It's that time again, after another eventful week around the Majors, it's time for the next edition of the "Major League Baseball Power Rankings". There was some big movement in both directions last week, as the New York Yankees rode an impressive hot-steak into the top spot. They remain there this week, but there were once again some major movers. The Red Sox and Astros continue to cruise right alongside the Yanks as the dominant trio in the American League. The trend of lots of movement in the NL continues once again this week. The NL East and Central continue to have basically everyone in the mix and the West is still controlled by the Diamondbacks - for now. Before we get to the rankings, same disclaimer as always, these are the top 20 teams overall, regardless of League and Division Standings, the top 10 teams are not necessarily the picks to make the postseason, etc., and the rankings fluctuate based on how teams are trending as of late with their play. Without further ado, the updated power rankings:
1 NEW YORK YANKEES (28-12) -
The Yankees continue their sizzling stretch of baseball as they've went 8-2 in their last 10 games overall, and are in first by a 0.5 game over the Red Sox. The Yankees went 4-2 this past week and are an incredible 19-3 overall in their last 22. The Bronx Bombers are living up to their name as they are currently 2nd in the AL in home runs with 57 and rank 1st in runs scored. The Pitching has also been there as well as the Yanks rank 3rd in ERA and 2nd in strikeouts. This team continues to play very good all-around baseball and they find themselves duking it out with their old division rivals for best record in the bigs.
2 BOSTON RED SOX (28-13) -
The Red Sox continue to play exceptional baseball and trail the Yankees by just a 0.5 game and are tied with their division rivals for most wins (28) in the bigs. The Red Sox pitching continues to impress with the 2nd-best ERA in the AL at 3.58, and rank first in saves with 14. Boston ranks 2nd to the Yankees in runs scored and 1st in batting average at .267. It doesn't appear that the Red Sox are going anywhere as they have both the hitting and pitching to once-again make a post-season run. They have the A's and then a 4-game set with the last-place Orioles on-tap this week.
3 HOUSTON ASTROS (26-16) ↑
The Astros continue to depend on an incredibly dominant pitching staff - their 2.49 ERA is 1st in the AL and over a full run better than 2nd-place Boston (3.58). They also lead the AL with 440 strikeouts - 22 more than the Yankees. The Astros used a 5-1 week to move up to #3. They surrendered just 8 runs the entire week and with that kind of pitching are going to be incredibly difficult to beat. They are also tied for 3rd in runs scored with the Angels and rank 7th in batting average. The defending Champs appear to be right back in the thick of things in the American League.
4 ATLANTA BRAVES (25-15) ↑
The Braves continue to lead the National League in runs scored and batting average, and are tied for 3rd in home runs. It was a very nice week that saw the Braves go 5-1 and with their victory over the Cubs Monday move up to 10 games over .500. They own the 6th-best ERA in the league and have been able to rely on the a combination of sustained hitting and enough pitching to race out to the lead in the East through 40 games. If the Braves can somehow keep up the scorching hitting, they may very well find themselves right in the thick of things in the NL as the season continues.
5 ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (24-16) ↓
The Diamondbacks moved for the first time this season in the power rankings, as their lock on the # 3 spot evaporated. They've lost 5 straight after a promising start to last week, and finished the weekend by getting swept at-home over a 4-game set with the red-hot Nationals. Arizona's pitching continues to lead the NL in ERA at just 3.16, and are 2nd in saves with 13. As good as the pitching has been, the bats have gone quiet over the losing streak and are really struggling as of late. Over the past 5 games, they've only managed 2.0 runs per game, and have dropped to 9th in the NL in runs scored and dead last in batting average. The pitching keeps the D-Backs in the top 5 - for now.
6 LOS ANGELES ANGELS (24-16) -
The Angels drop one spot this week, but it really didn't have as much to do with their play, as it did with the play of the Atlanta Braves who jumped into the top 5. The Angles are third in the AL in runs scored, fifth in batting average, and tied for third in home runs. The pitching has been stellar as well at they own the 4th-best ERA in the league at 3.88. Mike Trout is once again having an-MVP caliber season with an impressive .310/.448/.641 slash-line with 12 HRs and 25 RBIs. Shohei Ohtani is 3-1 with a 3.58 ERA and continues to make the most of his at-bats, hitting .348 with 5 HRs and 16 RBIs over 69 at-bats. The one-two combo continues to have the Angels right in the mix amongst the best in the difficult AL.
7 MILWAUKEE BREWERS (24-17) -
The Brew Crew moves up one spot after a stellar week that saw them go 4-2 and currently sit atop the very competitive NL Central, a 0.5 game better than the Cardinals. The Brew Crew have slid back to 7th in the NL in team-ERA at 3.56, but the bullpen has been stellar as they are tied for 2nd in saves. Overall, the offense continues to struggle a bit as they rank 9th in runs scored, but the power numbers have improved as they've climb to 6th in home runs and 6th in batting average. If the Crew can put it all together - and they may need to in the difficult Central - they could very well find themselves right in the thick of things come September.
