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

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2014

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

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    For the first time in weeks, we have a new No. 1 team in our MLB power rankings.

    The Oakland Athletics stumbled to a 1-6 record last week and are just 7-10 here in August, and that was enough to drop them from the top spot, a position they have held since well before the All-Star break.

    When putting together these rankings on a weekly basis, the following factors are considered:

    • Previous week's record
    • Recent performance beyond the last week
    • Quality of opponents
    • Key injuries/trades

    With that said, here is an updated look at where all 30 MLB teams stand midway through the month of August. Be sure to check back here every Monday morning for the most recent edition of our MLB power rankings.

30. Texas Rangers (48-76, Previous: 30)

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-5

    The Texas Rangers are now a game up in the race of the No. 1 pick after dropping series to the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels at home last week.

    They have picked No. 1 overall twice before, selecting outfielder Jeff Burroughs in 1969 and left-hander David Clyde in 1973. The last time they picked in the top five was 2001, when they took Mark Teixeira No. 5 overall.

    Things don't get any easier for them next week, as they take on the Marlins in Miami before a three-game series with the red-hot Kansas City Royals at home. At this point, though, the more losses they can pile up the better.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    CF Leonys Martin (10-for-24, 1 2B, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Nick Tepesch (2 GS, 14 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K)

29. Colorado Rockies (49-75, Previous: 29)

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-4

    After being swept by the Padres in San Diego, the Colorado Rockies rebounded for their first series win since July 25-27 against the Pittsburgh Pirates when they took three of four from the Cincinnati Reds.

    That puts them a game back of the Texas Rangers in the pursuit of the No. 1 overall pick. The Rockies have never drafted in the top spot, with their highest selection being flop Greg Reynolds with the No. 2 pick in the 2006 draft.

    Interestingly enough, they face the same teams as the aforementioned Rangers this coming week, with home series against the Kansas City Royals and Miami Marlins.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Corey Dickerson (11-for-28, 4 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jorge De La Rosa (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

28. Philadelphia Phillies (54-70, Previous: 25)

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1-5

    The Philadelphia Phillies are now 2-7 in their last nine games, as they have dropped three straight series since they swept the Houston Astros at home. They are now 4.5 games behind the New York Mets in their push to avoid a last-place finish.

    Second-base prospect Jesmuel Valentin was announced last week as part of the return in the trade that sent Roberto Hernandez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 20-year-old is the son of former big leaguer Jose Valentin, and he's hitting .280/.349/.430 with 38 extra-base hits in Single-A.

    The Phillies will take on the Seattle Mariners and St. Louis Cardinals at home this week as they look to play the role of spoiler the rest of the way.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Chase Utley (7-for-22, 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP David Buchanan (2 GS, 2 L, 12.2 IP, 13 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

27. Arizona Diamondbacks (53-71, Previous: 27)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    After playing .500 baseball from May through July at 39-39, the Arizona Diamondbacks are back to struggling here in August at 5-10 with a minus-22 run differential.

    It's been a trying season, but the team has managed to infuse a good amount of young talent into the big league roster along the way. Third baseman Jake Lamb is the latest call-up and looks to cement his place as the everyday option at the hot corner for next year.

    With just under $80 million in salary commitments for next year after opening this season with a $112 million payroll, it should be a busy offseason as the D-Backs look to turn things around in 2015.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    SS Cliff Pennington (7-for-20, 1 3B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Wade Miley (1 GS, L, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K)

26. Houston Astros (52-73, Previous: 28)

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Houston Astros are on pace to lose roughly 95 games this season, but there is little doubt they have taken a sizable step forward in the rebuilding process in 2014. They lost a series to the Minnesota Twins last week and then split a four-game tilt with the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.

    Jose Altuve is a legitimate star, prospects Jon Singleton and George Springer have arrived and pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh have given the team something to build around in the rotation.

    McHugh is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in four starts this month, while slugger Chris Carter is also red-hot here in August, as he leads all of baseball with eight home runs and 20 RBI.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    DH Chris Carter (9-for-28, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Collin McHugh (2 GS, 2 W, 12 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 K)

25. Chicago Cubs (53-70, Previous: 26)

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Chicago Cubs split a four-game series with a good Milwaukee Brewers team to start last week before losing two of three to the Mets in New York over the weekend. They are currently on pace for 92 losses, but like the Houston Astros, they have undoubtedly taken steps forward this year.

