MLB Week 16 power rankings

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We have reached the Major League Baseball season's unofficial halfway mark with the arrival of the All-Star Break. And at this point, it appears the Athletics have established themselves as the team to beat. They have the game's best record and most well-rounded roster. They are, again, atop the XN Sports Power Rankings.

But there is a new team nipping at their heels, and it just so happens to be a division rival. The Angels have fought their way into the number two spot as they have emerged as a legitimate contender. Meanwhile, another A.L. West opponent, though, which is generally in that conversation has plummeted nearly to the bottom of the rankings. It is a tough time for the Rangers who, paired the the Astros in the bottom spot, create an A.L. West double bookend at each end of this week's rankings. The remaining teams fill out the 26 spots in between.

With the second half of the season looming, every team has things to focus on over the next two-and-a-half months. Along with our weekly rankings are one question for each team that will have a bearing on what happens from here on out.

MLB power rankings week 16
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MLB Week 16 power rankings

1. Oakland Athletics (59-36) (Last Week 1) – Can the A’s stay healthy? That’s really the biggest potential issue for Oakland right now. They are top two in baseball in offense and pitching, which is great any year, but especially in a season of relative parity across the league.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

2. Los Angeles Angels (57-37) (LW 3) – Is the Angels’ rotation for real? The depth of L.A.’s starting staff was a big question mark entering the year, but Tyler Skaggs, Hector Santiago, and Matt Shoemaker have performed admirably and helped the team to within 1.5 games of first place.

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

3. Detroit Tigers (53-38) (LW 5) – Will the real Justin Verlander show up? Verlander has been far from reliable, with an 8-8 record and 4.84 ERA. The Tigers need more from the long-time staff front man.

(AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (54-43) (LW 6) – Can the Dodgers’ bullpen hold up? The team’s relievers allow lots of baserunners. At 1.34, L.A.’s relievers’ WHIP is the third-worst in the N.L., paving the way for potential danger.

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

5. Atlanta Braves (52-43) (LW 4) – Can the Braves stay consistent? Atlanta has been a streaky team to both extremes all season. The Braves have three losing streaks of at least four games this year, including a seven-gamer, while also adding four winning streaks of at least four games, topped by a stretch of nine in a row.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

6. St. Louis Cardinals (52-44) (LW 7) – How much will the loss of Yadier Molina hurt? The MVP-caliber catcher may be out for three months with a torn thumb ligament. It will fall on Tony Cruz and Audry Perez to pick up the slack.

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

7. Baltimore Orioles (52-42) (LW 10) – Will the Orioles have an ace? Baltimore is struggling to have a legitimate top-of-the-rotations starter. Among the team’s pitchers with 15 or more starts, Bud Norris has the lowest ERA at 3.96.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

8. Milwaukee Brewers (53-43) (LW 2) –  Will the Brewers’ offense return? Milwaukee has gone 2-11 in the two weeks before the All-Star Break and their bats have gone stone cold. At one point, the Brewers led the league in offense. This month, they’re the worst, with just 29 runs and a .207 average.

 (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

9. Cincinnati Reds (51-44) (LW 12) – Can the Reds stay in the hunt while missing Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto? Phillips will be out for about six weeks with a torn thumb ligament, while Votto has been dealing with left knee and quad problems which could keep him out for most of the rest of the season. The Reds rank 22nd in baseball in runs scored.

(AP Photo/David Kohl)

10. San Francisco Giants (52-43) (LW 8) – Will the Giants be able to get any contributions from Angel Pagan? San Francisco has been shut out 10 times on the season and fell like and anchor out of first place when Pagan went down with a back injury. There is no timetable for his return, but they need him. Since 2012, the Giants are 40 games over .500 when Pagan is in the lineup, but they are 15 games under .500 when he isn’t.

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

11. Seattle Mariners (51-44) (LW 9) – Can the Mariners offense hold out to complement their pitching? The Mariners have the best pitching staff in baseball, but, as has been the case so often in recent years, the offense remains a question mark. The M’s have the lowest-scoring lineup in the A.L. since July began.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

12. Washington Nationals (51-42) (LW 13) – Will Bryce Harper break out of his slump? Of course it didn’t help that he missed more than two months, but since returning to the Nats’ lineup at the end of last month, Harper has seen his batting average drop from .291 to .244, and his power is absent with just two home runs in 123 at bats.

 (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

13. Pittsburgh Pirates (49-46) (LW 11) – Can Francisco Liriano return to 2013 form? Liriano got his career back on track last year, when he was 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA. But this season, he is 1-7 with a 4.72 ERA. They’ll need him in the second half.

