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MLB power rankings: Athletics dominate at All-Star break

The Athletics close out our first-half power rankings with an easy grip on first place.

Yoenis Cespedes Yoenis Cespedes won his second straight Home Run Derby Monday to continue Oakland's fantastic season.
Credit: Getty Images

1. Oakland Athletics (59-36, previous: 1) — The Athletics left little doubt they are the best team in baseball at the All-Star break, winning seven of their last 10. They had two participants in the Home Run Derby in Yoenis Cespedes (who won for second-straight year) and Josh Donaldson, who have played major roles in the A’s averaging 4.91 runs per game — second in the AL. They also have a major league-leading plus-145 run differential. Oakland will open the unofficial second half of the season taking on the AL East-leading Orioles.

2. Los Angeles Angels (57-37, previous: 2) — The hottest team in baseball may very well be the Angels at the moment as they have won five straight and nine of their last 10 games, but still are 1 1/2 games out of first place in the AL West. Starter Garrett Richards has been one of the biggest surprises in all of baseball as he’s posted 11 wins, tied for third in the AL. Los Angeles will host the surging Mariners in the first series out of the break.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (54-43, previous: 3) — It was a good first half for the Dodgers as they lead the NL West by one game after a slow start to the season. Los Angeles’ rotation has paced them all year as Clayton Kershaw’s 11 wins are tied for third in the NL and Josh Beckett’s 2.26 ERA is also third. Their plus-50 run differential is the second-highest mark in the NL. The Dodgers will look to stay on top of the NL West with a weekend series against St. Louis.

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4. Milwaukee Brewers (53-43, previous: 4) — Things aren’t going well for the Brewers as they have dropped eight of their last 10 games and only lead the NL Central by one game over the Cardinals. For the year, the Brewers are 28-19 on the road, but just 25-24 at home. Milwaukee will look to get things going over the weekend when they take on the Nationals.

5. Detroit Tigers (53-38, previous: 9) — Following a sluggish start to the year, the Tigers have been playing like the defending AL runner-ups of late as they have opened a 8 1/2-game lead on the Royals in the AL Central. Rick Porcello is tied for the league lead in wins with 12, while Miguel Cabrera leads the league in RBI with 75. Detroit will open the second half with a weekend series against Cleveland.

6. St. Louis Cardinals (52-44, previous: 11) — With the Brewers falling of late, the Cardinals have climbed to just one game behind Milwaukee for first place in the NL Central. They have been led all year by starter Adam Wainwright and his league-leading 12 wins and league-low 1.83 ERA, which paved the way for him starting for the NL in the All-Star Game. A tough series with the Dodgers awaits St. Louis following the break.

7. Baltimore Orioles (52-42, previous: 5) — Baltimore closed out the unofficial first half of the season strong to open up a four game lead in the American League East. As a team, they have hit 114 homers on the year, the second-most in the AL with Nelson Cruz pacing them with 28, second in the AL. The Orioles will be put to the test out of the gates when they take on the A’s in Oakland this weekend.

8. San Francisco Giants (52-43, previous: 7) — Not only will the Giants be in the running for the NL West crown, but they will also be serious players in the NL wild-card discussion during the second half. Tim Hudson has regained his form this year, posting a 2.87 ERA — 10th in the National League. San Francisco will open the second half in Miami taking on the Marlins.

9. Seattle Mariners (51-44, previous: 6) — Even though Seattle has dropped six of its last 10 games and sit in third place in the AL West, the Mariners would make the postseason if the playoffs started today as the second wild-card team. The Mariners have been led by ace Felix Hernandez and his AL-leading 2.12 ERA to earn the starting nod for the American League in the All-Star Game. Seattle faces a crucial series over the weekend against the Angels, as they cannot lose ground in the division or the wild card.

10. Cincinnati Reds (51-44, previous: 14) — The Reds have picked a good time to play their best baseball of the season. They have reeled off wins in seven of their last 10 games to coincide with the Brewers' recent slump and only trail them by one game. Despite being injured, Johnny Cueto is fifth in the NL in wins with 10 and is second in ERA at 2.13.

11. Washington Nationals (51-42, previous: 10) — The Nationals have set themselves up to be in contention the entire second half. They are tied with the Braves in the NL East, but the question with them is do they have the experience to stay there when it matters most in September? They will rely heavily on Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister leading one of the better rotations in all of baseball.

12. Atlanta Braves (52-43, previous: 8) — The Braves and Nationals will be battling it out in the NL East as the two are deadlocked at the All-Star break. Aside from getting tremendous starting pitching, their bullpen has been rock solid led by Craig Kimbrel and his 29 saves. Atlanta has a chance to gain some ground with their next series against the Phillies.