    The arrival of top prospect Javier Baez has been the biggest story of the past few weeks, and understandably so, but fellow prospect Kyle Hendricks deserves far more attention. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA in six starts, and he gives the team another long-term rotation piece alongside Jake Arrieta.

    "He knows what he's doing," first baseman Anthony Rizzo told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. "He doesn't have overpowering stuff, and he knows that. When guys get on base, they're saying he's tough, he's sneaky, got good pitches and commands them. It's nice. The best part he can induce a double-play ball whenever."

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    SS Starlin Castro (11-for-28, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jake Arrieta (2 GS, L, 14.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 13 K)

24. Minnesota Twins (55-67, Previous: 24)

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Minnesota Twins split last week's games, winning a series against the Houston Astros but dropping one to the Kansas City Royals over the weekend.

    The team saw a pair of guys who were expected to be key contributors in Joe Mauer and Ricky Nolasco activated from the DL last week. Those two will earn a combined $35 million this season and have been good for a 1.4 WAR and a minus-0.9 WAR, respectively.

    A strong week from Kennys Vargas was a positive sign, as he continues to establish himself as a key piece of the team's future. He wasn't as highly regarded as prospects such as Miguel Sano or Byron Buxton entering the year, but the big 24-year-old slugger has turned some heads.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Kennys Vargas (8-for-23, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Phil Hughes (1 GS, W, 7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

23. Chicago White Sox (59-65, Previous: 22)

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-2

    The Chicago White Sox managed to win a series against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, but August has not been kind to them. They are 6-9 with an MLB-worst minus-43 run differential this month, and what once looked like a run at a .500 season now appears to be a fight to avoid the cellar.

    Regardless of where they finish in the standings, award season figures to be kind to the South Siders. First baseman Jose Abreu (.305/.362/.596, 31 HR, 89 RBI) is a lock for Rookie of the Year honors, while ace Chris Sale (10-2, 2.01 ERA, 0.88 WHIP) is the biggest competition for Felix Hernandez right now for the Cy Young.

    They'll look to stir things up in the AL East in the week ahead, as they match up against the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    DH Adam Dunn (6-for-13, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Chris Sale (1 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K)

22. Boston Red Sox (56-67, Previous: 23)

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Boston Red Sox have quietly been playing decent baseball of late at 6-3 in their last nine games, and if nothing else they should be in a good position to play spoiler the rest of the way. They take on the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners at home with that in mind this coming week.

    David Ortiz made history last week with his 400th home run as a member of the Red Sox, joining Ted Williams (521) and Carl Yastrzemski (452) as the only players in team history to reach that mark.

    Ortiz said (via Jessica Camerato of Boston.com):

    It's an honor to be mentioned with those legends, people that did an amazing job and played for the Red Sox. Legendary, legendary. You come to this organization to play and you're not expecting your name to be mentioned right next to those guys. But it happens. You do what you've got to do and that's the only way you get there.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    DH David Ortiz (7-for-20, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Clay Buchholz (1 GS, 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

21. New York Mets (59-66, Previous: 20)

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    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-4

    The New York Mets bounced back from being swept by the Washington Nationals to win two of three against the Cubs over the weekend. They have a rough week ahead, as they take on the Oakland A's and Los Angeles Dodgers on the road.

    The organization did some housecleaning over the past week, releasing outfielders Chris Young and Bobby Abreu to open up more playing time for their younger guys. Matt den Dekker has looked good since being recalled, and he's likely auditioning for the starting left field job next season.

    Losing rookie Jacob deGrom to rotator cuff tendinitis was a blow, though, as he was quietly emerging as the NL Rookie of the Year front-runner before going down. That said, he's expected to be back when he's eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 23, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Star-Ledger.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    C Travis d'Arnaud (5-for-17, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Zack Wheeler (1 GS, W, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 10 K)

20. San Diego Padres (58-65, Previous: 21)

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    David Maxwell/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Padres have the second-best record in the National League this month, going 10-5 with a plus-22 run differential here in August. They swept the Colorado Rockies at the beginning of last week but lost three of four to the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend.

