Power Rankings: Can Yankees bust Dodgers-Astros monopoly on No. 1?

Perez, Kurkjian disagree on top team for power rankings (1:14)

Eduardo Perez and Tim Kurkjian make their cases for the top teams in the power rankings. (1:14)

Even with just a short week after the All-Star break to go on, our voters responded quickly to the rising fortunes of some teams to produce a few shake-ups as we embark upon the season's second half. While the Dodgers continue to reign atop our rankings, they once again could not claim every first-place vote and saw their margin narrow to a single ballot. Will the Yankees become the first team outside of L.A. or Houston to take the top slot during the regular season? With the Yankees due to take on a contending Rays team while the Dodgers pay the Phillies a visit, things could get very interesting.

Beyond that, this week's most notable feat was the Nationals' return to the top 10, completing an in-season comeback that saw them fall as far as No. 23 earlier this season. As recently as Week 10, the Nats were at No. 20. Now, they're all the way back to the front of the National League's wild-card pack and looking to shore up their roster at the trade deadline. The single biggest gain was made by the Diamondbacks, who moved up five spots, perhaps thanks to their sweeping the Rockies right before the break.

One distinction to note from this week's rankings: Six of the top eight teams are in the American League, and six of the bottom eight teams are also in the AL. Which puts the D-backs' big jump in perspective -- a good week or so can propel a team toward the top of the NL-dominated mushy middle in a league in which perhaps every team outside of the Marlins can still harbor some hopes of reaching the postseason. Yes, even the Mets -- for all their struggles this season, they're still just six games out!

Not everybody gets to improve, of course. The Indians were the team bumped by the Nationals from the top 10, dropping two rungs in the rankings. That decline tied with the Rockies, Cardinals and Brewers from the biggest decline in their fortunes with our panel of voters this week.

For Week 15, our panel of voters was composed of Bradford Doolittle, Christina Kahrl, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian and David Schoenfield.

Previous: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

2019 record: 62-33
Week 14 ranking: 1

As if the Dodgers needed more help, they received a trio of major reinforcements to begin the second half when shortstop Corey Seager, center fielder A.J. Pollock and corner infielder David Freese were all activated off the injured list. Dave Roberts now has too many good players for his lineup. What a problem to have. -- Alden Gonzalez

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2. New York Yankees

2019 record: 59-32
Week 14 ranking: 2

Aaron Judge looks like he'll be carrying the dominant Yankees through the second half. The right fielder, who returned June 21 from a two-month injured list stint due to an oblique issue, is easing in at the plate. He had back-to-back multihit games over the weekend. Each of his four ground ball singles Saturday were walloped with exit velocities of over 100 mph. Since the All-Star break, Judge is batting .636 (7-for-11). -- Coley Harvey

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3. Minnesota Twins

2019 record: 58-34
Week 14 ranking: 4

The offseason acquisition of C.J. Cron, unceremoniously dumped by the Rays for financial reasons, has played a key role in Minnesota's meteoric rise in home runs. Minnesota's first basemen hit 17 home runs in total last season, with franchise icon Joe Mauer contributing six. Cron already has reached the 17 mark, and he is on pace for more than 30. Cron is on the injured list with a minor thumb injury, but he should return soon. -- Eric Karabell

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4. Houston Astros

2019 record: 59-35
Week 14 ranking: 3

The Astros split four in Texas as Yuli Gurriel continued his hot hitting with home runs Friday and Sunday. That's 11 home runs in his past 15 games, and he has raised his slugging percentage from .389 to .493. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander, hot off his comments about the juiced ball during the All-Star festivities, did not allow a home run in his start Sunday, as he improved to 11-4 with a 2.98 ERA. Verlander had allowed 12 home runs over his previous five starts, including three three-homer games. -- David Schoenfield

ICYMI: Who could be called up to help the Astros in the second half?

