2016 Week 3 MLB Power Rankings: Nationals continue to climb higher

While the Chicago Cubs show no signs of letting go of the top spot, the Washington Nationals continue to climb up the rankings, swapping spots with the Kansas City Royals and moving up to No. 2. Elsewhere in the top 10, the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox continue their move up the rankings. Baltimore started the year at No. 23 and is all the way up to No. 4, while the White Sox started at No. 20 and have climbed to No. 6.

While the Orioles and White Sox have made big moves up, the Houston Astros continue to slide. After opening at No. 5 in our preseason rankings, Houston has dropped all the way to No. 24. The San Francisco Giants also are headed in the wrong direction, dropping nine spots to No. 13 after a rough week.

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 bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network.

Past rankings: Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

1. Chicago Cubs

Record: 14-5
Week 2 ranking: No. 1

The Cubs have an 8-2 record against the NL Central, outscoring them by a combined score of 70-18 in those games. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers

2. Washington Nationals

Record: 14-4
Week 2 ranking: No. 3

The schedule finally toughens up at the end of the week when they start a 10-game road trip against the Cardinals, Royals and Cubs. I don't think you'll see Bryce Harper coming off the bench for any of those games. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

3. Kansas City Royals

Record: 12-6
Week 2 ranking: No. 2

Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera have combined for 18 scoreless innings. Davis has battled his control with five walks in 7⅔ innings but has allowed just one hit. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

4. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 11-6
Week 2 ranking: No. 6

Two strengths for the Orioles this year were supposed to be power hitting and relief pitching. So far, that has been the case. The Orioles are first in the majors in slugging percentage and have also been surprisingly good in on-base percentage. And the O's bullpen is top three in both ERA and FIP (fielding independent pitching), with a dominant group of back-end relievers. -- Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer), Camden Depot

5. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 12-7
Week 2 ranking: No. 5

Kenta Maeda's first four starts: 3-0, 25⅓ innings pitched, 17 hits, five walks, 23 strikeouts, 0.36 ERA. Scott Kazmir said he will continue pitching through the discomfort of an injured left thumb and wrist he has been dealing with since the end of spring training. The Dodgers play 16 of their next 21 at home. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

6. Chicago White Sox

Record: 13-6
Week 2 ranking: No. 8

Jose Quintana continues to be excellent in 2016. He took a tough-luck loss to Tampa Bay on the 17th, then turned in another solid start on the 22nd as the White Sox blanked the Rangers. In four starts (24⅔ innings), he has allowed only five earned runs with 22 strikeouts and five walks. --Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

7. New York Mets

Record: 10-7
Week 2 ranking: No. 15

The Mets completed their first series sweep of the season, beating the Braves three times over the weekend, and have won eight of their past 10 games. New York's 23 home runs since April 15 are more than any other MLB club in that span. -- Joe Janish (@metstoday), Mets Today

8. Texas Rangers

Record: 10-9
Week 2 ranking: No. 10

After Friday night's odd triple-play against the Chicago White Sox, Texas leads both leagues in outs given up on the bases with 11. That number will need to improve if Jeff Banister's Rangers want to fully utilize the baserunning talent on the roster. -- Brandon Land (@onestrikeaway), One Strike Away

9. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 10-8
Week 2 ranking: No. 9

Cardinals' offense continues to carry the team, featuring an MLB-best .365 wOBA on the strength of a .493 slugging percentage. However, their ham-handed defense is making life tougher on their pitchers. --Matt Philip (@fungoes), Fungoes

10. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 9-9
Week 2 ranking: No. 13

Per the ESPN Home Run Tracker, the Pirates have three of this season's top seven long balls in terms of true distance: Sean Rodriguez (second, 468 feet), Jordy Mercer (fourth, 461 feet), and Gregory Polanco (seventh, 457 feet), all hit off of the D-backs' Patrick Corbin on Friday. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

11. Oakland Athletics

Record: 10-9
Week 2 ranking: No. 22

After going 21-31 with a 4.63 ERA in 2015, the revamped bullpen is off to a good start at 4-2, 2.76 and just 10 walks in 65⅓ innings. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

12. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 10-9
Week 2 ranking: No. 25

The D-backs' bullpen has a 3.01 ERA in an MLB-leading 74⅔ innings through Saturday. Meanwhile, with late game heroics and plus defense, a star is being born in third baseman Jake Lamb. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

13. San Francisco Giants

Record: 9-11
Week 2 ranking: No. 4

After getting swept in four at home by the Diamondbacks, Jeff Samardzija took out the Giants' frustration on the Marlins. He pitched 7⅔ innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts on the mound and went 2-4 with three runs batted in at the plate. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

14. Cleveland Indians

Record: 9-7
Week 2 ranking: No. 14

Just when the Indians are set to get Michael Brantley back from the DL, they lose Carlos Carrasco to a left hamstring injury. They've gone 9-7 in Brantley's absence, and can hopefully survive a DL stint from Carrasco. The Indians' decision not to trade pitching this winter looks like a good move. -- Stephanie Liscio (@stephanieliscio), It's Pronounced Lajaway

15. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 10-10
Week 2 ranking: No. 12

