MLB Power Rankings: Blue Jays Crash Into Top 5

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Aug 31, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey (41) throws to a Washington Nationals batter during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The key to the success of the 2015 Saint Louis Cardinals? A surprising career year from veteran pitcher John Lackey. Unlikely, the righty has quietly put together not only one of the best years of his careers but one of the most impressive years of any MLB pitcher.

Lackey is finishing up his thirteenth MLB season. While that’s a feat worth celebrating alone, the fact that he’s complied a 2.87 ERA, 11-8 record, and is on pace to record another 200-plus inning season is jaw-dropping. Not only that but he’s on pace to set a new career-best in WHIP. All of this at the ripe old age of 36.

For a team that has sustained both injuries to the starting rotation and lineup he’s been a constant. The loss of Adam Wainwright has been bearable because of the success of Lackey. Without him, the Cardinals would not be where they are today: owning the best record in baseball and again a legitimate World Series contender.

But who else could give them a run for their money? Let’s find out.

Biggest Jump: Rangers & Indians (4 spots)

Biggest Drop: Tigers & Dbacks (4 spots)