Every second week, CBCSports.ca's Mike Dennis breaks down the balance of power in Major League Baseball.

1. NEW YORK YANKEES[no change]
Record : 52-33
Last 10 : 6-4

Despite losing their top two starters (C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte) the Yankees hit the All-Star break with the best record in baseball. So what if Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is persona non grata around the club! The Bronx Bombers lead the MLB in home runs with seven hitters in double figures for long balls. The dynasty stirs again.
2. TEXAS RANGERS[up from 3]
Record : 52-34
Last 10 : 5-5

The Rangers are trying to survive a Texas-sized dent in their starting rotation (Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis) by maintaining their Major League leading team batting average of .280. Seven All-Stars and signs of another surge by RBI leader Josh Hamilton (75) appear promising.
3. WASHINGTON NATIONALS[up from 4]
Record : 49-34
Last 10 : 6-4

Never mind Stephen Strasburg and his innings limitation, say hello to All-Star Gio Gonzalez, he of the 12-3 record and 2.92 earned-run average. Along with rookie phenom Bryce Harper, the Nationals have enjoyed a breakout season from shortstop Ian Desmond (17 HR, 51 RBI) and steady output from Adam LaRoche (15 HR, 53 RBI).
4. PITTSBURGH PIRATES[up from 12]
Record : 48-37
Last 10 : 8-2

Wow, this is rarefied air for the Pirates. At 11 games over .500 at the break that’s the highest they’ve climbed in 20 years. Forget about last year’s second-half collapse that denied them from halting their long losing streak. They’ve got A.J. Burnett with a 10-2 record and the wonderful Andrew McCutchen, MLB’s leading hitter.
5. LOS ANGELES ANGELS[up from 13]
Record : 48-38
Last 10 : 5-5

Leaders of the Wild Card chase, the Angels overcame their slow start to put pressure on Texas in the AL West. That other phenom, Mike Trout, may pull a Freddie Lynn and win both Rookie of the Year and MVP (1975, for Lynn). Trout tops the league in average and stolen bases.
6. LOS ANGELES DODGERS[down from 2]
Record : 47-40
Last 10 : 4-6

That other Los Angeles team, the Dodgers, have a pretty fine virtual newcomer as well in catcher A.J. Ellis. His first half included a .285 average and he’s third on the club in homers behind Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. The Dodgers have benefitted from Kenley Janssen from Curacao taking over the closer’s role with 15 saves.
7. ATLANTA BRAVES[up from 10]
Record : 46-39
Last 10 : 6-4

Went to the All-Star break with a four-game win streak that kept them just ahead of the Mets, in second place in the NL East. Brian McCann had home runs in all four of those victories, boosting his year’s total to 13. He’s second on the team in RBI, just behind Freddie Freeman.
8. CINCINNATI REDS[down from 6]
Record : 47-38
Last 10 : 6-4

Along with the 11 saves that Aroldis Chapman provided for the Reds, the Cincinnati hurler has allowed about half a hit per the 39 innings he’s tossed thus far. Second baseman Brandon Phillips doesn’t have huge statistical numbers but besides his wizard-like fielding, BP is on pace for 90 to 100 RBI.
9. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS[up from 15]
Record : 46-40
Last 10 : 6-4

Carlos Beltran didn’t show too much pop in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game but the Cardinals loved his 20-homer, 65 RBI opening act in the first half of the season. Jason Motte has been converted a steady 20 of 24 save opportunities, keeping the Cards in play in the NL Central as starters Lance Lynn and Kyle Lohse come back to earth.
10. CHICAGO WHITE SOX[up from 11]
Record : 47-38
Last 10 : 7-3

An outfielder with a strong arm hitting .318 at the break with 49 RBI. Why can’t the Blue Jays get guys like this? Oh, it’s Alex Rios who summoned the form he last showed in 2007 before signing that huge contract with the Jays. Starters Jake Peavy, Chris Sale and Quintana all have ERA’s below 3.00.
11. NEW YORK METS[down from 9]
Record : 46-40
Last 10 : 6-4

Who knew a hard knuckleball could produce such effectiveness for R.A. Dickey? 12 wins in 13 decisions and a pair of one-hitters as he nearly joined teammate Johan Santana as the only Met to ever pitch a no-no. New York fans will revolt if the Mets decide to trade David Wright, hitting .351, for future considerations.
12. BALTIMORE ORIOLES[down from 7]
Record : 45-40
Last 10 : 4-6

I keep saying that the Birds are about to go bust but they’re still hanging around in the AL East. Hard to do that without any regulars hitting .300 and with your top starters being Jason Hammel, a bit of an outcast from the National League, and Taiwanese import Wei-Yin Chen.
13. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS[down from 5]
Record : 46-40
Last 10 : 3-7

A solid fifth in both hitting and pitching in the National League, the Giants are right on the heels of the Dodgers. Melky Cabrera has more hits than anyone in baseball as he leads the offence. On the days Matt Cain isn’t perfect, he’s darn good with a 9-2, 2.62 first-half record.
14. TAMPA BAY RAYS[down from 8]
Record : 45-41
Last 10 : 5-5

Even Joe Maddon’s patience and inventiveness are going to be under pressure if the Rays don’t get healthy soon. Evan Longoria’s been the biggest loss and doesn’t appear to be coming back soon. Starters Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and rookie Alex Cobb are each a game below .500.
15. DETROIT TIGERS[up from 20]
Record : 44-42
Last 10 : 7-3

