1. Los Angeles Dodgers (33-21) (Last week: 2)
Although the Dodgers lost OF Matt Kemp to the 15-day disabled list they week, they are still the best team in baseball. Starters Clayton Kershaw and Chris Capuano have been leading the charge with 15 quality starts in 22 total games. Capuano (2.50 ERA) and Kershaw (2.42 ERA) have help with OF Andre Ethier. Ethier has been able to somewhat bridge the gap with Kemp gone by hitting .327/.384/.566 with 46 runs batted in this year.
(Upcoming schedule: at Philadelphia 4, at Seattle 3)
2. Texas Rangers (32-22) (Last week: 1)
The Rangers lead the league in runs, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. They also avoided being swept by division rival Los Angeles Angels this weekend, and still hold a four and a half game division lead. MVP-candidate Josh Hamilton is still crushing the ball, hitting .354 with 21 homeruns and 57 RBIs. Their bullpen has also been very strong. The Rangers have five relievers with over twenty innings pitched and a sub-2.00 ERA.
(Upcoming schedule: at Oakland 4, at San Francisco 3)
3. Chicago White Sox (31-23) (Last week: 13)
The AL Central leading White Sox have been over looked all season because they play in possibly the weakest division in the majors. However, with Paul Konerko also in the hunt for an MVP award and starter Chris Sale almost unhittable, they will begin to be noticed. Sale, in his last start, tossed his first major league complete game. He gave up two runs, struck out eight and lowered his ERA to a paltry 2.30 to accompany a 0.98 WHIP.
(Upcoming schedule: Toronto 3, Houston 3)
Hit the jump for the rest of David’s power rankings…
4. Washington Nationals (30-22) (Last week: 5)
The NL East leading Nationals keep finding ways to win despite some struggles at the plate. However, rookie phenom Bryce Harper and fellow rookie Stephen Lombardozzi are not struggling. 16 of Harper’s 34 hits have gone for extra bases (7 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR).
(Upcoming schedule: NY Mets 3, at Boston 3)
5. Tampa Bay Rays (31-23) (Last week: 3)
Starter Matt Moore has had some recent struggles for the AL East leading Rays but David Price has been solid. Price and fellow starter Jeremy Hellickson have combined for 11 wins and a sub-2.70 ERA. James Shields has had an off year, compared to his 2011 campaign, but he has provided the Rays with some much needed innings (73 innings pitched/11 starts).
(Upcoming schedule: at NY Yankees 3, at Miami 3)
6. Miami Marlins (31-23) (Last week: 9)
The Marlins have been hovering around first place in the tightest division in baseball, all year. They have been able to weather the struggles of Logan Morrison at the plate and the struggles of their closer Heath Bell. Bell, despite having 12 saves, sports an outrageous 6.65 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP; huge numbers for a reliever.
(Upcoming schedule: Atlanta 3, Tampa Bay 3)
7. Baltimore Orioles (30-24) (Last week: 4)
Jim Johnson has been the shutdown closer the Orioles have been searching for the last few years. Johnson has given up 13 hits in 23 innings pitched, striking out 14, walking 2 and converting 17 saves.
(Upcoming schedule: at Boston 3, Philadelphia 3)
8. New York Mets (30-23) (Last week: 9)
The Mets were a team picked by the ‘experts’ to finish last at the beginning of the season. They have done the opposite with a lineup full of role players. Lucas Duda is on pace to drive in over a hundred runs this year and David Wright, hoping for a contract extension, has been mashing the ball; he is among the league leaders batting .369.
(Upcoming schedule: St. Louis 1, at Washington 3, at NY Yankees 3)
9. Cincinnati Reds (30-23) (Last week: 7)
It’s the same guys offensively for the Reds; Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. They have combined for 21 homeruns, 77 RBI’s and Votto is hitting .346 in his first 53 games. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman has regained his control with an outstanding 16.07 K/9 and 5 saves while only allowing 7 hits in 28 innings pitched.
