Power Rankings: Surging Dodgers make their move

Dodgers take the top spot in Week 12 Power Rankings (1:23)

The Dodgers booted the Astros out of this week's Power Rankings and the Yankees fall out of the top five. (1:23)

Last week, we asked if an National League West team was going to pull ahead of the pack, and one did. Perhaps it was only a matter of time after the Houston Astros slowed down from their initial white-hot start. Maybe it was the combined power of Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers' cavalcade of supporting stars. Either way, the Dodgers move to the top of the rankings in week 12 while splitting all of the first- and second-place votes with the Astros.

That wasn't the only major move among our top teams, though. The Arizona Diamondbacks moved up three slots within the top six to claim a perch behind that top tandem, while the Tampa Bay Rays finally cracked the top 10 after hovering just outside it for weeks. Both clubs might be considered the surprise team in their respective leagues, but will this be as high as either of them climbs?

The biggest single move up or down this week was made by the Seattle Mariners in their latest bungee-like leap around the rankings, climbing nine slots. With their rotation healing up and their lineup starting to regain last season's power, they may finally stick around toward the top. The Kansas City Royals also kept climbing, gaining four more slots as they start to re-enter the ranks of the contenders. The biggest single drop was by the plummeting Baltimore Orioles, who fell a further five slots as their pitching staff slowly implodes.

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

Week 11 rankings | 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: 51-26
Week 11 ranking: No. 4

On top of the Dodgers' 10-game win streak, a 13-homer June from Cody Bellinger has ignited talk that he's the NL's answer to Aaron Judge while both players take their shots at Mark McGwire's rookie-record 49 homers in 1987, another year when the ball seemed lively. What makes Bellinger's season even more exciting is what we can get into even more detail -- just as Judge leads the AL, Bellinger is leading the NL in exit velocity on fly balls and line drives (98.3 mph). Lively ball or not, Bellinger is just getting started. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

2. Houston Astros

Record: 52-25
Week 11 ranking: No. 1

"Falling" down to No. 2 is relative, because the Astros' 14-9 record in June despite losing three starting pitchers to the disabled list reflects their depth -- and the likelihood that they'll earn top honors again. Helping keep the Astros far out in front in the AL West is George Springer coming into his own as a star player. He has mashed nine homers so far this month while saving Houston 4 defensive runs in center field. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 48-28
Week 11 ranking: No. 6

The D-backs' rise through their recent 14-3 run owes more than a little to beating up on weak teams, but playing the Dodgers and Rockies back-to-back starting next weekend could give them a straight shot at reaching No. 1. After two second-place finishes in NL MVP voting, is this the year Paul Goldschmidt brings home the trophy? He leads the NL in WAR (4.1), and with his 1.203 OPS in June has done for the D-backs what Bellinger's MLB-leading 1.208 has for L.A. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

4. Washington Nationals

Record: 45-30
Week 11 ranking: No. 3

Max Scherzer gets two starts this week and should pitch against the Cardinals on Sunday Night Baseball if their rotation holds. Tuesday, he'll be trying to break Pedro Martinez's franchise record for consecutive starts with 10 strikeouts (both have six straight). Scherzer's slider continues to be ridiculous. He gave up two hits with it to the Marlins, but one was off his glove and the other was almost caught. Opponents are 9-for-118 with 70 strikeouts against it this season. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

5. New York Yankees

Record: 40-33
Week 11 ranking: No. 2

The Yankees are just 2-10 since June 13. They had a four-game lead in the division before this recent slide, and are now tied atop the AL East with the Red Sox. Even the Aaron Judge home run elixir isn't what it once was as a guarantee of victory. After starting the season 12-0 when Judge homered, the Yankees are now just 4-7 in the past 11 games he has gone yard. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

6. Colorado Rockies

Record: 47-31
Week 11 ranking: No. 5

Losing back-to-back series to the D-backs and Dodgers took the Rockies down a notch. That might trigger anticipation of Jon Gray's return from the DL, but the bigger injury-related question might be what to do about RF Carlos Gonzalez. He's next-to-last in OPS among NL outfield regulars and needed rest for a bum shoulder, but David Dahl's rehab has stalled. How long can a Colorado contender afford to wait on CarGo's slack bat to come to life? -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

7. Cleveland Indians

Record: 39-35
Week 11 ranking: No. 8

What a difference an ace makes. While Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger have combined for just two quality starts in 13 June turns, the Indians can't be happier to have staff ace Corey Kluber back. In five starts this month Kluber has gone 3-0 with an AL-best 1.29 ERA, allowing just 27 baserunners in 35 innings while striking out 52 men. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

8. Boston Red Sox

Record: 41-34
Week 11 ranking: No. 7

The Red Sox got right back in the mix at the top of the AL East thanks to the Yankees' losing streak; now it's up to them to take charge. The Sox are anchored by one of the best bullpens in the majors and an offense that gets on base often, but also have the fewest home runs in the AL. If Boston's starters other than Chris Sale pitch to their ability and the lineup can deliver more power, this team could make some noise all the way into October. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

