The past week may have featured fewer actual games thanks to the All-Star break, but that doesn't mean that there hasn't been significant movement in the rankings. The Rays and Dodger made moves towards the top, while the Royals continue to fall off.
Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and I see the rest of the league shaking out as the second half of the season begins:
1. St. Louis Cardinals (57-36; LW: 2) - Hughes: At this rate they will have almost half their lineup receiving N.L. MVP votes at the end of the season.
2. Boston Red Sox (58-39; LW: 1) - Roney: Not to harp, but Ben Cherington just traded for another reliever (Matt Thornton). Not saying it'll be an unmitigated disaster, but the trades for Andrew Bailey, Mark Melancon, and Joel Hanrahan haven't exactly turned out as hoped.
3. Oakland A's (56-39; LW: 4) - Zuckerman: How great was Cespedes in the Home Run Derby? A's will start opening gates earlier so fans can watch Yoenis take BP.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates (56-37; LW: 3) - Hughes: Pittsburgh is one back in their division and four up on on the Reds in the wild card race. They also have the best team ERA in the majors. Not a bad situation at the break.
5. Tampa Bay Rays (55-41; LW: 7) - Roney: The Rays are scorching, and with David Price rolling once more (back-to-back completely games before the All-Star break), they could be a huge factor come September.
6. Texas Rangers (55-41; LW: 5) - Zuckerman: Reportedly one of the frontrunners for Garza. They could certainly use him.
7. Atlanta Braves (54-41; LW: 6) - Roney: Freddie Freeman made the All-Star team just in time to withdraw with an injury, infuriating Dodgers fans and Yasiel Puig lovers everywhere. At least teammate Brian McCann got the replacement call.
8. Detroit Tigers (52-42; LW: 9) - Hughes: The Triple Crown race between Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis could be one of the more fun baseball storylines we've seen in years if they keep it up.
9. Cincinnati Reds (53-42; LW: 8) - Hughes: Cincy lost five of their last eight heading into the All-Star break. They now play the Pirates before a long west coast trip.
10. Baltimore Orioles (53-43; LW: 10) - Roney: Crush Davis probably doesn't have a shot at Bonds' record, but if he maintains his current pace, he could surpass Maris' 61 home runs and become just the third player to reach 60 outside of the Steroid Era.
11. New York Yankees (51-44; LW: 11) - Roney: Word is that the Biogenesis suspensions may not be handed down until next season. That'll help them on the field, but a cloud will hover over A-Rod for the rest of the year.
12. Arizona Diamondbacks (50-45; LW: 12) - Zuckerman: Corbin is their only starter with an ERA under 4.00. Yet they're in first place in NL West?
13. Cleveland Indians (51-44; LW: 13) - Hughes: They won four straight heading into the break and are hanging in the wild card race. Playing 13 of their next 16 games against losing teams shouldn't hurt.
14. Washington Nationals (48-47; LW: 14) - Roney: Bryce Harper put on a show at the Home Run Derby -- can't help but wonder if his performance would have been different had he been hitting off someone with better control. Still, nice to be able to share the moment with his father.
15. Los Angeles Dodgers (47-47; LW: 15) - Zuckerman: Puig-mania didn't make it to the All-Star Game, but it will be out in full force this weekend in D.C.
16. Philadelphia Phillies (48-48; LW: 16) - Roney: They're convinced they should be buyers at the deadline, but I think failing to sell off Michael Young and Chase Utley could come back to haunt them -- their value likely won't ever be higher than it is now.
17. Toronto Blue Jays (45-49; LW: 18) - Roney: Jose Reyes played great in his return just before the break; if they're going to make any noise in the crowded AL East, he'll need to sustain that for the rest of the season.
18. Colorado Rockies (46-50; LW: 19) - Zuckerman: Fowler could be on trading block. That would be a nice pickup for a lot of teams.
19. Los Angeles Angels (44-49; LW: 20) - Zuckerman: Pujols and Hamilton are arguably their 4th and 5th best hitters right now. Bizarre World.
20. Kansas City Royals (43-49; LW: 17) - Hughes: Kansas City's pitching staff has turned into a disaster with a 5.38 team ERA in the month of July.
21. Seattle Mariners (43-52; LW: 21) - Zuckerman: Ibanez, Morales, Saunders all on trading block. Morse, though, probably isn't because he's still injured.
22. San Francisco Giants (43-51; LW: 24) - Zuckerman: Things are getting ugly in San Fran, where the World Series champs are falling apart.
23. New York Mets (41-50; LW: 22) - Roney: Is this team loaded with young stud starters, or what? Not only did Harvey start for the NL, but both starting pitchers in the Futures Game (Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero) belong to the Mets organization.
24. Chicago Cubs (40-49; LW: 23) - Hughes: Where to trade Matt Garza is the biggest thing on Chicago's mind at the moment.
25. San Diego Padres (42-54; LW: 25) - Zuckerman: Went into the break in a complete tailspin, having lost 16 of their last 19.
26. Minnesota Twins (39-53; LW: 26) - Hughes: Former Nats prospect Alex Meyer was shut down a few weeks ago with a shoulder injury, whether he pitches again this year is in question.
27. Milwaukee Brewers (38-56; LW: 27) - Hughes: Tom Gorzelanny has been so good this year for Milwaukee they brought him back to life as a starter. Since he's pitched 12 innings without allowing a run.
28. Chicago White Sox (37-55; LW: 28) - Hughes: Chicago' season has been an absolute mess. Will they trade Chris Sale?
29. Miami Marlins (35-58; LW: 29) - Roney: The only thing you can be certain of when watching a Marlins game: Anyone wearing a Miami jersey who isn't currently playing in their last season (Polanco?) will one day retire elsewhere.
30. Houston Astros (33-61; LW: 30) - Zuckerman: Poor Castro: Houston's lone All-Star, then he doesn't even get to play in the game.