Rays race into the top five

Updated: July 15, 2013, 12:27 PM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

Having won 10 of their past 11 games, the Tampa Bay Rays rise seven spots to take over the No. 4 position in Week 16 of our Power Rankings.

The St. Louis Cardinals move up two spots from a week ago and are this week's No. 1 team. The Boston Red Sox fall one to No. 2, and the Pittsburgh Pirates also drop one spot, to No. 3. The Oakland A's round out the top five as they hold down the No. 5 spot.

This week's voters were Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine and David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com. Most of the team comments come courtesy of the fan bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. Which teams do you think should be among baseball's top five? Go ahead and rank the teams yourself.

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

2013 Power Rankings: July 15
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
2
Last Week: 3
The first-place Cardinals closed out the first half of the season on a figurative and literal bang with Yadier Molina's game-breaking three-run homer in the ninth inning against the Cubs Sunday night. -- Matt Philip, Fungoes
2
Red Sox
58-39
1
Last Week: 1
Heading into the All-Star break, the Red Sox find themselves with the best record in the American League. Supplementing the bullpen with the acquisition of Matt Thornton will certainly help, but don't be surprised to see them make another move before the deadline. -- Hunter Golden, Fire Brand of the AL
3
Pirates
56-37
1
Last Week: 2
The Pirates are one game behind the Cardinals and four games up in the wild-card race. They've outpaced their expected win-loss record (based on runs scored and allowed) by four games. The offense, averaging only 3.84 runs per game, could use a 1B/RF bat. Francisco Liriano's past four starts: 4-0, 1.26 ERA, 28 2/3 IP, 22 H, 9 BB, 25 K. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
4
Rays
55-41
7
Last Week: 11
On June 23, the Rays were last in the AL East, just two games over .500. They went 16-4 in the final 20 games leading to the All-Star break, taking advantage of a soft schedule. They now stand 14 games over .500, 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the East, and hold the top spot in the wild-card race. They will be tested out of the break with a 10-game road trip through Toronto, Boston and New York. -- Tommy Rancel, The Process Report
5
1
Last Week: 4
The 2013 A's fit the "Moneyball" stereotype about the power of free passes: The offense and pitching are each the best in baseball in walk rate. -- Jason Wojciechowski, Beaneball
6
Braves
54-41
--

Last Week: 6
Injuries to the outfield meant the Braves played Jose Costanza, Reed Johnson and Joey Terdoslavich out there on Sunday. Tyler Pastornicky and Paul Janish were also used as pinch hitters. The Braves have gone 12-13 since June 18, but lost just 1 1/2 games of their lead. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
7
Rangers
54-41
2
Last Week: 5
Remember when Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch were the surprise rookies helping the rotation? Since June 1, Grimm has a 9.91 ERA in eight starts and Tepesch has a 6.14 ERA in seven starts. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
8
Reds
53-42
1
Last Week: 7
The Reds go to the break with a 53-42 record. It wasn't always pretty, and it was often frustrating, but that's a pretty good first half. After all, the Reds were 11 over at the All-Star break last season, and went on to win the Central division. -- Chad Dotson, Redleg Nation
9
Tigers
52-42
1
Last Week: 8
Detroit leads the majors in hits, batting average, strikeouts, K/9 and All-Stars (six), yet is only 1 1/2 games up on Cleveland in the AL Central. Most believe GM Dave Dombrowski will address the lead suspect in their close race (a 4.18 bullpen ERA, 27th out of 30 teams) as the trade deadline approaches. -- Ryan Callery, Walkoff Woodward
10
Orioles
53-43
--

Last Week: 10
Sitting five games out of first in the AL East at the end of the first half of the season, the Orioles have gotten to this point through hitting (read: Chris Davis' home runs) and fielding (read: Manny Machado's flawless glove). To close the gap, their pitching will need to do better than their current 5.0 fWAR, which is 26th overall in baseball. -- Jon Shepherd, Camden Depot
11
Yankees
51-44
2
Last Week: 9
The Yankees finished the first half scoring as many runs per game -- 3.93 -- as the Mariners. Yes, that's bad. It's their lowest runs per game since the 1990 club averaged 3.72 and lost 95 games. Long live Alvaro Espinosa, Oscar Azocar and Don Mattingly (hey, he hit .256 with five HRs that year). -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
12
Indians
51-44
2
Last Week: 14
After losing three of four to the Tigers, the Indians stormed back to take five of six from the Blue Jays and Royals heading into the All-Star break. The Indians' pitching staff earned their 11th and 12th shutouts of the season, and closer Chris Perez has six saves in nine appearances with a 1.00 ERA since returning from the DL on June 28. -- Stephanie Liscio, It's Pronounced Lajaway
13
--