(Upcoming schedule: Pittsburgh 3, Detroit 3)
10. Los Angeles Angels (28-26) (Last week: 17)
Despite ace Jered Weaver hitting the disabled list, the Angels are finally heating up and so is megastar Albert Pujols. However, they are going to need the team to start producing in order to catch up with the Rangers. They have a huge hole at catcher and they’re asking an awful lot of Mark Trumbo to carry the team.
(Upcoming schedule: Seattle 3, at Colorado 3)
11. New York Yankees (29-24)(Last week: 12)
Derek Jeter is hitting .336 on the season, a huge upgrade for the top of the Yankees lineup and Curtis Granderson is, well, Curtis Granderson. He has 17 homeruns and 33 RBIs on the season. Rafael Soriano has been a God-send; converting 7 saves with a 1.47 WHIP.
(Upcoming schedule: Tampa Bay 3, NY Mets 3)
12. Atlanta Braves (29-25) (Last week: 6)
Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters have anchored the back of the bullpen for the Braves; two young arms who should be around in Atlanta for years to come. Kimbrel is tied for the league lead with 16 saves. Brandon Beachy has eight quality starts in eleven tries with a paltry 1.87 ERA.
(Upcoming schedule: at Miami 3, Toronto 3)
13. St. Louis Cardinals (27-26) (Last week: 10)
The Cardinals have been trying to hold on while attempting to find a solution for their huge hole left at first base by a Lance Berkman knee injury. Yadier Molina (.330 BA) and Rafael Furcal (.327 BA) are keeping things together. Lance Lynn continues to impress with eight wins on the season and a 2.63 ERA.
(Upcoming schedule: at NY Mets 1, at Houston 3, Cleveland 3)
14. Cleveland Indians (28-24)(Last week: 8)
Pitching has been the Indians strong suit all season. Chris Perez has converted 17 saves and was able to criticize the Cleveland fans for not showing up and supporting the Indians in his spare time. Lowe, as is his career mantra, has been quietly very good.
(Upcoming schedule: at Detroit 3, at St. Louis 3)
15. San Francisco Giants (30-24) (Last week: 16)
Melky Cabrera is still hot, hot, hot. His batting average is .371 and he has reached base in 41% of his plate appearances. Pablo Sandoval has been getting ready to come back from the disabled list but he is experiencing some off-the-field legal trouble that could prevent him from returning to the lineup immediately.
(Upcoming schedule: Chicago Cubs 1, at San Diego 3, Texas 3)
16. Philadelphia Phillies (28-27) (Last week: 18)
The Phillies have struggled to score runs all season and lost Roy Halladay to the disabled list. Halladay has had two opinions on his injured throwing shoulder, the second of which is still unknown. On Sunday it was reported the injured second basemen Chase Utley will report to Clearwater to participate in extended spring training games. The length and his estimated time of arrival to Philadelphia is, of course, unknown.
(Upcoming schedule: LA Dodgers 4, at Baltimore 3)
17. Pittsburgh Pirates (27-26)(Last week: 20)
Would you believe me if I told you the Pirates are second in the NL Central? Well, they are. Andrew McCuthen is shouldering the offensive load in Pittsburgh while James McDonald is leading the Pirates starting rotation with five wins, 2.14 ERA, and 71 strikeouts.
(Upcoming schedule: at Cincinnati 3, Kansas City 3)
18. Toronto Blue Jays (28-26)(Last week: 14)
Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista have combined for 31 homeruns and 80 runs batted in, leading the offense, along with rookie third basemen Brett Lawrie. The Blue Jays continue to use a closer by committee with Casey Janssen getting the most save opportunities this season along with veteran Francisco Cordero.
(Upcoming schedule: at Chicago White Sox 3, Atlanta 3)
19. Boston Red Sox (28-26)(Last week: 19)
Starter Felix Doubront has been a pleasant surprise for the Sox. He has been the antithesis of struggling starters Daniel Bard, who absolutely cannot find the strike zone, and Clay Buchholz. David Ortiz, out to prove he is still one of the best designated hitters in the game, is leading the offense with a .315 batting average, 13 homeruns, and 37 runs batted in. The emergence of 3B Wil Middlebrooks has made Kevin Youkilis dispensable and his name has been mentioned a lot in recent trade rumors.
