Jul 10, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) reacts after hitting a three run home run during the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

CttP's MLB Power Rankings: 7/14/2014

The first half is over, and the divide between pretender and contender has become even more apparent in the past week. Some races have gotten less interesting, others have tightened up quite a bit. All will see changes in the end of the first half power rankings.

30. Texas Rangers (38-57)

Last Week’s Rank: 27

Last Week’s Record: 0-7

The collapse has only gotten more severe, as 12 under .500 quickly became 19 under .500. The Rangers have battled injuries the entire season, but the overall lack of fire in this year’s Lone Star squad should be the main source of blame. The Rangers must find a way to recover quickly to get back in the picture next year, as this season is a lost cause for the former perennial contenders.

29. Houston Astros (40-56)

Last Week’s Rank: 29

Last Week’s Record: 4-2

Noticeable improvement can partly be contributed to feasting off of a much easier week, which involved sweeping the falling Rangers, and dropping two of three to the Red Sox. The week could have gone better, but the focus of the Astros organization should be allocated toward the 2015 and 2016 teams, and how to utilize the positive pieces that are seen on the team now.

28. Chicago Cubs (40-54)

Last Week’s Rank: 21

Last Week’s Record: 2-6

Things didn’t go very well for the Cubs at the end of the first half, losing six of eight in their final week heading into the break. Despite all of this, this past week was monumental for the Cubs, as the Wrigley Field renovations were approved by the Chicago Landmarks Commission, and the red hot debut of Arismendy Alcantara lessens the blow of what was otherwise a bad week record wise for the Cubs.

27. Colorado Rockies (40-55)

Last Week’s Rank: 28

Last Week’s Record: 3-3

An average week for the Rockies brings them up a spot, but the tone at the end of the first half is still somber, with many Rockies fans left to wonder what the season may have been, had the Rockies continued to play at the torrid pace they established in April. Despite this, it is clear that pitching should be the focus for the coming years in Denver.

26. San Diego Padres (41-54)

Last Week’s Rank: 24

Last Week’s Record: 2-5

Not a wonderful week for the offensively futile Padres, who are having a historically bad year with the bats. Yet with some of the best pitching in the game, the Pads should look to sell whatever trade worthy pieces remain, and start fresh with hitting to rebuild in the future seasons offensively.

25. Arizona Diamondbacks (40-56)

Last Week’s Rank: 26

Last Week’s Record: 3-3

A mediocre end to the first half for the D-Backs, who should look to salvage whatever they can in the upcoming weeks, and perform much closer to what their actual potential is come 2015. A strong 2nd half wouldn’t hurt, of course, and it’s certainly not inconceivable to see the D-Backs do just that.

24. Philadelphia Phillies (42-53)

Last Week’s Rank: 30

Last Week’s Record: 5-2

The Phils get extra points for sweeping the Brewers in four games in Milwaukee, a feat that pretty much sealed the Brew Crew’s destiny as collapsing. With teams that are out of the race, playing a good game of playoff spoiler is always good to increase the confidence of a soon-to-be rebuilding clubhouse, one that will most likely let go of its’ core of veterans within the next few seasons.

23. Miami Marlins (44-50)

Last Week’s Rank: 18

Last Week’s Record: 1-5

An awful week for the fish, who have lost seven of ten and four straight. For a team that looked to be contenders early in the season, they have surely been brought back to earth, much more into the role that many expected they would be in before the season began. The Marlins should definitely sell at the deadline, but keep most of their core pieces, as they are surely headed in the right direction.

22. Minnesota Twins (44-50)

Last Week’s Rank: 22

Last Week’s Record: 5-2

In a much better week than normal for the Twins, they’ve inched within six games of the .500 mark, and should look to play strong for the rest of July leading up to the deadline, and sell high on remaining trade chips. With a large crop of prospects on their way to the majors, the Twins will be one of the most devastating teams in the MLB in a short amount of time.

21. Boston Red Sox (43-52)

Last Week’s Rank: 23

Last Week’s Record: 4-3

A bit of a better week for the BoSox, but not nearly enough to change the course of their season. The defending champions will not be returning for postseason ball this year, but with tons of money, it is very possible that the Sox make a monumental move in the offseason to change the pace of what has happened this year.