Last Week: 13
The Nats were hoping Bryce Harper would spark their offense before the break, but he's been ice cold (.196, 1 HR) in the past two weeks. -- Harper Gordek, Nats Baseball
14
2
Last Week: 12
With the rotation struggling, will Futures Game participant Archie Bradley (2.37 ERA in 13 starts in Double-A) get called up in the second half? -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
15
Dodgers
47-47
--

Last Week: 15
The Dodgers have gone 17-5 since June 22 and Hanley Ramirez has hit .390/.457/.732. He looks like the Hanley Ramirez who finished second in the 2009 NL MVP vote and that's a scary thought for NL West opponents. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
16
Angels
44-49
--

Last Week: 16
After winning series against the Red Sox and Cardinals, the Angels went 1-4 against the Cubs and Mariners. You can't predict baseball. -- Hudson Belinsky, Halos Daily
17
3
Last Week: 20
The Phillies finally reached .500 right at the end of the first half. Despite injuries to Ben Revere and Ryan Howard, GM Ruben Amaro considers the team in a buying position. The hope is an acquisition could help power them ahead of the hobbled Braves. -- Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley
18
--

Last Week: 18
The Jays limp into the All-Star break, thanks in part to a terrible 18-27 record against AL East opponents. Josh Johnson and others could be moved before the trade deadline. -- Matthias Koster, Mop-up Duty
19
Royals
43-49
2
Last Week: 17
The Royals go into the break on a five-game losing streak, having scored more than four runs only once in the past 10 games. They're now a season-high eight games out of first (and 9 1/2 out of the wild card), their playoff hopes may be decided with the first seven games after the break (hosting Detroit for three and Baltimore for four). -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
20
Rockies
46-50
1
Last Week: 19
The Rockies will come out of the All-Star break with an easy schedule and healthy roster. They are still in contention, which is significant progress over the previous two seasons. However, they'll have to improve on the road in the second half if they want to make a push for the NL West title. -- Logan Burdine, Blake Street Bulletin
21
Giants
43-51
--

Last Week: 21
Tim Lincecum's no-hitter was a rare shining light in a recent stretch of despair. The Giants were still 8-20 in their past 28 games, and here's their winning percentage by month: .556, .519, .370, .308. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
22
Cubs
42-51
3
Last Week: 25
Since being benched on June 25, ending his consecutive games streak, Starlin Castro has batted .303/.346/.487 with 3 home runs, 3 doubles, a triple and even 3 walks. -- Joe Aiello, The View From The Bleachers
23
Mets
41-50
3
Last Week: 26
The Mets' 41-50 record is a far cry from their 46-40 pace at the All-Star break last season, but their 24-23 road record is third-best in the NL. Since Father's Day, the Mets are 17-11 and have scored the most runs in the NL with 132. -- Joe Janish, Mets Today
24
--

Last Week: 24
The new dimensions at Safeco Field seem to be helping (the offense, at least). The Mariners are hitting .255 with 54 home runs in 50 games at home and .232 with 61 home runs on the road. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
25
Padres
42-54
3
Last Week: 22
One of the biggest disappointments of the first half has to be Chase Headley. He's hitting .229/.330/.359 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs after leading the NL in RBIs last year. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
26
Twins
39-53
3
Last Week: 23
The Twins go into the All-Star break having lost 12 of their past 15. Now that they're firmly in sell mode, the fate of coveted closer Glen Perkins becomes a focal point of interest. -- Nick Nelson, Twins Daily 
27
--

Last Week: 27
The White Sox are bringing up the cellar of the AL Central and they're in danger of finishing in last place for the first time since 1989, when they went 69-92. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
28
Brewers
38-56
--

Last Week: 28
Wily Peralta was one of the biggest disappointments in the Brewers' rotation through the first two months. In his past five starts, though, the right-hander has compiled a stellar 1.08 ERA in 33 1/3 innings. -- J.P. Breen, Disciples of Uecker
29
Marlins
35-58
--

Last Week: 29
Even after Sunday's loss, the Marlins have the NL East's best record since May 30 (22-17). They're still dead-last in the majors in OPS, runs scored, homers and doubles. Adeiny Hechavarria is the one swinging a hot bat of late, with 21 hits in his past 51 at-bats, raising his average from .203 to .240. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
30
Astros
33-61
--

Last Week: 30
The Astros locked up Jose Altuve through at least 2017 and possibly 2019, but the 23-year-old second baseman isn't hitting as well as last year (.667 OPS versus .740). -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot

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