A's No. 1, but rival Angels No. 2

Updated: July 7, 2014, 12:18 PM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

The Oakland Athletics, who bolstered their pitching staff with the additions of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, improved upon their league-best record and retained the top spot in the ESPN.com MLB Power Rankings for the third consecutive week.

The AL West rival Los Angeles Angels, however, have moved up to No. 2 and sit only 3.5 games behind the A's in the standings. They switched places with the Milwaukee Brewers, who fell back to No. 3. This week's biggest risers were the Atlanta Braves and the Tampa Bay Rays, both moving up seven spots to No. 4 and No. 21, respectively.

This week's voters were Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine, David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Most of the team comments come courtesy of the bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. How do you rank all 30 teams? Go ahead and rank them yourself.

Tell us what you think about the Power Rankings. Use the hashtag #ESPNMLBPOWER.

2014 Power Rankings: July 7
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
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Last Week: 1
It took trading top prospect Addison Russell to accomplish it, but after the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, the A's rotation is so deep that just one of Jesse Chavez (116 ERA+) and Tom Milone (106 ERA+) can fit. -- Jason Wojciechowski (@jlwoj), Beaneball
2
Angels
51-36
1
Last Week: 3
Albert Pujols went 9-for-16 with two HRs and seven RBIs as the Angels swept Houston and have now won 13 of their past 16 games. -- ESPN.com
3
Brewers
52-37
1
Last Week: 2
The Brewers' once red-hot offense cooled down considerably, averaging 2.0 runs per game on the team's 1-4 trip through Toronto and Cincinnati last week. It was the first true "disaster" trip of the year for the Crew, who still sport a 28-19 record away from home. -- Ryan Topp (@RDTopp), Disciples of Uecker
4
Braves
49-39
7
Last Week: 11
The Braves couldn't make it 10 wins in a row, but they got into some better habits during their nine-game winning streak. They hit better (.747 OPS vs. .678 before) and pitched better (2.22 ERA vs. 3.34) than they had before the streak. With their next 18 games against sub-.500 opponents, can they build some cushion into their tenuous division lead over the Nationals? -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County
5
Tigers
48-37
1
Last Week: 4
The rotation has gotten back on track following a rough June. Tigers starters posted a 3.4 WAR in the past 30 games; they're tied for third, behind only the Nats (3.9) and Dodgers (3.8). Relatedly, the team's rebounded from a rough 9-19 stretch to go 12-5 and further pad a division lead they actually relinquished in mid-June. -- Alexandra Simon, Walkoff Woodward
6
Dodgers
51-40
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Last Week: 6
They've won 20 of their past 30, and have allowed two or fewer runs in 17 of those games. Yasiel Puig, Dee Gordon, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke all made the NL All-Star squad. Kershaw vs. the Rockies this season: 3-0, 0.41 ERA, 0.273 WHIP, .070/.083/.113 with 32 strikeouts in 73 plate appearances. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
7
2
Last Week: 9
Jayson Werth has finally awoken from a long spring slumber. He has more extra-base hits so far in July (7) than he did in all of June (6). -- Harper Gordek (@harpergordek), Nationals Baseball
8
2
Last Week: 10
There was no shame in losing to Chris Sale on Friday, but losing 1-0 to ex-teammate Hector Noesi on Sunday hurt. They've been shut out 10 times; only the Rays, with 11, have been blanked more among AL teams. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
9
Giants
49-39
4
Last Week: 5
The Giants took two of three from the Padres over the weekend for their first series win in almost two weeks. The upcoming Bay Bridge series against the A's will provide a great litmus test for this team to gauge their ability to contend with the top teams in the league, while battling with the Dodgers for control of the NL West. -- Andrew Tweedy (@WCBGiants), West Coast Bias
10
Orioles
48-40
3
Last Week: 13
Despite serving a 50-game suspension last season for PEDs, Nelson Cruz was one of three Orioles to be voted onto the AL All-Star team as starters, along with catcher Matt Wieters (who can't play due to injury) and outfielder Adam Jones.-- ESPN.com
11
3
Last Week: 8
Second baseman Kolten Wong returned from the DL, but he wasn't enough to help the Cardinals avoid losing a series at home to the Marlins. Will GM John Mozeliak pull the trigger on a deal for a pitcher? -- Matt Philip (@fungoes), Fungoes
12
5
Last Week: 7
Since holding a season-high six-game lead on June 6, the Jays are 9-19 and have fallen into second place. Don't blame the pitching: The offense is hitting .235 with a .302 OBP over that span and scored just four runs in a four-game sweep to the A's over the weekend. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
13
Pirates
47-41
2
Last Week: 15
Jeff Locke has been a huge boost to the rotation, with a 3.08 ERA in seven starts and pitching into the eighth inning in his past three outings. Oh, and since June 1, Andrew McCutchen has hit .364 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
14
Reds
45-42
2
Last Week: 12
Cincinnati has won 10 of 15, and just took two of three from first-place Milwaukee. The ongoing travails of Joey Votto, and rumors of another DL stint, however, continue to provide cause for concern. Even a non-Votto-like slash line of .255/390/.409 is better than the Reds could expect from replacements such as Ramon Santiago. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation
15
Royals
45-42
1
Last Week: 16
Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon and Greg Holland are all All-Stars for the second consecutive year. The last time the Royals had at least three All-Stars in back-to-back years was 1982-83. George Brett, Willie Wilson and Dan Quisenberry made it both years, while Frank White and Hal McRae also made it in 1982. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
16
Yankees
44-43
2
Last Week: 14
Brandon McCarthy is an upgrade over Vidal Nuno, but hardly an impact pitcher. Throw in the bad news about CC Sabathia and it's hard to imagine the Yankees making a run unless the bats suddenly explode in the second half. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
17
Indians
43-44
1
Last Week: 18
The week started with the Indians getting shut out on one hit in back-to-back games. By the time the dust had settled Sunday, they'd taken four of six from two contending teams -- the Dodgers and Royals. You could say a lot of different things about the 2014 Indians, but I don't think "predictable" is one of them. -- Stephanie Liscio (@stephanieliscio), It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
18
Marlins
43-45
1
Last Week: 17
Sunday, they won a club-record 10th straight game in which Henderson Alvarez started. The final six games before the break are on the road, at Arizona and the Mets, so Miami MIGHT just be at .500 next Sunday night. Giancarlo Stanton was named to his second All-Star team, while Casey McGehee is part of the Final Man Vote. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
19
1
Last Week: 20
Although they took two of three from Seattle, the White Sox combined for six hits Saturday and Sunday, and Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez -- both named AL All-Star reserves -- went 1-for-17. -- ESPN.com
20
Red Sox
39-49
1
Last Week: 19
Having lost five of their past six games, the Red Sox have dropped to fifth place in the AL East and have looked more and more like a seller at the trade deadline. Phenom Xander Bogaerts is reeling from an abysmal June, when he hit .135 with a 3/27 BB/K ratio, and the team's offense is just as horribly anemic. -- Brett Cowett (@BACowett), Fire Brand of the AL
21
Rays
41-50
7
Last Week: 28
Tampa Bay continues to climb the AL ladder a little bit at a time. A 6-1 week capped off a 9-2 road trip through three cities, including division leaders Baltimore and Detroit. -- Tommy Rancel (@TRancel), The Process Report
22
Twins
39-48
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Last Week: 22
The Twins have lost 10 of their past 13 games, and much of it can be attributed to bad starting pitching. Twins starters own a 7.43 ERA in that span, and their 5.01 overall mark is the worst in the AL. -- ESPN.com
23
Padres
39-49
6
Last Week: 29
The wide search for a new GM continues, with candidates reportedly including Kim Ng, MLB's senior VP for baseball operations; Dodgers VP of scouting Logan White; Diamondbacks scouting director Ray Montgomery; former Marlins GM Larry Beinfest; plus assistant GMs A.J. Preller (Rangers), Billy Eppler (Yankees), Mike Hazen (Red Sox) and A.J. Hinch (Padres). -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
24
Mets
39-49
3
Last Week: 21
The Mets are tied with Athletics for most first-inning runs (60). Rookie Eric Campbell has a 7-game hitting streak, batting .464 over that stretch, and has hit safely in 16 of his 18 starts. -- Joe Janish (@metstoday), Mets Today
25
Cubs
38-48
1
Last Week: 26
A big reason for the Cubs' run differential this year has been pitching. With the trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel this weekend, the offense will need to carry the load. Coming into Sunday, the Cubs offense ranked 24th in baseball in runs scored. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers
26
Rangers
38-50
3
Last Week: 23
Despite losing 14 of 16 before a win July 5, Texas will at least send Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre to the All-Star Game, both deserving of the honor in a season that hasn't brought too much else to the state of Texas. -- Brandon Land (@one_strike_away), One Strike Away
27
2
Last Week: 25
Chase Utley is the team's lone All-Star, the first time that's happened since Randy Wolf was the only choice in 2003. Meanwhile, they've lost nine of 10 and 13 of 16, so the only question now: Who will Ruben Amaro try to trade? -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
28
Rockies
37-52
4
Last Week: 24
Numbers do lie. Despite having the best average in baseball and being in the top three in runs and hits, they were sliced and diced by Nationals and Dodgers starters last week. Now looking up at San Diego in the NL West, the Rockies look to end the first half on a positive note with six home games: three vs. San Diego and three vs. Minnesota. -- J.J. Buck (@jbuck610 ), Rockies Zingers
29
Astros
36-54
2
Last Week: 27
A winless week brings their slump to 16 losses in their past 20 games. Jose Altuve is going to his second All-Star Game, and Dallas Keuchel is part of the Final Man Vote. Jonathan Singleton's week: 1-for-24 with 10 strikeouts. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
30
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Last Week: 30
Good story department: A year ago, David Peralta was playing independent ball for the Amarillo Sox, who apparently played in Pensacola, Florida, not Amarillo, Texas. The D-backs signed him, and he played the rest of 2013 in the California League. Promoted to Double-A this year, he's now in the Arizona outfield and has hit .325 in 31 games. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

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