MLB power rankings: Week 18

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BY TONY CONSIGLIO
XN Sports

We are now at one of the most exciting times on the Major League Baseball calendar. The trade deadline is right around the corner and rumors are swirling. There will be many more grumblings than actual moves made in the days ahead, but that's what makes the final days of July so entertaining.

And this past week has brought some more clarity to the deadline market. With good weeks, teams like the Rays and Marlins have played themselves into contention and could be buyers at this deadline. Meanwhile, the likes of the Red Sox and maybe the Reds have struggled enough that they could sell off parts themselves.

So this is how things stand heading into one of the most important weeks of the summer. The power rankings are very California-heavy this week with the top three teams calling the west coast home. Time will tell if any rivals make any deals this week to help them change that.

Here are the MLB power rankings after Week 18:

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MLB power rankings week 18
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MLB power rankings: Week 18

1. Oakland Athletics (65-39) (Last Week 1) – Sonny Gray is untouchable right now. His A’s have won his last seven starts, and Gray is 5-0 in July with a 1.03 ERA

 (AP Photo)

2. Los Angeles Angels (63-41) (LW 2) – Should the Angels make a move before the trade deadline? It’s hard to argue they need to. With the second-best record in baseball and in position to make a run at first place, there’s no real need to tinker. And GM Jerry Dipoto seems to agree.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (59-47) (LW 5) – Despite owning a MLB-best 3.14 starters’ ERA, general manager Ned Colletti wants another pitcher. The team has concerns that Josh Beckett won’t hold up down the stretch and Dan Haren is going downhill with a 9.47 ERA in July. But is Colletti willing to give up top prospects for a star like David Price or Jon Lester?

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

4. Milwaukee Brewers (59-47) (LW 9) – Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez helped lead the Brewers to a 5-2 record during the week. The pair combined for 18 hits, three home runs, 12 RBIs, and three steals.

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

5. Baltimore Orioles (58-46) (LW 8) – The Orioles began the second half with a very tough road trip: 10 games against the top three teams in baseball’s toughest division. Going 6-4 in Oakland, Anaheim, and Seattle is a very successful west coast swing.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

6. St. Louis Cardinals (56-48) (LW 3) – To help get by minus star catcher Yadier Molina, the Cardinals brought in A.J. Pierzynski to fill the void and, so far, so good. He hit safely in his first two games with St. Louis, and went 3-for-4 in his debut.

(AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)

7. Detroit Tigers (57-45) (LW 4) – The Tigers’ bats went quiet in their series against the Angels. In the final three games of their four-game set, Detroit managed just 13 hits and two runs, leading to three straight losses.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

8. Washington Nationals (57-45) (LW 10) – Things have been going well for the Nationals, who are now in sole possession of first place. But they may be faced with life without Ryan Zimmerman for up to two months.

(AP Photo/Al Behrman)

9. Atlanta Braves (57-48) (LW 6) – The Braves are primed for another playoff push, but are in need of a lefty reliever, as they have just Chasen Shreve and his four career games in that role. Atlanta could make a push for Boston’s Andrew Miller.

(AP Photo)

10. San Francisco Giants (57-48) (LW 7) – The Giants wanted a starter and they got one in Jake Peavy. But it cost them two top-10 prospects for a pitcher who had one win all season. He did turn in a quality start in his San Francisco debut on Sunday night, going six innings and allowing three earned runs, striking out five, and walking two.

(AP Photo/Ben Margo)

11. Toronto Blue Jays (56-50) (LW 16) – After giving up two touchdowns in a crushing defeat on Monday, Toronto bounced back to take five of six against division rivals, averaging six runs per game.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

12. Pittsburgh Pirates (55-49) (LW 11) – The Pirates will try to add a player before Thursday deadline, but a blockbuster move is unlikely. Another bullpen arm or two would be a nice addition.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

13. New York Yankees (54-50) (LW 15) – The Yankees brought in some offensive help last week by trading for Chase Headley, but they are still in search of more offense. At -28, New York is the only above-.500 team in the American League with a negative run differential.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

14. Cleveland Indians (52-53) (LW 12) – Hovering right around .500, the Indians would love to make a move for a starting pitcher. With a 4.42 starters’ ERA and .271 BAA, they could use one. And Asdrubal Cabrera could be potential piece to acquire one.

(AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

15. Tampa Bay Rays (51-54) (LW 17) – The chances of Tampa trading away David Price appear to be dropping fast. The Rays, who were among the worst teams in baseball in the first half, put together a nine-game winning streak, and are back in the A.L. East race.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

16. Seattle Mariners (54-51) (LW 13) – The fact that the Mariners are above .500 and a potential playoff team shows just how good their pitching is. Seattle leads only Houston, and just barely, in runs scored in the A.L. They’ll be looking to add a bat or two before Thursday.

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

17. Kansas City Royals (53-51) (LW 19) – Kansas City is in need of some power, and have been scouting the Red Sox’s Jonny Gomes. The Royals’ 61 home runs are far and away the worst in the American League, and they are just two games back of a Wild Card spot.

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

18. Miami Marlins (51-53) (LW 22) – At the All-Star Break, the Marlins appeared headed for another potential summer sale. But, thanks to a 7-1 stretch, Miami could actually be a buyer at this year’s deadline, specifically for a pitcher or a second baseman.

(AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

19. Cincinnati Reds (52-52) (LW 14) – Johnny Cueto continued his dominance on Saturday with a seven-inning, nine-strikeout, shutout performance against Washington. He now owns a 2.08 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and .184 BAA on the year. However, his Reds haven’t won any other game since the All-Star Break.

(AP Photo/David Kohl)

20. Chicago White Sox (51-55) (LW 20) – After a disastrous stint as the closer, Ronald Belisario was relegated to a setup role, where he actually performed pretty well this month. However, he reverted back to his old ways on Sunday, blowing a seventh inning lead by giving up three runs without recording an out.

(AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

21. New York Mets (50-55) (LW 21) – Lucas Duda is on a bit of a power surge, hitting four home runs in his last six games, including a two-run homer on Sunday that provided the only runs in the Mets’ win over the Brewers. New York won three of the four games in which Duda homered.

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

22. Boston Red Sox (48-57) (LW 18) – Things started out well for Boston in the second half with four straight wins, including a 14-1 drubbing of Toronto. Then they lost five in a row, effectively ending any hope of a postseason push. And, after trading Jake Peavy, could ace Jon Lester go, too?

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

23. San Diego Padres (46-58) (LW 23) – The Padres may have parted ways with Chase Headley, but one of their new additions is making San Diego home quickly. Yangervis Solarte went 7-for-21 in his first five games with an RBI in each one.

(AP Photo/David Tulis)

24. Arizona Diamondbacks (45-60) (LW 24) – It could have been better than a 2-4 week for Arizona. The Diamondbacks scored 30 runs in their six games, but allowed 38. Pitching has been a problem all year as Arizona’s 4.30 ERA leads only Colorado in the National League.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

25. Minnesota Twins (47-57) (LW 25) – The Kendrys Morales era didn’t turn out quite how the Twins had hoped. In 39 games in Minnesota, he hit just .234/.259/.325 with 18 RBIs.

(AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

26. Philadelphia Phillies (46-59) (LW 26) – The Phillies are clearly in sell mode, but it’s not a position general manager Ruben Amaro has been willing to embrace in the past, often refusing to part with players who could yield a good return or signing veterans to big contracts when a rebuild would be more appropriate. With players like Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Marlon Byrd as assets, Amaro could make some moves this week. But will he?

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

27. Colorado Rockies (43-61) (LW 27) – The Rockies saw their losing streak grow to seven games before picking up some wins in the second half of the week. But the bad news returned over the weekend when the team couldn’t even spell its star’s name correctly.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

28. Chicago Cubs (42-61) (LW 29) – It’s been a rough second half so far in Chicago. In their first nine games since the break, the Cubs went 2-7 and allowed 51 runs.

(AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)

29. Houston Astros (42-63) (LW 28) – The Astros are doing what they can to work their way back into the bottom spot of the rankings, which they had held for so long. Houston turned in a five-game losing streak, giving up 35 runs in those games.

(AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

30. Texas Rangers (41-64) (LW 30) – As a summer acquisition last year, Alex Rios was brought in to help the Rangers down the stretch. Now that Texas is the worst team in baseball, Rios may be on his way out of Arlington.

(AP Photo)

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