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MLB Power Rankings: Cardinals still No. 1, Astros on the rise
1:27 | MLB
MLB Power Rankings: Cardinals still No. 1, Astros on the rise
SI.com Staff
Monday May 4th, 2015

The Cardinals remain first in our latest Power Rankings, but this week's big story is the rapid rise of the Astros. On the strength of a 10-game win streak and the second-best record in baseball, Houston has rocketed all the way from 11th place to third in the rankings. Overall, St. Louis hung on to the top spot thanks to three of the six first-place votes this week, with the Dodgers right behind them at No. 2. The Astros check in at third, with another red-hot American League team, the Yankees, jumping up to fourth. The Royals round out the top five.

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It's been all systems go in Houston through the first month of the season, with the team sporting an 18–7 record and a two-game lead in the AL West. The Astros bashed their way through a perfect 7–0 week, sweeping the Padres and the Mariners thanks to some stellar offense. In those seven games, Houston crushed 18 home runs—more than nine different teams have on the season—and now leads the majors with 40 round-trippers. Leading the home run barrage was Evan Gattis. The burly designated hitter was ice cold to start the year, hitting just .156/.194/.250 with 22 strikeouts and three walks in 67 plate appearances through April 27. But last week, Gattis exploded for five homers and 12 RBIs, including a two-homer game to finish Houston's sweep of Seattle on Sunday.

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On the opposite end of the spectrum from the Astros are the rapidly sinking White Sox, who are 8–14 on the year and fell all the way to 28th in this week's rankings. Chicago has lost five straight games and went winless last week, getting routed by the Orioles in an empty Camden Yards and then dropping a entire four-game series to the Twins on the road. Pitching has been the sore spot for the White Sox, who gave up 39 runs in those five games. Jeff Samardzija's 4.78 ERA is the best mark among the team's five main starters, and the back of the rotation has been absolutely hammered, with John Danks and Hector Noesi sporting ERA+ marks of 66 and 62, respectively. Most troubling, however, has to be the slow start from Chris Sale. The White Sox' ace has a 5.32 ERA in 22 innings and was lit up by Minnesota in his lone start last week, giving up nine runs (eight earned) in just three innings. Sale's peripherals are still relatively strong (8.2 strikeout-per-nine ratio and only two walks per nine), but the results have yet to come for the lanky lefthander.

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Speaking of the Twins, they were one of this week's biggest risers, going all the way from 28th to 19th. They had a slow start to the week, dropping two of three to Detroit, but a four-game sweep of Chicago has them sitting a game above .500 at 13–12 and just 3 1/2 games back of the Tigers in the AL Central. Minnesota's bats did the heavy lifting last week, scoring 45 runs in seven games, including 12- and 13-run outbursts against the White Sox. Trevor Plouffe led the way with three homers and 11 RBIs, and Danny Santana hit a scorching .393 (11-for-28), but the Twins could use more pop. Their 16 home runs rank next-to-last in the American League, and of their seven players to have gone yard, only one—Plouffe, with five—has hit more than two. Three Twins regulars haven't hit a longball yet, including Joe Mauer, though the veteran first baseman does have a solid 117 OPS+ on the season and a team-high .382 on-base percentage.

  • 1
    1St. Louis Cardinals
     
    last week: 1
    points: 177
    High Vote: 1st (3x)
    Low Vote: 2nd (3x)

  • 2
    2Los Angeles Dodgers
     
    last week: 3
    points: 168
    High Vote: 1st
    Low Vote: 5th

  • 3
    3Houston Astros
     
    last week: 11
    points: 164
    High Vote: 1st
    Low Vote: 8th

  • 4
    4New York Yankees
     
    last week: 8
    points: 153
    High Vote: 3rd
    Low Vote: 10th

  • 5
    5Kansas City Royals
     
    last week: 4
    points: 152
    High Vote: 1st
    Low Vote: 13th

  • 6
    6Detroit Tigers
     
    last week: 5
    points: 151
    High Vote: 3rd (2x)
    Low Vote: 11th

  • 7
    7New York Mets
     
    last week: 2
    points: 143
    High Vote: 5th
    Low Vote: 11th

  • 8
    8San Diego Padres
     
    last week: 7
    points: 130
    High Vote: 7th
    Low Vote: 12th

  • 9
    9Chicago Cubs
     
    last week: 9
    points: 125
    High Vote: 6th
    Low Vote: 13th (2x)

  • 10
    10Baltimore Orioles
     
    last week: 16
    points: 124
    High Vote: 8th (3x)
    Low Vote: 19th

  • 11
    11Pittsburgh Pirates
     
    last week: 6
    points: 114
    High Vote: 8th
    Low Vote: 16th

  • 12
    12Tampa Bay Rays
     
    last week: 10
    points: 110
    High Vote: 5th
    Low Vote: 16th (2x)

  • 13
    13Washington Nationals
     
    last week: 21
    points: 106
    High Vote: 4th
    Low Vote: 17th (2x)

  • 14
    14Miami Marlins
     
    last week: 14
    points: 101
    High Vote: 7th
    Low Vote: 24th

  • 15
    15Oakland Athletics
     
    last week: 15
    points: 91
    High Vote: 12th (2x)
    Low Vote: 22nd

  • 16
    16Boston Red Sox
     
    last week: 13
    points: 83
    High Vote: 7th
    Low Vote: 22nd (2x)

  • 17
    17Los Angeles Angels
     
    last week: 12
    points: 81
    High Vote: 11th
    Low Vote: 21st (2x)

  • 18
    18Toronto Blue Jays
     
    last week: 17
    points: 80
    High Vote: 15th (2x)
    Low Vote: 20th (3x)

  • 19
    19Minnesota Twins
     
    last week: 28
    points: 74
    High Vote: 14th (2x)
    Low Vote: 24th

  • 20
    20San Francisco Giants
     
    last week: 27
    points: 71
    High Vote: 10th
    Low Vote: 28th

  • 21
    21Cincinnati Reds
     
    last week: 24
    points: 68
    High Vote: 14th
    Low Vote: 24th

  • 22
    22Atlanta Braves
     
    last week: 18
    points: 67
    High Vote: 16th
    Low Vote: 27th

  • 23
    23Arizona Diamondbacks
     
    last week: 25
    points: 57
    High Vote: 18th (3x)
    Low Vote: 29th

  • 24
    24Seattle Mariners
     
    last week: 22
    points: 54
    High Vote: 15th
    Low Vote: 25th (2x)

  • 25
    25Cleveland Indians
     
    last week: 23
    points: 43
    High Vote: 21st
    Low Vote: 26th

  • 26
    26Colorado Rockies
     
    last week: 20
    points: 31
    High Vote: 25th
    Low Vote: 26th (5x)

  • 27
    27Texas Rangers
     
    last week: 26
    points: 26
    High Vote: 25th (2x)
    Low Vote: 29th

  • 28
    28Chicago White Sox
     
    last week: 19
    points: 24
    High Vote: 22nd
    Low Vote: 29th (2x)

  • 29
    29Milwaukee Brewers
     
    last week: 30
    points: 13
    High Vote: 28th (2x)
    Low Vote: 30th (2x)

  • 30
    30Philadelphia Phillies
     
    last week: 29
    points: 9
    High Vote: 28th
    ​Low Vote: 30th (4x)

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