5. Atlanta Braves

2019 record: 57-37
Week 14 ranking: 5

Good way to start the second half: Sweep a series in San Diego with wins of 5-3, 7-5 in 10 innings and 4-1. A Braves All-Star played the hero on Sunday, as Freddie Freeman blasted a three-run homer in the eighth inning, and Mike Soroka tossed seven scoreless frames to improve to 10-1 with a 2.24 ERA. Soroka is on pace for 165 innings, which would qualify him for the ERA title. Since the mound was lowered in 1969, only three pitchers 21 or younger have had a lower ERA: Dwight Gooden (1.53 in 1985), Vida Blue (1.82 in 1971) and Jose Fernandez (2.19 in 2013). -- Schoenfield

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6. Tampa Bay Rays

2019 record: 55-40
Week 14 ranking: 6

The Ryne Stanek/Ryan Yarbrough combo has worked all season, never better than on Sunday, when the pair took a perfect game into the ninth inning -- trying to become the first combined perfect game in MLB history. It didn't happen, but the Rays improved to 17-9 in games that Stanek opens. Nate Lowe had a big weekend with three home runs and eight hits, and he has five home runs in his past seven games as he bids for regular playing time. -- Schoenfield

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7. Boston Red Sox

2019 record: 50-43
Week 14 ranking: 7

The acquisition of Andrew Cashner fills the hole left behind by Nathan Eovaldi, who will instead fill the closer's role once he returns off the injured list. Dave Dombrowski hopes Eovaldi's return will negate the need to add a reliever to the bullpen through a trade. The pen has been overworked due in large part due to the lack of consistency from the grab bag of starters who have filled the fifth spot this season while posting a 6.79 ERA. -- Joon Lee

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8. Oakland Athletics

2019 record: 53-41
Week 14 ranking: 8

To get their second half started on the right foot, the A's sealed a sweep of the White Sox with their sixth walk-off win of the season. They got quality starts from Mike Fiers, Chris Bassitt and Brett Anderson in the series, and Oakland is now second only to Houston in the AL in quality starts. That didn't stop the A's from shoring up their staff by acquiring veteran Homer Bailey from the Royals. -- Kahrl

9. Washington Nationals

2019 record: 49-43
Week 14 ranking: 11

Washington has baseball's best record since Memorial Day (27-12), and the bullpen formerly known as a dumpster fire is a big reason why. During that time, Nationals relievers have a 4.09 ERA (seventh in MLB). The addition of 42-year-old Fernando Rodney has helped, but the pen is still thin. GM Mike Rizzo has for traded for relievers in the three of the last four Julys. Look for him to do it again. -- Eddie Matz

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10. Chicago Cubs

2019 record: 50-43
Week 14 ranking: 10

The Cubs began the second half with a bang, sweeping the Pirates behind Jason Heyward's six hits over the weekend, including a winning home run in an 8-3 victory Sunday. It has been rare for Heyward to carry the Cubs, but combined with his defense and baserunning, he was a one-man wrecking crew against the Pirates. He is hitting .310 in July and has been one of the more consistent players for the first-place team. -- Jesse Rogers

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11. Cleveland Indians

2019 record: 51-40
Week 14 ranking: 9

A big second half from infielder Jose Ramirez would certainly be crucial for Cleveland's offense, but there is little indication that will happen. Ramirez hit .218 with a .793 OPS in the second half of the 2018 season. He hit .218 with a .652 OPS in the first half of this season. Ramirez continues to draw walks and steal bases, but he is swinging at more pitches outside the strike zone and doing little with them, and his new approach of trying to hit to the opposite field isn't working. -- Karabell

ICYMI: Can the Tribe catch the Twins?

12. Texas Rangers

2019 record: 50-44
Week 14 ranking: 13

Right-hander Lance Lynn opened the season's second half with seven shutout innings against the Astros, striking out 11 against two walks. He has won five consecutive outings; and he has provided seven or more innings in each performance -- and in 10 of his 19 starts. His strikeout rate has never been better. On a team with a bullpen in the bottom half of the league in ERA, those innings are especially welcome. Lynn's three-year, $30 million contract seemed odd for a rebuilding team, but he has turned his career around, and the Rangers are contenders. -- Karabell