    Struggling second baseman Jedd Gyorko made history of sorts last week when he became the team's all-time leader in home runs by a second baseman with No. 31 of his career at the position. That puts him ahead of the 30 hit by Mark Loretta from 2003 to 2005.

    The pitching staff was knocked around a bit last week, but the Padres still rank third in MLB with a 3.12 team ERA and first with a 2.35 bullpen ERA. If only they had an offense, their unheralded staff would be one of the best stories of 2014.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Jedd Gyorko (9-for-27, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Eric Stults (1 GS, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)

19. Cincinnati Reds (61-63, Previous: 16)

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1-5

    Last week may wind up being the death blow for the Cincinnati Reds, as they are now 8.5 games back in the NL Central and 4.5 games back trailing five teams in the wild-card standings.

    A pair of series losses coupled with the absence of starter Homer Bailey, who landed on the DL with the dreaded flexor mass tendon strain, may wind up being too much for the Reds to overcome.

    Ace Johnny Cueto (15-6, 2.06 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) continues to be a bright spot, though, as he's been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball this season. Assuming the Reds pick up his option this offseason, the 28-year-old will be a free agent after the 2015 season, along with Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon, so it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the Reds rotation.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Ryan Ludwick (5-for-14, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Johnny Cueto (1 GS, W, 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)

18. Tampa Bay Rays (61-63, Previous: 19)

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Tampa Bay Rays continue to hang around on the fringe of contention, sitting 6.5 games back for the second wild-card spot. A series loss to the New York Yankees over the weekend certainly didn't help.

    Since trading David Price at the deadline, the Rays actually rank third in all of baseball with a 2.49 ERA, as their rotation of Alex Cobb, Chris Archer, Drew Smyly, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Hellickson is still arguably the best in the AL East.

    They take on the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays this coming week, two teams they are chasing in the wild-card standings. They will need their rotation to step up now more than ever.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Matt Joyce (6-for-19, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Alex Cobb (1 GS, W, 7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)

17. Toronto Blue Jays (64-61, Previous: 14)

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    Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1-5

    The Toronto Blue Jays entered the month of August on a 9-1 hot streak, but they have gone an MLB-worst 4-11 this month, dropping to third in the AL East standings in the process. They continue to slide down these rankings as a result, essentially cancelling out all of the climbing they did at the end of July.

    If there was one positive takeaway from last week, it was the return of slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who missed 33 games with a quad strain. He is 2-for-12 with a home run in three games since returning, and the team needs him to get hot fast.

    The trio of Mark Buehrle (3 GS, 6.39 ERA), Marcus Stroman (3 GS, 8.53 ERA) and Drew Hutchison (3 GS, 5.91 ERA) have struggled mightily this month, and they absolutely have to turn things around if this team has any chance.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    SS Jose Reyes (9-for-21, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP R.A. Dickey (1 GS, L, 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K)

16. Cleveland Indians (62-61, Previous: 17)

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-2

    It's still too soon to completely give up on the Cleveland Indians here in 2014, and they showed why with a series win over a very good Baltimore Orioles team over the weekend. They are five games back in the wild-card standings and a solid 9-6 here in August.

    A step forward by their entire rotation has been the biggest reason for their recent success, though Corey Kluber remains the clear-cut ace of the staff. He's a legitimate Cy Young candidate at 13-6 with a 2.41 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 179.1 innings.

    The Indians' next nine games are against teams with a losing record in the Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox. They will need to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of them.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Carlos Santana (5-for-17, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Carlos Carrasco (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 K)

15. Miami Marlins (62-62, Previous: 18)

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5-2

    A six-game losing streak in the middle of July looked like the end for the Miami Marlins, but they have gone 18-10 since and are still very much in the running for a wild-card berth. They are currently just 3.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for the second spot, though they have two other teams to jump.

    The injury to Andrew McCutchen may have made Giancarlo Stanton (.964 OPS, 32 HR, 88 RBI) the NL MVP front-runner here in the middle of August, as that race still appears to be as wide-open as any in recent memory.

    They have a golden opportunity to pick up some ground in the standings this week, as they take on the two worst teams in baseball in the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    RF Giancarlo Stanton (9-for-23, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jarred Cosart (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)

14. Pittsburgh Pirates (64-60, Previous: 12)

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-5

    Despite a 7-9 record this month, the Pittsburgh Pirates actually have a plus-six run differential. They had a tough draw last week, splitting a home/road series with the Detroit Tigers and then getting swept by the Nationals in Washington over the weekend.