9. Chicago Cubs

Record: 38-37
Week 11 ranking: 10

At some point, the expectation that the Cubs will break out and go on a tear demands evaluation. A 13-10 June got them back over .500, but is that it? Will they rise to the challenge of this week's four-game series against the Nationals? Their 3.65 ERA this month ranks fourth in MLB, so pitching isn't the problem. Their .281 BABIP might seem like an issue that supposed to eventually go away, but they're also next-to-last in line-drive rate, suggesting there's more than one suspect for team-wide weak contact numbers fueling disappointments on offense. You can't blame it all on Kyle Schwarber. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

10. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 40-38
Week 11 ranking: No. 11

If Wilson Ramos can show he's anything close to what he was pre-injury in 2016, the Rays will have made a major upgrade at catcher. Ramos made his season debut on Saturday and the Rays designated previous starter Derek Norris for assignment. Ramos slashed .307/.354/.496 last season with the Nationals and would be a $4 million bargain if he did that for half a season. Rays catchers slashed .209/.256/.373 in his absence, ranking 27th in batting average and 28th in OPS. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

11. Seattle Mariners

Record: 39-39
Week 11 ranking: No. 20

The Mariners enjoyed a season-best six-game win streak last week, catapulting themselves back up into the AL wild-card race. Seattle hit 12 homers as a team over that span as the lineup finally begins to show flashes of the power it's capable of (their 223 homers last season ranked third in MLB). Felix Hernandez also returned after missing nearly two months with a shoulder injury and beat the Astros on Friday. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information

12. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 41-37
Week 11 ranking: No. 9

The Brewers' calling card this season has been their ability to mash, but that went missing last week. Has the league finally caught up to Eric Thames? He's 3-for-his-past-29 with 12 strikeouts. The 4.12 ERA from their starting pitching so far this season has been a pleasant surprise, ranking fifth in the NL, but if Brewers suffer a power outage, that might not be enough to help them keep up with the Cubs, let alone match up against the league's elite rotations. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

13. Texas Rangers

Record: 38-37
Week 11 ranking: No. 12

The Rangers have gone 12-6 since the Astros swept them in Texas, but they've had to do it despite a rotation almost as injury-wracked as Houston's. That starts to change once Cole Hamels returns on Monday night, with Martin Perez and Andrew Cashner hopefully not far behind. But with 17 of their next 23 games on the road, they'll need to improve on a .688 OPS away from Texas, which ranks 27th in the majors. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

14. Minnesota Twins

Record: 39-34
Week 11 ranking: No. 13

The Twins have already won two series in Cleveland this season, matching their total of won series there from last season. Even with Ervin Santana's on-and-off results, the team has stayed in the race. Miguel Sano already has 18 home runs, fourth-most by any Twins player in his age-24 season or younger before the All-Star break. Harmon Killebrew in 1959 leads the way with 28, but both Bob Allison's 21 in 1959 and Tom Brunansky's 19 in 1985 are definitely within Sano's reach. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

15. Kansas City Royals

Record: 37-37
Week 11 ranking: No. 19

The Royals' 15-7 run in June has brought them back to .500 and right back into a very winnable AL Central race. Their starting pitching has been good but can anticipate the return of Danny Duffy from the DL soon to get even stronger still, and the core of Salvador Perez, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer have been clicking on offense. GM Dayton Moore didn't panic after a slow start, but now faces another challenge: evaluating trades to make good on this rally. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

16. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 40-39
Week 11 ranking: No. 17

One of the steadiest teams in baseball, the Angels flexed their offensive muscle last week in wins over David Price and Luis Severino. Cameron Maybin has thrived in the leadoff slot. In recent weeks they've won two series from the Yankees, and one apiece from the Astros and Red Sox, so they're not just beating weak teams. With Mike Trout hitting off a tee as he anticipates a return from the DL near the All-Star break, the Angels might almost be ready to do more than hang around .500. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information

17. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 34-40
Week 11 ranking: No. 18

Carlos Martinez has shaved a run off his ERA in the past five weeks, posting a 1.92 ERA in his past seven starts. In that span, he has allowed 30 hits in 51 ⅔ innings. He has allowed three home runs in those starts after allowing seven in his first eight turns. He should pitch Sunday against Max Scherzer on Sunday Night Baseball. Martinez's slider rivals Scherzer's in effectiveness. His seven-start successful stretch began largely due to opponents going 1-for-35 against his slider in the first four of those games. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

18. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 36-39
Week 11 ranking: No. 15

Justin Smoak is having a career year. His 20 home runs are already tied for a career high, tying his 2013 total with the Mariners. He's hitting .304; he has never hit higher than .238 for a full season. He has a .955 OPS, he has never had one above .768 for a season. He leads Blue Jays position players with 2.2 WAR, which is already more than he has had in any season of his career. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

19. Detroit Tigers

Record: 33-42
Week 11 ranking: No. 14

Everything has fallen apart for the Tigers since they started June with a sweep of the White Sox to reach .500. Poor pitching is the main culprit; their non-Michael Fulmer starters all have ERAs over 4.00, and their bullpen is MLB's worst. Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez have been hot at the plate lately, which might help boost their value if GM Al Avila wants to get started early on rebuilding. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

20. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 35-41
Week 11 ranking: No. 22

Andrew McCutchen's resurgence has been a big story recently, but don't overlook that Josh Harrison leads the team's position players in WAR. Harrison has been hitting in the .290s or .300s consistently for the last month. After totaling 3.6 WAR in the past two seasons, Harrison could post a 5 WAR season in 2017 (his career-high is 5.3 in 2014). Harrison's OBP has gotten a boost from 16 hit by pitches (he had 16 from 2014 to 2016 combined). -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

21. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 37-38
Week 11 ranking: No. 16

The Orioles went 20 straight games allowing five runs or more, tying the modern MLB record set by the Phillies in 1924. By allowing just three runs on Saturday, they finally broke that woeful streak, and avoiding a challenge for the all-time record of 29 straight games set by Lousiville of the National League in 1894, according to research by Elias Sports Bureau. Suffice to say, it has been a tough year for O's pitching, with their 5.15 ERA ranking last in the AL. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

22. Chicago White Sox

Record: 32-42
Week 11 ranking: No. 21

A White Sox rotation that has struggled this season has been even worse lately -- their starters have finished the fifth inning only twice this week. As a result, they've asked a lot of a strong bullpen whose performance is crumbling (5.03 ERA in June). Offensively, Avisail Garcia has continued to rake and is on pace for a career year. And Jose Abreu has broken out of his early-season slump, but with all 13 of his homers have come on the road. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

23. Atlanta Braves

Record: 36-39
Week 11 ranking: No. 27

The Braves have been one of the five best teams in baseball the past two weeks, winning some close games and some extra-inning games, but crushing the ball in the process. Matt Adams has been a brilliant pickup, rediscovering his power stroke in Atlanta -- he's already tied for second on the team after one month as a Brave. And Dansby Swanson is delivering the hottest stretch of his career at the plate. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

24. Miami Marlins

Record: 34-40
Week 11 ranking: No. 23

The Marlins are the only team with three players in the top 20 in home runs. Marcell Ozuna's season has been big news, and Giancarlo Stanton has fit in well in the two-spot in the lineup. But the third bopper is Justin Bour, who has been a different hitter since a slow start, slugging 14 homers in May and June. A 10-game road trip before the All-Star break isn't going to help them make a move in the standings. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

25. New York Mets

Record: 34-41
Week 11 ranking: No. 24

Jacob deGrom has gotten back on track. He's 3-0 with an 0.72 ERA in his past three starts and is the first Mets pitcher to have three straight starts of at least eight innings pitched and one run or fewer allowed since Pedro Martinez in 2005. With not much to play for given the Mets' struggles, deGrom is basically competing with Michael Conforto to be the team's lone All-Star rep. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

26. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 31-43
Week 11 ranking: No. 25

The Reds have lost 13 of their past 15 behind the worst starting rotation in the league (6.19 ERA). Calling up prospect Luis Castillo might help, but Homer Bailey was greeted with eight runs in his return from the DL. The Reds better hope changing things up turns things around, because that mark would challenge for the worst ERA from a teams' starting pitchers in NL history. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information

27. Oakland Athletics

Record: 34-42
Week 11 ranking: No. 26

Injuries and ineffectiveness have paved the way for the A's to start turning over the lineup. In the past week they handed the right-field job to Matt Olson, cut Stephen Vogt to make room for Bruce Maxwell behind the plate and on Saturday called up top prospect Franklin Barreto. Barreto, Olson and fellow rookie Jaycob Brugman (given the CF job two weeks ago) combined to hit their first homers in the same game, an MLB first. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

28. San Francisco Giants

Record: 27-51
Week 11 ranking: No. 28

For the first time since 1976, the Giants were the first team in the majors to 50 losses. They currently have a .346 winning percentage, which would be the worst in franchise history. But on the good side, rehabbing Madison Bumgarner is on the road back to San Francisco. When we last saw Madison, he had a 3.00 ERA through four starts. He hasn't had an ERA of 3.00 or higher since 2012 (3.37). -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

29. San Diego Padres

Record: 31-45
Week 11 ranking: No. 29

The long season continues for the Padres, but there are some positives. Yangervis Solarte ranks in the NL's top 10 in OPS this month and Hunter Renfroe has shown the power that scouts had raved about (although contact remains an issue). The Padres are not going anywhere as currently constructed, but the good news is that GM A.J. Preller probably knows that better than anyone. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

30. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 24-50
Week 11 ranking: No. 30

The Phillies have entered the penalty phase of their season, when people are being held accountable for the team's awful performance, as they released both right fielder Michael Saunders and last season's closer, Jeanmar Gomez. Cutting Gomez highlights that Philadelphia's bullpen might be the team's biggest problem, owning the worst ERA in the NL (4.91) accompanied by 19 losses and a 1.49 WHIP. -- Paul Hembekides, ESPN Stats & Information