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2016 Week 19 MLB Power Rankings

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Blue Jays deserving of more respect in the power rankings? (1:50)

Dallas Braden defends his decision not to have the Blue Jays in the top five of the power rankings, while Tim Kurkjian explains why Toronto deserves a top-five spot. (1:50)

The Chicago Cubs roll on at No. 1 for another week, a spot it doesn't appear they'll give up anytime soon. The Washington Nationals remain No. 2 for another week, but they're getting pushed by the Texas Rangers, who jumped to No. 3 this week and received second-place votes.

The Los Angeles Dodgers jumped from No. 10 to No. 8 and are closing in on the San Francisco Giants (No. 6) in both the rankings and the National League West. The Dodgers still don't have Clayton Kershaw back, Rich Hill hasn't pitched for them yet, and Brandon McCarthy (right hip stiffness) and Brett Anderson (wrist) left their starts over the weekend, but they've managed to stay afloat in the playoff race.

Elsewhere in the rankings, the Seattle Mariners jumped four spots, from No. 16 to No. 12, after winning five of six games.

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 18 | 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: 73-43
Week 18 ranking: No. 1

After a series split with the Cardinals, caused primarily by bullpen blowups, watch for the Cubs to make two moves before rosters expand on Sept. 1: One to reach out to Jonathan Papelbon, given the familiarity with Theo Epstein, and one to add a left-handed bench bat to counteract the Tommy La Stella standoff. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers


2. Washington Nationals

Record: 69-47
Week 18 ranking: No. 2

Shoutout to Wilson Ramos, who continues to rake with a .332/.379/.541 line. Ramos had Lasik surgery in early March, after a career-worst 2015 season, and has cut his strikeout rate from 20 percent to 12.9 percent. Also: Jonathan Papelbon was released. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot


3. Texas Rangers

Record: 69-50
Week 18 ranking: No. 5

Texas, likely to finish with 90 or more wins for the fifth time in the past seven seasons, looks to be in the driver's seat in the AL West. The keys will be getting the starting rotation healthy and keeping veterans fresh down the stretch. -- Brandon Land (@onestrikeaway), One Strike Away


4. Cleveland Indians

Record: 67-48
Week 18 ranking: No. 4

Late last week, the Indians received the disappointing news that Michael Brantley will not play again this season. This bad news was tempered somewhat by a four-game sweep of the Angels, in which the Indians outscored the Halos 37-12. In Friday's 13-3 win, the Tribe stole eight bases, which tied a franchise record. -- Stephanie Liscio (@stephanieliscio), It's Pronounced Lajaway


5. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 67-51
Week 18 ranking: No. 3

J.A. Happ's past seven starts: 6-0, 1.25 ERA, 43 1/3 innings, 28 hits allowed, 55 strikeouts. His 3.4 WAR to this point in the season is his best mark since he compiled a 4.0 figure with the Phillies in 2009. Aaron Sanchez, having already tossed a career-high 152 1/3 innings this year, will have at least a couple of starts skipped over the next six weeks. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit


6. San Francisco Giants

Record: 66-51
Week 18 ranking: No. 7

Joe Panik was a well-above-average player in 2015, as he slashed .312/.378/.455 with strong defense at second. In the first half this season, his line was down to .256/.321/.407, and since his return from the DL, his batting line is just .184/.293/.224. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona


7. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 66-51
Week 18 ranking: No. 6

A three-run blast by Jonathan Schoop capped a comeback victory over the San Francisco Giants in the Orioles' final game on the West Coast this season. Schoop's tater salvaged an otherwise disappointing series of games in California, which included dropping three of four to the Oakland A's. The O's remain a half-game behind Toronto and get an off-day before they play eight straight games at home. -- Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer), Camden Depot


8. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 65-52
Week 18 ranking: No. 10

Los Angeles sits right behind the Giants for the division lead, despite its middle-of-the-road offense (homers and OPS-wise) and horrific list of pitcher injuries. The depleted pitching staff suffered two more hits over the weekend when Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson each left their starts with injuries. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit


9. Boston Red Sox

Record: 64-52
Week 18 ranking: No. 9

Could it have been Boston that picked up the most dominant reliever this July? After three strikeouts with the bases loaded and no outs Saturday, Brad Ziegler's batting average against with the Red Sox dropped to .229. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona


10. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 62-56
Week 18 ranking: No. 11

This was a tough week, as Michael Wacha and Matt Holliday both landed on the DL. Wacha has a shoulder issue that could sideline him the rest of the season, and Holliday suffered a fractured thumb after getting hit by a pitch. -- ESPN.com


11. Detroit Tigers

Record: 63-54
Week 18 ranking: No. 8

If the best the Tigers can do is limp into a one-game, sudden-death playoff game, they might be best served to buck veteran experience and give the opportunity to Michael Fulmer, who has allowed three runs or fewer in 14 of his past 15 starts. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers


12. Seattle Mariners

Record: 62-54
Week 18 ranking: No. 16

With wins in eight of their past nine games, the Mariners are just two games behind in the wild-card race. Nelson Cruz led the way last week, hitting .435 with a 1.370 OPS in six games. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona


13. Houston Astros

Record: 61-57
Week 18 ranking: No. 13

After releasing Carlos Gomez and with Colby Rasmus on the DL, the Astros are trying to win with a makeshift outfield that includes Tony Kemp, who played mostly second base in the minors, and Teoscar Hernandez, who was called up after hitting .307 with 10 homers in the minors. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot


14. Miami Marlins

Record: 61-56
Week 18 ranking: No. 12

With Giancarlo Stanton possibly out for the remainder of the season, Miami has Alex Rodriguez under consideration. Also, the team isn't expecting Wei-Yin Chen back anytime soon. Chen, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left elbow since July 24, is expected to return in mid-September at the earliest. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit


15. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 59-56
Week 18 ranking: No. 15

Gerrit Cole has allowed nine earned runs in his past 10 innings, and since starting the season 5-3 through May 26, he has pitched to a 2-5 record. A 4.04 ERA over that span, however, is hardly a disaster. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona


16. New York Yankees

Record: 60-57
Week 18 ranking: No. 18

The new-look Yanks sandwiched a pair of losses around four straight wins this week, a week that saw a rather clumsily handled end to Alex Rodriguez's career. In his place arrives a bevy of youngsters, including behemoth Aaron Judge (home runs in first two games). With the team barely clinging to hopes of a wild-card berth, all eyes are firmly forward to 2017 and beyond.-- Jason Rosenberg (@Jason_IIATMS), It's About the Money


17. New York Mets

Record: 59-58
Week 18 ranking: No. 14

Neil Walker is leading MLB with a .444 batting average since July 27; he has two doubles, one triple, five home runs, 13 RBIs and 12 runs scored in that span (18 games). Prior to 2016, Walker had six career homers vs. LHPs. This year, he has hit seven off lefties. After going 15-7 in April, the Mets have been seven games under .500 (44-51), including 12-17 since the All-Star break. -- ESPN.com


18. Kansas City Royals

Record: 57-60
Week 18 ranking: No. 20

Eric Hosmer's free fall continues. Since July 1, he's hitting .209/.255/.297 with just three home runs in 38 games. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot


19. Colorado Rockies

Record: 56-62
Week 18 ranking: No. 17

Charlie Blackmon has twice as many home runs in August (eight) as the Rockies have wins (four). Not only has the bullpen fallen apart (again), but Rockies starting pitching has also faltered and has failed to throw more than five innings in any of the past five road games. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers


20. Chicago White Sox

Record: 56-61
Week 18 ranking: No. 19

It has been a down year for Jose Abreu, who followed 5.3 and 3.0 WAR seasons with a minus-0.3 WAR effort in the first half of 2016. He has seemed to find his footing since the All-Star Break, however, as he is hitting .306 with a .359 OBP in his past 27 games. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona


21. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 56-63
Week 18 ranking: No. 21

The dog days of August haven't been hounding the Phillies' offense. They're scoring 6.2 runs per game in August, well more than the 3.6 runs per game they scored in the four months prior. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers


22. Oakland Athletics

Record: 52-66
Week 18 ranking: No. 26

Khris Davis continues to mash home runs. He hit his 30th on Sunday and has a chance at 40 this season. The most recent A's player to hit 40 homers was Jason Giambi, who had 43 in 2000. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot


23. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 52-64
Week 18 ranking: No. 22

Ryan Braun has continued to stay hot since the All-Star break with a slash of .381/.465/.762 and nine homers and 21 RBIs . He has reached the 20-plus homer mark for the eighth time in his career. -- Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3), Disciples of Uecker


24. San Diego Padres

Record: 50-67
Week 18 ranking: No. 24

Alex Dickerson, Travis Jankowski and Jabari Blash have thrived since San Diego dealt Matt Kemp at the trade deadline. The Padres now have a three-rookie outfield. Ryan Schimpf's power surge shouldn't surprise anyone. He homered at least 20 times in the minors in each of the past four seasons. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit


25. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 49-68
Week 18 ranking: No. 23

What a mess. The Angels have now lost 10 in a row after the Indians swept a four-game series by a score of 37-12. The team's current .419 win percentage would be the franchise's worst since a .409 mark in 1994. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot


26. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 47-69
Week 18 ranking: No. 25

In a week highlighted by the debut of Matt Duffy at shortstop and Brad Miller continuing to mash, the pitching staff allowed six or more runs in four of six games this week (Monday through Sunday). The team doesn't have enough offense to compete in those games with the bottom half of the lineup struggling to produce. -- Jason Collette (@jasoncollette), The Process Report


27. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 48-69
Week 18 ranking: No. 29

As reported by Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the D-backs have until Aug. 31 to decide on 2017 options for GM Dave Stewart and Senior VP of baseball operations De Jon Watson. CBO Tony La Russa said that he, owner Ken Kendrick and CEO Derrick Hall had not yet spoken about the status of Stewart or Watson. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona


28. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 48-68
Week 18 ranking: No. 28

Since the All-Star break, the mighty Redlegs are 16-11 (.593 win percentage). Extrapolated over a full season, that equates to 96 wins. Unfortunately, the Reds were on pace for 100-plus losses after the first half. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation


29. Minnesota Twins

Record: 47-71
Week 18 ranking: No. 27

Brian Dozier homered in all three games against the Royals at Target Field over the weekend. That put him past the century mark for his career and tied him with Robinson Cano for the 2016 lead among second basemen. Dozier has gone deep 21 times in 67 games since the start of June. -- Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN), Twins Daily


30. Atlanta Braves

Record: 44-74
Week 18 ranking: No. 30

The Braves are a very respectable (for them) 13-15 since the All-Star break. They have a record of 7-5 so far in August, despite playing teams with winning records in eight of those games. Is it the Matt Kemp effect? -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County