    Losing Andrew McCutchen has obviously been a significant blow, but Travis Snider has done a phenomenal job stepping into that vacant everyday outfield job. The bigger concern at this point is the pitching staff, as the bullpen has been hit hard, and Charlie Morton recently landed on the DL with hip inflammation.

    Pittsburgh claimed John Axford off waivers from the Cleveland Indians in an effort to give the pen a boost. It's worth noting that he posted a 1.74 ERA in 13 games as an August waiver claim by the St. Louis Cardinals last season.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    RF Travis Snider (11-for-26, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Francisco Liriano (1 GS, L, 6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 K)

13. San Francisco Giants (65-58, Previous: 15)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-2

    At their peak in early June, the Giants looked like the best team in baseball at 42-21 and holding a 9.5-game lead in the NL West standings. However, they are just 23-37 in 60 games since and are trying desperately to salvage what was once such a promising season.

    With three key arms in Tim Lincecum (3 GS, 6.91 ERA), Tim Hudson (3 GS, 6.00 ERA) and Santiago Casilla (5 G, 2 L, 5.79 ERA) struggling this month, the pitching staff is once again a concern for the stretch run.

    As they cling to a 1.5-game lead in the second wild-card spot, they head out for road series with the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals in the week ahead.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Michael Morse (9-for-14, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Madison Bumgarner (1 GS, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K)

12. New York Yankees (63-59, Previous: 13)

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-3

    The two players listed below as the top performers of the week are the perfect summary of the New York Yankees' season, as the team continues to find ways to win despite being down to their second and third options at a number of positions.

    They rallied from a two-game series loss to the Baltimore Orioles to take two of three from the Rays in Tampa Bay, and they are currently just 3.5 games out of the second wild-card spot. They play the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox this week with a great chance to erase some of that deficit.

    Michael Pineda allowed two hits and one run in five innings in his return to the rotation, and he could certainly provide the team with a major boost moving forward. Meanwhile, rookie phenom Masahiro Tanaka continues to make progress toward a September return of his own.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    C Francisco Cervelli (4-for-11, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Shane Greene (1 GS, 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K)

11. St. Louis Cardinals (66-57, Previous: 10)

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    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4-3

    The St. Louis Cardinals looked sharp in taking three of four from a San Diego Padres team that entered the season 9-2 in August, and they will look to build off that in their continued pursuit of the Milwaukee Brewers and the NL Central lead.

    Strong outings from deadline acquisitions John Lackey (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 5 K) and Justin Masterson (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 K) were a huge positive last week, as were the 30 runs scored in seven games by the offense. The best news of all, however, may have come from the continued progress of injured starter Michael Wacha.

    "It felt good to get back out there on the mound," Wacha told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after his first bullpen session Saturday. "Arm felt great. It was 30 pitches. Pretty light throws but I'm happy with it."

    The 23-year-old has been sidelined since June 18 with a sore shoulder.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    CF Jon Jay (9-for-18, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Justin Masterson (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)

10. Atlanta Braves (64-60, Previous: 11)

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    Dave Tulis/Associated Press

    Last Week: 4-3

    The Atlanta Braves were in a 3-12 tailspin heading into their weekend series with the Oakland Athletics, but they somehow managed to come away with a series sweep. That could very well wind up being the biggest series of the season for them.

    The rough patch was enough to drop them six games back in the NL East and 1.5 out of the second wild-card spot, but if anything is going to give them momentum for the stretch run, it's a sweep of the league's best team.

    Via Mike Bauman of MLB.com, A's manager Bob Melvin said of the Braves:

    Seems like they're a lot better than their record. Their lineup is deep. They play good defense. They have some guys that can do some things. You know, they've got certain guys who can hit for power, certain guys who can hit-and-run, certain guys that can run a little bit. ... They've got some guys in the bullpen, too. That's a pretty good team.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Justin Upton (8-for-22, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Alex Wood (1 GS, W, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K)

9. Detroit Tigers (66-56, Previous: 6)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Detroit Tigers are now 8-9 with a minus-four run differential in August. That's enough for them to trail the red-hot Kansas City Royals by 1.5 games in the AL Central after the Tigers led by 7.5 games as recently as July 12.

