Power Rankings: Everyone is chasing the Astros

With the Houston Astros' winning streak at 10 games and counting, is it any surprise that they were the unanimous No. 1 choice with our voters? The question now is whether there's anything that can happen this season that might upset their plans to run the table on the rest of the league en route to a division title and more.

The main development in this week's elite tier was that the National League West trio of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, which all rate among baseball's best six squads, has been joined in the top 10 by three American League East teams, as the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles forced their way up in their pursuit of the division-leading New York Yankees. And with the Rays and Blue Jays not far behind, the AL East might have a fourth team that could force its way in sometime soon.

This week's single biggest move up was made by the Seattle Mariners, who climbed seven slots one week after falling all the way down to the 27. The next largest moves upward were made by the rebounding Toronto Blue Jays and a Miami Marlins team in the afterglow of Edinson Volquez's weekend no-hitter, as both clubs made four-spot jumps upward. The biggest tumbles were taken by the Minnesota Twins, who fell five spots, and the Atlanta Braves, who dropped by four.

This week's voters are Bradford Doolittle, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian, David Schoenfield and Mark Simon.

Week 8 rankings | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

1. Houston Astros

Record: 41-16
Week 8 ranking: No. 1

The current 10-game winning streak pushed their season winning percentage to .719. Only three teams since 1950 have played .700 for an entire season: the '54 Indians (.721), the '01 Mariners (.716) and the '98 Yankees (.714). The best record in Astros franchise history was the 102-win team of 1998. This year's club is on pace for 116 wins. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com

2. Washington Nationals

Record: 35-20
Week 8 ranking: No. 2

The Nationals will finally play a team that is their match when they face the Dodgers for the first time since the 2016 NL Division Series. They haven't played a team with a winning record since May 10, and they're not slated to play many the rest of the way. The Nationals not only have a massive lead in the NL East, they have 49 games remaining against their divisional opponents, all of whom are well below .500. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 35-23
Week 8 ranking: No. 3

Whatever monkey business the Dodgers get up to with the series-to-series management of their non-Kershaw starters, in the bullpen they're getting a regular relief performance every bit as dominant as what they get from their ace every five days. On Saturday, closer Kenley Jansen notched his ninth save and recorded his 40th strikeout, and he has yet to walk anyone. He's striking out a career-best 47.1 percent of all batters faced, easily the best mark among NL closers. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

4. New York Yankees

Record: 32-22
Week 8 ranking: No. 5

It isn't just the young sluggers who are getting in on the Yankees' offensive parade. Brett Gardner, at age 33 and in his 10th season on the team, has kicked it into gear. Since May 1, his .633 slugging percentage ranks third in the majors. Gardner has homered every 12 at-bats in that span, better than any other Yankee. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

5. Colorado Rockies

Record: 36-23
Week 8 ranking: No. 4

Starting pitching remains the key predictor for whether the Rockies sustain or gain momentum, as they lost all four games last week in which they did not get a quality start and won all three when they did. On Sunday, they swapped in rookie Jeff Hoffman for an ailing Tyler Anderson. The result of Jon Gray's (DL) simulated game on Monday is something to watch. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

6. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 34-25
Week 8 ranking: No. 6

The Diamondbacks head back to Arizona after losing some steam during a 5-6 road trip. Their 21-8 record at home is tied for best in the majors. More than a few players have struggled on the road this season -- Brandon Drury's .453 road OPS is worst in the NL, and Yasmany Tomas at .548 has been little better. Arizona will need better production than that from key lineup regulars to keep up in the NL West race. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

7. Boston Red Sox

Record: 31-25
Week 8 ranking: No. 8

David Price returned to the rotation, and after a so-so debut Monday when he battled his command, he threw seven innings to beat the Orioles on Saturday, allowing just three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. That gives the Red Sox a rotation that might finally start firing on all five cylinders -- exactly what they'll need to take charge in the AL East race. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com

8. Cleveland Indians

Record: 29-26
Week 8 ranking: No. 9

Corey Kluber was excellent in his return from the DL on Thursday, needing just 77 pitches for six scoreless innings and 10 strikeouts against the A's. But after a brilliant April, Carlos Carrasco has not pitched well lately, and the rest of Cleveland's starters have been disappointing (Trevor Bauer's 14-K game aside). The good news is the Tribe's offense has been great over the past two weeks, and their bullpen continues to be the best in the bigs. The surprise is that they might need to add a starter to push them over the top. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

