Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week for August 13, 2012.
1. Nationals — Will they or won’t they shut down Stephen Strasburg?
2. Reds — Continuing to cruise without Joey Votto.
3. Yankees — Rangers and Red Sox visit the Bronx this week.
4. Rangers — Josh Hamilton heating up again with 12 RBIs in last nine games.
5. Braves — Lost just one series since the break.
6. Pirates — Easiest team to run on.
7. Dodgers — Fewest home runs in the majors, four less than the Giants.
8. Giants — Tim Lincecum-Stephen Strasburg matchup on Wednesday.
9. Rays — Majors’ best save percentage.
10. White Sox — Chris Sale in Cy Young discussion.
11. A’s — Pinch-hitters batting .300, AL average is .209.
12. Cardinals — Bullpen not getting any better.
13. Orioles — Used 10 starting pitchers this season.
14. Angels — Quickly losing ground in wild card race.
15. Tigers — Lost four of seven vs. Yankees and Rangers; Twins, O’s on deck.
16. Diamondbacks — Crept back into the race, but can’t get over the hump.
17. Red Sox — Rocking offense, woeful pitching.
18. Mariners — Starting pitching has been terrific, but still worst OBP in majors.
19. Blue Jays — Lost 11 of 14 with tough stretch ahead.
20. Mets — Visit two first-place teams (Cin. and Wash.) this week.
21. Marlins — Most stolen bases in majors.
22. Phillies — Trying to hold it together while playing out the string.
23. Twins — Swept by Rays, but just 3.5 games back of Cleveland.
24. Indians — Nine-game West Coast trip could be trouble.
25. Brewers — Bullpen saddled with 28 losses.
26. Padres — Tossed three shutouts in last six games.
27. Royals — Three regulars batting .294 or better.
28. Rockies — Carlos Gonzalez on pace for another 100 runs and RBIs.
29. Cubs — Won just one of 12, but Houston comes to town now.
30. Astros — No team strikes out more often than the Astros.
AL Player of the Week
Josh Hamilton, Texas—With Hamilton back on track, the Rangers are winning at a better clip than they were over the previous six weeks. After suffering through a terrible slump in July, Hamilton is now working on a 10-game hitting streak. Last week, he batted .455 with three home runs and nine RBIs. He scored seven runs and showed much more patience at the plate, which produced a .538 OBP. With his bat warming up, Texas won four of six and now owns the best record in the American League.
AL Pitcher of the Week
Chris Sale, Chicago—The White Sox continue to defy the odds and maintain a slim lead over the Tigers in the AL Central. Sale tossed eight strong innings vs. Kansas City on nine days rest. The White Sox have been giving the young lefthander some extra rest when possible. For the week, he totaled 14.2 innings and did not walk a batter while striking out 18. He won both starts, defeating the Royals and A’s.
NL Player of the Week
Buster Posey, San Francisco—For the second week in a row, Posey had a tremendous stretch for the improving Giants. The All-Star backstop followed up on his previous Player of the Week honor with a .421 batting average and .571 OBP. Posey slammed three homers and knocked in seven runs.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Jake Westbrook, St. Louis—With just a little more than a month until his 35th birthday, Westbrook is quietly having the best year of his career — certainly his best since his All-Star season in 2004. The righthander has won his last five starts, and last week defeated the Giants and Phillies. In 13.2 innings, he allowed 11 hits and two walks. He struck out just seven, but recorded 18 groundball outs in the win over Philadelphia.