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Power Rankings: Is the NL West baseball’s best division?

The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals remained in the top two slots in this week’s rankings, but you’ll find the drama from that point forward thanks to the National League West. The Los Angeles Dodgers moved up one spot, the Colorado Rockies two and the Arizona Diamondbacks four as all three teams finished in the top six, leaving little question over which division is putting the power in this week’s Power Rankings.

Other teams made their own moves up in the rankings this week, but only one club’s leap was larger than the Diamondbacks’ four-rung jump. The Minnesota Twins clambered up five slots to reach the top 10 while holding on to their lead in the American League Central. They were joined in the top 10 by a Boston Red Sox team on the rebound after briefly dropping out last week.

This week’s rankings might not have seen huge climbs up, but it saw three teams take big falls. The Baltimore Orioles‘ six-slot decline reflects their struggles as their hot start in April recedes into memory. But the Texas Rangers fell further still, dropping seven slots as both teams tumbled from the top 10. And not even those clubs could match the collapse of the Seattle Mariners, whose injuries and outage on offense combined for a bad run that pushed them into the AL West basement and nine spots down. Will any of these three teams recover?

This week’s voters are Bradford Doolittle, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian, David Schoenfield and Mark Simon.

Week 7 rankings | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

Record: 35-16
Week 7 ranking: No. 1

The strongest keep finding ways to get stronger still. Carlos Correa has been the hottest hitter in the league not named Trout, putting up a 1.076 OPS. Lance McCullers Jr. has given up only two earned runs in five starts since May 1. The bullpen is striking out batters at an MLB-best rate of 11.7 K/9. During Dallas Keuchel‘s DL trip, they threw a shutout in a pen start. Then Keuchel comes back, and what happens? Book another win. The only question mark they might have is whether first baseman Yuli Gurriel is ever going to hit. — Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


Record: 30-19
Week 7 ranking: No. 2

This isn’t intended to be a knock on Stephen Strasburg‘s great start (both to the season and his 15-strikeout effort against the Padres on Saturday), but let’s keep in mind that nine of his 10 starts this season have come against teams with sub-.500 records and in the one that didn’t, he gave up five runs in six innings to the Orioles. That said, you play who you play, and Strasburg is taking full advantage. — Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 31-20
Week 7 ranking: No. 4

The Dodgers’ rotation shuffle seems likely to continue on a series-to-series basis, with only ace Clayton Kershaw sure to start every fifth day. That same unpredictability can be found in the lineup, with surprise find Chris Taylor moving from second base to third to center to cover for the Dodgers’ overlapping waves of injuries. It’s the injuries — conveniently timed in the rotation, less so in the lineup — that should make you wonder how good this Dodgers team will be once it’s at full strength. — Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


Record: 33-19
Week 7 ranking: No. 6

One factor in the Colorado’s rise in the rankings? Rookies in the rotation have combined to start 29 of their first 52 games, going 18-6 with a 3.36 ERA. Last week reflected how important their contributions have been: They got four quality starts from four different rookies in five turns last week, winning four as 22-year-old Antonio Senzatela notched his seventh win of the season. — Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


Record: 29-18
Week 7 ranking: No. 3

Where did the Yankees’ offense go? Since May 18, the Yankees are scoring 3.5 runs per game, which ranks 25th in the majors. The only teams scoring fewer runs per game in that span are the Cardinals, Orioles, Phillies, Padres and Mariners. Through May 17, the Yankees ranked second in the majors in runs per game with 5.9, trailing only the Nationals (6.0). — Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 31-21
Week 7 ranking: No. 10

The focus on the D-backs is usually on what they’re getting from stars Zack Greinke or Paul Goldschmidt, but what’s giving the Snakes staying power in the standings is the development of their supporting cast. Jake Lamb has turned into a top-tier cleanup hitter with 13 homers batting fourth, and Robbie Ray hasn’t given up a run in his past two starts. — Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


Record: 25-24
Week 7 ranking: 7

The Cubs’ offense busted out for a bit, powering a 7-2 homestand that saw them retake the lead in the NL Central. Ben Zobrist has been great, and recently took over the leadoff spot, and Javier Baez has cut down on his strikeouts and started to mash. But they still need to get Kyle Schwarber going. Sure he has seven home runs, but his big hits are few and far between. Perhaps he’ll break out against the Padres and Marlins, two of the Cubs’ next three opponents. — John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 27-22
Week 7 ranking: No. 12

Stop looking at the Red Sox ranking last in the AL in home runs. That’s a statistical hangover from a bad April, and they’re leading the league in runs scored per game in May (5.5), with Xander Bogaerts in particular raking (14 extra-base hits, .901 OPS). They get David Price back this week; with the rest of the rotation going strong, they initially just need him to keep games in reach for their resurrected offense to help nose past the Yankees and pick up steam in the standings. — Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


