2016 Week 17 MLB Power Rankings

The Chicago Cubs check in at No. 1 for the second straight week, potentially starting a new streak on top of the rankings. The Washington Nationals remain a strong No. 2, keeping the NL theme alive at the top. The Cleveland Indians check in as the top AL team at No. 3, followed by the Toronto Blue Jays at No. 4, their highest spot all season. They've been as high as No. 6 three different times.

With Andrew Miller headed to Cleveland, can the Indians make a run at the Cubs and Nats for the top spots?

The Boston Red Sox were one of the big fallers this week, dropping from No. 5 all the way to bottom of the top 10 after a disappointing 2-5 week that included a sweep at home by the Detroit Tigers. The week did end on a high note with a ninth-inning rally to salvage a split against the Los Angeles Angels. Can Boston use that momentum to jump back into the top five?

This week's voters are Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Eric Karabell of ESPN Fantasy, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN, David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Most of the team comments come courtesy of the SweetSpot Blog Network.

Past rankings: Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

1. Chicago Cubs

Record: 63-41
Week 16 ranking: No. 1

The Cubs have yet to lose a series since the All-Star break, going 10-6 in that span. With Aroldis Chapman at the back of the bullpen, Chicago looks like it's the team to beat again. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers

2. Washington Nationals

Record: 61-44
Week 16 ranking: No. 2

New closer Mark Melancon, acquired from the Pirates, will displace the struggling Jonathan Papelbon. Among relievers with 15 saves, Papelbon ranked 23rd of 24 in batting average allowed, 22nd in wOBA and 18th in K rate. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

3. Cleveland Indians

Record: 60-42
Week 16 ranking: No. 4

Although the Indians' potential deal for Jonathan Lucroy fell through, it was a good weekend for the Tribe. They acquired Andrew Miller to shore up the bullpen and swept the Oakland A's. The Indians are now 53-0 when they enter the ninth inning with a lead. -- Stephanie Liscio (@stephanieliscio), It's Pronounced Lajaway

4. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 59-46
Week 16 ranking: No. 7

Troy Tulowitzki suffered a small chip fracture in his thumb when hit by a pitch on Sunday, but it's not clear whether he'll need a stint on the disabled list. The Jays will evaluate him on Monday and see whether he can grip a bat. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

5. San Francisco Giants

Record: 61-44
Week 16 ranking: No. 3

The Giants snagged Eduardo Nunez to help cover for injuries in the infield. Still leading the NL West despite a July record below .500, the Giants have Joe Panik back on the roster and could have Matt Duffy back this week. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

6. Texas Rangers

Record: 62-44
Week 16 ranking: No. 8

The Rangers have found themselves on a roll again. After a four-game sweep of the defending-champion Royals at home this past weekend, the Rangers are six games up on the Astros in the AL West and will look to solidify their position before Monday's trade deadline. -- Brandon Land (@onestrikeaway), One Strike Away

7. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 59-46
Week 16 ranking: No. 9

Corey Seager's home run Sunday was his first since the All-Star break, but he's hitting .396/.418/.604 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in those 11 games with eight doubles and just four strikeouts. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

8. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 56-49
Week 16 ranking: No. 11

It was a scary moment for the Cardinals on Sunday when rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz got hit on his right hand (the throwing one) by an Andrew Cashner pitch. It doesn't look like he'll miss too much time, which is big for the Cardinals, who trail the Marlins for the second wild-card spot in the NL after dropping the final two games of their weekend series against Miami. -- ESPN.com

9. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 59-45
Week 16 ranking: No. 6

The Orioles have been a team of streaks lately. Before an extra-inning win on Sunday to escape Toronto with a slim first-place lead, the O's had the following stretch: won four, lost four, won five, lost five. Baltimore's offense was surprisingly bad in July (13th in runs scored with 89), but perhaps Adam Jones' much-needed three-run blast in the 12th inning Sunday will jump-start a struggling lineup. -- Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer), Camden Depot

10. Boston Red Sox

Record: 57-46
Week 16 ranking: No. 5

Drew Pomeranz relied on his curveball during his strong second start for the Red Sox last week (6 IP, 2 ER, 7 K) but still threw 22 pitches at 90 mph or faster. In an underwhelming performance Saturday, Pomeranz threw just 11 pitches 90 mph or faster, yielding five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

11. Houston Astros

Record: 55-49
Week 16 ranking: No. 10

A brutal weekend sweep in Detroit: Pitchers Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel both got pounded, and Saturday's loss came after they Astros took the lead in the top of ninth. Fun stat: Jose Altuve is hitting .417 on the road. Since World War II, only Stan Musial in 1948 and Ichiro Suzuki in 2004 have hit .400 on the road for the season (250 PAs). -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

12. Detroit Tigers

Record: 57-48
Week 16 ranking: No. 15

Finally, the Tigers got hot! They have a six-game win streak after sweeps of the Astros and Red Sox. That pushes them all the way up to ... one game out of the second wild-card spot and 4½ games out in the AL Central. The playoff picture and whether the Tigers should buy or sell at the deadline would've been much clearer if those wins had come against their AL Central opponents earlier this month. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

13. Miami Marlins

Record: 57-48
Week 16 ranking: No. 12

The Marlins acquired Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea from the Padres but received bad news when Rea left his first start and was placed on the DL with an elbow sprain. Cashner's debut went better, as he allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