    After turning in four straight quality starts, Justin Verlander lasted just one inning his last time out, allowing four hits and five runs (four earned) before exiting with shoulder inflammation. Detroit skipped Verlander in the rotation Sunday and will re-evaluate him Tuesday, according to James Schmehl of MLive.com.

    The Tigers take on the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins on the road this coming week, two teams they are just 5-7 combined against so far this season, as they look to keep the Royals from pulling ahead any further.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    3B Nick Castellanos (7-for-22, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Max Scherzer (1 GS, W, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 14 K)

8. Los Angeles Dodgers (70-56, Previous: 5)

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-4

    The week started out strong for the Dodgers, as they took three of four from the Atlanta Braves on the road, but the Milwaukee Brewers swept them at home over the weekend. Their lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West is now 3.5 games.

    The team is dealing with some key injuries right now, with Hanley Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Beckett all sidelined and one from that group currently on the rehab trail.

    The Dodgers acquired Kevin Correia (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) and Roberto Hernandez (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) to fill the two holes in the rotation, and both guys looked great in their first starts with the team. Miguel Rojas and Justin Turner are currently seeing the bulk of the playing time on the left side of the infield.

    The Dodgers stay at home to face the San Diego Padres and New York Mets this coming week before going on the road against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Padres, so they have a chance to gain some ground.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Carl Crawford (11-for-25, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 4 R, 4 SB)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Kevin Correia (1 GS, W, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

7. Washington Nationals (69-53, Previous: 9)

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    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Last Week: 6-0

    The Nationals have taken complete control of the NL East thanks to the Atlanta Braves' rough patch prior to their weekend sweep of the Oakland A's. They enter the week with a six-game lead in the standings.

    The trio of Doug Fister (4 GS, 0.64 ERA), Jordan Zimmermann (3 GS, 1.37 ERA) and Stephen Strasburg (3 GS, 3.32 ERA, 12.8 K/9) are all hitting their stride in August, while Bryce Harper (.704 OPS, 3 HR, 10 RBI) looks like he may finally be breaking out of a season-long slump.

    This team played great down the stretch last season with an 18-9 month in September, and it looks poised for another late-season surge. However, this time around, the Nationals figure to be part of the October fun once the playoffs roll around.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Adam LaRoche (5-for-18, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Doug Fister (2 GS, W, 14 IP, 12 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)

6. Seattle Mariners (67-56, Previous: 8)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-1

    The Seattle Mariners trail only the Kansas City Royals with an 11-4 record this month, and their fantastic pitching staff deserves the bulk of the credit, as it has an MLB-best 1.89 ERA in August.

    Chris Young (12-6, 3.07 ERA, 1.111 WHIP) continues to be perhaps the biggest surprise of 2014 after not throwing a pitch in the majors in 2013. Meanwhile, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma remain one of the best one-two punches in the game, and that rotation is backed by a fantastic bullpen.

    A series win over the Tigers this past weekend gives the Mariners a half-game lead over Detroit for the second wild-card spot as they look to make their first postseason trip since 2001.

    They will have a great chance to build that lead, as their next three series are against the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Robinson Cano (8-for-22, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 8 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Chris Young (2 GS, 2 W, 12 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K)

5. Oakland Athletics (73-51, Previous: 1)

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    Ed Zurga/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1-6

    The Athletics have finally hit a bump in the road after rolling for months, and as a result they lose their stranglehold on the No. 1 spot in these rankings, at least for the time being.

    They dropped three of four to the Royals in Kansas City before being swept by a reeling Braves team in Atlanta, and they find themselves tied atop the AL West standings with the Los Angeles Angels as a result.

    A number of key bats have gone ice-cold, as Brandon Moss (.205 BA, .625 OPS), Derek Norris (.191 BA, .544 OPS), Coco Crisp (.130 BA, .422 OPS) and John Jaso (.125 BA, .405 OPS) have all struggled mightily this month.

    On the pitching side of things, the one-two punch of Sonny Gray (0-4, 4.94 ERA) and Scott Kazmir (1-2, 5.49 ERA) has also fallen flat after dominating in July.

