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Power Rankings: Indians still sizzling down the stretch

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Cubs on the rise in Power Rankings (1:28)

David Ross explains why the Cubs' success of late has earned them a spot in the top five. Tim Kurkjian and Ross explain what the Twins or Rockies could do if they make the postseason. (1:28)

With a week left after 25 played, the Indians are still on top almost any way you want to count it -- like expected wins (105 according to our own expected win-loss record) and in our rankings, but they have six games left to make up their one-game deficit with the Dodgers and claim MLB's best record. But even with that epic in-season run to catch up to L.A., the Indians aren't the only team making a big move down the stretch. With a week left, the Cubs have made their move to put away the National League Central and gain our voters' support to move back into the top five.

The Cubs' move in the rankings wasn't the only major reshuffle within the top 10, as the Yankees fell two spots as they close in on a wild-card appearance. Nor was the Cubs' jump this week's largest. As Giancarlo Stanton pounds his way toward 60 homers this season, his late surge also helped power the Marlins to a four-slot rise. And the single biggest tumbles were by the Pirates and Tigers. Detroit's fall is perhaps the most remarkable as the rebuilding Motor City Kitties fell all the way to the bottom of our rankings, and may well be doomed to finish the season there.

This week's voters are Bradford Doolittle, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian, David Schoenfield and Mark Simon.

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1. Cleveland Indians

Record: 98-58
Week 24 ranking: No. 1

As he also makes his case to win American League MVP, Jose Ramirez is closing in on becoming the first Indians player in franchise history to hit 50 or more doubles, 30 or more homers, steal 15 or more bases and score 100 or more runs. He just needs one more homer this week. Will those feats and his flexibility to play a solid second or third base win over voters and make him the first Indian to win the award since Al Rosen in 1953? -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


2. Houston Astros

Record: 95-60
Week 24 ranking: No. 3

The Astros' 837 runs scored easily sets a franchise record for their time in the American League, and a strong finish could propel them to the second-highest-scoring team in Houston history, eclipsed by only the 2000 Astros, who scored 938 runs but lost 90 games. This team has a chance to make more history with another postseason appearance, but will their second-half scoring slump -- declining from a league-leading 5.9 runs per game to 4.7 -- haunt them in October? -- Kahrl


3. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 99-57
Week 23 ranking: No. 2

The Dodgers already possess perhaps the game's best closer in Kenley Jansen, but one thing their up-and-down second half has revealed is the potential value retread righty Brandon Morrow could provide in the postseason. Morrow's .414 OPS since the All-Star break ranks second in the majors among relievers with 20 or more appearances in the second half, and his .184 slugging allowed is MLB's power-sapping best in that span. -- Kahrl


4. Washington Nationals

Record: 94-61
Week 24 ranking: No. 4

Twenty-year-old top prospect Victor Robles, who started the season in the Class A Carolina League, has impressed manager Dusty Baker beyond his on-field performance in his first handful of starts in the outfield. "He's very respectful, especially with me," Baker said. "I watch how he interacts with the other guys more than anything. He's kind of a leader already. He might be one of the youngest, but I can tell how they follow him." -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information


5. Chicago Cubs

Record: 87-68
Week 24 ranking: No. 8

Guess who's warming up for October? The Cubs' big midseason addition from Chicago's South Side, as Jose Quintana spun his first shutout as a Cub on Sunday, and just the second of his career (he threw one for the White Sox in 2015). The win sealed the Cubs' series win against the Brewers, and virtually guarantees their first back-to-back NL Central titles since the ill-fated teams of 2007-08. -- Kahrl


6. Boston Red Sox

Record: 91-64
Week 24 ranking: No. 5

The Sox seem like a lock for the AL East crown, but questions for the postseason still remain: Who starts Game 2? What will David Price bring to the table? Will the lack of homers from the offense come back to haunt Boston? Of course, Drew Pomeranz could be a stud, Price could be this year's version of Andrew Miller out of the bullpen, Mookie Betts could keep tearing the cover off the ball and the above questions could seem pretty dumb by the end of October. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information


7. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 90-66
Week 24 ranking: No. 7

Closer of concern watch: Fernando Rodney has had his ups and downs this season, but in the second half he has been among the best relievers in baseball, securing 17 saves in 18 opportunities, holding hitters to a .496 OPS and striking out batters at a 30.9 percent clip. Can he be a championship-caliber closer? With the D-backs locking up their first-ever wild-card appearance, Arizona is about to find out. -- Kahrl


8. New York Yankees

Record: 86-69
Week 24 ranking: No. 6

The Yankees are headed to the postseason for the second time in the past three seasons -- and will yet again most likely find themselves a wild card. Don't look now, but the Yankees have lost five straight postseason games, the most recent being the 2015 AL wild-card game. That is tied for the longest postseason losing streak in franchise history. Since the 2009 World Series, the Yankees are 10-14 in the postseason. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


