May 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

Tony Paul

Tony Paul's Week 6 MLB Power Rankings: Tigers take over No. 1, with big stretch looming

The Tigers continue to roll, thanks to DH Victor Martinez, who's putting up monster numbers in the last year of his contract. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)

Tony Paul goes around the league, with the sixth of his weekly Major League Baseball power rankings:

1. Tigers (last week 2): They’ve beaten up on weak competition. The next six series — Orioles, Red Sox, Indians, Rangers, A’s, Mariners — will be quite telling.

2. Giants (1): Everything’s still going swimmingly, though they were dealt a blow. Slugger Brandon Belt (thumb surgery) is out at least six weeks.

3. Rockies (6): They’re clicking big-time on offense, with contributions from the obscure, as well the long forgotten. Justin Morneau’s batting .329.

4. Brewers (3): Ryan Braun (oblique) could be back in the lineup as early as Tuesday, but now Aramis Ramirez (hamstring) could be out for a while.

5. Braves (4): Pitching has greatly impressed, but outside of Freddie Freeman (20 RBIs) and Justin Upton (19 RBIs), the offense has been a flat-out dud.

6. A’s (5): With Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes in the fold, who would’ve thought Derek Norris would be leading the ballclub in OPS (1.069)?

7. Orioles (16): Slugger Chris Davis (left side) returns in time to face the Tigers this week, but Matt Wieters (elbow) now is headed to the disabled list.

8. Dodgers (8): Not the start they envisioned, not with that payroll. Carl Crawford (.255/.279/.340) is reverting back to his awful Red Sox performance.

9. Yankees (7): If Derek Jeter doesn’t start hitting, don’t be surprised if the Yankees emerge as the Tigers’ competition for shortstop Stephen Drew.

10. Red Sox (15): Highlight of their week? They broke up Yu Darvish’s no-hit bid. It would’ve been the first no-no against Boston since Chris Bosio in ’93.

11. Cardinals (11): Former Tiger Jhonny Peralta has 32 hits for his new team. Half have been for extra bases — that’s eight doubles and eight home runs.

12. Nationals (9): Not the ideal start to his Nationals career for ex-Tiger Doug Fister, who allowed five earned runs on nine hits Friday. He struck out two.

13. Mariners (17): When will Robinson Cano start hitting for power? He has just a single home run, same as Abraham Almonte and Stefen Romero.

14. Angels (21): Somehow, the ageless Raul Ibanez has 19 RBIs — that’s five more than Prince Fielder, if you wondered — even though he’s hitting .140.

15. Marlins (22): A team to watch. That said, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says ace Jose Fernandez is going on the DL. If that’s serious, forget about it.

16. Rangers (10): Darvish is now being referred to as the Dave Stieb of this generation, with two no-hitters broken up with two outs in the ninth inning.

17. White Sox (14): As good as their offense is (second in baseball in runs), their pitching is equally as bad (fourth-worst ERA). They’re a year away.

18. Indians (23): They’re starting to find their groove again, though there is growing uncertainty over shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera’s future in Cleveland.

19. Phillies (12): Chase Utley is 35, but he’s playing like he did when he was in his 20s. He leads the league with 15 doubles, and boasts a .396 OBP.

20. Rays (18): David Price and Chris Archer are a combined 5-5 with a 4.82 ERA. That has to turn around, and soon, to get back in the AL East race.

21. Twins (19): Props to Ron Gardenhire for giving us a heated umpire encounter Sunday. Expanded replay has sucked some of the fun from the game.

22. Mets (13): The Mets, 2-8 in their last 10 games, are starting to come back to reality, just as most expected they would. There’s just not enough talent.

23. Reds (24): Closer Aroldis Chapman is back from that awful liner to the head, and in his debut, he showed no lingering effects (one inning, three K’s).

24. Pirates (20): The Pirates may confirm my theory. Teams that are a surprise playoff team one year often struggle the next. Why’s that? Expectations.

25. Blue Jays (25): They probably are praying Jose Bautista stays healthy for a change. If he does, he could command a huge haul on the trade market.

26. Diamondbacks (30): The White Sox might’ve won a trade between the teams this offseason, but the Diamondbacks won the series over the weekend.

27. Padres (27): Here’s another trade candidate to watch: closer Huston Street and his 0.56 ERA. It helps that they can always have Joaquin Benoit close.

28. Royals (26): Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon have combined to hit three home runs. The stunning lack of power in K.C. has continued.

29. Cubs (28): Big decision looming: To trade or sign ace Jeff Samardzija, a free agent in 2016. They have so many needs, dealing him might make sense.

30. Astros (29): They’re not good, at all. Nobody’s suggesting otherwise. But they showed in a four-game series in Detroit that the future might be just fine.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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