2016 Week 4 MLB Power Rankings: NL rises to the top

BBTN's Week 4 power rankings (2:01)

The Baseball Tonight crew debates the rankings by Dallas Braden and ESPN.com of the top five teams in baseball. (2:01)

The National League has a firm hold on our Power Rankings, with four of the top five teams, including the top three. The Chicago Cubs remained the unanimous No. 1 team after a week that saw them play only four games because of two postponements. An up-and-down week that included being swept by the Phillies and sweeping the Cardinals dropped the Washington Nationals one spot to No. 3, with the New York Mets rising all the way up to No. 2.

Meanwhile, the American League's hottest team, the Chicago White Sox, kept climbing, all the way to No. 4. Another strong week and maybe it can be all Chicago at the top of the rankings?

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 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

1. Chicago Cubs

Record: 17-6
Week 3 ranking: No. 1

As good as Jake Arrieta has been, he doesn't even lead the team in ERA. Jason Hammel is 3-0 in four starts with just two runs allowed in 24 innings. No wonder the Cubs have a 2.41 team ERA. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

2. New York Mets

Record: 15-8
Week 3 ranking: No. 7

The Mets were 15-7 in April and hit 33 home runs, tying a franchise record for the month. Michael Conforto has 10 RBIs in his past seven games and leads MLB in hard-hit balls at 51.7 percent; David Wright is third at 46.5 percent. -- Joe Janish (@metstoday), Mets Today

3. Washington Nationals

Record: 17-7
Week 3 ranking: No. 2

A tough 10-game road trip to St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago began with an impressive sweep in St. Louis, the Nats outscoring the Cards 17-6. They pulled off the sweep even though Bryce Harper went 0-for-11, and he's now 1-for-his-past-17 as his average has dipped to .272. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

4. Chicago White Sox

Record: 18-8
Week 3 ranking: No. 6

He started slowly, but Todd Frazier is looking like a shrewd acquisition by GM Rick Hahn. On April 19, Frazier started a stretch of .311 hitting in 52 plate appearances with seven walks and 11 RBIs. He's on a pace to match his 35-homer total from a year ago. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 15-10
Week 3 ranking: No. 10

By on-base percentage, the top three teams in baseball are all in the National League Central. Among the three, though, it's not the vaunted Cubs offense or the surprising Aledmys Diaz-led Cardinals pacing the league. It hasn't shown up completely in runs scored, but by the all-encompassing stats wOBA and wRC+, it's the Pirates with the top offense in MLB. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

6. Kansas City Royals

Record: 13-11
Week 3 ranking: No. 3

A 1-5 week included back-to-back shutout losses in Seattle, as the Royals have fallen to 14th in the AL in runs per game, at 3.38 -- a full run less per game than last year's 4.47. A big problem: They're last in the majors with just seven runs scored from the leadoff position, where Alcides Escobar has batted each game. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

7. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 14-10
Week 3 ranking: No. 4

In two early starts, Kevin Gausman has allowed three runs in 11 innings and has given the Orioles a needed starting-rotation boost. He also seems more comfortable throwing his curveball, giving him a third offering to go with a solid fastball and changeup. -- Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer), Camden Depot

8. Boston Red Sox

Record: 15-10
Week 3 ranking: No. 17

Rick Porcello has been worth every penny of his $20 million salary so far this year. Since teaming up with Christian Vazquez, Porcello has a 2.02 ERA in his past four starts and held the Yankees scoreless in seven innings on Friday. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

9. Texas Rangers

Record: 14-11
Week 3 ranking: No. 8

The Rangers' starting rotation has the second-lowest ERA in the AL at 3.22. The downside? They also have the dubious distinction of having the worst K rate and K/BB rate in the AL at 6.02 and 1.71, respectively. It's not exactly a recipe for continued success. -- Brandon Land (@onestrikeaway), One Strike Away

10. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 12-13
Week 3 ranking: No. 9

They fell under .500 after the Nationals swept them, and while this may feel like uncharted territory for St. Louis, it's not. In 2014, they were 19-20 on May 12 after a 17-5 loss to the Cubs. They ended up winning 90 games and winning the division. Of course, 90 wins likely won't win the Central this year. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

11. Detroit Tigers

Record: 14-10
Week 3 ranking: No. 16

One example of the Tigers' bullpen turnaround is Justin Wilson, who has not allowed a run while striking out 15 in 11 innings of work over 12 games. So, we salute you, Mr. Much-More-Than-A-LOOGY guy. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

12. San Francisco Giants

Record: 13-13
Week 3 ranking: No. 13

A challenging series for San Francisco against the Mets was eased somewhat by a midweek sweep of the Padres. Johnny Cueto has taken a liking to the orange and black as he spun a shutout of San Diego on Tuesday, striking out 11 and walking just one. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

13. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 13-13
Week 3 ranking: No. 5

Kenta Maeda's next start is being moved from Wednesday in St. Petersburg to Friday in Toronto; he potentially lines up better against the Blue Jays' heavily right-handed lineup than the left-handed Alex Wood. The seven days of rest will also be the same Maeda regularly received while pitching in Japan. Andre Ethier's planned return date from a tibia fracture remains mid-to-late June. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

14. Seattle Mariners

Record: 13-11
Week 3 ranking: No. 19

It's hard to believe that halfway through April, the M's were 2-6. A strong close to the month, including solid starts by King Felix, Taijuan Walker, Wade Miley and Nate Karns last week, has the team now knocking on the door for the American League West lead. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

15. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 12-14
Week 3 ranking: No. 15

Kevin Pillar struggled earlier this year out of the leadoff spot, but since being moved to the bottom third of the order, he is batting .349 (15-for-43) over his past 12 games through Saturday. Russell Martin is not going to require a stint on the 15-day disabled list, but he's also not ready to play every day because of a lingering neck issue. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

16. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 15-10
Week 3 ranking: No. 25

Results are coming in from one of the quickest rebuilds in recent history. The Phillies finished April four games over .500 with a pitching staff allowing fewer hits and striking out more batters per innings pitched than at the end of 2015. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

17. Oakland Athletics

Record: 13-13
Week 3 ranking: No. 11

Sonny Gray continues to have trouble finding the strike zone and left his start against the Tigers on Wednesday after just two innings and four walks, the shortest stint of his career. "I didn't have anything," Gray said. He's walked 15 batters in 28 1/3 innings, although he'd been able to limit the damage before that outing. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

18. Arizona Diamondbacks

Week 3 ranking: No. 12

Arizona wrapped up what appears to be its toughest month of the season (April) and had a chance to end it with a .500 record before falling once again to Colorado. With upcoming series against the Marlins, Braves and Rockies, the D-backs will look to gain ground. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

19. Miami Marlins

Record: 12-12
Week 3 ranking: No. 26

Derek Dietrich appears to be getting the first crack at replacing the suspended Dee Gordon at second base. Dietrich has made just over 100 starts at second base over the past four seasons for the Marlins. Miguel Rojas could also see time at second base. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

20. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 11-13
Week 3 ranking: No. 20

Rays starters allowed nine earned runs and held opposing hitters to a .155 average on the week, yet the team was only able to split its six games because the offense did not produce runs. The team batting average, at .221, is the lowest in baseball, and the Rays went 4-for-38 with runners in scoring position this past week. -- Jason Hanselman, The Process Report

21. Cleveland Indians

Record: 10-12
Week 3 ranking: No. 14

The Tribe's past five games have all been decided by one run, but they lost four of those matchups. Other than their 6-5 win on Wednesday night in Minnesota, it seems the Tribe just couldn't get a break this week. -- Stephanie Liscio (@stephanieliscio), It's Pronounced Lajaway

22. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 12-13
Week 2 ranking: No. 22

Mike Trout had just one home run in his first 15 games, but he's hitting .324 with four home runs and 11 RBIs over his past 10 games. All good there. Not good: Matt Shoemaker was optioned to Triple-A with a 9.15 ERA, as the Angels will go with a four-man rotation for two weeks thanks to a couple of off days.-- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

23. Colorado Rockies

Record: 12-12
Week 3 ranking: No. 18

The Rockies have not had a losing record in April since 2010, which was also the last season they finished over .500. Although Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story are No. 1 and No. 2 in home runs, the Rockies have a .700-ish OPS with a runner on third and less than two outs. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

24. New York Yankees

Record: 8-15
Week 3 ranking: No. 21

The Yankees started the week off on a high note when starter Nathan Eovaldi took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in Arlington on April 25 and began their nine-game road trip with a victory. Then everything fell apart. The Yankees ended April on a tailspin that reminded older Yankees fans of the doom-and-gloom days in the early 1990s. -- Stacey Gotsulias, It's About the Money

25. Houston Astros

Record: 8-17
Week 3 ranking: No. 24

Remember when Tyler White won player of the week honors in Week 1? In his past 14 games he's gone 5-for-51 (.098) with 15 strikeouts. Baseball is a tough game, kids. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

26. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 10-15
Week 3 ranking: No. 23

A winless week for Cincinnati saw its best starter (Raisel Iglesias) go on the DL and Homer Bailey suffer a setback in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Consequently, someone named Tim Adleman became the 12th different rookie pitcher to start a game for the Reds in the past two years. Forget "Winter is Coming." Winter is here. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation

27. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 9-15
Week 3 ranking: No. 28

A drought of wins has brought change to Milwaukee's pitching rotation. A poor outing against the Cubs was enough to send Taylor Jungmann (0-4 with a 9.15 ERA) down to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The bats have also gone silent after nearly being no-hit by Adam Conley and the Marlins' bullpen Friday night. In the past week, the Brewers sit in the bottom five in on-base percentage. -- Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3), Disciples of Uecker

28. Minnesota Twins

Record: 7-18
Week 3 ranking: No. 29

The Twins aren't this bad. They can't be. Yet the spiral continues. The sweep suffered against the Tigers over the weekend was their fifth of the year and their second at home. -- Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN), Twins Daily

29. San Diego Padres

Record: 9-16
Week 3 ranking: No. 27

Through Friday, Matt Kemp is hitting .320 against his former club since being dealt last offseason, and he's batting .346 as a visitor at Dodger Stadium. Cesar Vargas has made four starts this season between Double-A San Antonio and the major leagues, with a 1.17 ERA, 23 strikeouts and a 0.91 WHIP. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

30. Atlanta Braves

Record: 6-18
Week 3 ranking: No. 30

Although the Braves managed just one win this past week, they did get Freddie Freeman going in the right direction. After he hit a miserable .167 through the season's first 15 games, the Atlanta first baseman hit .444 last week while launching two home runs. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County