MLB Power Rankings: Cards flying high

MLB Power Rankings: Cards flying high
May 16, 2013, 1:15 pm

The top two spots in the rankings have held firm, with the Reds making a huge jump and Atlanta continuing to tumble. Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and I see the rest of the league shaking out:

1. Cardinals (26-13; LW: 1) - Roney: In St. Louis, having the best rotation equals having the best record -- all five regular starters (who have made all but one start this season) have an ERA under 3.00.

2. Rangers (26-14; LW: 2) - Hughes: Led by Yu Darvish and Derek Holland, the Rangers have built the best starting rotation in the American League. Plus, 38-year-old Joe Nathan has been great as their closer.

3. Yankees (25-15; LW: 6) - Zuckerman: Vernon Wells: Utilityman? Hey, the Yankees are making it work right now.

4. Reds (24-16; LW: 12) - Roney: Jay Bruce's power is starting to come back, which is great news -- even if he continues on his 200+ strikeout pace.

5. Giants (23-17; LW: 4) - Hughes: How does Bruce Bochy do it? Ryan Vogelsong has been so bad he may skip a start, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum have 4.00+ ERAs, and Madison Bumgarner has been their only reliable starter. All this, yet they still lead their division.

6. Orioles (23-17; LW: 5) - Zuckerman: Turns out Jim Johnson is human after all. First blown save in 36 tries.

7. Tigers (22-16; LW: 7) - Roney: How nice of a surprise has Torii Hunter been? The oldest everyday player on the team by three years, he's hitting .325 with a team-high 11 doubles.

8. Pirates (23-17; LW: 14) - Roney: If the Pirates keep this up, they may occupy the unfamiliar role of buyer at the trade deadline -- though if things start to go south, they could probably get a great price for setup man Mark Melancon (one earned run so far).

9. Red Sox (23-17; LW: 8) - Zuckerman: Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz now combined 12-0, 2.21 ERA. That'll work.

10. Braves (22-18; LW: 3) - Zuckerman: The bloom is off the rose; they've lost 16 of their last 25.

11. Diamondbacks (23-18; LW: 10) - Hughes: Talk about Matt Harvey as the NL's best young pitcher all you want, Patrick Corbin has been just as good. The 23-year-old lefty is 6-0 with a 1.52 ERA, pacing an otherwise inconsistent D-Backs staff.

12. Indians (22-17; LW: 15) - Roney: Has Mark Reynolds finally curbed his strikeout problems? After being a near-lock to lead the majors in that category for years, he's not even the most whiff-happy Indian (an ignominious distinction that belongs to Drew Stubbs).

13. Nationals (21-19; LW: 9) - Zuckerman: One of these days, they'll actually field their real lineup again, right?

14. Royals (20-17; LW: 11) - Roney: James Shields has been good, but how awesome would an offensive outfield featuring Wil Myers alongside Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon look?

15. Rockies (21-19; LW: 13) - Hughes: The Rockies are what the Brewers were a few years ago. Two absolute superstars in Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, but starting pitching holds them back.

16. Rays (20-19; LW: 18) - Zuckerman: They're starting to get on track; won 6 in a row before Wednesday's loss.

17. Athletics (20-22; LW: 16) - Hughes: After moving through April as one of the league's best teams, the A's have lost eight of their last ten. Their starters and bats have really cooled off.

18. Twins (18-19; LW: 17) - Roney: I know they're committed to a youth movement, but with none of their outfielders batting above .205, it's hard not to think they may be pining for the departed Denard Span and Ben Revere.

19. Mariners (19-21; LW: 21) - Hughes: Seattle is 11-6 over the last three weeks, showing signs of life. It's kind of amazing, however, that Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, and Jesus Montero all aren't living up to their hype.

20. Phillies (19-22; LW: 22) - Zuckerman: Forget about Roy Halladay; Cole Hamels is 1-6 with a 4.61 ERA.

21. Padres (18-21; LW: 20) - Hughes: San Diego is simply mediocre in almost every facet of the game. They might, however, have something special in Yonder Alonso.

22. White Sox (17-21; LW: 24) - Roney: With Vernon Wells and Alex Rios (.293, 8 HR, 20 RBI) playing well, you can almost understand the huge contracts Toronto gave them a few years ago.

23. Dodgers (17-22; LW: 25) - Hughes: A disappointing season all around so far, but they did just take two of three from the Nats and got Zack Greinke back. We'll see if that gets them going.

24. Blue Jays (17-24; LW: 27) - Zuckerman: Trying to claw their way back into the mix in AL East, but they've got long way to go.

25. Cubs (17-23; LW: 26) - Roney: Not a lot of great baseball in the windy city right now, but with Anthony Rizzo now locked up long-term for what the Cubs hope turns out to be a discounted rate, the core is in place for better things to come.

26. Brewers (16-22; LW: 19) - Roney: They need to find some pitching somewhere, because they're wasting incredible seasons from Ryan Braun, Jean Segura, and Carlos Gomez.

27. Angels (15-25; LW: 28) - Hughes: Mike Trout is putting together a nice season and Albert Pujols is coming around. Josh Hamilton though, yikes.

28. Mets (14-23; LW: 23) - Zuckerman: Is it a good sign when the manager starts calling out fans? Probably not.

29. Marlins (11-29; LW: 30) - Zuckerman: Only one regular hitting better than .250: Donovan Solano. Yikes.

30. Astros (11-30; LW: 29) - Hughes: Houston has 410 strikeouts as a team this year and just 105 walks. They've also allowed 43 more runs than the second worst pitching staff in the majors.