14. New York Mets

Record: 54-50
Week 16 ranking: No. 13

After going 15-7 in April, the Mets had losing records in May and June and finished July at .500. Neil Walker has a five-game hitting streak and is 12-for-19 (.631) with five RBIs in those ballgames. -- Joe Janish (@metstoday), MetsToday.com

15. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 52-51
Week 16 ranking: No. 16

Mark Melancon had a fantastic 3½-year run with the Pirates: an incredible 1.80 ERA over an even more incredible 260 1/3 innings. His replacement as the Pittsburgh closer, however, is hardly a step down; Tony Watson has thrown 268 2/3 innings of 2.24 ERA ball during the same span. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

16. Seattle Mariners

Record: 52-51
Week 16 ranking: No. 14

After an amazing .333/.383/.609 July, Kyle Seager is in the midst of a career year. Now in his fifth full season in the majors, Seager has never finished with a slugging percentage above .454 -- but with two-thirds of 2016 in the books, Seager's SLG is .522. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

17. Colorado Rockies

Record: 52-53
Week 16 ranking: No. 20

The Rockies reached .500 on Saturday (and then dropped back under Sunday), the latest in a season they've done so since 2010. As Charlie Blackmon deadpanned, "Congratulations, we're average." Both he and Rockies fans are glad the team got there, but they want more. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

18. New York Yankees

Record: 52-52
Week 16 ranking: No. 17

Sell mode engaged. With the team dropping three to the lowly Rays this past weekend and ownership finally coming to its senses, the 2016 endgame that many Yankees fans have been waiting for took off for real Sunday in the form of the Andrew Miller trade. Now we'll see what other moves the Yankees can/will make to start building for the future as they continue to hover aimlessly around .500. -- Brad Vietrogoski, It's About the Money

19. Chicago White Sox

Record: 51-54
Week 16 ranking: No. 19

The White Sox have been poised to turn this season's trade deadline on its ear, with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana arguably the two best pitchers available. They moved Zach Duke for interesting center-field prospect Charlie Tilson but have waited until the final hours before the deadline to see whether they can drive up their starters' prices. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

20. Kansas City Royals

Record: 49-55
Week 16 ranking: No. 18

Goodbye, 2016. The Rangers swept the Royals in a four-game series as the Royals dropped to 49-55. Wade Davis landed on the DL, Kendrys Morales may be traded, and they'd love to find a taker for Ian Kennedy (good luck). -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

21. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 47-58
Week 16 ranking: No. 21

While Huston Street had an epic ninth-inning meltdown on Sunday, the good news was Tyler Skaggs delivered his second scoreless outing of the week in his return from Tommy John surgery. In 12 1/3 innings, he allowed seven hits and just three walks with 13 strikeouts. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

22. Oakland Athletics

Record: 47-58
Week 16 ranking: No. 22

Sonny Gray's troubles continue, as he's allowed seven runs in three of his past six starts, his ERA ballooning to 5.84. He leads the majors with 15 wild pitches and has the fourth-worst slugging percentage allowed among qualified starters. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

23. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 48-59
Week 16 ranking: No. 25

The Phillies have lost four series and split one since the All-Star break, with the split coming in their most recent series against the MLB-worst Braves. This should make them sellers at the trade deadline, but they haven't sold anything yet. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

24. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 47-56
Week 16 ranking: No. 24

Amid all of the Jonathan Lucroy trade drama, the Brewers have not missed much of a beat on the field. They have gone 7-3 during their homestand, taking series from both Arizona and Pittsburgh. -- Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3), Disciples of Uecker

25. San Diego Padres

Record: 45-60
Week 16 ranking: No. 23

With Matt Kemp joining Melvin Upton Jr. on the departed list, the Padres likely will eventually call up Hunter Renfroe and/or Manuel Margot and give them some playing time down the stretch. Both outfielders are hitting over .300 in Triple-A. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

26. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 43-62
Week 16 ranking: No. 26

By trading Tyler Clippard to the Yankees, the D-backs moved one of their most productive pitchers this season. With Josh Collmenter designated for assignment and Brad Ziegler shipped to the Red Sox earlier in July, Arizona is fresh out of relievers with track records of success. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

27. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 42-61
Week 16 ranking: No. 27

This past week was a reminder of what has been and what could have been for the Rays. They dropped four consecutive one-run contests out West and maintain the league's worst record in such games. The losses and wins of late have both involved great efforts by the rotation, as the 2.36 ERA by the starters since the All-Star break leads all of baseball. -- Jason Collette (@jasoncollette), The Process Report

28. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 42-62
Week 16 ranking: No. 29

The resurgent Reds have won all five of their series since the All-Star break and enjoyed their first winning month in more than two full seasons. Behind the improved play is the unstoppable Joey Votto, who just became one of only 11 players in the past century to post a .550-plus OBP in July. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation

29. Minnesota Twins

Record: 40-64
Week 16 ranking: No. 28

The Twins have played 104 games. In the first 52, they went 15-37. In the second 52, they went 25-27. They've been playing decent ball for two months, but by the time they turned things around, it was too late to matter. -- Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN), Twins Daily

30. Atlanta Braves

Record: 37-68
Week 16 ranking: No. 30

The Braves spun two pitchers they got off the waiver wire in May into highly-thought-of prospect Travis Demeritte in a trade with Texas. They turned on- and off-the-field disaster Hector Olivera into productive middle-of-the-order power hitter Matt Kemp. Both trades used players who weren't part of the future to greatly further the Braves' rebuilding effort. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County