1. Chicago Cubs (52-30, previously No. 2) – The Cubs are back on top, but more so because of the way others have played, not because they have caught fire again. They’re playing average baseball, nothing like they were at the beginning of the year. Kris Bryant is having an outstanding season as his 24 homers and 63 RBIs are first and second in the NL respectively.
2. San Francisco Giants (53-32, previously No. 3) – San Francisco has opened a five-game lead in the NL West even with the Dodgers surging. The Giants have been led by the top of their rotation with Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto both putting together great years.
3. Texas Rangers (52-32, previously No. 1) – Texas could only last one week at the top as they have fallen down, losers of three straight. They caught fire at home and now are coming back to Earth on the road. For the season, they are 24-20 on the road, compared to 28-12 at home.
4. Cleveland Indians (50-32, previously No. 4) – The Indians are the hottest team in baseball as they have won eight of their last 10 games and have opened a 6.5-game lead in the AL Central. With the starting rotation that they have – led by Danny Salazar and his AL-leading 2.36 ERA – Cleveland will be a tough out in the postseason.
5. Washington Nationals (50-34, previously No. 6) – Winners of seven of their last 10 games, the Nationals sit atop the NL East. Aside from the Cubs, the Nationals’ plus-99 run differential is the best in the NL. It isn’t just Daniel Murphy who is swinging a hot bat as Wilson Ramos is batting .340, good for second in the National League.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (48-37, previously No. 10) – Los Angels has put together a nice little winning streak as they have won five straight and seven of 10, but still sit five games back of the Giants. Corey Seager is quietly putting together a solid season as he has a 3.5 WAR, good for fourth in the NL.
7. Baltimore Orioles (47-35, previously No. 5) – Despite still being in first place, the Orioles have struggled big time on the West Coast as they have dropped their last five games. Fortunately for them, they still hold onto a slim lead in the AL East, but the Red Sox and Blue Jays are right behind them.
8. Boston Red Sox (45-37, previously No. 7) – What a week it was for the Red Sox. After their 21-2 loss to the Angels Saturday, some were calling for manager John Farrell’s job, but the team responded by winning two straight and combining for 37 hits over the two games. The key for the team is getting consistent performances from the mound, which has proven to be a big struggle.
9. New York Mets (45-37, previously No. 11) – The Mets are another team really hot at the moment – winners of five straight – but still are five games out in the NL East. New York certainly has the pitching to make a run at the Nationals, but they just cannot get the hitting they need to win some games.
10. Toronto Blue Jays (46-39, previously No. 9) – Toronto is starting to make things really interesting again in the AL East. It has won three straight to now only be 2.5 games behind the Orioles for first place. Edwin Encarnacion is having a monster season as his 76 RBIs lead all of baseball – 10 more than the next highest total.
11. Houston Astros (44-39, previously No. 14) – Here come the Astros. Winners of seven of their last 10 games, they are making things interesting in both the AL Central and the AL Wild Card race. Jose Altuve has really come on strong as late as his .353 average is the best in baseball.
12. Detroit Tigers (44-39, previously No. 16) – Although it hasn’t been the best of seasons for the Tigers, they still are somewhat in it. The biggest key for a turnaround would be improving their record away from home. As it stands now they are 23-16 at home, but 21-23 on the road.
13. Miami Marlins (43-40, previously No. 8) – It’s been an up-and-down few weeks for the Marlins as one week it appears they can be a NL East contender and the next they don’t. Catcher J.T. Realmuto is having a very surprising season as he’s batting .325, which is third in the National League.
14. St. Louis Cardinals (43-39, previously No. 12) – St. Louis just can’t seem to get anything going this season as with the Cubs running away with the division, they are in danger of missing the postseason. Matt Carpenter’s 3.6 WAR is the third-best in the National League.
15. Kansas City Royals (43-39, previously No. 13) – If there was one thing to point to with the Royals this season it would be their record away from home. They are just 16-28 on the road, compared to 27-11 at home and that isn’t a sign of a playoff team.
16. Seattle Mariners (43-40, previously No. 15) – Seattle has won seven of its last 10 games, but it may be too late to make any sort of run as they are 8.5 games back in the AL West. Nelson Cruz’s 21 homers are tied for fourth in the AL.
17. Chicago White Sox (43-40, previously No. 17) – The White Sox are starting to get back on track as they have won three straight and seven of their last 10 games, but still remain in fourth in the AL Central. They are a team that could receive a lot of trade calls given their starting rotation.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates (42-41, previously No. 19) – Pittsburgh has won five straight and eight of its last 10 games, but still are 10.5 games back in the NL Central. They could potentially make a second half run at the Wild Card, but will need to sustain this win streak for several more weeks.
19. New York Yankees (40-42, previously No. 18) – It’s been a tough year in New York as it doesn’t seem like the Yankees will be going anywhere and although it’s hard to do, their best move might be to become sellers at the trade deadline. Led by left-handed specialist Andrew Miller, the Yankees could get a great deal in return for some of their players.
20. Philadelphia Phillies (38-46, previously No. 26) – The Phillies have turned things around by winning two straight and seven of 10, but still don’t have much chance of going anywhere in 2016. Still, with all the young players they have, it’s a good sign they were able to pull out of the recent slump they were in.
The Bottom 10
21. Colorado Rockies (37-45, previously No. 20) –
22. Arizona Diamondbacks (37-48, previously No. 21)
23. Milwaukee Brewers (36-46, previously No. 22)
24. San Diego Padres (36-47, previously No. 23)
25. Oakland Athletics (36-47, previously No. 24)
26. Tampa Bay Rays (34-48, previously No. 27)
27. Los Angeles Angels (33-50, previously No. 25)
28. Cincinnati Reds (30-54, previously No. 28)
29. Atlanta Braves (28-55, previously No. 29)
30. Minnesota Twins (27-55, previously No. 30)