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2016 Week 18 MLB Power Rankings

The Rangers and Orioles have the two best records in the AL through Sunday. Getty Images, USA Today Sports

It's now three straight weeks at No. 1 for the Chicago Cubs since regaining the top spot in our rankings. They might not be on a record winning pace anymore, but the Cubs have won 10 of their past 11 games and were the unanimous pick at No. 1. The Cubs have been No. 1 for 17 of 19 weeks, including the preseason.

While the Cubs are strengthening their hold on the top spot, the Washington Nationals are doing the same at No. 2, where they were the unanimous pick this week.

After the two NL teams, the next four spots are all AL teams, with the Toronto Blue Jays leading the way at No. 3, while the Texas Rangers (No. 5) and Baltimore Orioles (No. 6) inch their way up closer to the top.

Another AL team making a big move this week is the Detroit Tigers, who jumped from No. 12 all the way up to No. 8. The Tigers are 10-2 in their past 12 games.

This week's voters are Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Eric Karabell of ESPN Fantasy, Christina Kahrl of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com, 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 17 | 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: 69-41
Week 17 ranking: No. 1

The Cubs are 12-4 since the return of Dexter Fowler from the DL. In that stretch, Fowler is hitting .283 with two homers, eight RBIs and 15 runs scored. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers


2. Washington Nationals

Record: 66-45
Week 17 ranking: No. 2

Tanner Roark is tied with Jake Arrieta and Adam Conley for most scoreless starts in the majors with seven, but he's the only one to go at least seven innings in each of those outings. His ERA is down to 2.88. Remember when Matt Williams moved him to the bullpen? -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot


3. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 63-49
Week 17 ranking: No. 4

After going 1-for-4 on Sunday, Devon Travis is batting .357 (10-for-28) while atop the batting order in August. In his first start since he was acquired from the Pirates at the trade deadline, Francisco Liriano delivered six solid innings and gave up two earned runs Friday. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit


4. Cleveland Indians

Record: 62-47
Week 17 ranking: No. 3

If the highlight of your week is not being swept by the team with the worst record in the league, you might be having a bad week. Corey Kluber's strong showing in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Yankees was one of the few highlights. In five starts prior to that, the Tribe's rotation was 0-4 with a 15.58 ERA. -- Susan Petrone, It's Pronounced Lajaway


5. Texas Rangers

Record: 65-47
Week 17 ranking: No. 6

The trade deadline has paid dividends thus far for Texas. Deadline acquisitions Carlos Beltran (RBI single) and Jonathan Lucroy (two solo homers) were key in a 3-2 Texas victory on Saturday in Houston, and the win helped keep the Rangers in the driver's seat in the AL West. Lucroy followed that game with a 2-for-6 effort in Sunday's 11-inning win. -- Brandon Land (@onestrikeaway), One Strike Away


6. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 63-47
Week 17 ranking: No. 9

After taking two of three from the White Sox in Chicago, the Orioles are clinging to a one-game division lead. They now head west for seven games against the A's and Giants, hoping to return home still in first. -- Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer), Camden Depot


7. San Francisco Giants

Record: 63-48
Week 17 ranking: No. 5

A tough second half has seen the Giants' lead over the Dodgers in the NL West shrink to just one game. In the past two weeks, the rotation has struggled, and Eduardo Nunez got off to a slow start before a 4-for-5 effort Saturday. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona


8. Detroit Tigers

Record: 61-50
Week 17 ranking: No. 12

Justin Upton is quietly becoming the player the Tigers thought they were getting. His isolated slugging percentage (ISO) has gone up from a pre-All-Star Game mark of .146 to a post-break showing of .208, which is much more in line with his career .198 ISO. That gives him a .801 OPS since the All-Star break, which is much better than his .670 first-half showing. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers


9. Boston Red Sox

Record: 60-50
Week 17 ranking: No. 10

An up-and-down week for Boston was highlighted by a complete-game shutout of the Dodgers by knuckleballer Steven Wright on Friday. With plenty of run support, Wright limited Los Angeles to three hits while striking out nine and lowering his ERA to 3.01. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona


10. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 62-49
Week 17 ranking: No. 7

On their 40-man roster, the Dodgers currently have 14 players (12 of them pitchers) on the disabled list. Additionally, a new blister for the recently acquired Rich Hill will push the southpaw's return date back and leave the team shuffling its rotation yet again. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit


11. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 58-53
Week 17 ranking: No. 8

After going 2-4 against the lowly Reds and Braves, the Cardinals fell to 12-11 since the All-Star break. More alarmingly, they've been outscored 115-97. Their 4.50 ERA since the break ranks 26th in the majors. -- ESPN.com


12. Miami Marlins

Record: 59-52
Week 17 ranking: No. 13

Ichiro's first 2,999 hits were amassed against 872 pitchers, with John Lackey (37-for-122) his most frequent victim. His 3,000th hit came off Chris Russin on Sunday. Since the All-Star break, Christian Yelich is batting .348 with four homers and 18 runs driven in. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit


13. Houston Astros

Record: 57-54
Week 17 ranking: No. 11

Since getting to 2.5 games behind the Rangers on July 24, the Astros have gone 3-10, including dropping two of three to the Rangers over the weekend. Astros outfielders are 28th in the majors in wOBA (even George Springer is hitting just .213/.300/.371 since the All-Star break). -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot


14. New York Mets

Record: 57-54
Week 17 ranking: No. 14

The Mets got a much-needed win Sunday, but still went just 3-4 on the week and have fallen two games behind in the race for the final NL wild-card spot. Six of the players in the Opening Day lineup are currently on the DL (including pitcher Matt Harvey). -- ESPN.com


15. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 55-54
Week 17 ranking: No. 15

Pittsburgh sold high on All-Star closer Mark Melancon when it flipped him to the Nationals at the trade deadline. Tony Watson appears primed to seize the opportunity, however, as he has allowed just two earned runs since June 7. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona


16. Seattle Mariners

Record: 57-53
Week 17 ranking: No. 16

The M's retired Ken Griffey Jr.'s No. 24 on Saturday, and the team slugged its way to another high-powered win over the Angels. Just 3.5 games behind in the wild-card race, Seattle isn't finished. Shrewd bullpen moves over the weekend highlighted the franchise's willingness to keep fighting. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona


17. Colorado Rockies

Record: 55-56
Week 17 ranking: No. 17

Fans are jumping on, off, then back on the Rockies bandwagon so fast they're in danger of pulling their Twitter finger muscle. Call it an introduction to a young and exciting but inconsistent roster that's still playing meaningful games in August at a time when many in Denver usually hop over to the Broncos. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers


18. New York Yankees

Record: 56-55
Week 17 ranking: No. 18

The Yankees began the week by bidding adieu to Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova at the trade deadline, and they ended it by saying goodbye to both Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Between, they went 4-3 against the Mets and Indians, and they are still hovering around the .500 mark. The Yankees are currently a team in transition, and the changes made this week will help ensure a bright future for the franchise. -- Stacey Gotsulias ((@StaceGots), It's About the Money


19. Chicago White Sox

Record: 53-58
Week 17 ranking: No. 19

Chicago has won just a single series since the All-Star break after Sunday's loss to the Orioles. The bullpen has been the weakest link, with the worst ERA in the American League the past two weeks. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona


20. Kansas City Royals

Record: 53-58
Week 17 ranking: No. 20

Alex Gordon, signed to that $72 million extension, continues to struggle, hitting just .199 with 18 RBIs in more than 300 PAs. He's hitting .160 with runners in scoring position and .141 with men on base. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot


21. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 52-61
Week 17 ranking: No. 23

Hector Neris has been solid for the Phillies this year. He has struck out at least 10 batters each month while minimizing the damage, registering a WHIP of 1.02 and racking up 21 holds in the process. If Jeanmar Gomez ever gets traded or injured, Neris could be in line for some save opportunities. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers


22. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 49-60
Week 17 ranking: No. 24

A new era was ushered in following the departures of Jonathan Lucroy, Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith, as Milwaukee called up its most highly touted prospect since Ryan Braun, shortstop Orlando Arcia. -- Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3), Disciples of Uecker


23. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 49-62
Week 17 ranking: No. 21

Mike Trout celebrated his 25th birthday on Sunday by robbing Leonys Martin of a grand slam -- but also striking out four times against James Paxton. Still, his lead in WAR over Jose Altuve continues to grow, 7.3 to 6.4. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot


24. San Diego Padres

Record: 48-63
Week 17 ranking: No. 25

Derek Norris' awful year with the bat continues, as he is hitting .103 (6-for-58) with 24 strikeouts since the All-Star break. Now that the Padres have finished a homestand against the Phillies, Reds and Brewers, the softer part of their schedule continues with a road trip to face the Pirates, Mets and Rays. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit


25. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 45-65
Week 17 ranking: No. 27

Tampa Bay did well in several last-second deals at the trade deadline. As usual, they got some production for today, but also plenty of upside for down the road. It's not easy to play for both the present and future, but the Rays walk the rope as well as anyone. -- Jason Collette (@jasoncollette), The Process Report


26. Oakland Athletics

Record: 48-63
Week 17 ranking: No. 22

Sonny Gray was put on the disabled list with a strained forearm, as his miserable season continues (5.74 ERA). -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot


27. Minnesota Twins

Record: 45-66
Week 17 ranking: No. 29

The Twins have emerged in recent months as one of the best offensive teams in the game, and that has helped them to a 20-13 record since July 1. However, they still have the American League's worst record, which says plenty about their brutal first half. -- Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN), Twins Daily


28. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 45-65
Week 17 ranking: No. 29

The Reds finally dropped a series after winning six in a row following the All-Star break. The big surprise of the second half has been the unexpected resurgence of Brandon Phillips, who has hit .336/.360/.464 since July 1. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation


29. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 45-66
Week 17 ranking: No. 26

Outfielder David Peralta had a breakout campaign for Arizona in 2015 but has been mostly broken in 2016, as his third DL stint of the year (wrist) began over the weekend. Zack Greinke returns to the mound for the struggling D-backs on Tuesday. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona


30. Atlanta Braves

Record: 41-70
Week 17 ranking: No. 30

Atlanta is 4-2 since the Matt Kemp era began, despite the slugger's hitting .181 in his first six games. The Braves showed everyone that a mere trade deadline won't stop them from trading when they shipped lefty reliever Hunter Cervenka to the Marlins for two prospects. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County