2016 Week 8 MLB Power Rankings

Cubs rule the Week 8 Power Rankings (1:38)

Baseball Tonight's Eduardo Perez and Tim Kurkjian break down their Week 8 Power Rankings. (1:38)

Eight weeks, eight No. 1 rankings for the Chicago Cubs -- and the voters were again unanimous.

The No. 2 hole? That's a whole other story. Three teams got second-place nods on at least one ballot this week, and while the Boston Red Sox held on to the spot for the second straight week, the San Francisco Giants finished right on their heels.

Still, the biggest story of Week 8 might be the Pittsburgh Pirates. A huge leap -- seven spots -- from No. 11 to No. 4 might not make for a monumental shakeup, but it should give the Cubs pause; are their NL Central rivals ready to make a run? Chicago's lead in the rankings, and the division, remains comfortable ... for now.

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 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

1. Chicago Cubs

Record: 34-14
Week 7 ranking: No. 1

Ben Zobrist has six home runs with 25 RBIs in the month of May while hitting .421/.496/.684. Starlin Castro, whom he replaced, has hit .212/.241/.375 in that span for the Yankees. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers

2. Boston Red Sox

Record: 30-20
Week 7 ranking: No. 2

Even for a hitter who became an icon for rising to the occasion, what David Ortiz has done thus far in his final, age-40 season is astonishing. He's hit 13 home runs and leads the majors in doubles (23), RBIs (46), SLG (.720) and OPS (1.140). -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

3. San Francisco Giants

Record: 32-20
Week 7 ranking: No. 4

Since dropping two games at home to the Blue Jays in early May, the Giants are 14-2 entering Sunday, outscoring opponents 61 to 40. In nine of those victories, they won by just one or two runs -- including two walk-off wins last week. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

4. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 28-21
Week 7 ranking: No. 11

Mark Melancon bounced back from his first blown save of 2016 to record two more saves in the last week, tying him for second in MLB. Hitters have had a bit more success against him this year than in the recent past, but, through Saturday, Melancon has 67 saves since the start of the 2015 season -- and just three blown saves. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

5. Washington Nationals

Record: 30-21
Week 7 ranking: No. 3

One reason they're 14-14 in May is the pitch-around-Harper strategy has worked. Bryce Harper has 31 walks in May but is hitting just .205 with five extra-base hits, after hitting .286 with 15 XBH in April. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

6. New York Mets

Record: 28-21
Week 7 ranking: No. 8

The Mets are 13-14 in May and have been outscored 101-82. It's not all Matt Harvey's fault. The offense is last in the majors in May in both strikeout rate and average (.209). They have hit 38 home runs, but have struggled to score when they don't hit homers. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

7. Seattle Mariners

Record: 28-21
Week 7 ranking: No. 7

In right field this season, Nelson Cruz has slashed just .185/.303/.277 through Saturday; as the DH, he's slashed .346/.434/.645, including nine of his 10 home runs. In batting practice, Cruz became the first player to hit a ball completely out of Safeco Field. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

8. Texas Rangers

Record: 29-21
Week 7 ranking: No. 12

Yu Darvish is back, and he looks as good as ever. Pitching in his first major league game since 2014, Darvish threw five innings while allowing only one run and striking out seven Pirates. A healthy Darvish should provide a strong boost to the rest of the Texas pitching staff. -- Brandon Land (@onestrikeaway), One Strike Away

9. Cleveland Indians

Record: 26-22
Week 7 ranking: No. 9

Like George and Weezie, the Indians are movin' on up. They took 3-of-4 against their division rival White Sox and oh-so-briefly moved into the top spot in the AL Central for the first time since the beginning of the 2014 season. Josh Tomlin continues to impress from the back of the rotation, improving to 7-0 on the season. -- Susan Petrone, It's Pronounced Lajaway

10. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 28-20
Week 7 ranking: No. 5

Do the Orioles strike out too much? O's batters are in the top 10 in strikeout percentage, but they're also 11th in the majors in runs scored per game. The O's could use better production out of Adam Jones and Pedro Alvarez, and if a healthy J.J. Hardy returns in June, he should help. -- Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer), Camden Depot

11. Kansas City Royals

Record: 27-22
Week 7 ranking: No. 13

What a weekend! They won three straight games after trailing by more than one run in the seventh inning or later for the first time in franchise history. Call-up Brett Eibner -- drafted in the second round way back in 2010 -- went 5-for-11 in his debut series with the walk-off hit on Saturday and game-tying walk on Sunday. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

12. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 27-24
Week 7 ranking: No. 15

Los Angeles is hoping Kenta Maeda's most recent outing (five innings, no runs on two hits) gets him back on track. He had been 0-3 with a 6.08 ERA in his prior five starts. Coming into Sunday, the Dodgers were 9-1 in starts by Clayton Kershaw and 17-23 in starts by anyone else. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

13. Chicago White Sox

Record: 27-24
Week 7 ranking: No. 6

Handed a 7-1 lead in the ninth, David Robertson yielded six earned runs for the first time in his career on Saturday. The walk-off loss that followed extended a White Sox losing streak to five games. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona

14. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 26-25
Week 7 ranking: No. 10

Some numbers you didn't expect to see at the end of May: Adam Wainwright 5.71 ERA, Michael Wacha 4.99 ERA, Carlos Martinez 4.25 ERA. Last year's rotation had a historic season with a 2.99 ERA. This year: 4.49, 19th in the majors. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

15. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 26-26
Week 6 ranking: No. 18

