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 20, 2012.
1. Nationals — Opponents are batting .210 with runners in scoring position.
2. Reds — Another weekend, another walk-off win for Cincinnati.
3. Yankees — Won nine of 12 and now visit Chicago and Cleveland.
4. Rangers — David Murphy has been team’s best hitter in second half.
5. Braves — Three sub-20,000 crowds last week during pennant race.
6. Dodgers — Holding opponents to a .185 average with bases loaded.
7. Pirates — 11 homers, 22 doubles in 12 games vs. St. Louis this season.
8. Rays — Matt Moore, David Price in 2nd half: 10-1, 1.53 ERA, 0.96 WHIP.
9. Giants — Can Giants overcome the loss of their offensive catalyst?
10. A’s — Grant Balfour has allowed 1 ER, 1 extra-base hit in July/Aug.
11. White Sox — Just one game above .500 in second half.
12. Orioles — Won 11 of 15 but can’t gain ground in AL East.
13. Cardinals — Only two home series losses since mid-June both to Pirates.
14. Tigers — Haven’t won a series outside their division in more than a month.
15. Diamondbacks — 14-16 when not playing the Astros in second half.
16. Angels — Crashing and burning with a 6.76 ERA in August.
17. Red Sox — 6-12 in August and fading fast.
18. Mariners — King Felix was perfect, but offense still not so hot.
19. Blue Jays — Struggling Jays batting just .217 in August.
20. Phillies — Seven games against best two teams in NL this week.
21. Mets — 11-24 since the break, only Houston is worse in NL.
22. Marlins — August batting avg.: Stanton & Reyes .313, rest of team .247.
23. Royals — Third place sounds nice, but would be last in other AL divisions.
24. Padres — Batting .179 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
25. Brewers — 13 straight games vs. Cubs and Pirates coming up.
26. Indians — Opponents are batting an even .300 this month.
27. Twins — Justin Morneau appears to be back in top form.
28. Rockies — Bats are alive at .310 in August; opponents are hitting .281.
29. Cubs — Swinging away: 142 strikeouts, 134 hits in August.
30. Astros — Managerial change can’t help in 2012.
AL Player of the Week
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit—The Tigers continue to struggle in the AL Central (arguably the worst division in baseball), but Cabrera remains a force and is contending for MVP honors. Miggy had four multi-hit games in a row, batting .476 for the week with a 1.386 OPS and seven runs scored.
AL Pitcher of the Week
Hiroki Kuroda, New York—With apologies to Felix Hernandez and his perfect game last week, Kuroda gets the nod for the award. He was nearly perfect twice. Last Tuesday, he tossed a two-hit shutout against the Rangers and followed that with eight innings allowing just one earned run vs. the rival Red Sox. For the week, he tossed 17 innings and gave up just six hits and two walks.
NL Player of the Week
Jay Bruce, Cincinnati—The Reds have certainly taken up the slack left in the lineup when Joey Votto was disabled due to knee surgery, and Bruce has been a huge part of that. Last week he had at least one hit and scored a run in every game. He batted .429 with three homers, seven extra-base hits and led the majors with nine runs.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles—As the Dodgers continue to battle the Giants in the NL West, Billingsley gave the team two tremendous starts last week against two teams in the wild card race. The righthander pitched eight shutout innings at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, then followed that with seven scoreless at Atlanta. He allowed just eight hits and three walks in 15 frames.