1. Chicago Cubs (39-16) (Previous week – 1)
The Chicago Cubs snatched series wins from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks this week, padding their 9.5 game lead over the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central. Jake Arrieta had an odd stat line in Saturday’s defeat against Arizona: 5 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 12 K, 108 pitches. It’s impressive the D’backs stacked nine hits against the Cubs’ ace, but more remarkable that Arrieta struck out twelve (season high) hitters in just five innings. The Cubs have an excellent chance to reach 45 wins this week as they begin a nine-game road trip in Philadelphia before heading south to Atlanta.
2. Boston Red Sox (33-24) (3)
The AL East is heating up as the Sox and O’s remain tied at the top of the division, the Jays are just 2.5 games back, and the Yanks are treading water 6.5 games back. The Sox got a boost as sophomore lefty Eduardo Rodriguez made his second start of the season this weekend. His stuff is good enough to make him the No. 2 starter, and make up for Clay Bucholz’ heinous 6.24 ERA. Boston plays just five games this week (two against San Francisco, three against Minnesota), and is poised to bounce back after having lost or split their last three series against the surging Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles.
3. San Francisco Giants (35-24) (2)
The Giants lost 4 of their last 7 games, but suffered a much greater loss: Hunter Pence will miss at least 8 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn hamstring. A combination of Kelby Tomlinson, Jarrett Parker, Mac Williamson, and Brandon Belt will have to fill the gaping hole left in the Giants’ outfield. The Giants begin an 8-game home stand with two against the Red Sox, and three against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are winners of three straight, and sit just 3.5 games back in the NL West
4. Washington Nationals (34-23) (4)
The Nats have been really consistent all season. Daniel Murphy continues to rip the cover off the ball. Trea Turner was recalled from AAA Syracuse to fill in for Ryan Zimmerman, who was placed on the paternity list earlier this week. Washington holds a two-game lead over the New York Mets, but have a favorable schedule this week against the White Sox and Phillies.
5. New York Mets (31-24) (5)
The best news for the Mets is Matt Harvey has looked more and more like himself his past two starts, as he has completed seven innings in back-to-back starts for the first time this season. The team placed David Wright on the disabled list once again, and is not sure when he’ll return.
6. Baltimore Orioles (32-23) (6)
The O’s have been pretty consistent all year, enjoying hot starts by Manny Machado and Chris Tillman. The club needs Adam Jones to find his stroke in the worst way. When asked by Buck Showalter if he’d rather have a mental day off, or hit leadoff in an attempt to breakout of his slump, Adam Jones chose the latter and went 0-5.
7. Texas Rangers (34-22) (7)
Jurickson Profar filled in perfectly for Odor as he served his suspension landing his punch on Jose Bautista. Yu Darvish returned from the disabled list and bolstered a staff filled with young talent and veteran leadership.
8. Cleveland Indians (31-24) (14)
The Tribe moved up 6 spots this week after sweeping the Royals. Francisco Lindor deserves to be an all-star this year. The young shortstop will have to carry the Indians to the playoffs since Michael Brantley, arguably their best hitter, has not contributed at all in 2016. Josh Tomlin (8-1) has been excellent this year, and Jose Ramirez has provided a nice boost offensively.
9. Kansas City Royals (30-26) (10)
Despite being swept by the Indians, the Royals are still 6-4 in their last 10 and seem to be weathering injuries to Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas. The AL Central is an exciting division to watch, and you have to believe the reigning World Series champs are still the favorite to win the division at the end of the year.
10. Toronto Blue Jays (31-27) (15)
The Jays moved up 5 spots this week to round out the top 10. Toronto won nine of its last twelve games and sit just 2.5 games out of first place in the AL East. Marco Estrada continued his solid start to 2016 by taking a no-hitter into eighth inning on Sunday. Troy Tulowitzki is on the disabled list. We’re not sure if his poor performance was related to an injury, but Tulo has never been able to reach his potential because he fails to stay on the field.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates (30-26) (9)
12. St. Louis Cardinals (30-27) (12)
13. Seattle Mariners (31-25) (8)
14. Los Angeles Dodgers (31-27) (13)
15. Houston Astros (28-30) (24)
The Astros earned a few lines by moving up 9 spots this week. Houston is 11-2 over their last 13 games, and is beginning to resemble the talented squad many believed would win the AL West in 2016. While Wins Above Replacement is not a perfect statistic, it’s one way of measuring success. Believe it or not.. George Springer leads all MLB position players with 3.23 WAR.
16. Chicago White Sox (29-28) (11)
17. Detroit Tigers (28-28) (17)
18. New York Yankees (26-30) (16)
19. Miami Marlins (30-27) (21)
20. Philadelphia Phillies (28-29) (18)
21. Tampa Bay Rays (25-30) (19)
22. Colorado Rockies (24-31) (20)
23. Arizona Diamondbacks (25-34) (22)
24. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (26-30) (23)
25. Oakland Athletics (25-32) (25)
26. Milwaukee Brewers (26-31) (26)
27. Cincinnati Reds (21-36) (27)
28. San Diego Padres (23-34) (28)
29. Minnesota Twins (16-40) (29)
30. Atlanta Braves (16-40) (30)