Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (Atlanta Braves) and worst (Houston Astros) baseball teams and players in the league. Here are our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.
Athlon Sports MLB Power Rankings
1. BravesMagic number is already 24.
2. DodgersHot doesn’t begin to describe the men in blue.
3. Tigers20-5 when Max Scherzer starts.
4. Red Sox12 games better than this point last season.
5. RangersHaven’t lost two in a row since July 28.
6. PiratesLost seven of last nine, three of them in extra innings.
7. CardinalsCold doesn’t begin to describe the men in red.
8. A’sFloundering at an even .500 (14-14) since the All-Star break.
9. RaysLeft side of the infield batted .395 last week.
10. RedsBullpen is 2-0 with five saves and 12 holds in August.
11. OriolesOnly one game in August without a home run.
12. YankeesA-Rod, Yankees soap opera continues.
13. IndiansJust three games left with Tigers.
14. RoyalsBilly Butler, Eric Hosmer batting .338, slugging .524 in August.
15. DiamondbacksHave five pitchers with at least two saves.
16. NationalsTough season to end Davey Johnson’s career.
17. RockiesHave just four multi-homer games since June 28.
18. MarinersCan Felix Hernandez win the Cy Young award?
19. Blue Jays7.5 games back of Yankees with seven of next 10 games vs. N.Y.
20. Padres15-13 so far vs. five likely NL playoff teams.
21. MetsHave 13 losses when they allow three runs or fewer.
22. AngelsLosing record against all four division rivals.
23. TwinsBullpen has logged third-most innings, own fifth-best ERA.
24. Giants12 games worse than at this point of 2012 title season.
25. PhilliesHaven’t won back-to-back games since All-Star break.
26. Brewers13-14 since Ryan Braun’s suspension.
27. CubsEnded the week a season-low 17 games below .500.
28. White Sox17.5 games worse than this point last season.
29. Marlins33-34 over last two-and-a-half months.
30. AstrosEnjoying a one-and-a-half game improvement vs. last season.
AL Player of the Week
Alfonso Soriano, New York
The prodigal Yankee began the week 0-for-3 and ended with an 0-for-6, but in between he smashed AL pitching at a 15-for-22 clip with five home runs and 18 RBIs over a five-game span. In only 21 games in pinstripes this season, Soriano is tied for fifth on the team in homers and seventh in RBIs.
AL Pitcher of the Week
Chris Sale, Chicago
Chicago’s ace has pitched in tough luck all season with very little run support. But last week, the lineup gave him a few runs and he made them stand up in wins over Detroit and Minnesota. For the week, Sale was 2-0 with 14 strikeouts, one walk and a 2.81 ERA.
NL Player of the Week
Will Venable, San Diego
The Princeton alum has been one of the Padres’ hottest hitters of late, and that continued last week. He ended the week with a .406 average, which was boosted by a 4-for-5 performance on Saturday and a walk-off home run on Sunday.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia
The 2013 season has not been one to remember for Hamels — or his team — but the lefthander had two memorable starts last week. He pitched a complete game at Atlanta and tossed seven strong innings in a win over the Dodgers as the Phillies defeated two of the hottest teams in baseball.