    They got the benefit of the doubt when they struggled early this month, but as the struggles have continued, they have to be dropped from their perch atop this list. They have a quick two-game series with the New York Mets next before a huge three-game tilt with the Angels at home over the weekend.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Nate Freiman (3-for-10, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jon Lester (2 GS, W, L, 12 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 14 K)

4. Baltimore Orioles (70-52, Previous: 2)

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3-2

    With a 10-5 record this month, the Baltimore Orioles have built up the biggest division lead in all of baseball, as they are currently seven games up on the New York Yankees and 7.5 up on the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East standings.

    Losing Manny Machado to a knee sprain hurts, but the recent offensive surge of Jonathan Schoop could help offset that loss in the short term. Big picture, it's still all about starting pitching for the Orioles; outside of Ubaldo Jimenez, that has been a legitimate strength for them since the All-Star break.

    They actually drop a couple of spots in this week's rankings after losing a series to the Cleveland Indians over the weekend. A trip to the Windy City should give them a great chance to challenge for the top spot next week, as the White Sox and Cubs are simply trying to play spoiler at this point.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Jonathan Schoop (6-for-17, 1 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Wei-Yin Chen (1 GS, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)

3. Kansas City Royals (68-55, Previous: 7)

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5-2

    It's impossible to ignore what the Royals have done over the past month, as they have an MLB-best 13-3 record in August and are 20-5 overall in their last 25 games.

    They made a statement by taking three of four from the Oakland Athletics to start off last week and then avoided a letdown with a series win against a division foe in the Minnesota Twins.

    Josh Willingham (.912 OPS, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI) has given them a nice offensive boost since being picked up off waivers, while the starting rotation continues to be one of the best in baseball. It's the bullpen that makes the Royals a scary team looking ahead to the playoffs, though.

    The trio of Kelvin Herrera (52 G, 1.56 ERA, 8.0 K/9), Wade Davis (51 G, 0.84 ERA, 13.8 K/9) and Greg Holland (50 G, 37-of-39 SV, 1.86 ERA, 13.0 K/9) have shortened an awful lot of games for this team so far, and they could do the same come October.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Alex Gordon (9-for-24, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 7 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jason Vargas (1 GS, W, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

2. Milwaukee Brewers (70-55, Previous: 4)

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    Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5-2

    After splitting a four-game series with the Chicago Cubs, the Milwaukee Brewers made a statement over the weekend when they went into Chavez Ravine and swept the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    That earns them the top spot among NL teams and serious consideration for the No. 1 position in this week's rankings.

    Any concerns that the loss of Matt Garza to a lat injury could be a serious blow have been answered by a pair of brilliant starts from Mike Fiers, who has allowed just six hits and one earned run while striking out 19 in 14 innings of work.

    "I feel like I've been pitching like this all year," Fiers said (via Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). "I kind of got my confidence back from last year, probably in winter ball. Coming into spring training I felt good. I just took off from there."

    Fiers was 8-5 with a 2.55 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 102.1 innings in 17 starts for Triple-A Nashville before being recalled to replace Garza.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Scooter Gennett (7-for-21, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Mike Fiers (1 GS, W, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 14 K)

1. Los Angeles Angels (72-50, Previous: 3)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-1

    The Angels have been nipping at the heels of the Oakland Athletics for months, so it's only fair that they take over the top spot now that the A's have faltered enough to warrant dropping.

    At 4.70 runs per game, they are right behind the A's (4.81), and that is despite the struggles of Josh Hamilton (.216 BA, .630 OPS) and Erick Aybar (.204 BA, .509 OPS) since the All-Star break.

    The starting pitching continues to be strong, outside of C.J. Wilson, with Hector Santiago in particular stepping up with a 1.39 ERA in 32.1 innings of work over the last month.

    The Angels didn't face the best competition last week, but they took care of business, sweeping a quick two-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies before taking two of three from the Texas Rangers over the weekend.

    They kick off this week with a four-game tilt against the Boston Red Sox before a huge three-game series against the A's in Oakland over the weekend. That will be the true test of whether they are deserving of the No. 1 spot, but for now it's theirs.

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    RF Kole Calhoun (9-for-22, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Garrett Richards (1 GS, W, 7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and cover games from Monday, Aug. 11, through Sunday, Aug. 17. All injury information comes via MLBDepthCharts team pages, per Baseball Prospectus.

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