Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Power Rankings Week 15: Tigers, Dodgers back near the top


Meaningful winning streaks are starting to shake up the landscape for the 2014 Major League season.

Near the top of each league, this means shuffling here and there in the standings and the arrivals of teams that were supposed to be good but had struggled thus far. That means teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers re-asserting themselves and it means the sudden presence of the Cincinnati Reds in second place in the National League Central ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The most consistently dominant team remains the Oakland Athletics, while the Milwaukee Brewers simply refuse to go away. As for the middle ground that used to feel so uncertain, the losing skids of teams like the Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies have drawn a clearer line between the true playoff hopefuls and those that will be irrelevant soon.

As always these things are subject to change with one streak one direction or the other, but here are the MLB Power Rankings as things stand now.

1. Oakland Athletics Oakland A’s (51-30, no change)

2. Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee Brewers (51-33, +1)

3. Detroit Tigers Detroit Tigers (44-34, +3)

4.  Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers (47-37, +4)

The Dodgers and the Tigers charge near the top and unseat teams that have been up here longer for one simple reason: talent. These teams were picked as World Series favorites for a reason, so as soon as they start to resemble those teams they ought to be recognized as such. The Tigers tout the scariest 1-2 punch of hitters in the game currently with Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera. The Dodgers roll with the scariest rotation in baseball, especially with Josh Beckett and Dan Haren overachieving at the back end.

Neither of these teams are perfect, but they each have the resources to make a big move between now and the trade deadline. If they do they will solidify their status as the team(s) to beat.

5. Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Angels (45-35, -1)

6Toronto Blue Jays Toronto Blue Jays (42-35, -2)

7. San Francisco GiantsSan Francisco Giants (46-36, -5)

This big drop probably seems harsh, but it has been developing over the course of the last month or so. Two red flags seem to be of particular concern for the Giants: they are now only three games above .500 at home, a place where they typically are dominant, and there is unrest in the back of their bullpen. This is still a team to be reckoned with, but they have some unfamiliar issues to address as they try to recover from a tough stretch in June.

8. St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals (44-39, -1)

9. Washington Nationals Washington Nationals (43-38, no change)

10.Seattle Mariners Seattle Mariners (44-38, +2)

11. Atlanta Braves Atlanta Braves (44-38, +2)

Just when they looked like a team with a lot of holes, especially on offense, the Braves have charged back to first place in the National League East. The Nationals still look like a more complete team, especially with the return of Bryce Harper this week, but the Braves just keep finding a way to hang around, much to their credit.

12. Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati Reds (43-38, +3)

We noted the fact that the Reds were on the rise in last week’s MLB Power Rankings, and all they did this week was keep up the good work. Bryan Price‘s squad is now enjoying an impressive 14-4 stretch. The quality of their starting rotation is probably a bit underrated, something that is certainly a factor as they have officially made the National League Central one of the toughest divisions in baseball, right there with the American League West.

13. Baltimore Orioles Baltimore Orioles (42-39, -3)

14. New York Yankees New York Yankees (41-39, -3)

15. Kansas City Royals Kansas City Royals (42-39, -1)

16. Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh Pirates (42-40, +1)

17. Cleveland Indians Cleveland Indians (39-42, +1)

18. Miami Marlins Miami Marlins (39-43, -2)

19. Boston Red Sox Boston Red Sox (38-44, +4)

20. Texas Rangers Texas Rangers (37-44, no change)

21. Minnesota Twins Minnesota Twins (37-43, -2)

22. Chicago White Sox Chicago White Sox (39-44, no change)

23. New York Mets New York Mets (37-45, +1)

24. Colorado Rockies Colorado Rockies (36-46, -3)

25. Houston Astros Houston Astros (36-47, no change)

26. Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Phillies (36-46, no change)

The Phillies might have earned a move down in the rankings this week if not for the consistently poor play of the bottom four teams. That said, this disastrous week in Philadelphia should cement their status as sellers at the trade deadline. If they finally accept that fact, they will drive many of the key deals that occur in the next month or so, with some grumblings that even Cole Hamels could be available.

27. Chicago Cubs Chicago Cubs (34-46, no change)

28. San Diego Padres San Diego Padres (35-47, no change)

29Arizona Diamondbacks Arizona Diamondbacks (35-49, no change)

30. Tampa Bay RaysTampa Bay Rays (35-49, no change)

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