 (AP Photo/David Kohl)

14. Cleveland Indians (47-47) (LW 16) – Will Justin Masterson fix his problems? Masterson has been plagued by inconsistencies and mechanical issues throughout the year, leading to his 4-6 record and 5.51 ERA. That’s following his 2013 in which he was 14-10, 3.45.

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

15. Toronto Blue Jays (49-47) (LW 14) – Can they get healthy and get their bats going again? The Blue Jays were leading the A.L. East not long ago until injuries derailed them. Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, and Adam Lind have all been on the disabled list, and the team’s lineup has averaged barely three runs per game this month.

(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

16. New York Yankees (47-47) (LW 17) – Can the Yankees really hang on without Masahiro Tanaka? They are now down to just one of the five starters who began the season in the rotation, and that’s a 39-year-old Hiroki Kuroda.

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

17. Kansas City Royals (48-46) (LW 18) – Can the Royals go on a run like they did in 2013? Heading into the All-Star Break last year, the Royals lost five in a row, then went 19-5 when they resumed play. Now just 2.5 games back in the Wild Card hunt, another stretch like that would put them in a great position for a return to October.

(AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

18. Tampa Bay Rays (44-53) (LW 19) – Will David Price's Tampa Bay career end? The Rays have started to win again, but are still eight games back in the Wild Card race. The decision about whether to keep the team’s ace will chart the team’s course for the final third of the season.

(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

19. Boston Red Sox (43-52) (LW 21) – Was dumping A.J. Pierzynski really what the Red Sox needed to turn their season around? They are now 4-1 since losing their former catcher, and the rookies occupying several spots in their lineup are providing a spark.

(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

20. New York Mets (45-50) (LW 24) – Can the Mets finally turn the corner? New York is only five games under .500 at the All-Star Break, and just capped off an 8-2 home stand. In July, the Mets’ offense and pitching are both among the top three in the N.L.

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

21. Chicago White Sox (45-51) (LW 20) – Can they hit left-handed pitchers? The White Sox hit well against righties, but it’s the games against lefties that let them down. Chicago is hitting only .240/.293/.382 against southpaws this year, ranking near the bottom of the league.

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

22. Minnesota Twins (44-50) (LW 22) – Can the Twins piece together a starting rotation? Minnesota’s starters have not been very good this year, going 30-40 with a 4.82 ERA. Ricky Nolasco has ended up on the disabled list and Kris Johnson was knocked out early in his last start, so the Twins are currently looking at two holes in a rotation that has already had its problems.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

23. Miami Marlins (44-50) (LW 15) – Will the Marlins stay committed to a playoff push? Things were going well in Miami for a while, but the Fish are now 7.5 games back of a Wild Card spot. Will they decide to sell any assets (Giancarlo Stanton?) before the trading deadline passes? (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

24. Colorado Rockies (40-55) (LW 25) – Can the Rockies win some games on the road? If they could play off of their games in Denver, they are just about a .500 team. But outside of Colorado, the Rockies are 16-30, which is the worst away record in baseball.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

25. San Diego Padres (41-54) (LW 26) – Will the Padres make history? San Diego’s offense is among the worst the game has ever seen. The Padres have scored just 279 runs in 94 games. That’s a pace of 481 for the season. The last time a team failed to reach the 500 run plateau was the Padres in 1971.

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

26. Philadelphia Phillies (42-53) (LW 29) – Will the Phillies start to show a glimpse of their future? If general manager Ruben Amaro does move some veterans over the next few weeks, we may start to see some of the players who will be at the core of Philadelphia’s future like third baseman Maikel Franco and outfielder Tyler Henson.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

27. Arizona Diamondbacks (40-56) (LW 28) – Can Arizona win at home? The Diamondbacks are the rare team that plays fairly well away from home, but are terrible in their own ballpark. Arizona is tied for the second-worst record in the game, but is 23-25 on the road. However, at home, they are just 17-31, which is the fewest number of home wins of any team.

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

28. Chicago Cubs (40-54) (LW 27) – How much will the Cubs’ top prospects appear at the major league level down the stretch? With the franchise heading toward another losing season, the question now becomes how much we will get to see of Chicago’s top prospects. The team says third baseman Kris Bryant will remain in Triple-A all year, but others like Arismendy Alcantara could get the call.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

29. Texas Rangers (38-57) (LW 23) – Can Texas get any pitching? The Rangers have the worst staff in the American League, and a MLB-worst 7.08 ERA in July, which is a major contributor to their current eight-game losing streak.

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

30. Houston Astros (38-57) (LW 30) – Will the bullpen continue to lose games for them? The Astros have an MLB-worst 5.02 bullpen ERA, and they also lead baseball with 17 blown saves.

(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)



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