Rangers return to Top 3 in latest Rankings
Five-game surge has Texas in sole possession of first place in AL West
It's appears that rumors of the Rangers' demise have been greatly exaggerated.
In June, Texas has a 10-12 record -- a stretch that includes a six-game losing streak, but the club is back on top of the American League West and has the best record in the AL.
A five-game winning streak can have that type of impact on a team.
What's more, the Rangers are coming off a three-game sweep of the Cardinals as they enter this week's showdown with the Yankees in New York.
Just don't expect A's fans to crown the Rangers division champions yet. Likewise, fans of the Red Sox, Orioles, Tigers and Indians can argue that their favorite team, not the Rangers, is the best in the AL.
And let's not forget about the Braves, Cardinals, Pirates, and D-backs. Can the Rangers match up with the National League's best? Can any AL team?
It's time to discuss the most powerful teams in the game, and it's time to hear your voice.
For the third season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. Three former Major League players -- Larry Dierker, Mitch Williams and Frank Thomas -- are part of the process, as are columnist Peter Gammons and Carlton Thompson, vice president and executive editor of MLB.com. Former general manager and current MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette is also part of the group, along with MLB.com columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Matthew Leach and Jesse Sanchez.
Agree? Disagree? The power to rank the teams is yours.
The Cardinals still have the best record in baseball despite a three-game losing streak. Catcher Yadier Molina is having another season to remember, and fans across the country have taken notice. Molina leads all NL players in All-Star voting, which ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 4.
Last week: 1
2. Red Sox
Boston leads second-place Baltimore by two games in the AL East, and Jose Iglesias just keeps on hitting. The third baseman continues to earn more playing time and is on fire at the plate, sporting a .426 batting average in 108 games. He also has 13 hits in his last 10 games.
Last week: 2
Once-slumping Texas has the best record in the AL, thanks in large part to a five-game winning streak, and now leads the A's by one game in the AL West. Nelson Cruz is back to familiar form, having hit three home runs and driven in 11 runs in his last 10 games.
Last week: 10
Victor Martinez seems to be coming around and has hit several balls hard in the last few weeks for division-leading Detroit. Justin Verlander has been uncharacteristically average. He lasted only five innings in his most recent start, against the Red Sox, and it was the fifth time in nine starts that Verlander hasn't pitched more than five innings. During the past two seasons, the right-hander pitched longer than five innings in all but one of his starts.
Last week: 5
Pittsburgh has won four straight and five of its last six, and is just one game behind the division-leading Cardinals in the NL Central. Pedro Alvarez is emerging as the player the franchise hoped he would be when it drafted him; he's hitting .271 with 19 home runs and 52 RBIs in his last 55 games.
Last week: 9
Jay Bruce might be the hottest hitter in the Majors. In eight games since June 16, the Reds' right fielder has hit seven home runs. He had two doubles on Sunday and has reached base safely in 10 of his last 11 contests.
Last week: 4
Atlanta ended its 24-inning scoreless streak on Sunday, and the offense seems to have come out of its temporary slumber. Justin Upton, who is nursing a sore right hand, has not played in two games but is expected back in the lineup on Tuesday. He could probably use the rest. The left fielder is hitting .176 in his last 10 games and has one home run this month.
Last week: 6
The streaky A's are now streaking the wrong way. The club has lost back-to-back games and seven of its last 10. Monday's off-day could not come at a better time, considering the A's had played 30 games in 31 days.
Last week: 3
Arizona is coming off of a winning homestand and leads the second-place Giants and Rockies in the NL West by three games. Paul Goldschmidt is playing like an All-Star and NL MVP candidate, living up to the "America's First Baseman" nickname his teammates have thrust upon him.
Last week: 12
Baltimore is in striking distance of the first-place Red Sox, but a sweep by the Blue Jays has set the O's back a bit. The Orioles still have more wins than any other AL team since April 20 with 34.
Last week: 7
Vernon Wells is struggling at the plate, but hot-hitting rookie Zoilo Almonte could be the latest sensation in New York. Almonte has seven hits in 12 at-bats through his first five games for the Yankees and has impressed manager Joe Girardi with his plate discipline and approach.
Last week: 9
12. Blue Jays
Toronto is riding an 11-game winning streak and has worked itself back into the hunt in the AL East standings. Jose Bautista continues to be a force at the plate, but he has had help. Edwin Encarnacion has 42 RBIs in his last 40 games, and Adam Lind has at least one hit in 17 of his last 20 games. He is batting .386 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs since May 7.
Last week: Not ranked
Cleveland is embarking on an important 11-game, 11-day road trip that could change the landscape of the AL Central. Jason Kipnis is on a roll and has reached base in 25 consecutive games. He's hitting .400 with 15 RBIs and has drawn 12 walks this month.
Last week: Not ranked
Tampa Bay is tied with Toronto for fourth place in the AL East, but a big reinforcement could be on the way. Staff ace David Price is slated to make his second rehab start for Class A Advanced Charlotte on Wednesday.
Last week: 13
Michael Cuddyer is riding a Major League-leading 21-game hitting streak and has reached base in a club-record 40 consecutive games. Colorado is tied with San Francisco for second place in the NL West, three games behind the D-backs.
Last week: 11
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.