five games in the division series a year ago.
Looking for someone to yell at about where your favorite team was slotted in the latest rankings? I'll meet you in the comments section.