Cardinals, Astros battle for top spot

Updated: May 4, 2015, 10:51 AM ET

Heading into Week 5 of the season, the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros are the hottest teams in baseball.

In yet another close vote among our five-person panel, the Cardinals claimed the top spot in our rankings by edging out the Kansas City Royals (they fell from the top spot last week to No. 2 this week) and the Astros (they rose nine spots to No. 3). The Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers round out of the top five.

This week's voters were Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Eric Karabell of ESPN Fantasy, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN, David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ and Jayson Stark of Most of the team comments come courtesy of the bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. How do you rank all 30 teams? Go ahead and rank them yourself.

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

2015 Power Rankings: May 4
Last Week: 3
The Cardinals have so far weathered the storm of losing Adam Wainwright, compensating with great defense and the NL's second-highest on-base percentage, aided by Matt Holliday's .455 OBP (third in NL) and Matt Carpenter's .431 (sixth). -- Matt Philip (@fungoes), Fungoes
Last Week: 1
The Royals split their four-game showdown with the Tigers, but they'll get another series against them this weekend. Everything has been great, but keep an eye on these stats: They're 14th in the AL in walks and 12th in home runs, so they have to keep hitting for a high average. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
Last Week: 12
The Astros have won 10 straight, their longest winning streak since they won 12 in a row in 2004, and have the best 25-game start in franchise history (17-8 in 1980). They lead the majors in home runs, and only the Royals are allowing fewer runs per game in the AL. This week could bring more wins: the bad Rangers and the slumping Angels. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

Last Week: 4
Joakim Soria has pitched well so far in the closer's role for the Tigers. He's 10-for-10 in save opportunities and he has a 1.54 ERA in 13 appearances. --

Last Week: 5
Carl Crawford, who hasn't played 140 games in a season since 2010, hit the disabled list with an oblique strain. Andre Ethier took advantage of the added playing time, homering three times in a five-game span. Los Angeles hit 35 homers in its first 22 games, a franchise record for that span. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Replacement Grit
Last Week: 2
After winning 11 straight games, the Mets have lost seven of their last 10, capped by back-to-back shutout losses to the same opponent (the Nationals) for the first time in 42 years. -- Joe Janish (@metstoday), Mets Today

Last Week: 7
The Yankees continued their strong play by winning two three-game sets against division rivals Tampa Bay and Boston. The starting pitching held up fine without Masahiro Tanaka and the bullpen continued its dominance, led by Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner were on hot streaks at the top of the lineup to lead the offense. -- Matt Bove (@rayrobert9), It's About the Money
Last Week: 10
The Cubs struck out 18 times on Saturday against the Brewers, just the fourth time in team history that has been done in a nine-inning game. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers
Last Week: 14
The Rays continue to get healthier on the pitching staff, welcoming back Alex Colome on Friday. For the first time all season they have a full complement of starters. They should also get back closer Jake McGee in the next week or so. -- Tommy Rancel (@trancel), The Process Report
Last Week: 8
On Friday night, San Diego scored at least 14 runs in a home game for the first time since Aug. 20, 2011. Jedd Gyorko's first 16 games of 2014: .161/.250/.268. Gyorko's first 16 games this season: .135/.211/.173. Wil Myers leads the team with 23 runs scored in his first 24 games. Last year, Seth Smith led the team ... with 55. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Replacement Grit
Last Week: 9
Three straight extra-inning walk-off losses to the Cardinals was not only depressing, but it also leaves big questions about an offense that's now 12th in the NL in runs. Andrew McCutchen is still hitting under .200 as his knee may be an issue and Josh Harrison is down to .188 and has just two walks. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
Last Week: 23
Dan Haren thus far: 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 18 hits allowed in 30 innings after pitching six shutout innings on Saturday. Steve Cishek just can't solve the Mets: 33 career appearances, 5.34 ERA, 1.500 WHIP. A successful homestand made up for a 3-11 start, but here comes a 10-game road trip to the Nationals, Giants and Dodgers. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Replacement Grit
Red Sox
Last Week: 6
A lot can change in just two months; with Ryan Hanigan and his fractured knuckle joining Christian Vazquez on the 60-day DL, the Red Sox will now test their depth at catcher. Blake Swihart -- No. 10 on Keith Law's preseason top 100 prospects list -- collected his first major league hit on Saturday, and will look to add more as the new starting catcher. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona
Last Week: 17
With a four-hit effort on Sunday, Adam Jones helped the Orioles win two of three "home" games in a strange, rescheduled series in Tampa Bay. Jones now owns a sparkling .402/.438/.667 batting line. -- Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer), Camden Depot
Last Week: 16
The Nationals look as if they might be starting to get on a roll. They've won five of their last six games, and during the just-completed four-game series against the Mets they allowed a total of six runs. --
Last Week: 15
Jered Weaver is 0-4 with a 6.29 ERA in his first six starts. In 34 1/3 innings pitched, he's allowed eight home runs. --
Last Week: 11
The Blue Jays continue to score runs in bunches, even after losing Dioner Navarro and Jose Reyes to injuries. Led by the amazing and unexpected breakout of Devon Travis, the Jays are an offensive powerhouse. Their hard-hitting ways have been balanced out by a rotation that can't get out of the sixth inning, and a bullpen that's allergic to leads. -- Greg Wisniewski (@coolhead2010), Blue Jays Plus
Last Week: 22
The Giants finished April with one of the worst records in the National League, but appear to finally be hitting their stride. Buster Posey is leading the charge with a .393 average in his last seven games, and Hunter Pence could be back in the lineup as soon as next week. -- Andrew Tweedy (@WCBGiants), West Coast Bias
Last Week: 13
Rockies starters have the fewest quality starts in the majors so far this season with five. They were outscored 51-22 this past week, going 1-5 against Arizona and San Diego. They'll have to dig deep across the board to snap out of their current five-game losing streak. -- JJ Buck (@JBuck610), Rockies Zingers