20. Tampa Bay Rays (44-53)

Last Week’s Rank: 20

Last Week’s Record: 3-3

An average week is enough to keep the Rays where they were, as they hold on to very slim playoff aspirations. With a very talented team, the Rays have the potential to make a late season run, but it may not be worth going all out this season in interest of future years, where the Rays have a great shot at recovering to play to their potential.

19. Chicago White Sox (45-51)

Last Week’s Rank: 19

Last Week’s Record: 3-4

Not the best week for the ChiSox to have entering the break, but it’s enough to leave then idle in this week’s rankings. The White Sox should look to add pitching in the offseason, and focus on trading available trade chips to allocate most of their resources to upcoming seasons, where with such a potent offense, they have a chance at being quite competitive.

18. New York Mets (45-50)

Last Week’s Rank: 25

Last Week’s Record: 6-1

Taking three of four from the Braves and then sweeping the Marlins is quite the fitting week in the Big Apple, leaving the Mets just seven games out of a playoff spot. The safe bet is still for the Mets to let this season go, and look forward to the extremely talented prospects that await them in the MLB, which will make the Mets a force in the National League in a few short years.

17. New York Yankees (47-47)

Last Week’s Rank: 16

Last Week’s Record: 3-4

The record wasn’t awful for the Yanks this week, but the biggest blow to the Bronx Bombers is the loss of ace Masahiro Tanaka for at least six weeks, which may very well take the Yankees well out of playoff contention. Missing the playoffs for two straight seasons would be a catastrophe in the Bronx, so the addition of a late season catalyst for the Yankees is still very possible.

16. Cleveland Indians (47-47)

Last Week’s Rank: 17

Last Week’s Record: 4-2

A solid week for the Indians gives the Tribe a glimpse of hope entering the second half. The Indians made a remarkable late season push last year, and the same effort is needed in Cleveland this season, but the addition of some help on both pitching and hitting is needed for the Indians to have any sort of chance at making a run in the second half.

15. Toronto Blue Jays (49-47)

Last Week’s Rank: 13

Last Week’s Record: 2-4

The Blue Jays continue to regress into the team that they were assumed to be before the season, as they now stand four games behind the Orioles in the American League East. The Blue Jays should and will still be buyers at the deadline, but a late season playoff push would have to involve a tearing hot streak for the Jays to get back into contention.

14. Kansas City Royals (48-46)

Last Week’s Rank: 14

Last Week’s Record: 3-4

A mediocre week has widened the gap in the American League Central for the Royals, who once held the division lead. At the break, the Royals stand 6.5 games behind the Tigers, and need to add more hitting, particularly a power bat, for the stretch run. The Royals may perhaps want to look into the red hot outfielders Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano, both of whom appear to be on the trading block for the Cubs.

13. Pittsburgh Pirates (49-46)

Last Week’s Rank: 7

Last Week’s Record: 2-5

Perhaps the most volatile team in the MLB in regards to power rankings, the Pirates continue to show their horrible stretches of inconsistency, as a bad stretch this week has dropped them into 4th place in the NL Central. The Pirates are still very much in the race, but they must find a way to be more consistent if they hope to be in the pennant race this season.

12. San Francisco Giants (52-43)

Last Week’s Rank: 11

Last Week’s Record: 3-4

The Giants end their first half in a very mediocre fashion, with play that doesn’t resemble the performance they had put up for most of the first half. The Giants are still very much in the NL West, with just a game behind the Dodgers. Looking to bring back more of their early first half play, the Giants will need to come out with fire to start the second half and playoff push.

11. Seattle Mariners (51-44)

Last Week’s Rank: 10

Last Week’s Record: 3-4

Not the best finish of the first half for the M’s, who are looking to capitalize on every given opportunity, being in the very difficult AL West. Despite sitting at 3rd in the division, the Wild Card remains the best bet for the Mariners, who are very likely to pursue a Wild Card spot in the second half, as they will most likely add pieces at the trade deadline as well.

10. Milwaukee Brewers (53-43)

Last Week’s Rank: 9

Last Week’s Record: 1-6

A rather embarrassing week for the Brewers, who got swept by the Phillies in four games at home, and then proceeded to drop two of three to the second place Cardinals, which was also not a good idea. This leaves the Brewers thin division lead at one game, and has helped open up the NL Central race to a four team hunt, one that the Brewers can easily fall out of.

9. St. Louis Cardinals (52-44)

Last Week’s Rank: 12

Last Week’s Record: 5-2

A great week by the Cards has them right back in the race for the division, which is the good news. On the flip side, the Cardinals will have to deal with losing star Yadier Molina for an extended period of time, which can prove to be very damaging, with a large leadership figure missing in the clubhouse for most of the second half.

8. Atlanta Braves (52-43)

Last Week’s Rank: 2

Last Week’s Record: 3-4

A bit of a steep drop for a week that wasn’t horrible, but when losing three of four to the Mets, the drop can be justified. The Braves are still in dire need of hitting, despite the bats waking up quite a bit in Chicago this weekend. With the addition of a bat or two at the deadline, the Braves can go from a fringe playoff team to a World Series contender.

7. Washington Nationals (51-42)

Last Week’s Rank: 4

Last Week’s Record: 3-3

The Nats technically hold first place going into the break by .001 in winning percentage, but in a weak NL East and weak NL in general, getting healthy and restoring camaraderie in the clubhouse can make a huge difference for the Nationals down the stretch. One good run at the right time, and the Nats can run away with this division. With the talent the DC squad has, it’s almost expected that a hot second half is coming.

6. Cincinnati Reds (51-44)

Last Week’s Rank: 15

Last Week’s Record: 6-2

The Reds are another very volatile team in the rankings, and that trend continues, as they closed off an 8-3 homestand against the Cubs, Brewers and Pirates, all of course NL Central rivals. The Reds certainly have the pitching to make a stretch run, and with the addition of another bat to fill the void of constant injuries, the Reds may become the most dangerous team in the NL.

5. Baltimore Orioles (52-42)

Last Week’s Rank: 5

Last Week’s Record: 4-2

The O’s stay strong and maintain a four game AL East division lead over the Blue Jays. Baltimore is looking extremely strong this year, and is showing an incredible balance of skill that hasn’t been seen in Baltimore since the late 1990’s. The Orioles will look to continue their hot streak after the break, which would help them solidify and run away with their lead in the AL East.

4. Detroit Tigers (53-38)

Last Week’s Rank: 8

Last Week’s Record: 5-1

The Tigers have once again proven that they are the best team in the AL Central, winning five of six on the week and extending their division lead to 6.5 games over Kansas City. The Tigers still have bullpen issues, but once things are straightened up on the relief end, the Tigers will be in a position to make another playoff run, perhaps deeper than normal this season.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (54-43)

Last Week’s Rank: 3

Last Week’s Record: 3-3

An average week was enough to keep the Dodgers at 3 in the rankings, and enough to give them a one game lead over the Giants heading into the break. The Dodgers will have to prepare for what may be a very exciting head-to-head division race between two arch rivals. The Dodgers may have the upper hand now, but it will take a continuation of a hot streak to let the Dodgers run away with the NL West.

2. Los Angeles Angels (57-37)

Last Week’s Rank: 6

Last Week’s Record: 6-1

The Angels have won nine of ten and continued their white-hot streak this week, inching within 1.5 games of Oakland, making the AL West race a lot closer than many thought it would be at the All-Star break. Despite the A’s already scoring two big deadline prizes, the Angels will still make a splash, and will also look to stay hot when play resumes Friday.

1. Oakland Athletics (59-36)

Last Week’s Rank: 1

Last Week’s Record: 4-3

The A’s would lose two of three in Seattle this weekend, but still remain the best team in baseball heading into the break. This week did display some vulnerabilities from the Boys of East Bay, and perhaps show that both Los Angeles and Seattle still stand a chance in the AL West. It would still take a lot to overcome the pure balanced skill of the A’s, who even with a small 1.5 game division lead, have not hesitated to play great ball in big situations.

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