Chris Colabello's 80-game suspension will put more pressure on Justin Smoak. The Jays could also turn to Matt Dominguez or Jesus Montero to fill the void. Troy Tulowitzki entered Saturday's game with a .150/.268/.267 line before collecting his 12th career multi-homer game, going yard twice. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

16. Detroit Tigers

Record: 8-9
Week 2 ranking: No. 7

They have four players in their starting lineup with a .350 OBP despite the lack of contributions from Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton. Hopefully by the time they get hot, the Tigers pitchers will be able to tame the opposing hitters' fire. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

17. Boston Red Sox

Record: 9-9
Week 2 ranking: No. 11

Even if Pablo Sandoval wasn't on the DL, he wouldn't be getting his job back from Travis Shaw, who has hit and played well in the field. And on a pitching staff plagued by inconsistency, knuckleballer Steven Wright has taken Tim Wakefield's mantle with his steady presence and 1.40 ERA in three starts. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

18. Colorado Rockies

Record: 9-9
Week 2 ranking: No. 17

Originally a middle infielder, non-roster invitee Tony Wolters is fourth in MLB in framing despite catching for only a few years. His solid defense and snap throws to first fondly remind fans of another good framer, Yorvit Torrealba. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

19. Seattle Mariners

Record: 9-9
Week 2 ranking: No. 18

A pair of extra-inning wins gave the Mariners a boost this week as they look to keep pace with Oakland and Texas early in the season. Robinson Cano launched a 10th-inning homer on Thursday to stun the Tribe, then Franklin Gutierrez drove in the winning run Friday against the Halos. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

20. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 8-10
Week 2 ranking: No. 23

The Rays continue to show off their arm factory, but the usual old hitting issues are still rearing their ugly head. While Corey Dickerson has assuaged concerns about hitting at sea level, other newcomers such as Logan Morrison and Brad Miller haven't been as successful. For a decade this team has been built on pitching and defense, but they still need some more offense. -- Jason Hanselman, The Process Report

21. New York Yankees

Record: 7-10
Week 2 ranking: No. 21

Things were already getting tough in Yankeeland coming off a 2-4 record the prior week. They got worse after the A's came into town and swept the Yanks and even worse when Aaron Hicks and Alex Rodriguez went down with what are hopefully minor injuries. The team heads back out on the road this week with a short roster and a still sputtering offense. Perhaps avoiding Cole Hamels in Texas is just what they need to get going. -- Brad Vietrogoski (@BradVietro), It's About the Money

22. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 8-11
Week 2 ranking: No. 19

Albert Pujols tied Reggie Jackson with his 563rd career home run Sunday, breaking a career-worst 26 at-bat hitless streak. He's hitting .153 with a .520 OPS. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

23. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 9-10
Week 2 ranking: No. 20

The Reds just gave up 38 runs in a weekend series, Joey Votto is hitting only .206, and the team's Opening Day closer (J.J. Hoover) has an ERA of 15.26. The fact that Cincinnati is only one game below .500 is amazing. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation

24. Houston Astros

Record: 6-13
Week 2 ranking: No. 16

Even when things go right, they go wrong. Colby Rasmus hit a dramatic two-run homer to tie Sunday's game in the ninth, but the Astros ended up losing in the 12th as Ken Giles struggled again. Rasmus, by the way, is hitting .293/.440/.707 with 16 walks and 17 strikeouts. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

25. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 9-10
Week 2 ranking: No. 24

Positions at the lower end of the defensive spectrum should provide more offense, but Phillies left fielders are hitting .129 and first basemen are hitting 162. Meanwhile, Phillies pitchers are hitting .167... -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

26. Miami Marlins

Record: 6-10
Week 2 ranking: No. 27

Jarred Cosart has walked 15 in 14⅔ innings, including back-to-back starts with six free passes. Jose Fernandez hasn't recorded an out in the seventh inning in any of his four starts, but he has racked up 32 strikeouts in his first 22⅔ innings. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

27. San Diego Padres

Record: 7-12
Week 2 ranking: No. 28

Through last Friday, among qualifying Padres, Derek Norris had the lowest batting average (.173) but the highest average exit velocity (93.01 mph). The Padres end the upcoming week in Los Angeles, looking for revenge for the season-opening three-game whitewash the Dodgers dispensed in Petco. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

28. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 8-11
Week 2 ranking: No. 26

Ryan Braun has caught fire (hitting .524 with a homer and seven RBI through Saturday night), but the Brewers are still struggling. The starters have been inconsistent in going far in games, leaving the bullpen depleted to eat the remaining innings. Milwaukee's bullpen sits in the top five in innings pitched in the league. -- Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3), Disciples of Uecker

29. Minnesota Twins

Record: 5-14
Week 2 ranking: No. 29

After getting swept in Washington over the weekend, the Twins are now 1-10 on the road this season. Young center fielder Byron Buxton has struck out in 24 of his 45 at-bats and has a .156 batting average. -- Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN), Twins Daily

30. Atlanta Braves

Record: 4-14
Week 2 ranking: No. 30

While the rest of baseball is wondering if the ball is juiced, the Braves are proof that it's not. The team has combined to hit just three home runs all year, and just one home run since the first game of the season. The team's fortunes won't turn around until they find more power in their lineup. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County