Yankees nudge ahead of Rangers in Rankings

New York rides homers, Nats and Angels stay strong, first-place Bucs make huge leap

MLB.com | 07/11/12 11:00 AM ET

Yankees club four homers00:02:41
7/7/12: The Yankees hit four homers vs. the Red Sox, going back-to-back in the first and fourth innings

We watched in awe this week as the best players in baseball descended upon Kansas City and showcased their abilities to the world in the 83rd All-Star Game, the State Farm Home Run Derby and the SiriusXM Futures Game.
We saw those from the American and National Leagues suit up together and try to win a game, and in the end, the NL stayed on its recent roll, romping to an 8-0 victory and ensuring home-field advantage for its pennant winner in the World Series.

But the rest of the championship season beckons. And while we all love to star-gaze, this is a team game, and there are 30 teams out there trying to prove they're the best.
Well, which one is the best?

You can tell us what you think by ranking the teams on your own, and you can see the results of your participation in the overall MLB.com Power Rankings, in which the fans' choices are accounted for.
The Yankees are the club with the best record heading out of the break, and they've been winning despite serious question marks in their starting rotation because of injuries to Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia and the loss of their legendary closer, Mariano Rivera. CC is expected to be back next week. It will take longer than that for Pettitte. So where does that leave the Bronx Bombers? Can they continue to homer their way to the top?
Not if the Texas Rangers have anything to say about it, and it's difficult to argue that they still don't belong at the top of the rankings. They've only won five of their past 10 games, but they entered the break on a two-game winning streak to keep their advantage in the AL West over the rapidly improving Angels at four games, and they'll get starter Derek Holland back from the disabled list this weekend.
Then again, those are just two AL teams. There's plenty of strength in the NL, too. Like in the nation's capital, for example, where the Washington Nationals have continued to ride their deep and talented young pitching staff to the best record in the NL.
Or maybe the best team really is the Angels, who have been surging since late April, when they called up 20-year-old outfielder Mike Trout, who hasn't done much besides becoming the league's leading hitter and basestealer. On top of that, he made one of the best catches of the year.
And what about the Pittsburgh Pirates? They have been one of the great stories of the past month, crushing the ball to vault all the way to the top of the NL Central, watching the resurgence of starter A.J. Burnett and enjoying the immense talents of MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen, who is having one of the biggest breakout years in the game.
If it isn't one of those five teams, who could it be? Maybe it's the White Sox, who seem to have pulled off a great trade by landing rejuvenated veteran Kevin Youkilis. Maybe it's the Dodgers, who are still in first place in the NL West. Or maybe it's the Reds, who are not far behind the Pirates.
For the third season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. Three former Major League players -- Larry Dierker, Mitch Williams and Frank Thomas -- are part of the process, as are columnist Peter Gammons and Carlton Thompson, vice president and executive editor of MLB.com. Former general manager and current MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette, along with MLB.com columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Matthew Leach and Jesse Sanchez are also part of the group.