The 2018 MLB season is in full swing, and we're now just one month from the All-Star break.
The American League remains atop our weekly power rankings, as the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox once again occupy the top four spots.
Meanwhile, the National League continues to be ripe with parity, as all three divisions are still up for grabs.
This remains a fluid process. 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.
Here's an updated look at where all 30 teams stand heading into this week's action.
Teams That Impressed
We normally start at the top of the heap with our "teams that impressed" section, but let's start this week by shining some light on the San Diego Padres.
Since starting the season 22-33, they've gone 8-3 in their last 11 games, picking up series wins over the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins twice during that span.
A patchwork starting rotation led by a combination of spare parts (Tyson Ross, Clayton Richard and Jordan Lyles) and inexperienced youngsters (Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi) has held its own, and the bullpen has posted an excellent 3.21 ERA while converting 21 of 26 save chances.
It's still a stretch to think they're contenders this season, but they're further along in the rebuilding process than expected.
Stick in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to steadily climb the rankings after a disastrous 16-26 start. They've now gone 17-6 in their last 23 games and with one more strong week could leapfrog a number of middle-of-the-pack teams to move back into the top 10.
No team has been hit harder by injuries this season, and the fact that they can even find five guys capable of starting with Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Julio Urias and Dennis Santana all on the disabled list is a small miracle.
On the AL side of things, the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros continue to jockey for position in the AL West.
The Mariners have gone 17-5 in their last 22 games to ascend to the upper echelon of teams, while the Astros continue to look like the team to beat thanks to a 2.91 starters' ERA and an offense that has plated 4.97 runs per game.
The Chicago Cubs climb back into the top spot among NL teams thanks to an 11-3 stretch of games that includes series wins over the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates twice.
Despite a somewhat inconsistent start to the season, the Cubs still have the highest-scoring offense (5.02 runs per game) and best team ERA (3.21) in the NL. All the pieces are there for this team to make some serious noise once again.
Teams That Disappointed
It speaks to how close things are at the top that the Boston Red Sox slipped from No. 1 to No. 4 in these rankings, simply by losing two of three to the Chicago White Sox over the weekend.
With a big four-game series against the upstart Mariners awaiting this coming weekend, Boston could easily reclaim the top spot with a strong showing.
Meanwhile, a pair of surprise contenders in the NL East have been caught in a tailspin of late.
The Philadelphia Phillies are now 2-7 in their last nine games and 8-14 in their last 22, as they've slipped from inside the top 10 into the bottom half of the rankings in the process.
At the same time, the Atlanta Braves have gone a pedestrian 9-11 in their last 20 contests after a 28-17 start, and they'll look to get things going back in the right direction when they return home to face the Mets and Padres this coming week.
Speaking of the New York Mets, they're in the midst of a gruesome 4-15 stretch that has quickly dropped them out of contention and could lead to a midseason fire sale.
That's not something GM Sandy Alderson is ready to talk about, though:
"Can circumstances change that, yes," Alderson told Bob Nightengale of USA Today, "but I think that would be very, very remote. It's not something we're even considering or talking about."
With a thin farm system and division rivals like the Braves and Phillies on the rise, not seriously considering a rebuild could be a fatal mistake that sets this team back several years.
MVPs of the Week
Hitter: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Stats: 16-for-25, 6 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 10 R
Paul Goldschmidt had not been his usual dynamic self over the first two months of the 2018 season.
He entered June hitting .209/.326/.393 with just seven home runs and a 30.9 percent strikeout rate. By comparison, he struck out at a 22.1 percent clip last season.
This month he's once again looked like the MVP candidate of old.
The 30-year-old is hitting a ridiculous .500/.571/1.139 with six doubles, five home runs and 12 RBI in 42 plate appearances in June, raising his batting average 45 points in the process while enjoying a pair of multi-homer games.
Pitcher: Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels
Stats: W, 9.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
The future looked bright for Andrew Heaney when he went 6-4 with a 3.49 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 18 starts as a rookie for the Los Angeles Angels in 2015.
However, he made just six starts the next two seasons, as a flexor muscle strain and eventual elbow surgery made him largely a spectator for those two years.
Back healthy this season, the 27-year-old is once again looking like a bright part of the future.