13. Pittsburgh Pirates (49-46, previous: 13) – Even at just three games over .500, the Pirates are right in the thick of the NL Central race, just 3 1/2 games behind the Brewers. Andrew McCutchen had a very productive first half, hitting .324 with 17 home runs and 61 RBIs. Being 3 1/2 games out of first is pretty impressive considering their horrible start to the year.

14. Toronto Blue Jays (49-47, previous: 12) — Things have begun to unravel for the Blue Jays. Following the injury to slugger Edwin Encarnarcion, Toronto has fallen out of first place in the AL East and trail the Orioles by four games. They have lost eight of their last 10 games and are struggling to score runs. They've managed three runs or fewer in seven of their last 10 games and will need to get their offense back in gear for the second half.

15. New York Yankees (47-47, previous: 16) — New York took a real blow this week when it was learned rookie Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, which will sideline him at least six weeks. Even with his injury, if the Yankees can stay within striking distance, they can still make a run for the playoffs in August and September due to a weak division.

16. Cleveland Indians (47-47, previous: 17) — A .500 record is a perfect way to sum up the Indians’ season so far. They have stretches where they look like a playoff team and then others where they look like a team still looking for its identity. Only 7 1/2 games back in the division means Cleveland isn’t out of it yet, but will need to get things going quickly.

17. Kansas City Royals (46-42, previous: 15) — At two games above .500, things could be going a lot better for the Royals if they could play better at home. They are 26-21 on the road, but just 22-25 at home. Their only real shot at making the postseason is winning the AL Central where they sit 6 1/2 games behind Detroit.

18. New York Mets (45-50, previous: 21) — The Mets, yes the Mets, are one of the hottest teams in the game at the break. They have won three straight and eight of their last 10 games, but still sit seven games out of first in the NL East. Only making nine starts, Dillon Gee is 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA. Coming out of the break, the Mets will take on the Padres in San Diego.

19. Chicago White Sox (45-51, previous: 19) — Yes, it has been a tough season for the White Sox, but at least they have Jose Abreu coming onto the scene with his AL-leading 29 home runs.

20. Tampa Bay Rays (44-53, previous: 20) — Tampa Bay has played better the last few weeks and no longer sit in the basement of the AL East. As has been the question for much of the season, will the Rays trade David Price? There are sure to be plenty of contenders calling.

21. Miami Marlins (44-50, previous: 18) — Miami closed the first half losing four straight and seven of its last 10 games to now sit 7 1/2 games back in the NL East and in fourth place behind the Mets. Although a trade seems unlikely, the Marlins are sure to receive calls for Giancarlo Stanton until the deadline passes.

22. Minnesota Twins (44-50, previous: 23) — Minnesota is in last place in the AL Central, 10 1/2 games behind the Tigers, but at least they hosted the All-Star Game this week and the hometown fans got to see Brian Dozier compete in the Home Run Derby.

23. Boston Red Sox (43-52, previous: 24) — Buyers or sellers? That is the question the Red Sox organization is asking itself at the moment. The team has gone back and forth for some time, playing like a potential playoff team, and then looking like one of the worst teams in baseball. There certainly will be interest in a number of guys, including Koji Uehara, Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli.

24. Philadelphia Phillies (42-53, previous: 27) — Philadelphia’s playoff hopes are all but gone as they are 10 games out of first in the NL East. Now the question is will they be big sellers at the trade deadline? They certainly have a few players contenders would want, especially starter Cole Hamels.

25. San Diego Padres (41-54, previous: 22) — The Padres have lost seven of their last 10 games and are 12 games out of first place in the NL West. They only average 2.93 runs per game, last in all of baseball.

26. Chicago Cubs (40-54, previous: 25) — Chicago has lost eight of its last 10 games going into the All-Star break and no question are looking toward the future. Their recent trade with the Athletics offers some hope for the future in Chicago.

27. Colorado Rockies (40-55, previous: 29) — Colorado is just one game under .500 at home, but 14 games under on the road, which leads to them being 13 games out of first place in the NL West.

28. Arizona Diamondbacks (40-56, previous: 28) — Their minus-71 run differential is the worst in the National League and they have said almost their entire roster is available at the trade deadline.

29. Houston Astros (40-56, previous: 30) — No longer are the Astros the worst team in baseball and they are no longer the worst team in their division with the horrible stretch the Rangers are going through.

30. Texas Rangers (38-57, previous: 26) — Losers of eight straight, who would have ever thought at the All-Star break the Rangers would be the worst team in baseball?

Follow Metro sports writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @RyanHannable.

 
 
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