Power Rankings: Astros, Dodgers in a league of their own

With the first-place votes still split between them, the Dodgers and Astros remained in the top two slots, with L.A. once again eking out the win to maintain pole position after their move to No. 1 last week. Even with interleague play, their only opportunity to face one another will be in the World Series.

The week's biggest surprise might be the Cubs' tumble, as the defending champs finally fell from the top 10 for the first time all season. Their reaching the midpoint of the schedule at 41-41 apparently was enough to finally disenchant the voters. Within the top 10, the biggest moves up were made by the Red Sox -- who climbed three spots to reach No. 5 on the strength of series wins against the Twins and Blue Jays -- and the Brewers, as Milwaukee displaced the Cubs in the rankings and kept their hold of the National League Central lead.

The week's biggest gain in the rankings was by the Mets, who moved up four slots by notching their first month of .500 baseball in June, winning seven of their past nine games. As far out ahead as the NL West's power trio is, the Mets will need help to get back into any postseason consideration, but a climb back to .500 would be good news. The single biggest fall by any team was by those always-mobile Mariners, who retreated three spots as they wrestle to resolve their own "contender or pretender" status.

This week's voters are Bradford Doolittle, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian, David Schoenfield and Mark Simon.

Week 12 rankings | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 55-29
Week 12 ranking: No. 1

Everything's coming up Dodgers. Cody Bellinger put up a 13-homer June. Utility man Chris Taylor became their first player to hit three grand slams in a season since Matt Kemp did it in 2009. Alex Wood notched his ninth win to lower his ERA to 1.83. Justin Turner's .382 batting average leads the majors and -- if he maintains it -- would be the highest at the All-Star break since Nomar Garciaparra's .389 and Todd Helton's .383 in 2000. One thing to beware of: thinking they're underperforming relative to their expected record. Outscoring the Padres by 43 runs in several blowouts is a big part of that, and it isn't the Dodgers' fault there's no slaughter rule. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

2. Houston Astros

Record: 56-27
Week 12 ranking: No. 2

The Astros' fun problem to have? Getting Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Marisnick into the lineup. Gonzalez has a .975 OPS and a career-high 14 homers, despite starting just 53 games (at five different positions), while Marisnick has chipped in 10 homers to earn more starts in center field. The less fun problem? Possibly having to find a new rotation temp after David Paulino got a season-ending suspension for PEDs. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

3. Washington Nationals

Record: 48-34
Week 12 ranking: No. 4

The Nationals have hit a bit of a cold spell, but they still finished their first 81 games on pace to win 96 for the season. The loss of Trea Turner is painful. In his past 12 games, Turner had hit .367 with 13 stolen bases and 13 runs scored. Stephen Drew is a respectable replacement, but he's definitely not Turner. Drew does bring a little power, with nine home runs in 203 at-bats dating back to the start of last season. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

4. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 52-31
Week 12 ranking: No. 3

With shortstop Nick Ahmed out for up to two months after surgery to repair a fracture in his right hand, it's good that center fielder A.J. Pollock is due back from the disabled list shortly to shore up their interior defense. A rotation that's just barely second in MLB to the Dodgers in ERA and has four starters with ERAs of 3.30 or better has already had to get by with a slightly below-average defense, and taking Ahmed out of the mix could hurt a ground-ball-dependent starter such as Zack Godley. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

5. Boston Red Sox

Record: 47-35
Week 12 ranking: No. 8

The Red Sox have sole possession of the American League East lead for the first time this season. The Killer B's have been hot for the past three weeks, with Jackie Bradley Jr. leading the team in batting average and OPS. Their bullpen is one of the best in baseball (and has been the best in the AL since June 1). Chris Sale is arguably the best starting pitcher in the majors and having the best year of his impressive career. This week's climb could be the start of a bigger move in the rankings. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

6. New York Yankees

Record: 43-37
Week 12 ranking: No. 5

With a homer and a double, Clint Frazier had an arrival for the ages to become the latest Yankee making his major league debut this season. The Elias Sports Bureau notes Frazier was the fourth-youngest Yankees player to homer in his MLB debut and the youngest Yankee to do so since 1969. It also notes that his six total bases were the most for any Yankees player in his MLB debut. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

7. Cleveland Indians

Record: 44-37
Week 12 ranking: No. 7

One thing that's missing from the Indians' gradual takeover of the AL Central race? Offense from their keystone combo, as Francisco Lindor is mired in a slump since the end of May (his .574 OPS since June 1 is in the bottom 10), and Jason Kipnis is posting career worsts in his walk rate, infield fly balls and ground ball/fly ball ratio. The happy way to think about their struggles is that once they snap out of their funks, the Indians' offense might regain a place among baseball's best. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

