There's no denying Cardinals top spot

Updated: July 20, 2015, 11:25 AM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

In Week 16 of our rankings, the top five teams remain in the same order as they were last week. The St. Louis Cardinals, who have the best in the majors at 58-34, remain in the top spot for the eighth consecutive week. The Pittsburgh Pirates, despite getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers this past weekend, stay in the No. 2 position, while the Kansas City Royals, who have the best record in the American League, hold tight to the No. 3 spot.

This week's voters are Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Eric Karabell of ESPN Fantasy, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN and David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com. Most of the team comments come courtesy of the bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network.

Tell us what you think about the Power Rankings. Use the hashtag #ESPNMLBPOWER.

2015 Power Rankings: July 20
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
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Last Week: 1
The Cardinals used the All-Star break to rejuvenate as Matt Holliday returned to the lineup, Jason Heyward broke out with a 5-for-5 game on Saturday and the team regained its 4½-game lead over the Pirates. -- Matt Philip (@fungoes), Fungoes
2
Pirates
53-38
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Last Week: 2
After closing with a 13-3 stretch before the All-Star break, they got swept by the Brewers to start the second half and now they face the Royals and Nationals this week. Now it appears that shortstop Jordy Mercer will join third baseman Josh Harrison on the DL and the team's depth will be tested. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
3
Royals
55-35
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Last Week: 3
The Royals are now 20 games over .500; no other AL team is more than 10 games over. After taking three of four from the White Sox, including a win over the red-hot Chris Sale, the Royals face a tough stretch, with the Pirates (3), Cardinals (1), Astros (3), Indians (3), Blue Jays (4) and Tigers (3) in their next 17 games. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
4
Dodgers
53-40
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Last Week: 4
Clayton Kershaw continued his roll Saturday, striking out 14 Nats and allowing only three hits over eight innings. Kershaw's past 10 starts: 1.36 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 12.5 K/9. Los Angeles is playing 16 of its first 21 games after the break on the road. They've made an MLB-low 38 errors all season. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
5
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Last Week: 5
Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke shut down the Nationals' injury riddled offense, combining for 16 innings pitched, six hits, one walk and 25 strikeouts over the past two games. Now the Mets have lined up Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard to face the Nats. Three shutouts might be needed from the Nats' starters. -- Harper Gordek (@harpergordek), Nationals Baseball
6
Angels
50-40
1
Last Week: 7
With back-to-back shutouts against the Red Sox, the Angels rotation continues to roll with a 1.97 ERA in July. One key has been C.J. Wilson, who has gone 6-plus innings in 15 of his 19 starts, after doing that in just 17 of 31 starts in 2014. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
7
Yankees
50-41
1
Last Week: 8
The Yankees look to start the second half the same way they finished the first half: on a strong note. They're also hoping to keep everyone (mainly Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Masahiro Tanaka) as healthy as possible so they can win the AL East and end their two-year playoff drought. -- Stacey Gotsulias (@StaceGots), It's About the Money
8
Twins
50-42
1
Last Week: 9
Fresh off closing out a second consecutive All-Star victory for the American League, Glen Perkins finally blew his first save of the season in Oakland on Saturday night. The Twins bullpen then gave up seven runs on Sunday, and could use some help with the trade deadline approaching. -- Nick Nelson (@nnelson9), Twins Daily
9
Astros
51-43
3
Last Week: 6
The Dallas Keuchel train keeps on rolling as he struck out 13 in seven scoreless innings on Sunday. That's seven scoreless starts on the season, one less than MLB leader Zack Greinke, and the most by an Astros pitcher since Roger Clemens had a franchise-record 10 such starts in 2005. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
10
Cubs
49-41
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Last Week: 10
It's important for the Cubs to get off to a good start out of the break as the first 17 games they play are against teams with a record below .500. They have one of the softest second-half schedules that includes seven games against the Phillies. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers
11
Giants
49-43
2
Last Week: 13
A thumb injury to backup catcher Andrew Susac will revert the Giants to a normal defensive lineup. Buster Posey will not be able to play first base as much, a position at which he's hit .363 with nine extra-base hits. -- Connor Grossman (@connorgrossman), West Coast Bias
12
Mets
48-44
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Last Week: 12
The Mets have scored three runs or fewer 53 times this season, second most in the majors behind Seattle (54), and they're 14-39 in such games. -- Joe Janish (@metstoday), Mets Today
13
Orioles
46-45
2
Last Week: 11
Chris Tillman threw eight innings of one-hit ball in a win over Detroit on Saturday. The O's are going to need more performances like that from Tillman, who struggled mightily in the first half. -- Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer), Camden Depot
14
Rays
47-47
3
Last Week: 17