ICYMI: Are Rangers deadline sellers?Insider

13. Arizona Diamondbacks

2019 record: 47-47
Week 14 ranking: 18

First baseman Christian Walker entered 2019 with terrific minor league numbers, notably for power, but with 99 career plate appearances in the majors over four seasons and a .170 batting average. However, Walker has steadily replaced franchise icon Paul Goldschmidt, traded to St. Louis last offseason, and continues to prove he belongs in the big leagues. Walker has nearly identical numbers for home and road games, and the right-handed batter has hit better against same-sided pitching. Ultimately, his rise is no fluke. -- Karabell

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14. Milwaukee Brewers

2019 record: 48-46
Week 14 ranking: 12

The Brewers have now lost three series in a row after the Giants took two of three in Milwaukee. Josh Hader struggled Friday, giving up two home runs. Remarkably, he has allowed 17 hits in 45 innings on the season -- but nine of them have been home runs. Yes, he has allowed nine home runs and just six singles. -- Schoenfield

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15. Philadelphia Phillies

2019 record: 48-45
Week 14 ranking: 16

At some point, the Phillies will likely either promote or trade outfielder Nick Williams, as he is proving to be too good for Triple-A. Williams recently finished off a 24-game hitting streak, having hit .422 and slugged .733 in that time, for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Williams hit 17 home runs for the 2018 Phillies, but he has struggled in erratic playing time in the majors this season. He is not a center fielder, so where does he fit in? It might have to be with another organization. -- Karabell

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16. St. Louis Cardinals

2019 record: 46-45
Week 14 ranking: 14

The Cardinals have struggled with rotation inconsistency for much of the season, but Daniel Ponce de Leon stepped up in a big way when Adam Wainwright had to be scratched from his first post-break assignment and pushed back to Sunday. After de Leon's 6⅔ quality frames, he now has a 1.98 ERA in eight career starts and a 2.37 career ERA in 64⅔ IP over parts of two seasons. He earned another start Wednesday, and he will aim to lock his rotation spot down. -- Tristan H. Cockcroft

ICYMI: Cards place Molina on injured list

17. Colorado Rockies

2019 record: 46-46
Week 14 ranking: 15

Kyle Freeland's 2019 campaign has been about as disastrous as his 2018 was brilliant, and the Rockies' decision to reinstall him into their rotation after the break went about as poorly as his first stint: five runs, nine hits, four innings pitched. The Rockies now have the NL's worst team ERA (5.29), and if they're to make up ground in the wild-card race, they'll surely need to address their rotation before the trade deadline. -- Cockcroft

18. Los Angeles Angels

2019 record: 48-46
Week 14 ranking: 19

The Angels put together one of the most memorable performances in recent history, scoring seven first-inning runs and combining to throw a no-hitter on the day every player wore their late teammate Tyler Skaggs' jersey. It was uplifting and emotionally therapeutic. But the problem beckons, sadly even more so now: The starting rotation is simply not good enough. -- Gonzalez

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19. Cincinnati Reds

2019 record: 42-48
Week 14 ranking: 17

Sonny Gray continued to pace the strong-performing Reds pitching staff in their second-half opener, tossing seven innings of one-run, nine-strikeout baseball for what was his third consecutive quality start and the third-best start at Coors Field by a visiting starter this season (going by game score). If the Reds are to make up ground in the NL Central and/or wild-card races, they'll need continued success from the MLB's third-best staff (3.85 ERA). -- Cockcroft

20. Pittsburgh Pirates

2019 record: 44-48
Week 14 ranking: 20

Starling Marte has been the Pirates' hottest hitter since the break, with three home runs in his first two games back, but the rest of the lineup has struggled. It was quite a disappointing showing for this offense that was one of the hottest in baseball heading into the break, with six games of double-digit runs among Pittsburgh's final 21 in the first half. -- Cockcroft

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21. San Diego Padres

2019 record: 45-48
Week 14 ranking: 21

Poor recent performance could transform the Padres into deadline sellers -- though they're just three games out of a wild-card spot -- but how they handle their rotation will be a big question for their second half. Dinelson Lamet, now two starts removed from Tommy John surgery, has shown good swing-and-miss stuff similar to his pre-surgery form with 14 K's in 10 frames, and he'll probably get a lengthier look if the team turns the page to 2020. -- Cockcroft