8. Colorado Rockies

Record: 48-36
Week 12 ranking: No. 6

Starting pitcher Jon Gray returned from the DL in time to snap the Rockies' losing streak at eight games with a 10-whiff spin, but it couldn't keep them from losing another series against an NL West rival. After going 1-10 against the Giants, Dodgers and D-backs, their rotation ERA has been an MLB-worst 8.35. The Rockies have to hope they can regroup with a homestand against the Reds and White Sox before the break. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

9. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 44-40
Week 12 ranking: No. 12

Not even the most optimistic Brewers fan would have predicted their team would be leading the NL Central on the July Fourth weekend, but here we are. Despite Eric Thames' slump, Milwaukee hit 49 home runs in June, third most in MLB. The starting rotation also posted a 3.89 ERA last month (good for fourth in MLB), led by Jimmy Nelson's continued dominance (2.64 ERA with 60 K's over his past seven starts). -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information

10. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 43-41
Week 12 ranking: No. 10

Who would have thought that Logan Morrison would surpass his career high of 23 home runs (from 2011 with the Marlins) in less than half a season? Morrison just did that by hitting two blasts on Saturday to reach 24. He's now more than halfway to the Rays' single-season record of 46, set by Carlos Pena in 2007. Pena is the only Rays player to hit at least 40 in a campaign. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

11. Chicago Cubs

Record: 41-41
Week 12 ranking: 9

The Cubs are facing more issues this season than they did all of last year. Kyle Hendricks is on the DL, and the healthy members of the rotation are struggling. The offense is stalling, averaging just over three runs in their past 10 games, after an 11-run outburst against the Marlins last week. Ian Happ has cooled off (Sunday's two-homer game notwithstanding), Kris Bryant rolled his ankle, Jason Heyward is on the DL and Kyle Schwarber is figuring things out in Triple-A. They could use a big week to reach the break on a high note. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

12. Texas Rangers

Record: 40-42
Week 12 ranking: No. 13

It might be easy to mock the Rangers' bullpen after they picked up Jason Grilli (nine homers allowed in 20⅔ innings as a Blue Jay), but the race to beat the Nationals to any relief help on the scrap heap is no laughing matter. If the rest of their pitching improves -- while trying a closer-by-committee approach -- not only will they keep themselves in the hunt for a wild card, they'll earn the right to keep staff ace Yu Darvish for the stretch. The next few weeks are critical. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

13. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 43-43
Week 12 ranking: No. 16

The Angels have clawed their way back to second place in the AL West with the help of a bullpen that has been one of the best in baseball since the start of June, while journeyman Ricky Nolasco hasn't allowed a run in his past 15⅓ innings after a couple of rough starts. And there might be good news on the horizon: Mike Trout's 30-minute workout on Friday "went great," so his return from the DL might not be far off. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

14. Seattle Mariners

Record: 41-42
Week 12 ranking: No. 11

Just when you thought you might want to chuck Mike Zunino onto the pile of Mariners prospects who didn't work out, he has totally turned things around, with a .955 OPS and 11 homers since his recall from a demotion to the minors in May. Small-sample caveats aside, he's doing a massive amount of damage on pitches inside the zone, going from a .688 career OPS before getting sent down to an eye-popping 1.216 since coming back. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN Stats & Information

15. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 39-42
Week 12 ranking: No. 17

The Cardinals have enjoyed very good pitching lately, some of it coming from Adam Wainwright, which is an interesting thing to say given that he allowed nine runs in two different starts in June. Wainwright has either been pretty good or awful. In his past nine starts, he had those two nine-run games, but in each of the other seven, he has yielded no more than two. His 4.04 FIP (as compared to a 5.17 ERA) suggests that he might be closer to the good Wainwright than the bad one. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

16. Minnesota Twins

Record: 41-40
Week 12 ranking: No. 14

Miguel Sano is the first Twins player with 20 homers before the All-Star break since Justin Morneau had 21 at the break in 2009. Overall, Sano joins a pretty snazzy list, including Harmon Killebrew (six times), Morneau (three), Bob Allison (three), Jim Lemon, Kent Hrbek and Larry Hisle. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

17. Kansas City Royals

Record: 41-40
Week 12 ranking: No. 15

The Royals had the best record in the AL in June to put themselves right back in the thick of the AL Central race. Their core of Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez has been hot. And Jason Vargas had a sub-2.00 ERA last month. It's going to be an interesting deadline for the Royals as they mull trade possibilities, but they've played themselves into being buyers. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

18. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 37-44
Week 12 ranking: No. 18

Justin Smoak has 22 home runs so far this year. Before 2017, he had never hit more than 20 in a season. And we aren't even at the All-Star break yet. His homer on Friday night was a historic one, as well: It was the 1,070th of the month, breaking the record for MLB home runs hit in a single month (June's home run total ultimately wound up at 1,101). -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

19. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 40-41
Week 12 ranking: No. 21

Ubaldo Jimenez threw eight shutout innings on Thursday against the Blue Jays. He hadn't done that since Aug. 8, 2015, against the Angels. His start was the longest scoreless turn from any Orioles pitcher this season. The only other O's pitcher to go eight or more innings this season? Wade Miley. Who saw those two names as the answers to that question entering the season? -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

