Reds take over top spot

Updated: September 3, 2012, 2:40 PM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

The Cincinnati Reds, winners of five of their past six games, move into the top spot in our Power Rankings.

The Washington Nationals drop one spot to the No. 2 position, while the Texas Rangers also fall one spot to No. 3.

The New York Yankees hold tight to the No. 4 position for the third straight week, while the Oakland A's rise six spots to take over the No. 5 spot.

This week's voters were Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Many of the team comments come courtesy of the fan bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. Meanwhile, you can rank the teams yourself.

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

2012 Power Rankings: September 3
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
Reds
82-53
2
Last Week: 3
After a slow start, Mat Latos has been everything the Reds hoped he would be. Since April, he's 10-2; since mid-June, Latos has posted a 2.53 ERA. Johnny Cueto and Latos are going to be a very tough 1-2 punch in the playoffs. -- Chad Dotson: Redleg Nation
2
1
Last Week: 1
With 29 games to go, the Nationals need just one win to ensure their first winning record since moving to D.C. in 2005. -- Harper Gordek: Nationals Baseball
3
Rangers
79-54
1
Last Week: 2
Jurickson Profar may or may not land a starting infield gig with Texas in 2013, but he hit the ground running on Sunday by becoming the second-youngest player in history to homer in his first career at-bat. -- Joey Matschulat: Baseball Time in Arlington
4
Yankees
76-57
--

Last Week: 4
The Yankees' lead in the AL East is down to just two games, but they got A-Rod back just in time for a road trip against Tampa Bay and Baltimore this week. Hopefully, he can help provide a spark on offense, because they need it. -- Rob Abruzzese: Bronx Baseball Daily
5
6
Last Week: 11
The Indians and Red Sox aren't putting up much of a fight at this point, but nine straight wins is still nine straight wins for the A's. Brett Anderson has been dominant in his return from Tommy John surgery, with 15 strikeouts, three walks and two runs allowed in 20 innings pitched. -- Jason Wojciechowski: Beaneball
6
Giants
76-58
1
Last Week: 7
The Giants have gone 7-3 over their past 10 games to gain two games on the Dodgers. Keep an eye on Madison Bumgarner: After a season-high 123 pitches on Aug. 20 (against the Dodgers), his past two starts weren't good (nine runs in 10 1/3 innings). -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
7
Orioles
74-59
6
Last Week: 13
The Orioles made a statement this past week, winning three of four against the White Sox and two of three against the Yankees in New York. Next up: three games on the road against Toronto and a four-game homestand against the Yankees. -- Jon Shepherd: Camden Depot
8
Braves
75-59
--

Last Week: 8
Is Fredi Gonzalez not using Craig Kimbrel ENOUGH this season? A year after drawing criticism for overusing his relievers, Gonzalez has Kimbrel on pace for only 59 innings. Kimbrel blew his third save of the season this past Friday. Remember that he struggled down the stretch in 2011. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
9
Rays
73-61
4
Last Week: 5
The Rays continue to toy with everyone by winning just enough games to excuse their sloppy play down the stretch. -- Mark Heilig: The Ray Area
10
4
Last Week: 6
The White Sox followed up a perfect 6-0 homestand with a 1-6 road trip. Eighteen of their remaining 29 games are against the Twins, Royals and Indians, but the Tigers have 19 games against that same group, so there's no help there. Adam Dunn post-All-Star break: .199/302/.450. -- Diane Firstman: Value Over Replacement Grit
11
2
Last Week: 9
The National League's most ferocious offense whimpered along last week as the Cards got shut out three times, but the Big Puma has returned to hopefully help maintain a hold on a wild-card spot. -- Matt Philip: Fungoes
12
Tigers
72-61
--

Last Week: 12
A power surge from the most unlikely of names, Delmon Young, allowed the Tigers to sweep the White Sox at home and earn a tie for first place in the AL Central on Sunday. -- Josh Worn: Walkoff Woodward
13
Angels
71-63
1
Last Week: 14
They've gone 8-2 over their past 10 games, but gained no ground on the Orioles and lost two games to the A's in the wild-card race. Mark Trumbo is hitting .198 with just three extra-base hits in 29 games since Aug. 1. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
14
Pirates
70-63
1
Last Week: 15
Since beating the Cardinals in that 19-inning game on Aug. 19, the Pirates have gone 3-9 (all three wins were shutouts). James McDonald's second-half struggles continue: 3-4, 7.14 ERA, 5.4 walks per nine. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
15
Dodgers
72-63
5
Last Week: 10
On Sunday, Matt Kemp finally reached 81 games played in 2012. If his season were truly half-over, he'd be on place for 200 hits, 36 homers and 18 steals. -- Jon Weisman: Dodger Thoughts
16
--