(Upcoming schedule: Baltimore 3, Washington 3)
20. Detroit Tigers (25-29)(Last week: 15)
Despite an all-star filled offensive lineup, the Tigers cannot manage to win games. If the pitching is on, they cannot buy a hit and vice versa. In order to salvage their once promising 2012 season, the Tigers need to start firing on all cylinders very soon.
(Upcoming schedule: Cleveland 3, at Cincinnati 3)
21. Milwaukee Brewers (24-30)(Last week: 25)
If starter Zack Greinke could perform half as well on the road as he does at home, the Brewers would have a few more wins. Rickie Weeks has been wildly disappointing for Milwaukee this year batting a very pedestrian .170 with only 13 runs batted in.
(Upcoming schedule: Chicago Cubs 3, San Diego 3)
22. Kansas City Royals (23-29)(Last week: 26)
The talent is there. Right now, it is a matter of developing that talent into a few more major pieces (ie., bullpen) in order to put wins on the board. GM Dayton Moore is doing a great job of developing high ceiling prospects and locking them up early.
(Upcoming schedule: Minnesota 3, at Pittsburgh 3)
23. Houston Astros (23-31)(Last week: 23)
The Astros will be bringing a young core of players into the American League in 2012 with Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie, Jordan Schafer, and J.D. Martinez. The Astros will be looking to add a quick impact college arm in Monday’s First-Year Player Draft.
(Upcoming schedule: St. Louis 3, at Chicago White Sox 3)
24. Seattle Mariners (24-32)(Last week: 24)
The Mariners are lacking a huge impact bat. Expect Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley to continually make strides at the plate this season. Also, look for their number one prospect Danny Hultzen to possibly have a late season call-up. Hultzen is a very talented pitcher drafted in 2011 from the University of Virginia in the first round.
(Upcoming schedule: at LA Angels 3, LA Dodgers 3)
25. Arizona Diamondbacks (25-29)(Last week: 21)
The Diamondbacks are eight games out of first place with a lot of games left to play; they probably won’t catch the Dodgers unless they suffer the ultimate meltdown but they could fight their way back into a Wild Card spot with a very good starting rotation led by rookie Wade Miley. In 11 total games, Miley has a 2.72 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP while compiling 6 wins for the D’Backs.
(Upcoming schedule: Colorado 3, Oakland 3)
26. Oakland Athletics (23-31)(Last week: 22)
Josh Reddick has been a pleasant surprise for the Athletics, leading them in all major offensive categories. Former international free agent Yoenis Cespedes has returned from the disabled list and will add some power to a lineup that is lacking pretty much everything.
(Upcoming schedule: Texas 4, at Arizona 3)
27. Colorado Rockies (23-30)(Last week: 27)
Carlos Gonzalez has been having another All-Star year; .332 BA, 14 HR, 45 RBI. Dexter Fowler seems to have found his stride and is starting to figure out major league pitching consistently. They have had nine different pitchers start games this year and have recently designated Jamie Moyer for assignment. In order to be successful in their park they need to find quality starting pitching and that has eluded them mostly since their existence.
(Upcoming schedule: at Arizona 3, LA Angels 3)
28. Minnesota Twins (20-33)(Last week: 29)
There’s really nothing good to say about the Twins season. It has been a disappointment and none of the players have played up to their potential. However, they do have the number two pick in today’s draft and will get either Stanford pitcher Mark Appel or high school star Bryan Buxton.
(Upcoming schedule: at Kansas City 3, Chicago Cubs 3)
29. Chicago Cubs (18-35)(Last week: 30)
The Cubs have a very good core of young players who just need some more major league seasoning. One of the keys to their future success is finding out if prospect Anthony Rizzo will be able to handle major league pitching and if they can trade outfielder Alfonso Soriano for a key pitching prospect.
(Upcoming schedule: at San Francisco 1, at Milwaukee 3, at Minnesota 3)
30. San Diego Padres (18-37)(Last week: 28)
It’s hard to come by good news coming out of San Diego this year; Huston Street began his rehab assignment and he will be welcomed back into a struggling pitching staff.
(Upcoming schedule: San Francisco 3, at Milwaukee 3)