9. Colorado Rockies

Record: 84-72
Week 24 ranking: No. 9

With their 38 wins from rookie pitchers this year, the Rockies may not have a shot at the single-season record for the division era (since 1969, set by the Marlins in 2006 with 43), but they still owe a considerable chunk of this season's success to the quartet that helped carry the rotation through the early months. Now they're closing in on Colorado's fourth postseason appearance, all of them via the introduction of the wild card. -- Kahrl


10. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 81-74
Week 24 ranking: No. 10

The Cardinals have struggled against the Cubs, whom they'll host for four games to start the week, all season. But it isn't Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez who have caused the most trouble (they've combined for 10 RBIs against the Cardinals). It's Jon Jay (.389), Albert Almora Jr. (.333), Jason Heyward (.310), Ian Happ (.303 with three home runs) and Willson Contreras (five home runs). On one hand, it's encouraging to know you've shut down your rival's top bats. But on the other, it could mean they're due. -- Simon


11. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 82-74
Week 24 ranking: No. 11

Imperative for the Brewers in their upcoming series with the Reds: Find a way to get shortstop Zack Cozart out. Cozart is hitting .439/.558/.902 with four home runs, three doubles and two triples in 52 plate appearances against Milwaukee this season. Craig Counsell may wish to consider whatever the Brewers did in years past (Cozart hit .200, .203, .250 and .213 against Milwaukee the past four seasons). Cozart's motivation may not be to just win, but to try to finish the season with a .300 batting average for the first time in his career. -- Simon


12. Minnesota Twins

Record: 82-74
Week 24 ranking: No. 12

The Twins were swept by the Yankees at Yankee Stadium last week, and their head-to-head numbers against the Yankees lately are not good. The Twins are 17-37 against the Yankees since 2010, including 9-17 at Yankee Stadium. They're 2-12 against the Yankees in the postseason all time -- but both wins did come at Yankee Stadium ... in 2004 and 2003. -- Langs


13. Texas Rangers

Record: 76-79
Week 24 ranking: No. 15

With the Twins almost out of reach and holding the second AL wild card, Rangers fans might wonder what would have happened if Yu Darvish had never been traded. Rangers starting pitching ranks 10th in the AL in runs allowed since the trade deadline. The four pitchers used in their No. 4-5 slots -- A.J. Griffin, Miguel Gonzalez, Tyson Ross and Nick Martinez -- have combined for a 6.52 ERA since Aug. 1. -- Kahrl


14. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 77-78
Week 24 ranking: No. 13

A six-game losing streak effectively eliminated the Angels from playoff contention. As a team, they batted .191 over that span while their bullpen posted a 6.95 ERA. The Halos finish up with four games at the White Sox and three against the Mariners, and will likely need a minor miracle to even sniff the postseason. If they're out, it will be the fifth year out six full seasons Mike Trout has played without reaching October. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information


15. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 76-80
Week 24 ranking: No. 16

For much of the season, Alex Cobb had to find ways to win without recording strikeouts at a rate comparable to the high-end pitchers in the league. But since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 24, the whiffs have been there. Cobb has 32 strikeouts in 32⅓ innings over his past six starts. He was averaging 5.9 K/9 prior to that. One reason for the improvement? Cobb's average fastball velocity was 91.5 mph in his first 23 starts, but it's 92.4 in his past six. -- Simon


16. Seattle Mariners

Record: 75-81
Week 24 ranking: No. 14

The Mariners ran into a buzzsaw last week, suffering losses to Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, Cole Hamels and Carlos Carrasco. Seattle, already losers of nine of their past 12 games on the road, finishes its season at Oakland (four games) and at the Angels (three games), with their hopes of achieving even just wild-card contention already effectively over. -- Hembekides


17. Kansas City Royals

Record: 76-79
Week 24 ranking: No. 18

The Royals' core players likely won't be together next season as Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar are all free agents this offseason. Those players helped Kansas City make the postseason for the first time in nearly 30 years in 2014, propelled them into back-to-back World Series and brought home the franchise's second title in 2015. That is quite the run. -- Bonzagni


18. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 75-82
Week 24 ranking: No. 17

Trey Mancini's rookie season will go down in Orioles lore. His 24 home runs are tied for third most in franchise history by a rookie, and his .492 slugging percentage is second best by an Orioles rookie in franchise history behind only Wally Judnich in 1940 (set with the O's previous incarnation as the St. Louis Browns). -- Langs


19. Miami Marlins

Record: 73-82
Week 24 ranking: No. 23

Giancarlo Stanton has 30 doubles to go along with his 57 home runs this season. A 31st two-bagger would tie his career high. Stanton is the first National League player with 50 home runs and 30 doubles in a season since Prince Fielder did it in 2007. -- Langs


20. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 73-83
Week 24 ranking: No. 19

Jose Bautista may have played his last home game with the Blue Jays. He has hit 287 home runs with the Blue Jays, second most in franchise history behind Carlos Delgado. He was a six-time All-Star with the Blue Jays and led the majors in home runs twice, including hitting a franchise-record 54 home runs in 2010. -- Langs


21. Oakland Athletics

Record: 72-83
Week 24 ranking: No. 22

Powered by four players -- Matt Olson with 20 home runs, Khris Davis with 17 and Matt Chapman and Matt Joyce with 13 apiece -- the A's are third in the majors in homers hit since the All-Star break. Add in the defensive upgrades that Chapman provides at third and Boog Powell in center field, and you can see some big reasons the A's have played .500 baseball in the second half. -- Kahrl


22. Atlanta Braves

Record: 70-84
Week 24 ranking: No. 21

There's a lot to like about the Braves going forward. Freddie Freeman is an offensive monster, Ender Inciarte contributes with the bat and the glove, and after a really rough four months Dansby Swanson has hit well since Aug. 1. They might not be in a position to contend next year, but they're headed in the right direction with an improving talent base to build upon. -- Bonzagni


23. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 71-85
Week 24 ranking: No. 20

One offseason project for the Pirates is to find the good version of Ivan Nova and bring him back to the way he performed early in the season. Nova had a 3.08 ERA in his first 16 starts but a 5.61 ERA in his past 14, with 18 home runs allowed in 77 innings. Nova also has had what for him are uncharacteristic bouts of wildness. In this bad stretch, he's walking 2.6 per nine innings. In 11 starts with the Pirates last season, Nova totaled three walks, part of what led to his landing a two-year deal from them. -- Simon


24. San Diego Padres

Record: 70-86
Week 24 ranking: No. 26

At the end of August, Wil Myers was hitting .233 with an OPS under .800, but he has been hot in September, posting an OPS close to 1.000. If the Padres want to go anywhere next year, they need the September Myers to show up for a full season. Finding a couple of reliable starters, a shortstop and a left fielder plus Hunter Renfroe taking a step forward wouldn't hurt either, but the rebuild is providing better than expected results already. -- Bonzagni


25. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 66-90
Week 24 ranking: No. 24

The biggest Reds news last week came in the form of a four-year contract extension for catcher Tucker Barnhart, who has had a career year offensively (96 OPS+) and defensively (throwing out opposing stolen base attempts at a 45 percent rate). Cincinnati finishes up its season on the road at the Cubs and Brewers, whom they're a combined 13-19 against this season. -- Hembekides


26. New York Mets

Record: 66-89
Week 24 ranking: No. 25

Asdrubal Cabrera has made it highly tempting for the Mets to pick up his $8.5 million option (rather than pay a $2 million buyout) to stick him at third base next season. Cabrera has played an average third base defensively and he's hitting. Since Aug. 25, he's slashing .371/.453/.629. Given that Mike Moustakas will likely cost more than the Mets would be willing to spend, Cabrera seems like an affordable option. -- Simon


27. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 62-94
Week 24 ranking: No. 28

With the Phillies in rebuild mode, the most significant outcome to emerge from the past week of the season will be their draft position for next year. At 62-94, they are one game behind the Giants (61-95) for the worst record in MLB. Can they finish with a weaker flourish to get the top pick? -- Hembekides


28. Chicago White Sox

Record: 63-92
Week 24 ranking: No. 29

Last week, Jose Abreu became the third player since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920 to hit 25 home runs with 100 RBIs in each of his first four seasons (joining Albert Pujols and Joe DiMaggio). With two remaining years of club control, Abreu could either be at the center of the White Sox rebuild or a trade chip in what will likely be a weak crop of free-agent position players. -- Hembekides


29. San Francisco Giants

Record: 61-95
Week 24 ranking: No. 30

The Giants have said they will have a farewell appearance in the final weekend series against the Padres. It hasn't been a great run for Matt Cain in recent memory, but he was the longest-tenured member of the Giants' World Series team when they won in 2010. Cain debuted for the Giants at 20 years old in 2005 and finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting the following year. From 2007-12, he posted a 3.18 ERA, made three All-Star teams, and received Cy Young votes three times. -- Langs


30. Detroit Tigers

Record: 62-94
Week 24 ranking: No. 27

The Tigers may have been dreadful in 2017, and their run of being an annual playoff contender might be finished, but this team is in a much better position to be good down the road. They cleared a lot of money off the books and started restocking a barren farm system. It might be rough for a few years, but this team is building for a better future now that the Verlander era is over. -- Bonzagni