20. Detroit Tigers

Record: 36-45
Week 12 ranking: No. 19

Justin Upton, Nicholas Castellanos and J.D. Martinez have all been hot over the past month, but it hasn't translated into many wins for the Tigers. Their bullpen is still terrible, and their starting pitchers aren't far behind. Michael Fulmer has been the lone bright spot in the rotation this year, but he's not enough. This Tigers team just has too much underperforming, aging and expensive talent. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

21. New York Mets

Record: 38-43
Week 12 ranking: No. 25

The Mets have put together a nice run, but remember who it's coming against -- the Giants, Marlins and Phillies. One bright spot has been the resurgence of Curtis Granderson, one of the streakiest players in Mets history. Granderson had a stretch in which he scored a run in eight straight games (12 runs in all), hit in nine straight games and drove in a run in five straight. Granderson's batting average bottomed out at .122 on May 2, but he has played like an All-Star since then. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

22. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 37-45
Week 12 ranking: No. 20

Flamethrowing Felipe Rivero has turned into a huge get for the Pirates. His ERA dropped below 1.00 on April 21, and it has stayed there ever since. Though he lost a game earlier this week, Rivero has pitched remarkably well for most of the season -- opponents have just seven hits in their past 78 at-bats against him. Throwing 97 fastballs of 100 mph (which ranks fourth in the majors) helps. Rivero is definitely on the list of deserving All-Stars, though his having only three saves might have hurt his cause. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

23. Atlanta Braves

Record: 40-41
Week 12 ranking: No. 23

The Braves enjoyed a 16-12 record in June, despite being without Freddie Freeman (wrist) for all of it. Freeman has been taking grounders at third base in an effort to get him in the same lineup with first-base replacement Matt Adams (.953 OPS with the Braves). Rookie Sean Newcomb, the prize of the Andrelton Simmons trade, picked up his first career win last week and drew rave reviews while doing so. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information

24. Chicago White Sox

Record: 36-45
Week 12 ranking: No. 22

The White Sox's stars are starting to shine. Jose Abreu had his best month of the season by OPS, although he hit just four home runs. Jose Quintana is getting back to where he's supposed to be as the staff ace; since two terrible starts to finish May, he has posted a 2.34 ERA since. Plus, Carlos Rodon returned from the DL and didn't allow an earned run in his first start. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

25. Miami Marlins

Record: 36-44
Week 12 ranking: No. 24

With numerous contenders looking for offensive help, there's already considerable speculation that Christian Yelich and/or Marcell Ozuna could be moved before the trade deadline. Despite the team's recent slide, Marlins fans can at least look forward to hosting the All-Star festivities and Giancarlo Stanton's defense of his Home Run Derby title next week. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information

26. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 35-46
Week 12 ranking: No. 26

The Reds have won two straight series for the first time in over a month, and they won a series against the Cubs for just the second time in the past two seasons. Scott Feldman has pitched well lately, allowing two runs or fewer in each of his past three starts (the Reds won all three). Joey Votto is raking again, and Adam Duvall had an extra-base hit in five of six games last week. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

27. Oakland Athletics

Record: 35-47
Week 12 ranking: No. 27

Where is Yonder Alonso's All-Star power stroke coming from? On pitches on the inner half, he has seen his numbers go up a little bit (.792 career OPS before this year, .875 in 2017), but his performance has spiked on the outer half, going from .689 to .956 and from a home run every 121 at-bats to one every 11.5. Whether that's a lively ball or a new approach is a potentially eight-figure-per-year question, as he and the A's are already talking about a contract extension. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

28. San Francisco Giants

Record: 33-51
Week 12 ranking: No. 28

Early in the week, Giants manager Bruce Bochy had this to say about reports of friction and turmoil in the clubhouse: "It's pole-vaulting over mouse turds, to be honest." Since Bochy spoke those inspiring words, the Giants have won six in a row, their longest winning streak since winning eight straight in June 2016 -- before their second-half downturn. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

29. San Diego Padres

Record: 34-48
Week 12 ranking: No. 29

The Padres are bad, but at least they're playing the kids. Their lineup has the youngest average age in the majors, and their young players need all the experience they can get. Not that they have a ton of talent that will be in demand, but San Diego should be trading everything not nailed down to improve its farm system even more for next year. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

30. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 27-53
Week 12 ranking: No. 30

Philadelphia's starting rotation quietly enjoyed a resurgence in June (4.22 ERA, eighth in MLB), but its lineup continues to be among the worst in the sport. Maikel Franco, once the brightest star in the Phillies' system, has been dangled as a potential trade chip leading up to the deadline. Last week, the team did promote Nick Williams, a top prospect, giving him a chance to prove whether his .839 OPS in Triple-A is for real. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information