Brewers steadily climbing up Rankings
A's maintain grip on Majors' top spot, but Bay Area neighbors drop to No. 3
The top spot in the MLB.com Power Rankings still belongs to the best team in the American League, but a new National League foe is gaining ground.
Oakland maintains its hold on the No. 1 spot this week, but the Brewers are in second place instead of the A's Bay Area neighbors. The Giants fell to No. 3 after losing seven of 10, and a new pair of neighbors -- the Angels and the Dodgers -- round out the top five.
The Cardinals, 5 1/2 games back of the Brewers in the NL Central, kept their grip on the sixth spot, while the Blue Jays dropped from third to seventh. After an up-and-down week, the Tigers are No. 8 and followed by another division leader in the Nationals.
The Mariners and Orioles sit at Nos. 10 and 11, respectively, and are followed by the Royals, who dropped from eighth to 12th. The Reds, Yankees and Braves round out the top 15.
For the fourth consecutive season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. The group includes MLB.com vice president and executive editor Carlton Thompson, executive editor Matthew Leach, columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Tracy Ringolsby, Phil Rogers and Lyle Spencer, along with reporters Alyson Footer and Jesse Sanchez.
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Have your opinion counted by submitting your own Power Rankings.
1. Athletics: The A's have a pretty tight grip on this spot, at least as far as AL competition goes. They have 47 wins, and no one else in the Junior Circuit has more than 42. Their winning percentage of .618 is also 62 points higher than the next-best team (Detroit, at .556), and the Giants (.600) and Brewers (.610) are the only other teams at .600 or better. Oakland's plus-135 run differential is also 86 runs better than the next-best club (San Francisco).
Last week: 1
2. Brewers: Milwaukee has a stranglehold on the NL Central, with the largest margin (5 1/2 games) of any first-place club in baseball. A weekend sweep of the Rockies (which included Ron Roenicke's 300th win with the Crew) helped take care of that.
Last week: 4
3. Giants: A quick six-game skid dropped San Francisco to No. 3 in the Rankings, but a series against the last-place D-backs this weekend was just what the doctor ordered. Madison Bumgarner was dominant on Sunday, and now the Giants are just hopeful that Matt Cain can find a groove on the mound beginning on Monday against the Padres.
Last week: 2
4. Angels: Once again, the Halos are the top-ranked second-place team, and they moved up one spot in the past week while doing so. A weekend sweep of the Rangers was pivotal in the competitive AL West. And just how well-rounded is Mike Trout? He's not in the AL's top five in any of the Triple Crown categories, but he's a narrow second (4.5) to Josh Donaldson (4.7) in AL wins above replacement.
Last week: 5
5. Dodgers: The Giants' losing streak last week gave the Dodgers a chance to climb in both the NL West standings and the Power Rankings. Once again, it's June when the Dodgers round into form. It's hard to say if they'll run off another streak like their 42-8 surge from last season, but Los Angeles is certainly a formidable foe.
Last week: 9
6. Cardinals: As the Cards stand pat in the Power Rankings, they continue to lurk in second place in the NL Central. But they were dealt a serious blow on Monday, when they placed stud youngster Michael Wacha (right shoulder stress reaction) and veteran Jaime Garcia (left shoulder inflammation) on the disabled list. The Cardinals have always been a next-man-up franchise. Can they rebound from this?
Last week: 6
7. Blue Jays: Toronto ended an ugly road trip with some even worse news. On top of Sunday's loss, the team lost Jose Bautista (left leg tightness) and Brett Lawrie (fractured right index finger) to injuries. Since they were a season-high 14 games over .500 on June 6, the Blue Jays have lost 11 of 15. Their lead in the AL East over Baltimore and New York is now just 1 1/2 games.
Last week: 3
8. Tigers: Things could have gotten ugly for the Tigers as the Royals got hot last week, but salvaged a win against their streaking division rivals and turned around with a sweep of the Indians over the weekend. J.D. Martinez (12 hits, 11 RBIs, six runs and four homers in his last 27 at-bats) has been a tremendously valuable piece.
Last week: 7
9. Nationals: It's no secret that if the Nats were going to take over the NL East, they'd have to be able to take care of business against the division-rival Braves. That's been much easier said than done in recent history, but the Nationals took a big step in that direction with a series split this weekend in Washington, D.C.
Last week: 10
10. Mariners: A sweep of a red-hot club can do wonders for a team's confidence, and that could be the case for the Mariners after they took down the Royals over the weekend. Fernando Rodney had three saves in the series, and it was Seattle's first sweep in Kansas City since 2007. Mike Zunino, Brad Miller and Dustin Ackley were all key contributors.
Last week: 11
11. Orioles: With the Blue Jays sliding, the AL East is, once again, up for grabs. The O's took care of their business this weekend with an important series victory in the Bronx, moving into a second-place tie with the Yankees. After Sunday's rout, Baltimore is responsible for two of Masahiro Tanaka's three losses this season.
Last week: 14
12. Royals: Just like that, the Royals' lead in the AL Central has come and gone. After a statement series victory over the Tigers, Kansas City was swept by Seattle while Detroit took it to Cleveland. Now, the Royals sit 2 1/2 games back with a tough Interleague series against the Dodgers looming.
Last week: 8
13. Reds: Cincinnati has climbed into this week's Power Rankings thanks to eight wins in its last 11 games, including a series victory over first-place Toronto. It could have been a series sweep had the Reds not blown an 8-0 lead in Friday's 14-9 loss.
Last week: NR
14. Yankees: Here we are in the throes of summer, and the Yanks are right in the thick of things in the AL East -- but they scored in just three innings during their three-game weekend series against the O's, going 4-for-26 with runners in scoring position.
Last week: NR
15. Braves: Though they're the last team in this week's Top 15, the Braves are still well within striking distance in the NL East. They took the first two games of this weekend's four-game series against the Nationals before settling for a split and second place in the NL East. Still, Atlanta has won 20 of 31 against Washington.
Last week: 13