Record: 25-23
Week 7 ranking: No. 9

Things seemed to have turned around for the Indians after they swept the Astros in Houston last weekend, but Cleveland couldn’t generate any momentum off that, losing two of three to Cincinnati, then losing their weekend series with the Royals. The Indians’ bullpen is still among the best in baseball, but the team ranks bottom half of baseball in starting pitcher ERA and runs per game. Corey Kluber will return Thursday against the A’s; perhaps he’ll be the spark to get things going for the Tribe. — Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 26-20
Week 7 ranking: No. 15

The Twins have already spent more days in first place this season than they did from 2011 to ’16 combined; 2010 was the last time they were in first place longer, which is also the last time they won the division. That team was led by Jim Thome (with 25 home runs), Delmon Young (112 RBIs), Francisco Liriano (3.62 ERA) and Carl Pavano (3.75 ERA). — Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 25-23
Week 7 ranking: No. 5

The O’s are on a season-long seven-game losing streak. Looking back further, through May 9 the Orioles were 22-10, good for a .688 winning percentage that led the majors. Since then, they are 3-13, a .188 winning percentage that is worst in the majors in that span. Dylan Bundy finally had a bad outing, giving up six earned runs to the Tigers on May 18. But he rebounded in his next outing with seven innings of two-run ball, but the team nevertheless lost that game. — Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 27-26
Week 7 ranking: No. 14

Chris Archer has 51 strikeouts in 33 innings this month. But the Rays are only 2-3 in his starts in May and his season ERA (3.61) is considerably higher than what it probably should be (2.78 FIP). Archer seems like a pitcher on the verge of breaking through to high-end ace, but he’s not quite over that hump. The most encouraging sign is how he has cut back on home runs — he has given up six in 11 starts after yielding 30 in 2016. — Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 24-23
Week 7 ranking: No. 13

The Cardinals were the best team in baseball for a long stretch after a terrible start to the season, but they’ve struggled again over the past two weeks or so. They’re getting great starting pitching, especially from Adam Wainwright, who is pitching more like the ace he always has been. But too many hitters are slumping at the same time — all three outfielders are struggling and Matt Carpenter suddenly can’t buy a hit. — John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 27-23
Week 7 ranking: No. 11

Despite a big slump from Eric Thames, the Brewers are still hanging around at the top of the standings. Chase Anderson delivered a huge performance Saturday, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He has pitched well all year, but they’ll need more from the rotation outside him and Matt Garza. They’ve leaned on their bullpen and it has worked so far — Corey Knebel, Carlos Torres and Jacob Barnes, their three most-used relievers, have been great. — John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 25-26
Week 7 ranking: No. 8

Beating up on below-.500 teams propelled the Rangers up in the rankings, but losing five straight against stronger competition — the Red Sox and Blue Jays — revealed again a team that has problems matching up with strong opponents. Their record against teams .500 or better is 5-14. Their schedule stays tough over the next two weeks, which should test whether they’re really back. Adrian Beltre, expected back from the DL this week, can’t arrive soon enough. — Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


Record: 26-27
Week 7 ranking: No. 17

Mike Trout is tied for the MLB lead in home runs, which makes all the sense in the world. He has nine in May after hitting seven in April. Last season he didn’t hit more than seven in any month, hitting seven in May but fewer than seven in every other month. His nine in May are his most in a month since July 2015, when he hit 12. Now, the Angels have to hope his hand injury suffered Sunday is no big deal. — Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 23-27
Week 7 ranking: No. 20

The Blue Jays tied their longest winning streak of the season at five games last week. They won five straight games twice in May, after winning eight games total in April. Jose Bautista, who is heating up, continues to power this team; he has eight home runs in May after hitting only one in April. The Blue Jays are 7-2 when he hits a home run this season. — Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 23-27
Week 7 ranking: No. 16

The offense has sputtered thanks to Miguel Cabrera‘s being nagged by injuries, and disappointing starts from Justin Upton and Ian Kinsler. The rotation ranks outside the top 10 in the AL in ERA and the bullpen is among the worst in the majors. Fortunately for Detroit, there are no world-beaters in the AL Central. The Tigers need help, but if GM Al Avila finds some, they could hang tough in their division’s (slow) race. — Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 24-25
Week 7 ranking: No. 21

Maybe shortstop Zack Cozart‘s incredible start to the season is legit. After hitting .352 in April, Cozart has hit safely in 19 of 21 games in May. His batting average has been .329 or higher at the end of every day this season except one — Opening Day. At the rate Cozart is going, he might pass his career high for wins above replacement (2.7) in about two weeks. — Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 23-26
Week 7 ranking: No. 19