A positive surge from the team at the mid-point of the rankings as the Tigers finished off the first half with a 7-3 run to remind the White Sox (and Indians) that they’re still around. Austin Jackson, second in the batting race, and Miguel Cabrera, sixth in average, second in RBI, prime the offence.
16. CLEVELAND INDIANS[down from 14]
Record : 44-41
Last 10 : 6-4

Shin-Soo Choo seems to have escaped the funk that derailed his 2011 season and once again looks like the best Korean import in baseball. Chris Perez, who blew his first save of the season, reeled off 24 successful closings until the Rays ended his streak just before the break.
17. BOSTON RED SOX[down from 16]
Record : 43-43
Last 10 : 3-7

2011 AL MVP runner-up Jacoby Ellsbury returns to the Red Sox line-up after separating his shoulder in the home opener and Carl Crawford may be close as well. But Dustin Pedroia is out again with a thumb injury and supposed ace starters Jon Lester and Josh Beckett combined for just nine wins so far.
18. TORONTO BLUE JAYS[down from 17]
Record : 43-43
Last 10 : 5-5

In addition to making diving catches in the All-Star game, going to Los Angeles for the ESPY Awards and to promote his appearance in ESPN The Magazine (The Body issue), Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is helping Alex Anthopoulos run the team as assistant GM. Joey Bats wants more pitching for the team with the rotation in a shambles because of injuries.
19. OAKLAND ATHLETICS[up from 23]
Record : 43-43
Last 10 : 6-4

Talk about Reddick-ulous. Josh Reddick has 20 homers for the A’s at the break after 10 in parts of three seasons with the Red Sox. Reddick came in the trade for Andrew Bailey and Oakland also scored in deals by getting starter Jarrod Parker, 5-4, with a 2.86 ERA and their new closer Ryan Cook who allowed only 13 hits in 38 innings with eight saves.
20. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS[down from 19]
Record : 42-43
Last 10 : 4-6

Former American Leaguers Jason Kubel and Aaron Hill combined for a neat 100 RBI for the Diamondbacks. Heralded starters Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill haven’t hit their stride, but All-Star rep Wade Miley is 9-5 with a 3.04 ERA.
21. MIAMI MARLINS[down from 18]
Record : 41-44
Last 10 : 6-4

A lot of people were looking forward to Marlins’ marvel Giancarlo Stanton in the Home run Derby but knee surgery knocked Stanton out after 19 homers and 50 homers at the break. You won’t see him until August. Ozzie Guillen’s crew isn’t getting fat on home cooking because they’re only .500 in their new Miami digs.

22. MILWAUKEE BREWERS[no change]
Record : 40-45
Last 10 : 6-4

An abbreviated three-inning last start probably didn’t diminish Zack Greinke’s trade status for the Brewers. He had a 9-3 first half. The power combination of Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart is causing significant damage but the gap to contention is too wide for the Brew Crew.

23. KANSAS CITY ROYALS[up from 24]
Record : 37-47
Last 10 : 2-8

Great barbecue, but where’s all that mid-American hospitality for Robbie Cano at the All-Star game? Even Billy Butler’s dad wouldn’t have picked him for the Home Run derby. Butler and Mike Moustakas have carried the Royals’ attack thus far but the team struggles along 10 games beneath the .500 mark.
24. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES [down from 21]
Record : 37-50
Last 10 : 1-9

How’s this for a 1-2 pitching punch? They’ve got a combined 5-10 record and time on the DL for both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. That contributed to 50 losses at the break when the Phillies didn’t lose their 50th game last year until September. Hunter Pence, Carlos Ruiz and possible trade bait Cole Hamels are among the few Phils enjoying success in 2012.

25. MINNESOTA TWINS[no change]
Record : 36-49
Last 10 : 6-4

Veteran pitchers Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano are operating with ERA’s over 5.00 but where else can the Twins turn for starters. The only Diamond in the rough season is Canadian Scott Diamond at 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA. Team ERA, though, is an AL-worst 4.86.

26. SEATTLE MARINERS[down from 25]
Record : 36-51
Last 10 : 4-6

The Mariners, on the other hand, don’t do much hitting. Only Oakland in the AL had a worse average. Kevin Millwood, despite a 3-6 record, pitched well the last two months, but King Felix Hernandez has been treading among the ordinary folk, allowing nearly a hit an inning. Twenty-nine other teams would still take him.
27. CHICAGO CUBS[up from 30]
Record : 33-52
Last 10 : 7-3

Perhaps the Saviour has arrived in the Windy City. Since Anthony Rizzo’s second coming to the big leagues (he appeared with San Diego last year before getting traded), the Cubs have a record of 8-4. Chicago’s Northsiders have three veterans they might be inclined to deal: Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Alfonso Soriano.
28. SAN DIEGO PADRES[up from 29]
Record : 34-53
Last 10 : 6-4

Last in the National League in hitting at .234, the Padres’ only All-Star was closer Huston Street, with 13 saves and time spent on the disabled list. At least they have company down in the NL West basement.
29. COLORADO ROCKIES[down from 28]
Record : 33-52
Last 10 : 4-6

Yes, the Rockies are last in NL pitching with no pitcher having more than four wins. Carlos Gonzalez leads the team in homers, RBI, average and steals. Still hasn’t tried pitching yet.
30. HOUSTON ASTROS[down from 26]
Record : 33-53
Last 10 : 1-9

Jed Lowrie has fit in nicely as the starting shortstop, remaining healthy thus far to produce 14 homers and 36 RBI. Brett Myers has taken nicely to the closer’s role with 18 saves, undoubtedly raising his trade value along with veteran lefty starter Wandy Rodriguez.