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MLB power rankings: Astros' Big 'Orange Wagon' keeps rolling at No. 1

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The Houston Astros are clicking on all cylinders, winning 16 of their last 20 games, which includes an 11-game winning streak.

And, for consecutive weeks, the Astros hold the top spot in USA TODAY Sports' weekly MLB power rankings, followed closely by the San Francisco Giants.

It's been a season dominated by pitching, but the Astros offense has been an anomaly. They lead the majors in runs scored (442), on-base percentage (.350), slugging percentage (.453) and OPS (.803).

Their batting average (.278) is 14 points higher than the runner-up Toronto Blue Jays (.264) and their run differential (+142) is 39 more than the runner-up Los Angeles Dodgers (+103).

“Right now, they’re as good as it gets,’’ Astros manager Dusty Baker said earlier this week. “I played against the Big Red Machine. We’re not quite the Big Red Machine, but maybe we’re the Orange Wagon or something.’’

It helps when the Astros have a MLB-best seven finalists – C Martin Maldonado, 1B Yuli Gurriel, 2B Jose Altuve, 3B Alex Bregman, SS Carlos Correa, OF Michael Brantley and DH Yordan Alvarez – to start in the 2021 All-Star Game.

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates after he hits a home run against the Tigers.
Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates after he hits a home run against the Tigers.

Here's how our seven-person panel voted this week:

***

RANK (movement from last week)

1. Houston Astros (--)

  • Carlos Correa (.935 OPS) is having a heck of a contract year.

2. San Francisco Giants (--)

  • Giants become the first team to reach 50 wins.

3. Tampa Bay Rays (+1)

  • The Wander Franco era has begun in St. Petersburg.

4. San Diego Padres (+4)

  • Tommy Pham is heating up, batting .317 with a .429 OBP since May 21.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (-1)

  • Tough week ahead: Two vs. Giants, four vs. Nationals in Washington.

6. Boston Red Sox (--)

  • Swept the Yankees twice in the month of June.

7. Chicago White Sox (-2)

  • Michael Kopech (1.72 ERA in 31.1 IP) nearing a return having been out since late May.

8. Oakland Athletics (-1)

  • Tony Kemp (.401 OBP) getting chance to play every day at second base and left field.

9. Chicago Cubs (--)

  • Lefty Rex Brothers (2.84 ERA in 29 games) has been a nice comeback story.

10. New York Mets (+1)

  • Jacob deGrom's worst start of 2021 (2 runs in 6 innings) ballooned his ERA to 0.69.

11. Milwaukee Brewers (-1)

  • Kolten Wong went 12-for-33 with three homers in first eight games after coming off IL.

12. Cleveland (+2)

  • MLB wins leader Aaron Civale (10-2) hits the injured list for at least a month.

13. Toronto Blue Jays (-1)

14. New York Yankees (+1)

  • Before you freak out about Gleyber Torres, remember that he's still just 24.

15. Cincinnati Reds (-1)

  • Luis Castillo (1.71 ERA in last five starts) back on track after bad rough patch.

16. Seattle Mariners (+5)

  • Promoted in early June, Shed Long had 11 RBI in his first 14 games.

17. Washington Nationals (+2)

  • Kyle Schwarber's historic hot streak may be distracting from this team's flaws.

18. Atlanta Braves (+1)

  • Mike Soroka can't catch a break and is done for 2021 after re-tearing Achilles.

19. Philadelphia Phillies (-4)

  • Hector Neris loses closer job while bullpen makeover continues to be a dud.

20. St. Louis Cardinals (--)

  • Jack Flaherty last pitched on May 31 and the Cardinals lost 16 of 23 to start June.

21. Los Angeles Angels (+3)

  • Jared Walsh's splits are wild: 1.080 OPS vs. righties, .551 vs. lefties.

22. Miami Marlins (--)

  • Pablo Lopez (2.87 ERA in 16 starts) proving that strong 2020 was no fluke.

23. Minnesota Twins (+1)

  • Will they trade Jose Berrios before the July 30 deadline?

24. Kansas City Royals (-1)

  • Nicky Lopez (.347 OBP, 7 SB) has done a nice job filling in for Adalberto Mondesi.

25. Detroit Tigers (--)

  • Reminder that Casey Mize (2.77 ERA in last 10 starts) is eligible for Rookie of the Year.

26. Colorado Rockies (--)

  • After missing three weeks, Jon Gray returns with 10 strikeouts in five shutout innings.

27. Texas Rangers (--)

  • Kyle Gibson (1.52 ERA in five June starts) keeps upping his trade value.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates (--)

  • Bryan Reynolds (.366 BA, 6 HR, 19 RBI in 22 games) tearing it up in June.

29. Baltimore Orioles (–)

  • A year after cancer surgery, Trey Mancini set to appear in the Home Run Derby.

30. Arizona Diamondbacks (--)

  • Team's 24-game road losing streak, an MLB record, mercifully comes to an end.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB power rankings: Astros' 'Orange Wagon' keeps rolling at No. 1