A's, O's soar up MLB.com's Power Rankings

A's, O's soar up MLB.com's Power Rankings

A's, O's soar up MLB.com's Power Rankings
Folks in Baltimore are starting to believe this season really is for the birds, and it's hard to blame them.

The Orioles are coming off a weekend series win against the Yankees and six perfect innings from starter Joe Saunders on Monday.

What's more, the Orioles begin the day having won eight of their past 10 games and trail the Yankees by only one game in the American League East standings. A win tonight combined with a Yankees loss will land them in a first-place tie.

There's no denying the power behind the statement the O's are making, but does that make them the most powerful team in the big leagues? Where would you rank the Rays?

What about the Rangers and the Reds?

Who will be surprised to wake up one morning to find Oakland on top in the AL West?

Can anybody beat the Nationals, and when will the Dodgers make a move in the National League West?

Meanwhile, history has shown us to never count out the Cardinals. Never.

For the third season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. Three former Major League players -- Larry Dierker, Mitch Williams and Frank Thomas -- are part of the process, as are columnist Peter Gammons and Carlton Thompson, vice president and executive editor of MLB.com. Former general manager and current MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette, along with MLB.com columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Matthew Leach and Jesse Sanchez are also part of the group.

Agree? Disagree? The power to rank the teams is yours.

This Week's Power Rankings
This WeekMovementPower PlayerLast Week
1

Raise your hand if you think Adrian Beltre is the team's MVP. The veteran third baseman has played solid defense all year and has been a force at the plate for most of the season. And don't look now, but the Rangers just might get better. They promoted their No. 1 prospect, infielder Jurickson Profar.

1
2

It's already been a year to remember in Cincy. Johnny Cueto is having a Cy Young-caliber season, the Reds lead the division by 8 1/2 games, and the bullpen, led by Aroldis Chapman is lights out. It's not going to get any easier for the competition during the final month of the season, because Joey Votto will be back in the lineup soon.

3
3

The top pitching staff in the National League can also slug with the best of them. Over their last six games, the first-place Nationals have averaged 6.8 runs per game. Nats fans believe they can win it all, with or without Stephen Strasburg, who is slated to start two more games before he is shut down.

4
4

Alex Rodriguez is back in the cleanup spot and the Yankees could use a boost down the stretch with the Orioles and Rays breathing down their necks in the AL East. Without Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson in the lineup, the club used four different cleanup hitters in the five games leading up to Rodriguez's return.

2
5

The Giants are on a roll, having won 13 of their last 17 games, and are looking to distance themselves from the second-place Dodgers in the NL West standings. Of their remaining 27 games, 15 are at AT&T Park, where they're 38-28.

7
6

The A's have won nine of their last 10 games and trail the first-place Rangers by only four games in the AL West. The starting rotation has been superb, sporting an 8-1 record and 3.05 ERA over its last nine games

12
7

Dan Uggla has been removed as the club's everyday second baseman and replaced by Martin Prado. How the move plays out in the final month is to be determined. What is certain is Uggla has batted .152 with a .276 slugging percentage in the 73 games he has played dating back to June 6.

6
8

The Rays are within 2 1/2 games of the AL East-leading Yankees and will look to cut the deficit with a pair of games in St. Pete this week. Evan Longoria is still bothered by the torn left hamstring that kept him off the field for more than three months, but he said it's not a problem. The third baseman is hitting .237 with three homers and seven RBIs in his last 10 games.

8
9

These birds are soaring, their fan base is energized and it's hard to blame them for being so excited.

13
10

The good news is that Carlos Beltran is day to day with a bruised left knee, and could be back in the lineup soon. Better news? Chris Carpenter could start a big league game before the end of the season.

10
11

The Angels have won nine of their last 12 games and, though they have only picked up a half-game in the AL Wild Card standings for their efforts, they are only 4 1/2 games behind the second-place A's in the division.

15
12

The White Sox are back in sole possession of the top spot in the AL Central but how long will they stay there? The club has won only four of its last 10 games. The good news? Adam Dunn is back in the lineup after missing a couple of games with a strained right oblique.

5
13

The Dodgers have won three in a row and appear to have built some momentum with back-to-back walk-off victories on Sunday and Monday. They still trail the first-place Giants by 4 1/2 games in the NL West.

9
14

Miguel Cabrera is having an MVP-type of season and he's a big reason why the Tigers have remained near the top spot in the division for most of the season. Overall, the slugger is hitting .351 with 30 doubles, 26 homers and 89 RBIs over his past 103 games, dating back to May 10.

11
15

The Pirates have lost four in a row and trail the first-place Reds by 11 games in the division, but the club is still in the hunt for the NL Wild Card. What's more, the Bucs need one more win at PNC Park to clinch their second winning season in the park's 12-year history.

14