Troy Tulowitzki's depressing 2016 campaign continued Saturday, as he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right quadriceps strain. He was coming off an 0-for-4 game in which he tied a career high with four strikeouts as well as an error on a routine grounder. Toronto activated left-hander Aaron Loup, and he'll provide manager John Gibbons an additional option against tough left-handed hitters. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

16. Detroit Tigers

Record: 24-25
Week 7 ranking: No. 19

The Tigers tucked some wins under their belt this week, but the offense has been a bit feast-or-famine. Facing the Phillies can be an unsavory task, but they didn't chew many runs off the A's either. With their run differential still undercooked, someone should talk to the manager. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

17. Miami Marlins

Record: 26-24
Week 7 ranking: No. 17

Coming into Sunday, the Braves were 5-0 versus Miami and 9-34 against all other teams. In each of the first five games, Miami had taken the early lead, only to watch the games slip away. A seven-game home stand is up next, but the Marlins are only 10-13 there so far this year. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

18. New York Yankees

Record: 24-25
Week 7 ranking: No. 20

The week started off strong for the Yankees, who beat the Blue Jays 6-0 behind a strong six-inning, no-run performance by Nathan Eovaldi on Tuesday, but after that they dropped three of four to the Jays and Rays, entering Sunday. Right now they have three reliable starters -- Eovaldi, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka -- and the offense isn't good enough to overcome early-inning deficits, so the back-end starters need to step up or the team will be facing a .500 season. -- Stacey Gotsulias (@StaceGots), It's About the Money

19. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 26-24
Week 7 ranking: No. 14

The Phillies faced their toughest opponent so far this year, the Cubs, and were promptly swept. The problem is still the poor offense. In their last 15 games, the Phillies have scored five runs only twice. The schedule is soft enough that they could still finish the first half above .500, so they've got some time left to take batting practice. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

20. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 22-26
Week 7 ranking: No. 16

The bats have come alive over the past week, but the Rays sorely miss top-notch defenders Kevin Kiermaier and Logan Forsythe. Sloppy play in the field has multiplied the issues in the rotation and bullpen as the team has allowed five or more runs 14 times in 24 May games coming into Sunday. -- Jason Collette (@jasoncollette), The Process Report

21. Colorado Rockies

Record: 23-26
Week 7 ranking: No. 21

Offseason signing Gerardo Parra's slash line (.272/.284/424) is eerily similar to Wilin Rosario's from the previous two years, but now it's coming from a left fielder instead of a catcher. While he's not nearly as bad as Rosario on defense, you need to squint at the advanced metrics to believe Parra is average. Questionable baserunning decisions haven't earned him any fans in Denver, either. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rbergstromjr), Rockies Zingers

22. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 22-28
Week 7 ranking: No. 22

Here's a positive: Matt Shoemaker has fanned 23 batters in his past two starts while allowing just two runs in 15.2 innings. The last Angels starter with 11 or more K's in consecutive outings: Jered Weaver, back in 2010. Only others to do it: Nolan Ryan (many times), Mark Langston (twice), Frank Tanana, Bill Singer, Dean Chance. Weaver also did it in 2009. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

23. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 23-29
Week 7 ranking: No. 23

On a team full of current and former infielders, Chris Owings, a sometime shortstop and second baseman and current center fielder, has bounced back from an injury-affected 2015 to lead the D-backs with 1.6 bWAR. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona

24. Houston Astros

Record: 22-29
Week 7 ranking: No. 25

They have to take advantage of a pretty soft schedule in June to get back in the AL West race. Only nine games against teams currently above .500 (four against Texas, two against St. Louis, three against Kansas City). Maybe Carlos Correa's pinch-hit home run in the 13th inning on Sunday gets them going. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

25. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 23-27
Week 7 ranking: No. 26

Milwaukee went on a small hot streak where they won four consecutive games, thanks in large part to their dependable bullpen (2.88 ERA in the last seven days through Saturday). -- Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3), Disciples of Uecker

26. Oakland Athletics

Record: 22-29
Week 7 ranking: No. 24

Rich Hill left Sunday's start with a mild groin strain and could miss his next start, but he got the win to improve to 8-3 with a 2.25 ERA and 74 K's in 64 innings (and just two home runs). He's looking like one of the best All-Star stories of the season. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

27. San Diego Padres

Record: 20-31
Week 7 ranking: No. 27

James Shields, with a respectable 3.06 ERA despite a 2-6 record, is rumored to be on the trading block, with the White Sox the most likely suitor. San Diego may have to eat part of his large contract to move him. He is making $21 million this season and each of the next two years, plus a $2 million buyout or a $16 million option for 2019. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

28. Atlanta Braves

Record: 14-35
Week 7 ranking: No. 30

The third-largest crowd of the season at Turner Field on Saturday watched the Braves beat the Marlins for the fifth time this year, as they enjoyed their Chipper Rescues Freddie bobblehead giveaway. After Opening Day, the next two largest crowds at Turner Field have come on the two bobblehead giveaway days. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County

29. Minnesota Twins

Record: 15-34
Week 7 ranking: No. 29

It looked like peak Joe Mauer over the weekend as he hit three opposite-field home runs as the Twins swept the Mariners. He and Miguel Sano joined Albert Pujols as the only visiting players since 2004 to homer in all three games of a series at Safeco. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

30. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 16-34
Week 7 ranking: No. 28

Despite breaking an 11-game losing streak, the Reds were still on pace to lose 109 games entering Sunday. One of the few bright spots: LF Adam Duvall, who has an OPS of .875 to go along with 11 homers and 13 doubles. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation