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MLB Power Rankings: Astros fending off Red Sox, Yankees for No. 1 spot

If you pay close attention to baseball, you’re well aware by now that this season’s MLB standings look a little something like this — three teams at the top and then everybody else.

No disrespect to the Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians or Arizona Diamondbacks, but the No. 1 spot in the league this year is a baton that’s being passed around by the Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Once again, the top spot belongs this week to the Astros, with the Red Sox and Yankees close behind. Elsewhere, the Mariners and Braves continue to look like the real deal, the Indians are getting good, but the Cubs and Mets aren’t going in the right direction. Here’s this week’s full 30:

The Astros, led by Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman among others, continue to be No. 1 in our power rankings. (AP)

1. Astros (53-28; last week: 1)
The Astros’ big winning streak stopped, but the winning hasn’t. They remain tops in MLB in runs scored and ERA. They’re neck-and-neck with the Red Sox for most wins in the league and that run differential (+173) is still far and away better than anyone else.

2. Red Sox (53-27; last week: 2)
Here’s how dominant the Red Sox have been according to FanGraphs’ version of WAR. The team has the sixth-best offense, third-best rotation and fifth-best bullpen in baseball this season. No team is perfect, but the Red Sox have no major weakness.

3. Yankees (52-25; last week: 3)
You could say the same about the Yankees, though. New York has the best offense, seventh-best rotation and best bullpen according to fWAR. We have them just below Boston now, but it’s going to be a back-and-forth battle all season.

4. Mariners (49-31; last week: 4)
After sweeping the Angels, the Mariners got exposed by Boston and New York, going 4-7 against them during a brutal stretch. Even with that, it wasn’t enough to drop the Mariners much in a top-heavy AL. They should get back on track soon, as they play the Orioles and Royals next.

5. Brewers (46-32; last week: 6)
The Brewers are getting it done in the rotation thanks to Junior Guerra rediscovering his form. Through 14 starts, he has a 2.82 ERA. Even if Guerra can keep it up, the team may need to pick up another starter if they hope to hold off the Cubs. Remember, the Brewers carried a 5.5 game lead over Chicago in mid-July last season, and failed to keep that lead.

6. Braves (45-33; last week: 7)
Many people — us included — thought the Braves would fade by now, but there’s no denying the impact of Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis, Ozzie Albies and the crew. The real story, though, is the pitching. The Braves’ 3.68 team ERA ranks 10th in MLB. If it can hold up, so too can the Braves.

7. D-backs (45-34; last week: 8)
The Diamondbacks have recovered from a dismal May to post a winning percentage near .700 in June. Unfortunately for them, the Dodgers made up ground in May and have pretty much matched Arizona’s record in June. The Yankees and Red Sox might be the best division race going, but Arizona and Los Angeles is a close second.

Michael Brantley and the Indians are racing closer to the top of our power rankings. (AP)

8. Indians (43-35; last week: 10)
The Indians have stayed high on our list despite an up-and-down season because we knew they’d eventually be good — and they’re showing it lately. They won six in a row recently, including back-to-back wins where they outscored the Tigers 22-0. The Indians’ offense ranks in the top-10 in the big categories and the pitching, their strength, is starting to get things back in order.

9. Cubs (43-34; last week: 5)
The Cubs got swept by the Reds in four games, how did your weekend go? Chicago’s been brutalized by injuries lately and the unrest in growing among Cubs fans. Getting Yu Darvish back should help, but now Kris Bryant is going on the DL.

10. Dodgers (42-36; last week: 11)
In the words of Arizona Cardinals coach Denny Green, the Dodgers are who we thought they were. Forget about their slugging first month-and-a-half at the start of the season. The team has gone 26-10 over their last 36 games.

11. Nats (41-37; last week: 9)
12. Phillies (41-36; last week: 13)
13. Cardinals (42-36; last week: 14)
The back-end of Top 10 is pretty fluid week to week and this week, you’re looking at the team who are just outside of it. That being said, the Nats, Phillies remain within striking distance of their division leaders. Every division in the NL is competitive at this point, and there’s no reason to think these three won’t keep things interesting as summer heats up.

14. Angels (41-39; last week: 12)
15. A’s (42-38; last week: 15)
16. Giants (41-39; last week: 16)
17. Rockies (38-41; last week: 18)
18. Pirates (37-42; last week: 16)
While the previous group is in striking distance, these are the teams that are in danger of getting left behind. Sure, there’s still time for a few of these teams (specifically the Giants and Rockies) to make a charge toward the postseason, but it’s getting tougher.

19. Blue Jays (37-42; last week: 23)
20. Rays (39-40; last week: 19)
21. Twins (34-41; last week: 23)
22. Tigers (36-44; last week: 17)
What a difference a week makes for the Tigers, who surged up to No. 17 last week and then proceeded to lose six in a row. The Twins, meanwhile, have overtaken them for second-place in the AL Central. With the strength at the top of the AL West and AL East it doesn’t seem like any of these four teams have too much in the way of postseason hopes.

23. Padres (36-46; last week: 21)
24. Rangers (35-46; last week: 25)
25. Reds (33-46; last week: 27)
26. Marlins (32-48; last week: 26)
27. Mets (32-45; last week: 24)
28. White Sox (27-51; last week: 28)
29. Royals (24-55; last week: 29)
30. Orioles (23-55; last week: 30)
Welcome the Mets to the bottom of our power rankings list this week. Mets, say hi to everyone. The Orioles are the bosses around here. Oh, and you know the Marlins, right? Have fun in the cellar, everyone!

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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