9. Chicago Cubs

Record: 28-27
Week 8 ranking: 7

A go-ahead grand slam from Kyle Schwarber -- his first -- punctuated the Cubs' win Saturday against the Cardinals. The outfielder has been the poster boy for the team's early-season struggles, though their starting pitching is more to blame. The rotation owns a 4.64 ERA after posting the best mark in the league by more than half a run in 2016. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information

10. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 29-26
Week 8 ranking: No. 11

Manny Machado has 12 home runs, but he's hitting just .212, a far cry from his .294 batting average in 2016. Through 54 games last season, Machado was hitting .311 with a .975 OPS. Right now he has a .738 OPS. Machado actually cooled off the rest of the way last year, hitting .285 with an .824 OPS. This year, the O's have to hope he does the reverse and heats up as the season goes on. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

11. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 29-30
Week 8 ranking: No. 12

That Logan Morrison is flirting with a .900 OPS through about one-third of the season is rather remarkable given that he hasn't finished a year above .800 since his debut season in 2010 when he hit two home runs and 20 doubles in 62 games. If Morrison is going to get there, it will be in a different manner, with his home run output exceeding his doubles total by a good margin. He already has hit more home runs in 2017 than he did in all but two seasons of his eight-year career. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

12. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 30-27
Week 8 ranking: No. 14

The Brewers keep mashing at the plate, getting contributions from everyone. When Eric Thames hits a slump, Travis Shaw keeps the offense running -- almost half of Shaw's hits have gone for extra bases this season. And they continue to get excellent starting pitching. Exhibit A is Jimmy Nelson outdueling Clayton Kershaw on Friday night, throwing eight scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks. But the bullpen needs to step up and preserve some leads. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

13. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 28-29
Week 8 ranking: No. 17

Are we finally seeing the real Blue Jays? They went 8-17 in April, the second worst of any team in the majors. But since the calendar flipped to May (and now June), the Blue Jays have been up there with some of the league's best, going 20-12 since May 1. The only teams better in that span? The Astros (25-7) and Dodgers (21-11). The Jays have a .797 OPS as a team since May 1, second best in the majors behind only the Astros (.853). -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

14. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 26-28
Week 8 ranking: No. 13

The Cards have struggled to score -- they hadn't scored more than four runs in a game in a week and a half until Sunday, and that outage on the scoreboard has wasted some excellent starting pitching. They have the best rotation ERA over the past three weeks but have won only five games in that stretch. This week they face the Reds and Phillies, so a rebound could be ahead. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

15. Minnesota Twins

Record: 29-24
Week 8 ranking: No. 10

Two months into the season, the Twins are still maintaining their slender lead in the AL Central. Ervin Santana is still in the top five in ERA in the majors, and Miguel Sano is eighth in the majors in OPS and going 12.7 at-bats per home run. This team might actually maintain itself in the standings, but it will need more than their singular contributions to do so. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

16. Texas Rangers

Record: 26-31
Week 8 ranking: No. 15

Three straight losses to the Astros dropped the Rangers to 2-10 in their past 12 games, but Thursday's loss to Tampa was the toughest one as the Rays tied it in the ninth and then beat Sam Dyson in the 10th. Dyson dropped to 1-6 with a 10.80 ERA and that would be his last game as the Rangers designated him for assignment. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com

17. Detroit Tigers

Record: 28-28
Week 8 ranking: No. 18

Miguel Cabrera missed a few games in the middle of May with an oblique injury, but he's hitting over .300 with an OPS of close to 1.000 OPS since he returned to the lineup. The Tigers' offense continues to be one of the AL's best, but pitching is still a major concern -- the staff ranks in the bottom five in the league in ERA, WHIP and just about every other major pitching category. They're still in the AL Central race, but they need help. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

18. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 25-30
Week 8 ranking: No. 19

Cincinnati starters registered a 5.94 ERA in May ("good" for 29th in MLB), which overshadowed an offense that continues to exceed expectations. Zack Cozart has been the lineup's top performer, leading the team with a .997 OPS. No shortstop has posted a mark that high over a full season since Alex Rodriguez in 2002. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information

19. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 29-31
Week 8 ranking: No. 16

Life isn't as good without Mike Trout. The 25-year-old was having a career year before a headfirst slide put him on the shelf for at least six weeks. Albert Pujols has picked up some of the slack, hitting three homers last week including his 600th on Saturday. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information

20. Seattle Mariners

Record: 28-30
Week 8 ranking: No. 27

The Mariners were on life support a week ago, but after taking three of four from the Rockies and sweeping the Rays, they're closing back in on .500. James Paxton returned and threw 5⅓ scoreless innings, Mike Zunino had a seven-RBI game Saturday, Danny Valencia tied a club record with nine straight hits, and Ariel Miranda won his fifth straight decision with his first career complete game Sunday. In the bad news department, Jean Segura suffered a severely sprained ankle and landed back on the DL. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com

21. Chicago White Sox

Record: 24-31
Week 8 ranking: No. 20

The White Sox have been blistered for 49 runs during their current five-game losing streak as their early-season success appears to have been a mirage (again). The biggest news coming out of the South Side was Hawk Harrleson's announcement that next season will be his last in the broadcast booth. In other words, after next year, "he gone!" -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN.com

22. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 26-31
Week 8 ranking: No. 21

The rotation has struggled lately, and the Pirates need Gerrit Cole to get right and lead the way. His strikeouts are up and his walks are down, but he has to keep the ball in the park; he already has allowed more than twice as many home runs as last year. Even worse, 11 of the 15 homers he has given up have tied the score or given the other team the lead. But all is not lost as Andrew McCutchen is starting to heat up. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

23. New York Mets

Record: 24-31
Week 8 ranking: No. 22

Matt Harvey's inability to put away hitters when he gets to two strikes may be the hardest challenge he has to overcome in his return from injury. Some math: Harvey has needed 313 two-strike pitches to record 46 strikeouts. Two seasons ago, Harvey totaled 188 strikeouts and needed 838 pitches to do it. If his goal was 188 strikeouts this season, at this rate, it will take him 1,279 pitches ... more than 400 more than in 2015! -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

24. Miami Marlins

Record: 24-31
Week 8 ranking: No. 28

A former major league coach told me before last season that then-hitting coach Barry Bonds would be a good teacher for Justin Bour. Whatever Bour learned from Bonds and Bonds' replacement Mike Pagliarulo is working. Though he could stand to hit a few more doubles, Bour already has reached his single-season best in wins above replacement, and there's still two-thirds of the season to go. He could challenge Gary Sheffield's club record for home runs in a season (42 in 1996). -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

25. Kansas City Royals

Record: 24-31
Week 8 ranking: No. 26

Since the calendar flipped to May, the Royals have played .500 ball and Eric Hosmer has been one of the best hitters in baseball, erasing any "WBC participation hangover" concerns. The Royals are still struggling to overcome an MLB-worst April (when they went 7-16), and they still need bullpen help if they're going to make a push for the division. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

26. Oakland Athletics

Record: 24-32
Week 8 ranking: No. 23

The A's may be the first team to be a seller this season, and that is probably a good thing because they have some very attractive pieces to deal. Yonder Alonso, Jed Lowrie and Ryan Madson all have been great and could help a lot of contenders. Ryon Healy has been a pleasant surprise, but the A's aren't going anywhere as presently constructed. It's time to sell and let the kids get some big league experience. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

27. San Francisco Giants

Record: 23-35
Week 8 ranking: No. 25

The Giants are hitting .231 as a team. The worst batting average for a season in franchise history is .233 in 1985. That team went 62-100, the only time the Giants have ever lost 100 games. This team is on pace to go 64-98, which would tie for the second-most losses in franchise history and the most since that 1985 100-loss season. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

28. Atlanta Braves

Record: 24-30
Week 8 ranking: No. 24

Jaime Garcia has turned out to be a good offseason acquisition, posting a 3.18 ERA to become the Braves' best pitcher. He just completed a three-start run in which he allowed one earned run in 21⅔ innings pitched. Garcia has shown that there is life after thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, a good example for someone like Mets pitcher Matt Harvey to keep in mind. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

29. San Diego Padres

Record: 23-35
Week 8 ranking: No. 30

Last week's five-game winning streak was the product of a pitching staff that's getting stronger, as the Padres have gone nine games between blowout losses (being outscored by five runs or more) while posting a 3.19 ERA and a record of 7-2. That kind of pitching keeps games in reach for the power quartet of Hunter Renfroe, Wil Myers, Austin Hedges and Ryan Schimpf. Now, can they sustain it, or was sweeping the Cubs in Petco the highlight of their season? -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

30. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 19-35
Week 8 ranking: No. 29

Nothing is working for the Fightin' Phils. They're in the bottom five in baseball in runs per game, OBP, slugging and rotation ERA. Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera, two players who looked like building blocks, have been inconsistent. Before beating the Giants on Saturday and Sunday, they hadn't won consecutive games since April, something they might not do again soon with 17 of their next 21 games coming against the Cardinals, Red Sox and Diamondbacks. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information