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 September 10, 2012.
1. Nationals — Pacing majors with 58 runs, 24 homers in Sept.
2. Reds — Leadoff hitters batting just .207, by far worst in majors.
3. Rangers — Lead down to 3.5 games with seven left with Oakland.
4. Braves — Kris Medlen unbeatable for Atlanta.
5. Giants — Starters have 2.02 ERA in 15 games vs. Dodgers.
6. Yankees — Tough stretch leaves Yanks in battle for division title.
7. A’s — Green and Gold just keeps winning; 36-17 in second half.
8. Orioles — Will miss Nick Markakis, who has broken hand.
9. Rays — Pitchers have a 0.99 WHIP since the break.
10. Angels — 10 blown saves in second half have impeded progress.
11. Cardinals — Jaime Garcia may be Redbirds’ new ace.
12. Dodgers — Mark and A.J. Ellis batting .345 in September.
13. White Sox — Good to have center fielder Alejandro de Aza back in lineup.
14. Tigers — Miguel Cabrera has outside shot at triple crown.
15. Pirates — 63-56 when Neil Walker starts, 9-11 when he doesn’t.
16. Diamondbacks — Winning mark vs. West, below .500 vs. East and Central.
17. Phillies — Haven’t been above .500 since June 1, but getting close.
18. Brewers — Ryan Braun making strong case for another MVP.
19. Mariners — Best last-place team in the majors.
20. Padres — Chase Headley has 58 RBIs in last 52 games.
21. Mets — Only NL team with worse record since the break is Houston.
22. Royals — Batting respectable .277 in 26 games vs. White Sox and Tigers.
23. Blue Jays — Just 14-26 against top three team in AL East.
24. Marlins — 15-13 vs. three NL division leaders.
25. Red Sox — Only 14 extra-base hits in eight September games.
26. Twins — Joe Mauer batting .385 with two outs and RISP.
27. Indians — Fewest homers in majors in second half.
28. Rockies — ERA has dropped from 5.26 in first half to 4.77 after break.
29. Cubs — Alfonso Soriano has 58 extra-base hits and 94 RBIs.
30. Astros — Fewest runs scored, most allowed in NL since the break.
AL Player of the Week
B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay—The streaky center fielder has finally given the Rays some pop this season. Last week he had five home runs and batted .400 against division leaders New York and Texas as Tampa Bay battles for the final wild card spot. Upton scored seven times and was successful on all three stolen base attempts.
AL Pitcher of the Week
James Shields, Tampa Bay—With every game for the Rays now essentially a must-win, Shields gave the club two dynamite starts last week in wins over the Yankees and Rangers. In 17 innings, Shields gave up just seven hits, allowed three walks and whiffed 13.
NL Player of the Week
Chase Headley, San Diego—The Padres’ third baseman has taken over the National League lead in RBIs. Last week he began with four consecutive two-hit games as the Padres took two of three from both the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. He batted .321 and led the majors with 13 RBIs. He also homered four times.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Kris Medlen, Atlanta—The Braves’ young righthander finally saw his 40.2-inning scoreless streak come to an end, but he defeated the Mets anyway, allowing just two earned runs over six innings. The Braves have won Medlen’s last nine starts. For the week he allowed nine hits, two walks and struck out 15 in 15 innings.