Last Week: 16
The Diamondbacks have now lost 10 of their past 14 games, and are actually closer to the fourth-place Padres (four games ahead) than the second wild-card spot (6 1/2 games behind). They've scored as many as five runs once in this 14-game stretch. Jason Kubel has 12 homers since the break, but has only 21 RBIs to show for it. -- Diane Firstman: Value Over Replacement Grit
17
2
Last Week: 19
The Phillies are locked in a bitter battle for third place in the division thanks in part to the contributions of Kyle Kendrick (2.09 ERA and .585 opponent OPS since July 1) and Kevin Frandsen (.355 wOBA). It sounds weird to put it like that, but it's true. -- Michael Baumann: Crashburn Alley
18
1
Last Week: 17
Among players with at least 250 plate appearances, John Jaso ranks 10th in the AL in OPS+. How much do the Rays wish they had him back? -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
19
Brewers
65-68
1
Last Week: 20
Two similar teams to the 2012 Brewers (good lineup, solid starting pitching, bad bullpen): the 2010 Diamondbacks and the 1990 Braves. Both had the worst bullpen in the league by win probability added, both fixed the bullpen the next year and reached the playoffs (the Braves won the NL pennant). If the Brewers can just fix the bullpen, they'll surprise a lot of people in 2013. -- Jack Moore: Disciples of Uecker
20
Mets
64-70
1
Last Week: 21
On the latest twist of the Flushing roller coaster, the Mets have won seven of their past eight games and three straight series. Their bullpen has allowed just one run in 22 innings over that span. -- Joe Janish: Mets Today
21
Red Sox
62-73
3
Last Week: 18
The Red Sox can't do anything right, dropping five straight. They aren't doing it with class, either. This is a team that can't wait for the season to end. -- Evan Brunell: Fire Brand of the AL
22
Padres
62-73
--

Last Week: 22
The Padres had won 10 of 11 before dropping their past two games to the Rockies. Still, they're a very respectable 34-23 since June 29. Clayton Richard post-All-Star break: 6-3, 3.44 ERA, averaging seven innings per start, but only 3.2 K/9. -- Diane Firstman: Value Over Replacement Grit
23
--

Last Week: 23
In winning two of three games vs. the Yankees last week, Toronto defeated CC Sabathia for the first time since May 2007. This rejuvenated Blue Jays team received a shot in the arm with the return of Brandon Morrow; he leads the majors with a BAA of .209 (min. 80 IP). -- Callum Hughson: Mop-Up Duty
24
Royals
60-73
--

Last Week: 24
Bottom line on Luke Hochevar: He owns a 5.30 ERA after 123 career major league starts. While there have been flashes of brilliance (four games with no runs allowed this season), there are just too many bad starts like last week's 1 2/3-inning, eight-run effort. May be time to move on. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
25
Marlins
59-75
--

Last Week: 25
Remember when the Marlins went 21-8 in May? They followed that up with an 8-18 June, 10-16 July and 12-17 August. They're a disaster and you have to wonder if Ozzie Guillen will be back in 2013. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
26
Twins
55-79
1
Last Week: 27
The big question in Minnesota: How to make room for Chris Parmelee? The slugging prospect is 7-for-20 with two homers in five games since returning from Triple-A, where he had a 1.102 OPS. -- Nick Nelson: Twins Daily
27
Rockies
55-77
1
Last Week: 28
There were 318 pitches thrown between 12 pitchers Sunday in the Rockies' win (Rox are now 13-6 in their past 19 games) and Guillermo Moscoso, who threw three pitches, got the win in the 11-10 slugfest. -- Travis Lay: Blake Street Bulletin
28
Indians
56-78
2
Last Week: 26
The Indians finished August at 5-24, setting the mark for the worst month in franchise history. The team added some minor league reinforcements in the form of Matt LaPorta, Russ Canzler and Thomas Neal. While they're not likely to save this sinking ship, at least there's no place to go but up at this point. -- Stephanie Liscio: It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
29
Cubs
51-82
--

Last Week: 29
The goal now is to avoid 100 losses. -- Joe Aiello: View from the Bleachers
30
Astros
41-93
--

Last Week: 30
Jose Altuve appears to be having some trouble keeping up with major league pitchers. Since the All-Star break, he's batting just .274 and has a .685 OPS. The Astros don't have enough bats to make up for him not hitting. -- Austin Swafford: Astros 290