Yankees hold tight to top spot

Updated: July 16, 2012, 1:14 PM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

The New York Yankees sit comfortably atop the American League East, and remain in the No. 1 spot in our MLB Power Rankings for Week 16.

The Texas Rangers hold tight to the No. 2 position for the second straight week, while the Washington Nationals remain in the No. 3 spot for the fifth week in a row.

The Chicago White Sox rise two spots to take over the No. 4 position, while the Cincinnati Reds move up three spots to No. 5.

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. Many of the team comments come courtesy of the fan bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. Meanwhile, you can rank the teams yourself.

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

2012 Power Rankings: July 16
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
Yankees
54-34
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Last Week: 1
Away from the hostile crowds in Kansas City and back home in the Bronx, Robinson Cano hit .455 with a homer as the Yankees took two of three from the Angels to start off the second half on a strong note. -- Rob Abruzzese: Bronx Baseball Daily
2
Rangers
54-35
--

Last Week: 2
In spite of his 5.4 K/9 ratio that ranks among the worst strikeout rates of all qualifying American League starters, Matt Harrison boasts a top-six ERA (2.87) in the American League after shutting out the Mariners on Sunday. -- Joey Matschulat: Baseball Time in Arlington
3
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Last Week: 3
Since starting a cortisone shot regimen for a shoulder injury, Ryan Zimmerman is back to hitting like an All-Star, putting up a .347/.397/.694 stat line with six home runs in his past 17 games. -- Harper Gordek: Nationals Baseball
4
2
Last Week: 6
Took two of three from the Royals to start a 10-game road trip coming out of the break. Chris Sale continues to dominate, notching his ninth start in the past 10 with no more than two runs allowed. Kevin Youkilis' stat line with the White Sox: .316/.412/.509. -- Diane Firstman: Value Over Replacement Grit
5
Reds
50-38
3
Last Week: 8
The Reds swept the Cardinals to begin the second half, and Cincinnati is now alone in first place once again. The Reds' next 17 games are against sub-.500 teams. If they are going to pull away from the pack, the time is now. -- Chad Dotson: Redleg Nation
6
Angels
49-40
2
Last Week: 4
Whether the Angels go after another starter may depend on Ervin Santana's next couple of games. He has a 4.25 ERA and .196 average allowed at home, but 7.45 and .305 on the road. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
7
Pirates
49-39
2
Last Week: 5
After losing two of three to the Brewers, the Pirates HAVE to take advantage of this stretch: Their next 15 games (and 22 of 25) are against teams currently with losing records. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
8
Braves
49-39
4
Last Week: 12
The Braves have ridden a seven-game winning streak to move past the Mets, and they sit just three games behind the Nationals for the NL East lead. Craig Kimbrel continues to put up unfathomably amazing numbers. Ben Sheets threw six shutout innings against the Mets in his first start of the season on Sunday. If Dan Uggla gets hot, this will be a hard team to beat. -- Franklin Rabon: Capitol Avenue Club
9
Giants
49-40
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Last Week: 9
Encouraging news from Tim Lincecum as he pitched eight scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts and one walk in his start on Saturday. OK, it was the Astros. Still, the Giants will take that as a big positive. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
10
Dodgers
48-42
3
Last Week: 7
Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are a combined 10-for-20 since returning from the disabled list, but seven errors and eight unearned runs in two games by the rest of the team led to consecutive losses on Saturday and Sunday. -- Jon Weisman: Dodger Thoughts
11
2
Last Week: 13
The Cardinals got swept by the Reds, scoring only seven runs at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, as Scott Rolen and Ryan Ludwick burned their former team. -- Matt Philip: Fungoes
12
Rays
46-43
2
Last Week: 14
It is starting to become clear that the Rays' attempts to stay relevant in the AL East are a long shot, especially with the news this past weekend that Evan Longoria might not return in 2012. -- Mark Heilig: The Ray Area
13
Mets
46-43
3
Last Week: 10
The Mets started the second half by getting swept by the Braves in Atlanta. Despite leading baseball in runs scored per game on the road, and owning the NL's top road batting average, the Mets have a losing record (20-23) away from Flushing. -- Joe Janish: Mets Today
14
Orioles
46-42
3
Last Week: 11
The Orioles have the second-worst run differential in the American League (better only than the Twins) yet are tied for the wild-card lead. A 10-2 record in extra-inning games has been key, but can they continue winning the close games? -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
15
Tigers
46-43
1
Last Week: 16
He's probably not going to win 24 games this year, but after his performance against Baltimore on Sunday, Justin Verlander is pitching just as well as he did last year, when he brought home the AL Cy Young and MVP. 2012 ERA 2.43 (2.40 in 2011), BAA .195 (.192), and WHIP 0.93 (0.92). -- Josh Worn: Walkoff Woodward
16
Red Sox
45-44
1
Last Week: 17
Since returning from the disabled list, Jacoby Ellsbury has gone 6-for-14 and has really lengthened the lineup. When Carl Crawford and Dustin Pedroia come back this week, the Red Sox will finally field their intended lineup for the first time all season. -- Evan Brunell: Fire Brand of the AL
17
Indians
45-43
2
Last Week: 15
The Indians started the second half of the season facing the same team as they did on Opening Day and with the same starting pitchers. While the outcome was better -- they beat the Blue Jays 1-0 -- they ended up losing the series. It wasn't the best way to start the second half, but quality starts from Justin Masterson and Derek Lowe can give Tribe fans a bit of hope. -- Susan Petrone: It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
18
1
Last Week: 19
On one hand, the A's are just a half game behind Baltimore for the second wild-card spot. On the other hand, they are one of six teams that are within 1 1/2 games of the Orioles. It won't matter how many teams there are if Oakland keeps having four-homer games, though. -- Jason Wojciechowski: Beaneball
19
1
Last Week: 18
Receiving spectacular starts from Carlos Villanueva and Ricky Romero, the Jays ended the week a game over .500. Roster moves: The club extended Edwin Encarnacion's contract for three years at a cost of $27 million, and announced season-ending shoulder surgery for Sergio Santos. -- Matthias Koster: Mop-Up Duty
20
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Last Week: 20
After ending the first half only four games out of first place, the Diamondbacks scored one run in each of three games against the Cubs, the club with the 14th-best ERA in the National League. Next up for Arizona is four games at red-hot Cincinnati. -- Diane Firstman: Value Over Replacement Grit
21
Marlins
42-46
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Last Week: 21
A potential split of a four-game series with the Nationals isn't bad, but the Marlins could have really benefited from a series sweep. -- Dave Gershman: Marlins Daily
22
Brewers
42-46
--

