The season has paused for the All-Star break but when it resumes on Thursday it will do so with one of the most postseason chases in recent memory. While the Yankees lead the Orioles by seven games in the AL East, the gap between first- and second-place teams in each of the other five divisions is no more than four games. Factor in the expanded playoff system that allows for two wild cards in each league and 11 teams in both the AL and NL are within 5 ½ games of a postseason berth.

NOTE: All stats are through Sunday, July 8.

Rankings written by Ben Duronio of Fangraphs.com. The system used to rank the teams is based not on the current standings or a gut feeling about team quality, but on how well they've performed at the underlying traits that predict future performance better than wins and losses.

wRC+ is an offensive index where 100 is league average and every point above or below that denotes how far from league average a player's performance has been up to that point. It is adjusted for park and league, so it takes into account the context of a player's surroundings, and allows for comparison of performance from players in different situations and in different times.

MLB Power Rankings
1Texas <a href=Rangers" title="Texas Rangers">
Last Week: 1
WAR Winning Percentage: .639; Current Winning Percentage: .605; WAR Wins: 55; Current Wins: 52

Although the Rangers finished the first half tied with the Yankees for the most wins in baseball and with the second best record by winning percentage behind New York, they enter the All-Star break with just one win in their past six games. During that stretch they have scored two or fewer runs in four out of six games.
2Washington <a href=Nationals" title="Washington Nationals">
Last Week: 2
WAR Winning Percentage: .617; Current Winning Percentage: .590; WAR Wins: 51; Current Wins: 49

The Nationals are the only team in baseball to allow fewer than 300 runs in the first half of the year, which is a testament to how well the pitching staff was built in the offseason. Gio Gonzalez has been the co-ace along with fellow All-Star Stephen Strasburg while Edwin Jackson has essentially been the quality middle of the rotation starter that he has been for a majority of his career.
3New York Yankees
Last Week: 3
WAR Winning Percentage: .583; Current Winning Percentage: .612; WAR Wins: 50; Current Wins: 52

Rafael Soriano has been everything the Yankees could have hoped for after Mariano Rivera's season-ending knee injury. His 20 saves in 21 opportunities have been a huge reason the Yankees entered the break with the best record in the game. New York also has the second highest reliever WAR in baseball of 3.7, just behind the Rangers' 4.0. It has been a rather big surprise considering Rivera's history and Soriano's difficult season last year, but the Yankees have essentially not missed a beat without the best closer of all-time.
4St. Louis <a href=Cardinals" title="St. Louis Cardinals">
Last Week: 6
WAR Winning Percentage: .578; Current Winning Percentage: .535; WAR Wins: 50; Current Wins: 46

Despite sitting in third place in the NL Central, the Cardinals still look like the best team in the division with their extremely powerful offense. St. Louis is one of only two National League teams ? the Rockies are the other ? to have scored over 400 runs in the first half. In addition, the Cardinals' run differential of +70 is nearly that of the combined totals of the division's top two teams, the Pirates (+32) and the Reds (+42).
5Boston <a href=Red Sox" title="Boston Red Sox">
Last Week: 4
WAR Winning Percentage: .561; Current Winning Percentage: .500; WAR Wins: 48; Current Wins: 43

It is difficult to say that a team entering the break with a .500 record has had a disappointing first half, but that seems to be commonplace when speaking of this year's Red Sox. However, the Sox have endured numerous injuries in their outfield and in the rotation, so the impending return of Jacoby Ellsbury should help both offensively and defensively if he can play anywhere close to as effectively as he did last season. Despite being 9 1/2 games out of first place, Boston is far from out of the playoff picture, as it just 4 ½ games behind in the wild card standings.
6Chicago <a href=White Sox" title="Chicago White Sox">
Last Week: 10
WAR Winning Percentage: .555; Current Winning Percentage: .553; WAR Wins: 47; Current Wins: 47

Chris Sale is only slightly behind Justin Verlander for the WAR lead among AL pitchers, despite throwing 30 fewer innings in three fewer starts. There is certainly added value from Verlander's end in throwing more innings per start, but Sale's rates have been phenomenal in his first year as a starter. His 10-2 record accurately portrays his stellar first half, as his ERA/FIP/xFIP sit at 2.19/2.58/3.24 in 15 starts.
7Los Angeles <a href=Angels" title="Los Angeles Angels">
Last Week: 5
WAR Winning Percentage: .553; Current Winning Percentage: .558; WAR Wins: 48; Current Wins: 48

Since hitting his long-awaited first home run as an Angel on May 6, Albert Pujols has hit .304/.376/.544 with 13 homers and 13 doubles. His season stats -- .268/.334/.460 -- do not look as nice as they usually do, but Pujols has played at an All-Star level after getting accustomed to his new home in early May. The only concern around his game right now is his low walk raten(he has 33 in 368 plate appearances), but even if that stays at this level his contact skills and power will allow him to be one of the top right-handed bats in baseball.
8Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 11
WAR Winning Percentage: .542; Current Winning Percentage: .553; WAR Wins: 46; Current Wins: 47

The offense and defense have been there for most of the season for the Reds, but now they are starting to get some great pitching as well. Over his last 10 starts, Mike Leake has a 2.55 ERA and 51 strikeouts to 11 walks in 67 innings. This is Leake's third year in the big leagues, but he is still just 24-years-old and may finally be starting to turn a corner.
9New York <a href=Mets" title="New York Mets">
Last Week: 8
WAR Winning Percentage: .541; Current Winning Percentage: .538; WAR Wins: 43; Current Wins: 43

The Mets have three players with 12 home runs: Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Scott Hairston. The first two were expected to be the powerful middle-of-the-order bats before the season, but Hairston's 12 home runs have been a big surprise and a big catalyst for the Mets this year. Hairston has the sixth highest wRC+ against left-handed pitching of all players with a minimum of 110 plate appearances. He also is tied for the most home runs against southpaws with Boston's David Ortiz, who also has nine.
10Detroit <a href=Tigers" title="Detroit Tigers">
Last Week: 12
WAR Winning Percentage: .537; Current Winning Percentage: .512; WAR Wins: 46; Current Wins: 44

Delmon Young certainly had himself a week last week, hitting home runs in four consecutive games to close out the first half. The Tigers need him to continue providing pop, as they currently have fewer homers than the Athletics and Phillies, two teams with less powerful lineups.
11San Francisco <a href=Giants" title="San Francisco Giants">
Last Week: 7
WAR Winning Percentage: .527; Current Winning Percentage: .535; WAR Wins: 45; Current Wins: 46

The Giants have hung around in the first half, but they'll need to improve offensively in the second half to get ahead in the NL West and win the division. San Francisco has the fewest home runs in baseball as Buster Posey leads the pack with just 10 long balls. Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval can be the in-house answers to the team's power woes but the Giants may also have to look outside the organization for some help.
12Atlanta <a href=Braves" title="Atlanta Braves">
Last Week: 15
WAR Winning Percentage: .522; Current Winning Percentage: .541; WAR Wins: 44; Current Wins: 46

For the first time in his seven full seasons, Brian McCann is not an All-Star. He had struggled at the plate all year, but closed the first half on an absolute tear. He hit four home runs and added 11 RBIs in the final four games before the break, helping the Braves win each time. McCann has been the team's best player for the past several years, so the fact that they are just four games out of first place in the NL East despite the worst first half of McCann's career (.238/.301/.430) has to be seen as a positive.
13Arizona <a href=Diamondbacks" title="Arizona Diamondbacks">
Last Week: 9
WAR Winning Percentage: .522; Current Winning Percentage: .494; WAR Wins: 44; Current Wins: 42

Rumors are floating that the Diamondbacks may be interested in trading Justin Upton, but it is difficult to see them moving him when they are just four games behind a struggling Dodgers team in the NL West. Arizona has an identical run differential to L.A., and rookie starter Trevor Bauer is impressing, as he threw six innings of shutout ball including six strikeouts, two hits, and one walk Sunday to beat the Dodgers for his first major league win.
14Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 14
WAR Winning Percentage: .519; Current Winning Percentage: .540; WAR Wins: 45; Current Wins: 47

Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are both expected to return from the disabled list on Friday, which the Dodgers hope ends their woes. After putting together their first three game winning streak since June 7 earlier last week, Los Angeles ended the half by losing three consecutive games to the Diamondbacks. They scored just seven games in the series and have topped four runs in a game just twice since mid-June.
15Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 13
WAR Winning Percentage: .514; Current Winning Percentage: .425; WAR Wins: 45; Current Wins: 37

