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MLB Power Rankings: Giants, Dodgers battle for top spot

NBC Sports
Kevin Gausman

It's amazing how quickly things can change in a sport where teams play every day. 

On June 24, the Los Angeles Dodgers got no-hit by the Chicago Cubs, allowing the Giants to take a 4 1/2 game lead in the National League West. At the time, that was the largest division lead in baseball. Less than two weeks later, the Giants have the smallest division lead. 

The Dodgers are just half a game back, and the NL West is really the only division with a decent chance of having the lead change hands before players spread out for the All-Star break. All three American League division leaders have an advantage of at least 3 1/2 games, and the New York Mets lead the NL East by 3 1/2 games. The Milwaukee Brewers are threatening to run away with the NL Central before the trade deadline gets here. 

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You don't get a prize for leading your division this Sunday, but it sure makes those three days on the beach a bit sweeter.

Here's how we stack up all 30 as the All-Star break approaches: 

30. Arizona Diamondbacks (23-63): There's not much going right here, but at least their rotation should soon get a boost. Madison Bumgarner threw a simulated game last week and should begin a rehab assignment in the coming days. Here's hoping he gets fully healthy in time for the Giants' trip to town in the first week of August. 

29. Baltimore Orioles (27-57): Help is on the way, at least. Catcher Adley Rutschman, the No. 2 prospect in baseball entering the year, has a .412 OBP and 11 homers in Double-A. 

 

28. Pittsburgh Pirates (30-53): Former Giants first-rounder Bryan Reynolds made the All-Star team after a huge first half. The man who was traded for Andrew McCutchen is batting .306 with 15 homers and ranks sixth in the NL in WAR. 

27. Kansas City Royals (35-48): A fun story early in the year, they have completely gone in the tank. They were three games over .500 on June 4 but have had three losing streaks of at least five games since then, including a nine-game skid. 

26. Minnesota Twins (34-48): After a slow start, they just never found a way to get going. With guys like Jose Berrios, Taylor Rogers and Nelson Cruz, they're going to get more calls than anyone before the deadline. 

25. Texas Rangers (33-51): Speaking of the trade deadline, Joey Gallo recently homered seven times over a five-game stretch. He could be a game-changer for a contender's lineup. 

24. Detroit Tigers (38-46): Miguel Cabrera has had a rough year, but he's now just six homers from 500 for his career. He has seven so far this season. 

23. Colorado Rockies (37-48): When Anthony DeSclafani went 8 2/3 innings on Sunday, he came an out from tying German Marquez for the league lead in complete games. Marquez is having another underrated season, posting a 3.62 ERA despite spending half his time at Coors Field. 

22. Philadelphia Phillies (39-42): McCutchen has a .956 OPS against left-handers and one of the best personalities in the game. Someone needs to get him out of Philadelphia and let him shine in October. 

21. St. Louis Cardinals (41-44): For the first time, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are about to enter Oracle Park as teammates. Although maybe that's the only way the Giants can stop them? We'll find out over the next three games. 

20. Miami Marlins (35-47): The Power Rankings Committee (of one) honestly has no idea what to make of this team. They're 12 games under but have outscored opponents by 20 runs. They're 6-12 over their last 18 games but have scored double-digit runs in four of those wins. Weird group. 

19. Seattle Mariners (45-40): Speaking of weird, they're the anti-Marlins. They've been outscored by 42 runs but sit 3 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. 

18. Cleveland Indians (42-39): They've lost six in a row and ace Shane Bieber is going to be on the IL for several more weeks. They could be a seller by the time July ends. 

17. Los Angeles Angels (42-41): Shohei Ohtani was selected as an All-Star pitcher and also as a DH, and with 31 homers he has opened up a healthy lead in the home run race. With Mike Trout due back soon after the break, the Angels might make a run at a playoff spot. 

16. Washington Nationals (40-42): Kyle Schwarber was rivaling Ohtani for title of Hottest Hitter Alive but suffered a significant hamstring strain last week. That's a crushing blow for a team that had snuck back into the NL East race. 

 

15. New York Yankees (42-41): They've dropped to fourth in the AL East, 10 behind the rival Red Sox. In the old days, that would have meant a mid-July housecleaning at Yankee Stadium. 

14. Chicago Cubs (42-42): They've lost nine straight, and perhaps it's for the best. They're a flawed team that seemingly has been headed for a teardown for a while now, and falling out of the race will allow Jed Hoyer to load up on prospects at the deadline. 

13. Atlanta Braves (41-42): Ronald Acuña Jr. has a pretty fun back-and-forth going with MVP frontrunner Fernando Tatis Jr. They rank first (Tatis) and third (Acuña) in the NL in homers and also in stolen bases. 

12. Toronto Blue Jays (43-39): There's just one qualified hitter with an OPS over 1.100 as the All-Star break approaches. That would be Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who will be one of the young stars in a game his dad played in nine times. 

11. New York Mets (43-37): When the rest of the division was scuffling, they weren't able to run away with it. But they're still at the top and starting to get healthier, with Brandon Nimmo the latest key player to return. 

10. Cincinnati Reds (43-40): Here's a blast from the past: In Friday night's game, Josh Osich got the win and Heath Hembree recorded the save. Hembree saved two of three in a sweep of the Cubs. 

9. A's (49-37): They lost two heartbreakers to the Boston Red Sox over the weekend but have a chance to make up some ground heading into the break. They visit the first-place Houston Astros and last-place Rangers this week. 

8. Tampa Bay Rays (48-36): Wander Franco hasn't burst out of the gate, but he hasn't looked overmatched, either. The game's top prospect is batting .233 in 11 games but has shown solid plate discipline. He has a .731 OPS with a couple of homers and a couple of steals. 

7. San Diego Padres (50-36): A couple of All-Star selections had to sting at Third and King. One was Bryan Reynolds, the other was Mark Melancon, who has an MLB-leading 25 saves, 10 more than he recorded for the Giants. 

6. Chicago White Sox (49-34): They just keep chugging along atop the AL Central and could soon get some key players back. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez has missed the whole season with a pectoral injury but has resumed baseball work and could return to their lineup in August. 

5. Milwaukee Brewers (51-34): The biggest division lead in baseball belongs to the team up in Milwaukee that ran off 11 straight wins before a 2-0 loss to the Pirates on Sunday. They're all of a sudden seven games up on the second-place Cubs. 

4. Boston Red Sox (53-32): They couldn't have asked for much more from the last 10 games. They swept the rival Yankees and the lowly Royals, then flew across the country and took two of three from the A's. 

 

3. Houston Astros (52-33): They have very quietly turned back into a juggernaut. They lead MLB with a run differential of plus-137, in part because of veteran Michael Brantley, who leads MLB with a .340 batting average. 

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (53-31): It seems all they needed was a wake-up call. They've won nine straight since getting no-hit by the Cubs, including two close ones over the Giants. With the Marlins and Diamondbacks to close out the first half, they have a real shot to finally get back into first place this week.

1. Giants (53-30): They very nearly lost their division lead and they didn't play their usual brand of baseball, but they won three straight to close the week and have now been in first place in the NL West for 61 days. Can they hold that lead into the All-Star break? It's not going to be easy.

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