Updated: August 24, 2015, 1:57 PM ET

Two AL West teams move up


In Week 21 of our rankings there wasn't much movement at the top, with the top six teams staying in the same places they were in last week. The St. Louis Cardinals own the top spot for the 13th straight week.

Near the top of the rankings, the biggest improvements came from the AL West as the Houston Astros (two spots higher) and Texas Rangers (three spots higher) both jumped up after winning weekends.

This week's voters are Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, Erik Karabell of ESPN Fantasy, Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, 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. 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.

The Cardinals continue to cling to best record in baseball despite a crumbling lineup (rookie star Randal Grichuk, third among the club's batters with 2.9 WAR, is the latest to land on DL). -- Matt Philip (@fungoes), Fungoes
After dropping the first two games in Boston, the Royals bounced back to split the series with wins on Saturday and Sunday, ending the weekend with a four-run ninth-inning rally. Despite going just 2-for-18 in the series, Ben Zobrist is still hitting .321 in 22 games with the Royals. -- ESPN.com
With a 5-2 week, the Pirates gained 1.5 games on the Cardinals in the NL Central and now trail by just 3.5 games. The two teams will meet six more times this season. -- ESPN.com
The Cubs own the best road record in MLB, with a 33-25 showing so far this season. After a makeup game with the Indians Monday, Chicago heads to the West Coast for six games against the Giants and Dodgers. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers
After sweeping the Twins in three games, the Yankees had trouble with the Indians and not only dropped three out of four at home, but also lost both Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia to injury. In the process, they watched their already slim lead in the AL East race evaporate and turn into a half-game deficit. With 39 games left, it'll be interesting to see how the Yankees respond. -- Stacey Gotsulias (@StaceGots), It's About the Money
Blue Jays
The Blue Jays continued their rise up the standings this weekend with a sweep of the Angels. Since August 1st, the Jays have pushed the Twins and Angels out of a playoff spot and knocked the Yankees out of first place. Winning the division was just a dream leading into the trade deadline. They now need to finish 21-17 in their final 38 games to reach 90 wins. -- Chris Sherwin (@CWSherwin), Blue Jays Plus
Houston swept the Dodgers over the weekend, beating Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in the process. And oh yeah, the other game they won in that series was just a no-hitter by Mike Fiers. Two weeks ago, the Astros' lead in the AL West had shrunk to just half a game over the Angels. Now, with the Angels in a nosedive, the Astros are back in control, leading the Rangers by four games and the Angels by 5.5. -- ESPN.com
The offense has scored five runs in the last 39 innings. The team lost three starts by Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw in the span of six days. Even with those two studs in the rotation, Los Angeles has a team ERA of 4.47 in August. Joc Pederson in August: .122/.413/.293. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
Filling in for Matt Harvey, Logan Verrett made the most of his start Sunday, giving up just one run in eight innings on the way to his first big-league win. After their weekend sweep of the Rockies, the Mets are five games up on the Nationals in the NL East. -- ESPN.com
The offense is sputtering without Hunter Pence and Joe Panik, with Buster Posey hitting .128 since August 14th. The Giants still have to play the Cubs, Cardinals and Dodgers before facing a losing team. -- Connor Grossman (@connorgrossman), West Coast Bias
The Rangers woke up Sunday in second place in the AL West and only four games behind the first-place Houston. Shin-Soo Choo has been an on-base machine since the All-Star break. -- Brandon Land (@one_strike_away), One Strike Away
The Angels' up-and-down season continues, and right now, they're definitely down after four straight losses. The team was demolished at home this weekend by the Blue Jays, getting outscored 36-10 in three games. In addition to falling 5.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West, the Angels now trail the Rangers by 1.5 games in the race for the final wild-card spot. -- ESPN.com
The Orioles failed to ride the momentum of a four-game sweep of the A's, splitting two games with the Mets and struggling in four games against the Twins. The O's need to consistently play better to earn a wild-card berth. -- Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer), Camden Depot
The Rays briefly crept back over the .500 mark only to fall back to even at the end of the weekend. With a shoddy bullpen and an offense that has struggled to score runs for most of the season, 50/50 baseball seems like the right spot for this team. They're still in the wild-card race, but that is more of an indictment of the other teams than an endorsement of Tampa Bay. -- Tommy Rancel (@trancel), The Process Report
After slipping below .500 Friday, the Nationals responded with two straight wins Saturday and Sunday. Anthony Rendon had two homers and five RBIs in the two wins. The five RBIs account for nearly half his season total of 12. -- ESPN.com