The Phillies still have a good team, but have not gotten many breaks, and it is increasingly evident that they will be sellers at the deadline. Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino are two that will most likely be traded, and both should net the Phillies an adequate return. That will have to serve as a consolation prize, as it looks unlikely that they will win their sixth consecutive NL East title.
16Milwaukee <a href=Brewers" title="Milwaukee Brewers">
Last Week: 16
WAR Winning Percentage: .497; Current Winning Percentage: .471; WAR Wins: 42; Current Wins: 40

Zack Greinke will be one of the main focal points of the deadline, but fellow rotation member Shaun Marcum may be a solid acquisition target as well. The soft-tossing right hander has the highest strikeout rate of his career and lowest ERA. He is not the ace that Greinke is, but he can certainly help a rotation looking for some starting pitching help, especially one that pitches in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.
17Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 22
WAR Winning Percentage: .494; Current Winning Percentage: .565; WAR Wins: 42; Current Wins: 48

At the beginning of the year, the Pirates were getting pretty lucky, which is why they ranked so low in our rankings. However, the Bucs are moving up quickly mostly because their offense isn't just Andrew McCutchen anymore. Neil Walker (114 wRC+), Pedro Alvarez (108 wRC+), Michael McKenry (125 wRC+), Casey McGahee (101 wRC+) and Garrett Jones (112 wRC+) have been above average hitters for the season as well. The Pirates bats make them a legitimate contender, and they should continue to rise up the rankings as a result.
18Tampa Bay <a href=Rays" title="Tampa Bay Rays">
Last Week: 17
WAR Winning Percentage: .484; Current Winning Percentage: .523; WAR Wins: 42; Current Wins: 45

This has been a really disappointing year for Desmond Jennings, who has just a .298 OBP in his second year in the big leagues. Both he and B.J. Upton have underwhelmed, as the duo has just a 91 and 93 wRC+, respectively. With Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria both injured, the Rays need someone else besides Ben Zobrist to step up, and it should be Jennings and Upton doing so. If those two can get right in the second half, the Rays are still very much contenders.
19Cleveland <a href=Indians" title="Cleveland Indians">
Last Week: 20
WAR Winning Percentage: .472; Current Winning Percentage: .518; WAR Wins: 40; Current Wins: 44

The Indians have managed to win games despite a -29 run differential, but they're too good for that to continue for the long haul. They could use a boost from Carlos Santana, who with just five home runs and 30 RBIs is performing nothing like he did last year (27 homers, 79 RBIs). Cleveland has a respectable lineup, but if Santana can improve he'll make the team's offense much more dynamic.
20Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 19
WAR Winning Percentage: .471; Current Winning Percentage: .529; WAR Wins: 40; Current Wins: 45

The Orioles enter the break in second place in the AL East, but their -36 run differential is the worst in the division. The offense, which was the strong point of the team early in the year, is struggling to generate any runs. Baltimore ranks 26th in both batting average and on-base percentage, which is certainly not a formula for success in the AL East. If the Orioles can make a few trades to bolster their on base skills and their pitching, they can compete for the rest of the year. If they don't, this current roster does not look strong enough to contend for the full year.
21Miami <a href=Marlins" title="Miami Marlins">
Last Week: 28
WAR Winning Percentage: .467; Current Winning Percentage: .482; WAR Wins: 40; Current Wins: 41

Losing Giancarlo Stanton for four to six weeks due to knee surgery was about the worst thing that could happen to the Marlins. The young outfielder was having an All-Star season and he was only one of two position players living up to expectations for the season, along with second baseman Omar Infante. If the Marlins plan to contend, they have to make a big move in the next few weeks without their best player, a tough task to say the least.
22Kansas City <a href=Royals" title="Kansas City Royals">
Last Week: 21
WAR Winning Percentage: .453; Current Winning Percentage: .440; WAR Wins: 38; Current Wins: 36

Kansas City is falling out of it, but things still look good for their future. Pretty soon, the Royals will have Wil Myers and Billy Butler as right-handed power hitters with Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer from the left-hand side. Moustakas in particular has had an impressive season, with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs at the break.
23Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 25
WAR Winning Percentage: .448; Current Winning Percentage: .500; WAR Wins: 39; Current Wins: 43

