MLB Power Rankings: The Yankees are back on top … for now

Are you tired of the Boston Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees yet? If you are, the rest of the MLB season might be a long one.

The Red Sox-Yankees tussle for the top of the AL East continues to the be the most interesting drama in baseball, with the advantage swinging one way or another quite frequently. This week on our MLB Power Rankings, we give the slightest advantage to the Yankees, whose have been clocked HRs and Ws quite frequently lately. The Red Sox had been No. 1 for a few weeks before this. As we sit here, in the middle of June, with a whole summer ahead, we see no reason to think this back-and-forth between Boston and the Bronx is anywhere near settled.

Elsewhere in this week’s rankings, the Mets continue to struggle, the Padres enjoy a bit of timely success, the NL East and NL Central titans remain close and the bottom of the league is getting some new names.

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The Yankees’ power continues to propel them to victory this season — including the top of our power rankings this week. (AP)

1. Yankees (43-19; last week: 2)
It’s like the 2018 MLB version of Coke or Pepsi. Who’s best: Red Sox or Yankees? The Red Sox owned the top spot the past couple weeks, but it’s been close all season and we’ll give the slight edge to the Yankees this week. They recently won nine of their last 11. They remain powered by the long ball with a league-leading 103 homers.

2. Red Sox (46-22; last week: 1)
Can it just be September already? The Red Sox and Yankees seem determined to duke it out for the AL East until the end of the season. The best part: The play each other to close out the regular season. You think that series will have major implications?

3. Astros (43-25; last week: 3)
If the Astros want to re-claim the AL West and distance themselves from the M’s, now is the time to do it. Just two of the team’s remaining 17 games in June are against a team with a winning record.

4. Mariners (43-24; last week: 5)
The Mariners are the fourth-best team in baseball even though Felix Hernandez has been anything but kingly this season. The slack has been picked up by Wade LeBlanc, who is putting up fantastic numbers right now. Whether any of that is sustainable will be tested now. The team will play the Angels, Red Sox, Yankees and then the Red Sox again in their next four series.

5. Cubs (38-26; last week: 7)
Things are going pretty great for the Cubs lately. A recent hot streak has pushed them ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central. Not only that, but Jason Heyward is putting up above-average offensive numbers for the first time since he signed with the club.

6. Brewers (40-27; last week: 4)
The Brewers were in a little bit of a slide, losing five of seven at one point. They’re still pitching extremely well and Lorenzo Cain continues to be one of the most productive players in the league. Recent losses aside, they’re a legit contender. And they became the first NL team to 40 wins Tuesday night. Also legit.

7. Nationals (36-28; last week: 8)
The Nationals’ offense hasn’t been as strong as people expected. The team has combined for a 92 wRC+, which ranks 20th. But there’s reason for optimism. Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy are finally healthy. And you can’t expect Bryce Harper to hit in the .220s all season.

8. Braves (38-28; last week: 6)
For the first time in his career, Nick Markakis might be an All-Star. Even when he was a crucial member of the Orioles, Markakis failed to reach All-Star status. Now in his 13th season, things are looking good. He’s got the highest wRC+ of his career, and Braves fans showed up in a big way in the first balloting update.

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With Shohei Ohtani’s status up in the air, the Angels’ momentum could be in trouble. (AP)

9. Angels (37-31; last week: 10)
The Shohei Ohtani injury puts a damper on what has been an excellent start for the Angels. The team’s rotation was already dealing with injuries, but losing Ohtani leaves them extremely thin. Can Mike Trout carry his 24 teammates to the postseason?

10. Indians (35-30; last week: 12)
The Indians are a good team with a glaring weakness: Their bullpen is terrible. By ERA, Cleveland has the worst bullpen in baseball. If they weren’t in such a weak division, this might be a cause for concern. It’s still an issue that needs to be addressed. They might win the AL Central, but relievers are even more important in the postseason.

11. Cardinals (36-29; last week: 9)
12. D-backs (37-29; last week: 13)
13. Phillies (34-30; last week: 11)
14. Dodgers (34-32; last week: 14)
The Cardinals, D-backs, Phillies and Dodgers find them in a perfectly respectable position these days. They’re sitting just outside the top 10, but within striking range. The D-backs seem stronger than they were a few weeks back after A.J. Pollock’s injury (Thanks, Paul Goldschmidt) and the Cardinals, Phillies and Dodgers are all capable of making a move to the top. It’ll be interesting to see where these teams sit by July 1.

15. A’s (34-33; last week: 15)
16. Giants (33-34; last week: 16)
17. Pirates (32-35; last week: 18)
18. Rockies (32-34; last week: 17)
19. Rays (31-35; last week: 19)
Let’s call them the hangers-on. None of these teams look like huge threats to make a run at a division title, but they’re hanging out in the land of respectability. Hey, it could happen. It’s just not looking particularly promising either.

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Happy Father’s Day, Padres. (AP)

20. Padres (32-37; last week: 24)
This might be the only time this year the Padres get some props, so let’s all celebrate their four-spot jump in this week’s Power Rankings. The Padres have been in the lower third of the league all season, but their recent success gets them all the way up to No. 20 this year. They owe some thanks to the likes of the Marlins and Reds, whom they’ve been beating up on. But they did take two of three from the Braves, who are a good team. The Padres had won 9 of their last 13 and kept it going Tueday night. So Happy Father’s Day, Padres!

21. Tigers (31-37; last week: 23)
Hey, did you know the Tigers are in second place in the AL Central? It’s true. They wouldn’t be in second place in any other division, but that’s what makes the AL Central, umm, special.

22. Mets (28-35; last week: 20)
Trade the T for an S and you’ve got an ever more true assessment of the Mets, who have been quite the mess lately. They lost eight in a row before snapping that ugly streak against the Yankees on Sunday. They rank 28th in runs scored — which isn’t good.

23. Blue Jays (30-37; last week: 21)
24. Twins (29-34; last week: 22)
25. Rangers (27-42; last week: 25)
26. Reds (24-43; last week: 26)
27. Marlins (25-42; last week: 28)
28. Royals (22-45; last week: 27)
29. White Sox (23-42; last week: 29)
30. Orioles (19-47; last week: 30)
The Orioles remain in the very bottom of our rankings, as the Royals and White Sox continue to out-bad each other. One thing this week, it’s getting a lot easier for the Twins and Blue Jays to get grouped together with the bad teams. Might want to fix that, guys! It’s getting closer to July.

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