Just when it looked like the Twins were officially sliding out of contention, they took four straight from the Orioles in Baltimore, placing them squarely back in the wild-card mix. The acquisition of Neal Cotts from the Brewers helps out a beleaguered bullpen. -- Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN), Twins Daily
Entering Saturday, Paul Goldschmidt had hit just two home runs after June 24th and had played 22 games without a bomb. His two Saturday blasts brought his season homer total to 24. And he combines his power with baserunning ability -- Goldschmidt is the first player in baseball to reach the 20/20 mark this season. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona
It's been a rough week pitching-wise for the Tigers, who were forced to place both Anibal Sanchez and the newly acquired Daniel Norris on the disabled list. On the plus side, since his return from the DL, Miguel Cabrera is hitting .500 with a slugging percentage of .833 -- Erin Saelzler (@walkoffwoodward), Walkoff Woodward
San Diego's five-game winning streak (tied for their longest this year) ended Sunday, and yet thanks to the Dodgers' recent skid, the Padres are only 6.5 games back in the West. Matt Kemp is hitting .329/.359/.512 in August, and the team's .270 average this month is tied for third-best in the league. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
White Sox
At this point, White Sox games are all about scouting out who's likely to be good next year. In that vein, second baseman Carlos Sanchez, whose awful first couple of months helped tank the season, has hit .296/.329/.444 since July 1, and he looks more comfortable every day with double-play partner Alexei Ramirez. -- James Fegan (@TheCatbird_Seat), The Catbird Seat
Red Sox
It's the end of a short era for the Red Sox, as Ben Cherington declined to keep the part of his job (general manager) that was not given to new VP of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. Cherington leaves a strange legacy: a 290-315 record as GM, but with a World Series ring to show for it. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the 'Zona
Francisco Lindor nearly hit for the cycle on Saturday, going 3-for-4 against the Yankees, and on Sunday hit the go-ahead home run for the Tribe as part of his 3-for-5 day. It took him a little while to warm up after his major-league debut on June 14, but Lindor is now hitting .298/.332/.424 on the year, including .343/.377/.482 since the All-Star break. -- Stephanie Liscio (@stephanieliscio), It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
The story of the week has to be the designating for assignment of "closer" Fernando Rodney, who has simply run out of arrows to fire in Seattle. Unfortunately, removing Rodney is unlikely to fix much, as the entire team's bullpen has been hideous for the majority of the season, taking a particular nosedive in the last week. -- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the 'Zona
The Brewers had a tough time against the NL East last week, but at least fans could revisit the Carlos Gomez trade. Domingo Santana homered in his Brewers debut, and Mike Fiers pitched a no-hitter in Houston. The rebuilding Brewers may be fighting for the first draft spot, but Milwaukee fans found their entry point into the pennant race with Fiers's accomplishment. -- Nicholas Zettel (@spectivewax), Disciples of Uecker
The results weren't great (one hit and two ER in 2/3 of an inning), but it was good to see Sean Doolittle back on the mound for the first time since going on the DL in May with a strained left shoulder. It was just his second appearance of the season. -- ESPN.com
The Braves are three games out ... of the competition for the first pick in next year's draft. It's obvious this young team, and especially its young pitching staff, is undergoing growing pains. But these talented pitchers are starting to remind people of the lessons they learned watching Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery in 1990 -- progress today doesn't necessarily lead to wins this season. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County
The Reds have lost nine straight games. One bright spot is rookie RHP Raisel Iglesias, who has struck out 47 and walked 9 over his last 47.1 innings. In his most recent start, he struck out 13, more than any Reds rookie pitcher in a single game since 1968. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation
Seen as a "catalyst" and "clubhouse guy," Jose Reyes wants out after only three weeks with the team, in which he barely sniffed a .700 OPS. This weekend, the Mets dominated the Rockies at Coors Field after stifling them last week at Citi Field. They say talent plays anywhere, but are the Rockies so bad that they need Reyes? They'd better not be. -- Richard Bergstrom (@RockiesZingers), Rockies Zingers
The Phillies finished off the week with a three-game sweep of the Marlins, capped by Aaron Nola's eight shutout innings in Sunday's 2-0 win. Nola improved to 4-1 with a 3.59 ERA with the win. -- ESPN.com
Miami has gone 12-23 since the break, and is now tied with the Phillies (21-12 during the same period) for fourth in the East. Miami's 4.51 ERA since the break is third-worst in the National League. They've hit 28 homers in the 49 games since Giancarlo Stanton went on the disabled list. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

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