The Rays continue to hover around the .500 mark; a likely outcome considering the lack of offense the club possesses. Injuries have been an issue, but the lineup is generally healthy right now and yet runs scored are still at a premium. Pitching and defense are nice; however, it does not matter if you score less than your opponent. -- Tommy Rancel (@trancel), The Process Report
15
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Last Week: 15
The last two weeks of July are crucial for all teams, but especially for the playoff fringe-lying Jays. Having won just five of their last 14 games, the Jays are going to need to pick it up in order to remain relevant in all those trade rumors that have been attached to them. -- Matt Gwin (@Matt_HBB), Blue Jays Plus
16
Tigers
45-46
2
Last Week: 14
The Tigers routinely won 50 games a season at home from 2009 through 2013. They're under .500 at Comerica Park this season and with the rotation in disarray, things aren't looking up. -- Grey Papke (@walkoffwoodward), Walkoff Woodward
17
Indians
44-47
1
Last Week: 16
The Indians won two of three games over the Reds to begin the second half. The best news: Tribe bats finally gave Corey Kluber the run support he's been lacking all season (including hitting three home runs) in a 9-4 win over the Reds Saturday night. -- Susan Petrone (@susanpetrone), It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
18
2
Last Week: 20
After briefly reaching the .500 mark before the All-Star break, the Diamondbacks proceeded to get swept by the Mets before the break, then struggled against the Giants. This should almost surely make them sellers at the deadline, although they may not have much to deal aside from a couple of relief pitchers, as the attention turns to 2016. -- Jeff Wiser (@rOutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona
19
Red Sox
42-49
2
Last Week: 21
Even more than last year, Wade Miley's mediocre results (4.49 ERA) do not match his decent peripherals (leading to a 3.82 FIP), a sign that he is either unusual or unlucky. He signed off the season's first half with his fifth start of at least five earned runs, but returning on regular rest after the All-Star Game, Miley no-hit the Angels for six innings. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona
20
Braves
43-49
1
Last Week: 19
Since Freddie Freeman has been out of the Atlanta lineup, the Braves have scored fewer runs than every team but the Mets, while going 11-15. Freeman may still be more than a week from returning to the lineup. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County
21
1
Last Week: 22
The White Sox strong start to the month of July (9-6) has subsisted on less than three runs per game from their offense, and they've done a hard reboot of their third base position by designating Conor Gillaspie for assignment, benching Gordon Beckham and handing the reins to rookie Tyler Saladino. -- James Fegan (@TheCatbird_Seat), The Catbird Seat
22
Rangers
43-48
4
Last Week: 18
Even with the Rangers having the look of a seller coming out of the All-Star break, Rougned Odor looks as intense as ever with manager Jeff Banister backing him up. -- Brandon Land (@one_strike_away), One Strike Away
23
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Last Week: 23
The fledgling Mariners offense needs a boost for the second half, and although they've turned to Jesus Montero of late, it's not likely to be enough. Seattle is in a tough spot where they likely should be sellers, but they may be too stubborn to do so. What Jack Zduriencik does in the next week and a half may define his legacy in Seattle. -- Jeff Wiser (@outfieldgrass24), Inside the 'Zona
24
1
Last Week: 25
To begin the second half, the A's beat the Twins twice this past weekend and in the process hit six home runs in three games. -- ESPN.com
25
Padres
43-49
1
Last Week: 26
Seeking more offense, San Diego has been starting Will Middlebrooks at shortstop of late. Padres shortstops rank 21st in the majors in batting average (.239) and 23rd in RBIs (26). Odrisamer Despaigne will start Tuesday against the Giants. He has limited them to a 0.674 WHIP and 0.91 ERA in 29 2/3 innings in his career. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
26
Reds
40-49
2
Last Week: 24
After a glorious All-Star week in which Cincinnati dazzled the baseball world, the Reds returned to reality as they sit 16½ games out of first place in the NL Central. Within two weeks, a number of longtime Reds and former All-Stars -- such as Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman -- could be playing elsewhere. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation
27
Rockies
39-51
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Last Week: 27
After ending the first half on a good note, the Rockies returned with a series loss to start the second half. The ever-changing rotation saw another shakeup Sunday with the return of Eddie Butler, a once top prospect who struggled in 2015 with a 4.80 ERA in 11 starts before being sent back to Triple-A. -- Sarah Ford (@Sarah_L_Ford), Rockies Zingers
28
Brewers
41-52
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Last Week: 28
The Brewers continued their hot play after the break, winning their first series against the Pirates to open the second half. Mike Fiers dominated in the first game, and the bats picked up Jimmy Nelson on Saturday, showcasing a roster that is currently firing on all cylinders. -- Nicholas Zettel (@spectivewax), Disciples of Uecker
29
Marlins
38-54
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Last Week: 29
Jarred Cosart's vertigo, which sidelined him in mid-May, may have come back. He exited his Triple-A start Friday due to feeling unstable on the mound. Jose Fernandez seems to be healthy, touching 99 mph on the gun Friday. He's allowed only one walk while having 21 strikeouts in his three starts. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
30
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Last Week: 30
The Phillies swept the Marlins for just their second three-game winning streak of the season (they won six in a row back in May). -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

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