Last Week: 22
The Brewers dropped a game in their opening series out of the break and need to go 5-1 against St. Louis and Cincinnati to get to .500. Expect Zack Greinke to be aggressively shopped quite quickly should Milwaukee lose its upcoming series against the Cardinals. -- Jack Moore: Disciples of Uecker
23
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Last Week: 23
Carlos Ruiz has a 169 OPS+, a number only two catchers have ever posted over a full season: Mike Piazza (1995 and '97) and Joe Mauer (2009). In an otherwise tumultuous season, the man nicknamed Chooch has been nothing but rock steady. -- Paul Boye: Crashburn Alley
24
Royals
38-49
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Last Week: 24
Eric Hosmer's struggles continue. He has just one extra-base hit in July (a double) and just four home runs since April. He's still not striking out excessively, so it's difficult to pinpoint why he's been so bad. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
25
Twins
36-52
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Last Week: 25
Over the weekend, the Twins gave up 24 runs in three games to an Oakland club that ranks last in the American League in runs scored. Brutal. -- Nick Nelson: Twins Daily
26
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Last Week: 26
GM Jack Zduriencik recently declared seven players in the organization untouchable. Surprisingly, Jesus Montero was not among them. The rookie backstop struggled in the first half of the season, but some encouraging road numbers suggest he's merely playing through growing pains. A big summer from Montero could help alleviate concerns about the Mariners' offense heading into 2013. -- Brendan Gawlowski: Pro Ball NW
27
Cubs
36-52
2
Last Week: 29
Ryan Dempster continues to extend his scoreless streak, which now sits at 33 straight innings. He could be dealt before the end of the week and would then have to continue it for another team. -- Joe Aiello: View from the Bleachers
28
Padres
36-54
1
Last Week: 27
Took two of three from the Dodgers, and have won nine of their past 14 games. The Astros and Rockies come to Petco Park this week, so their improved fortunes could continue. Sunday's 7-2 win was only their ninth against a left-handed starter all year (9-21). -- Diane Firstman: Value Over Replacement Grit
29
Rockies
34-54
1
Last Week: 30
Let the rookies play! Josh Rutledge made his major league debut for the Rockies last week (.320/.374/.496 in nearly 1,000 plate appearances in the minors). The potential future second baseman for the Rockies made a splash in his first game going 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a stolen base. -- Travis Lay: Blake Street Bulletin
30
Astros
33-56
2
Last Week: 28
With their weekend sweep at the hands of the Giants, the Astros have now lost 14 of their past 15 games and haven't won on the road since June 14. They're on pace to lose more than 100 games again, and if they continue their pace since June 1, they'll set a new team record for losses with 108. -- Austin Swafford: Austin's Astros 290 Blog