The A's ended the first-half on a high note, winning six of seven and moving to .500 on the year. They are still nine back of first place Texas in the AL West, but the team has impressed behind Josh Reddick's bat and strong pitching performances from Jarrod Parker, Travis Blackley and A.J. Griffin. They do not have the most star filled roster, but the A's have had a nice compliment of control oriented pitching and power from the middle of their lineup.
24Toronto <a href=Blue Jays" title="Toronto Blue Jays">
Last Week: 23
WAR Winning Percentage: .447; Current Winning Percentage: .500; WAR Wins: 38; Current Wins: 43

The Blue Jays are basically just going to try and hit themselves into the playoffs. Toronto is the only team with a .500 record and over 400 runs allowed, and with most of its better starters out due to injury, the team's run prevention will likely continue to be well below average. The offense has been incredible though, scoring more than all but two teams in the American League. Their 127 home runs rank second in baseball, behind only the Yankees.
25Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 24
WAR Winning Percentage: .443; Current Winning Percentage: .388; WAR Wins: 38; Current Wins: 33

Tyler Colvin has essentially made potential Hall of Famer Todd Helton a bench player, as the younger first baseman and outfielder has hit five home runs already in July. For the year, Colvin is hitting .305/.335/.626, a tremendous line even for a player who hits at Coors Field. Considering Colvin hit .150/.204/.306 in 222 plate appearances last year for the Cubs before being dealt to Colorado, he has had one of the bigger bounce back years of the season.
26Seattle <a href=Mariners" title="Seattle Mariners">
Last Week: 27
WAR Winning Percentage: .417; Current Winning Percentage: .414; WAR Wins: 36; Current Wins: 36

It is about time for the Mariners to move some pitching. Seattle has no playoff hopes and can trade Kevin Millwood, Jason Vargas and reliever Brandon League for a few prospects, which makes more sense than simply letting them finish out the year as veterans throwing on a losing ball club. Many of Seattle's younger prospects are struggling, but the Mariners have ample time to be patient and let them work through their issues at the plate.
27Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 26
WAR Winning Percentage: .415; Current Winning Percentage: .388; WAR Wins: 35; Current Wins: 33

Ryan Dempster is really helping out his current team by continuing this scoreless streak. The right-hander has now thrown 27 consecutive innings without allowing a run, and his asking price increases with each zero he puts up. Zack Greinke will be the prize pitcher of the deadline, but a pitching-starved team will certainly be happy if they acquire Dempster, or even his teammate Matt Garza.
28Houston <a href=Astros" title="Houston Astros">
Last Week: 28
WAR Winning Percentage: .404; Current Winning Percentage: .384; WAR Wins: 35; Current Wins: 33

With Carlos Lee now out of Houston, the Astros are considering looking at Brett Wallace in a full-time capacity. The first baseman lacked the power necessary for the position last year, hitting just five home runs in 379 plate appearances, but he has hit much better at Triple A this season and impressed in a short stint while Lee was injured earlier in the year. Wallace has 15 home runs between the minors and majors this year, so giving him an opportunity now does make a lot of sense.
29San Diego <a href=Padres" title="San Diego Padres">
Last Week: 29
WAR Winning Percentage: .400; Current Winning Percentage: .375; WAR Wins: 32; Current Wins: 30

Yasmani Grandal has made an instant impact at the major league level, belting four home runs in his first 10 games. The catcher may not see that type of power for long, however, as all four of the homers came away from pitcher-friendly Petco Park. His teammate Yonder Alonso, whom he also played with at the University of Miami and with the Reds before coming to San Diego in the Mat Latos trade last winter, knows all about those issues. Alonso has hit just three home runs all season, after hitting five in fewer than 100 plate appearances last year with the Reds.
30Minnesota <a href=Twins" title="Minnesota Twins">
Last Week: 30
WAR Winning Percentage: .375; Current Winning Percentage: .424; WAR Wins: 32; Current Wins: 36

The Twins have a 99 wRC+, so offensively they have only been just below average. Where they have been atrocious is in the field and on the mound. The Twins have the second worst fielding rating according to our system and worst in terms of pitching WAR. The team's second best pitcher by WAR, Francisco Liriano, has a 5.08 ERA and 4.13 FIP. Any team who trades for Liriano has to be wary of his inconsistency.

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