He's posted a 3.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 58 strikeouts in 60.2 innings over 10 starts, and he tossed his first career shutout against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
"The quality of his pitches, maintaining stuff, pitching with his back against the wall the whole game and finishing it off … his stuff in the ninth inning was as good as it was all game," manager Mike Scioscia told reporters. "That was a masterpiece."
For an Angels team in the thick of contention, a breakout season from Heaney would go a long way.
Video Highlights of the Week
Longest Home Run: Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies (473 feet)
Colorado Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez now owns the longest home run at Great American Ballpark in the Statcast era.
Once a 40-homer slugger, CarGo is no longer the power threat he once was, but his sixth home run of the season was a tape-measure blast against a tough lefty reliever on Tuesday.
It was just the third home run that Wandy Peralta has allowed to a left-handed batter in 101 career innings and his first this season.
Interestingly enough, Jeff Wallner of MLB.com pointed out that Tuesday's game marked the five-year anniversary of CarGo hitting three home runs in a game at the same ballpark.
He's now a .304/.389/.598 hitter with nine home runs and 21 RBI in 30 career games at Great American Ballpark.
Best Defensive Play: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
It's no accident that Nolan Arenado has won Gold Glove honors in each of his five MLB seasons.
Aside from being one of the game's most dangerous offensive players, Arenado is also arguably the best defender in baseball not named Andrelton Simmons.
Over the past five seasons he's racked up 104 DRS—second only to the aforementioned Simmons (144)—and his mix of range, instincts and arm strength make him the complete package at the hot corner.
That cannon arm was on full display on this play, as it took nothing more than a flick of the wrist to throw out Alex Blandino from one knee.
Since this version of our power rankings marks one month until the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, we've included one potential ballot suggestion for your consideration:
C Wilson Ramos (.287/.332/.441, 9 2B, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 19 R)
1B Jose Abreu (.295/.356/.520, 25 2B, 10 HR, 38 RBI, 34 R)
2B Jose Altuve (.342/.388/.471, 16 2B, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 40 R)
3B Jose Ramirez (.292/.391/.617, 19 2B, 19 HR, 43 RBI, 44 R)
SS Manny Machado (.312/.380/.591, 15 2B, 18 HR, 50 RBI, 32 R)
OF Mike Trout (.299/.431/.632, 15 2B, 19 HR, 39 RBI, 52 R)
OF Mookie Betts (.359/.437/.750, 19 2B, 17 HR, 37 RBI, 52 R)
OF Aaron Judge (.270/.395/.566, 13 2B, 18 HR, 45 RBI, 44 R)
DH J.D. Martinez (.316/.376/.654, 15 2B, 21 HR, 54 RBI, 42 R)
SP Justin Verlander (8-2, 1.45 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 113 K, 93.1 IP)
C Francisco Cervelli (.266/.387/.519, 7 2B, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 22 R)
1B Freddie Freeman (.340/.430/.568, 19 2B, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 41 R)
2B Scooter Gennett (.340/.376/.556, 16 2B, 12 HR, 47 RBI, 33 R)
3B Nolan Arenado (.314/.407/.549, 13 2B, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 40 R)
SS Brandon Crawford (.338/.385/.536, 18 2B, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 28 R)
OF Bryce Harper (.228/.360/.509, 6 2B, 19 HR, 43 RBI, 39 R)
OF Nick Markakis (.327/.388/.492, 19 2B, 8 HR, 43 RBI, 41 R)
OF Lorenzo Cain (.284/.384/.432, 13 2B, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 37 R)
SP Max Scherzer (10-2, 2.00 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 142 K, 94.2 IP)
Must-See Upcoming Matchup
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Friday-Sunday)
After stumbling out of the gates to a disappointing 16-26 start, the Los Angeles Dodgers once again look like one of the front-runners in the National League.
They've gone 17-6 in their last 23 games, posting a plus-52 run differential and closing the gap in the NL West standings to 2.5 games.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants have also been playing better baseball of late, going 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Now the two rivals will meet for a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
The Giants hold a 6-4 lead in the season series, and momentum is on their side as they took three of four last time the two clubs met at the end of April.
Both teams are still chasing the Diamondbacks in the division, but this series could provide a major boost to one of these clubs.