8 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (22-16) ↓
The Cardinals pitching once-again remains at the forefront of their overall strengths as they rank 2nd in the NL in ERA at just 3.35. They're also tied for 6th in saves and continue to remain right along with the Brewers atop the Central. The offense remains lagging behind at just 10th in the league in runs scored and 12th in batting average and will need to improve going forward in the very competitive Central. St. Louis has Minnesota and Philadelphia coming up this week.
9 PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (23-16) ↑
The Phillies find themselves back in the top 10 after a brief 1-week hiatus, and it is fair to say that this team is a legit-contender. They trail the Braves by 1.5 in the East, and are getting very strong pitching at 5th in the AL with a 3.44 team-ERA. They are also 5th in the league in runs scored as the offense has been able to come around and helped push the Phils to a 5-1 week. They got an impressive 4-game sweep of the Giants to start the week, and split two of a rain-shortening series over the weekend with the Mets. The Phillies don't appear to be going anywhere and are solid all-the-way-around.
10 WASHINGTON NATIONALS (24-18) ↑
The Nationals find themselves the big-mover of the week, rising all the way into the top 10 from # 17 a week ago. The Nats had a 6-1 week - all on the road, as they started the week by taking 2 of 3 from the Padres, and then they went to Arizona and faced the best team in the NL in the D-Backs and completed an impressive 4-game sweep. Washington is 13-2 in their last 15 games overall and have looked impressive doing it. They are starting to appear much more like the team picked to once again go to the playoffs then the one that was 12-16 just a couple weeks ago.
11 CHICAGO CUBS (21-17) -
The Cubbies remain just outside the top 10 for now. They turned in a good week however, as they went 5-1 before losing to Atlanta Monday. Chicago sits just 1.5 back of the Brewers in the NL Central, and continue to hit (3rd in NL in runs), 3rd in batting average at .255, and pitch - 4th in NL in ERA - very well. If the Cubs can continue to turn in weeks like last week, they are going to once again be difficult to top in the very competitive NL Central. They start the week with a tough matchup with the Braves before finishing with the Reds.
T-12 PITTSBURGH PIRATES (23-17) ↑
The Pirates just refuse to fade away in the ultra-competitive NL Central, and find themselves right in the thick of the division, tied with the Cardinals, just a 0.5 game behind the Brewers. Pittsburgh's offense - 2nd in the NL in runs scored, 2nd in batting average, 5th in home runs, and 4th in on-base %, continues to lead the way for the Pirates. As long as the Bucs are scoring runs, they are continue to win, but when the bats cool, the pitching has dropped off a bit to 10th in the league in ERA, and will need to improve as the season goes on.
T-12 SEATTLE MARINERS (23-17) -
While the Mariners managed to move into the top 10 of last week's power rankings, they find themselves dropping a bit this week. The Mariners continue to sit at 5 games above .500 in the incredibly tough AL West, but that is exactly what caused them to drop a bit - as other teams continue to win more than lose, the Mariners are 7-7 over their last 14. Not bad, but still just .500. For now, the Mariners continue to hang tough right behind the Angels for 2nd place in the AL West. Seattle is mediocre in hitting and below average in pitching, but continue to find ways to wins games. It appears they will continue to float around the top 10-12 for now.
14 COLORADO ROCKIES (22-19) ↓
The Rockies drop 4 spots after a tough week in which they split a pair with the Angels and dropped 3 of 4 at home to the Brewers. The Rockies trail the Diamondbacks by 2.5 games in the NL West and continue to rely on power numbers to generate the offense as they rank 2nd in the NL in home runs with 53 and 5th in slugging. The team's 4.39 ERA could be there undoing as it's good for just 13th in the league. The Rockies have enough pop in their bats to once again make a postseason push, but the pitching will need to improve going forward.
15 NEW YORK METS (19-18) ↑
The Mets find themselves back in the top 15 thanks to a week that saw them start by dropping 2 of 3 to the lowly Reds, but finished by taking 2 of 3 from division rivals Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets continue to stay above .500 in a very difficult NL East where the Phillies continue to look good, the Nationals are coming on strong, and the Braves continue to play well. They are just 14th in the NL in runs scored and 10th in batting average, so the bats need to show some improvement going forward if they are to continue to stay in the race in the East.
16 OAKLAND ATHLETICS (20-21) ↓
17 CLEVELAND INDIANS (20-20) ↑
18 TORONTO BLUE JAYS (21-20) ↓
19 SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (20-21) ↓
20 MINNESOTA TWINS (17-19) ↑
The Twins slide back into the top 20 as they moved into 2nd place in the weak AL Central and trail the Indians by just 1.0 game. The Giants were the big tumbler of the week as they dropped all the way from 12th to 19. A 1-6 week will tend to do that to you. The Indians slide up a spot, and the Oakland Athletics dropped one spot out of the top 15 to 16 after a mediocre week. The Blue Jays had a rough week as well and find themselves already a distant 3rd to the Red Sox and Yankees in the AL East. Minnesota has a chance to steal the division from the Indians if they can't get it jump-started at some point as Cleveland continues to struggle hitting the ball (just 10th in the AL in batting average), but have gotten great power production as they lead the league in home runs.
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