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22. San Francisco Giants

2019 record: 43-49
Week 14 ranking: 24

Evan Longoria has rediscovered his power stroke in July after going almost a month without a home run, pasting six homers so far this month to raise his OPS almost 100 points. His launch angles have improved, his exit velocity is up 5 mph, and he is pulling the ball with authority. Whether it's a transient victory in the game of adjustments or a return to sustained excellence, with three years left to run on his contract beyond 2019, the Giants have the time to find out and hope it's the former. -- Kahrl

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23. Chicago White Sox

2019 record: 42-47
Week 14 ranking: 22

Let's give Yoan Moncada some love for a breakthrough in his age-24 season. He is in the AL top 10 in wOBA, joining fellow third basemen Alex Bregman, Matt Chapman and Rafael Devers in what is suddenly a position packed with young stars. The switch-hitter has fairly even splits from both sides of the plate as well and home/road, and he has made an effective adjustment to third base. -- Kahrl

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24. New York Mets

2019 record: 42-51
Week 14 ranking: 23

While surely not the player he used to be, give Todd Frazier some credit. Frazier hit .274 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs in June -- and with more walks than strikeouts. He made news recently for his repeated plunkings by Phillies pitchers, but Frazier is hitting nicely, and he could be a useful part to a contender in a trade. Frazier hit .213 in each of the past two full seasons, but he seems rejuvenated. -- Karabell

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25. Seattle Mariners

2019 record: 39-58
Week 14 ranking: 25

How not to show up after the All-Star break: Get no-hit while losing 13-0 with three errors; lose 9-2 to Matt Harvey; and lose 6-3 on a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth while striking out 15 times. Roenis Elias, maybe the one veteran left with some trade value, didn't help that trade value by serving up that game-losing home run to Matt Thaiss (his first in the majors). -- Schoenfield

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26. Toronto Blue Jays

2019 record: 35-59
Week 14 ranking: 26

In what could be one of his final starts with the Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman lost 4-2 to the Yankees on Sunday as he allowed three runs in six innings. In his first six career starts against the Yankees, Stroman went 5-1 with a 2.39 ERA; over his past 11 starts, he has gone 1-5 with a 5.46 ERA. -- Schoenfield

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27. Miami Marlins

2019 record: 34-57
Week 14 ranking: 27

Suffice to say that Sandy Alcantara made for a fairly unusual All-Star selection, though he spun a shutout inning in the NL's latest losing effort. He has just six quality starts in 18 turns so far this season, ranking next to last in strikeout rate among NL starters, with the sixth-highest walk rate. However, the 23-year-old is doing a good job of suppressing home runs, no easy feat in this homer-happy season. -- Kahrl

28. Kansas City Royals

2019 record: 32-62
Week 14 ranking: 28

Dealing away Homer Bailey was a sensible flip of a reclamation project, but with the Royals facing the likelihood of a second consecutive 100-loss season, they should be ready to entertain offers on almost every player, including Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier -- both already in their age-27 seasons -- to capitalize on any value they have in contenders' eyes. Also of possible intrigue would be Whit Merrifield, who at 30 and locked into a team-friendly deal through his age-34 season could bring back something of serious long-term value. -- Kahrl

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29. Detroit Tigers

2019 record: 29-59
Week 14 ranking: 29

The Tigers are handily the worst team in the major leagues since June 1, notching just seven wins in that time. If they keep up that feeble pace -- while also facing the likelihood they'll be dealing some or all of Matthew Boyd, Shane Greene and/or Nicholas Castellanos and fielding an even worse team -- they're on track for another 119-loss season, matching the franchise's infamous low-water mark of 2003. -- Kahrl

30. Baltimore Orioles

2019 record: 28-65
Week 14 ranking: 30

The O's are a respectable 6-7 over their past 13 games and are no longer on pace to break the record for worst run differential in a season. But with the departure of Andrew Cashner -- the veteran righty was traded to Boston over the weekend after going 9-3 with an ERA under 4.00 -- that differential could start to slide back down in a hurry. -- Matz