Last Week: 20
The Reds are being exposed by their lack of depth. Homer Bailey is headed for Tommy John surgery, and Cincinnati has suffered injuries to All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart and Manny Parra, as well. Strangely, GM Walt Jocketty refuses to place Mesoraco on the DL, though he hasn't made an appearance in the field since April 12. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation
Last Week: 27
The Twins completed a four-game sweep of the White Sox at Target Field over the weekend and are now above .500 following a miserable 1-6 start. They rank ninth out of 15 AL teams in starting pitcher ERA -- not great but certainly a step forward after finishing last in each of the past three seasons. -- Nick Nelson (@nnelson9), Twins Daily
Last Week: 21
The Mariners have been up and down all season, and that didn't change last week. They swept the Rangers, and then lost four in a row to the Astros. Nelson Cruz has remained red-hot, picking up for Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano, who both had tough weeks. J.A. Happ continues to pay dividends for Seattle as he dominated Texas, and James Paxton took a tough-luck no-decision against Houston. -- Jeff Wiser (@outfieldgrass24), Inside the 'Zona
Last Week: 18
Josh Reddick is riding an 11-game hitting streak. During that span, he's batting .500 with three home runs and 15 RBIs. --
Last Week: 19
If the Braves are going to rebuild, then they're going to have to start playing the kids. Mike Foltynewicz began his Atlanta career this week with great success. Now the wait is on to see when the Braves will call up pitchers Matt Wisler and Manny Banuelos. They chose not to call up top prospect Jose Peraza when Chris Johnson went on the disabled list. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County
Last Week: 24
It was a frustrating week for the Diamondbacks. They averaged nearly five runs a game, but were blanked twice and lost young star Archie Bradley after he was struck in the face by a line drive. The inconsistent offense, paired with a handful of ineffective starts from the rotation, resulted in a 2-4 week. With the Rockies and Pirates on deck, things won't get any easier for Arizona. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona
Last Week: 25
People keep asking "What's wrong with the Indians?" And the answer is, "A little bit of everything." Lack of offense, starting pitching and bullpen struggles, and defensive miscues have led to their worst record after 23 games since 2003. -- Stephanie Liscio (@stephanieliscio), It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
Last Week: 26
Where is the bottom for the White Sox offense? Hopefully starting May with the least runs scored in the AL, five regulars with a sub-.100 ISO and only two with OPSs over .700 is as bad it can get. -- James Fegan (@TheCatbird_Seat), The Catbird Seat

Last Week: 28
The offense for the Rangers has started off hot in May. The hope is that Shin-Soo Choo will continue getting things back on track. After a call-up from Triple-A Round Rock, Kyle Blanks has provided an unexpected spark in the middle of the order. -- Brandon Land (@one_strike_away), One Strike Away

Last Week: 29
It's probably not a good sign that Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera rank 1-2 in the team in OPS. The Phillies are last in the NL in average, OBP, slugging and, of course, runs. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

Last Week: 30
The Brewers closed April by changing their fortunes, as the club went 3-3 last week to close April and enter May. Suddenly, the pitchers posted an above-average set of performances, allowing 21 runs over the last week. This shift in performances gives the club a chance to win more as the bats return to health and warm up. -- Nicholas Zettel (@spectivewax), Disciples of Uecker


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