Staying around .500 was going to be a tall order with this roster, but the Sox have been more competitive than expected. Jose Abreu is hitting like a viable MVP candidate (in a Trout-free universe, at least), Tim Anderson and Yolmer Sanchez have settled in to give the Sox a strong keystone combo and Derek Holland looks like the latest pitcher resurrected by pitching coach Don Cooper after delivering eight quality starts in 10 turns. — Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


Record: 23-28
Week 7 ranking: No. 25

The Pirates’ bats are starting to heat up, and they’re getting contributions from everybody. Adam Frazier seems to have a hit every day, Jordy Mercer is hitting for power, and Francisco Cervelli is on fire. Plus, Gregory Polanco homered in his first game off the DL. We’ll see what they’re made of over the next month; 18 of their next 25 games are against teams with winning records. — John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 21-27
Week 7 ranking: No. 24

There is little positive to speak of about the Mets these last few days, but Jacob deGrom‘s past two starts have been fantastic. Management has bumped deGrom’s pitch-count limits up a notch, making him more capable of turning in Max Scherzer-like performances. He threw 118 pitches against the Pirates (second most in a regular-season start in his career) and his fastball was making hitters look silly to the end. He’s averaging an NL-best 12 strikeouts per nine innings. — Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 22-27
Week 7 ranking: No. 23

Yonder Alonso missed about a week because of a knee injury. He homered in his return to the lineup last Tuesday but was hit by a pitch on the wrist and missed a few more games. He’s a free agent in 2018 so he could be a major trade chip for the A’s as they don’t seem to be going anywhere this year. But they need him healthy and homering to get some good prospects to help replenish a depleted farm system, which Keith Law had ranked 23rd in the majors entering this season. — Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 21-27
Week 7 ranking: No. 26

Matt Adams looks as if he’s going to acclimate to his new hitter-friendly home ballpark pretty well. He hit .318 with two doubles, two homers and a triple in his first five starts there. But hitting at home has rarely been a problem for Adams in his career. His issues in 2015 and 2016 in particular came on the road, where he hit .218. He’ll be tested on this road trip, which continues this week against the Angels and Reds. — Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 22-30
Week 7 ranking: No. 22

After not winning a game started by the Madison Bumgarner-turned-Ty Blach rotation slot until May 16, the Giants have now won three straight Blach starts. Since the start following his three-inning, 10-run outing in Cincinnati, Blach has a 2.51 ERA. He has gone at least seven innings in each of those four starts and hasn’t given up more than three runs. He’s the first Giants starter to do that in four straight starts this season. — Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 21-28
Week 7 ranking: No. 27

The Royals still rank last in the majors in runs scored, but the good news is that they start a 10-game homestand this week against the Tigers, Indians and Astros. They’re over .500 in front of the Kansas City faithful this season, and Lorenzo Cain (.880 OPS) and Eric Hosmer (.861) have both been hot at home in 2017. They’ll need to power some wins in K.C. to help convince GM Dayton Moore to not break up the team by the trade deadline. — Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 22-29
Week 7 ranking: No. 18

The team’s 2-8 tumble was perhaps overdue in light of the multiple injuries in their rotation, but it’s the collapse of the offense that’s to blame, as they scored zero or one run in all eight losses. Nelson Cruz has cooled off, Robinson Cano didn’t hit initially after coming back from the DL and Mitch Haniger can’t heal up soon enough. — Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


Record: 18-30
Week 7 ranking: No. 29

Ichiro Suzuki wants to play until he’s 50, but the numbers show that he’s on the “it’s time to call it a career” short list. He’s not going to get many opportunities in this outfield so long as Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton are healthy and he’s now 3-for-30 as a pinch hitter. His best value at this point would actually be come September, when a team could keep him around as a player-coach without wasting a roster spot and give him in late opportunities as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. — Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 17-31
Week 7 ranking: No. 28

The Phillies can’t do anything well anymore — bad starting pitching, no relief from the bullpen and they can’t score. They haven’t won consecutive games this month and the manager held a dreaded team meeting this week. At least when they win, they give the fans some excitement. They’ve had two walk-off wins this week, and both hits came off the bat of Tommy Joseph, who has rebounded nicely in May after a bad April. — John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information


Record: 19-33
Week 7 ranking: No. 30

Moral victories might be almost as rare for the Padres as actual wins, but Clayton Richard has quality starts in three of his past four turns, and last week’s back-to-back one-run wins against the Mets were their first wins on consecutive days since April. Ryan Schimpf ‘s Three True Outcomes approach at the plate is spreading — Schimpf, Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe have combined to homer, walk or whiff in 47 percent of their plate appearances in May. — Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

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