We’ve been pretty NBA heavy with the NBA playoffs this past month, but as the summer heats up, it’s time to turn our attention back to baseball! It’s been a month since our last Power Rankings and while some things have remained the same (New York, New York!), others have changed significantly (Mike Trout and the Angels). Let’s take a look at our revised rankings and what the outlook is looking like as we head into what will be a very competitive trade season.
1. New York Yankees (50-17) – Previous Ranking: 2 - The first team to 50 wins has been by far the best team in baseball. Aaron Judge is an early favorite for MVP, the bullpen hasn’t missed a beat without Aroldis Chapman and they have won at home and on the road. Will the string of good health continue? Good news for Yankees fans is that they can conceivably go .500 the rest of the way out and still reach 100 wins.
2. New York Mets (45-24) – Previous Ranking: 1 - What can we say about the New York Metropolitans this year? Buck Showalter may turn out to be one of the most significant off-season signings in the Steve Cohen era as he has kept the Mets in first place despite missing Max Scherzer for a month and Jacob Degrom for the season. With both aces returning soon, it may spell bad news for the rest of the NL East who have not cut enough into the Mets division lead.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (40-25) – Previous Ranking: 4 - The Dodgers may have the best staff in all of baseball this season. All starters have performed extremely well, and that depth will give them a huge advantage in postseason play when they inevitably get there. Expect the Dodgers to be buyers at the trade deadline as the NL West is extremely competitive.
4. Houston Astros (41-25) – Previous Ranking: 11 - At the time of our last rankings, the Astros were a ½ game out of first place looking up at the Los Angeles Angels. In the words of Michael Scott “Well, well, well…how the turntables…” The Astros may be the most dangerous team on this list to play and have opened up a 10-game division lead. They are currently top 5-ranked in both offense and pitching.
5. San Diego Padres (42-27) – Previous Ranking: 6 – Fernando Tatis Jr. still hasn’t been cleared to swing a bat but as of the time of this column it appears as if Manny Machado has avoided a serious ankle injury which is good news for San Diego. Joe Musgrove is a legitimate ace, and the Padres will look to push the Dodgers in one of the most competitive division races in baseball.
6. Milwaukee Brewers (39-30) – Previous Ranking: 3 – In my division leader trade target column I had mentioned that Lorenzo Cain was underperforming and that the Brewers needed to move on. Fast forward to this past week and Cain was designated for assignment so there is clearly a need for an offensive upgrade. The pitching staff has held up well, but Brandon Woodruff needs to return soon with St. Louis only a game out of 1st place.
7. Minnesota Twins (38-30) – Previous Ranking: 7 – If I’m going to take credit for making an accurate prediction with Cain, then I have to take my lumps for saying that Minnesota should look to target a 1B at the trade deadline. While he may not have the power numbers most 1st basemen have, Luis Arraez has been a stud this year, leading the majors with a .361 batting average and .443 on base percentage.
8. Atlanta Braves (39-29) – Previous Ranking: 18 – What a turnaround for the defending champs. SS Darby Swanson is fulfilling his offensive potential, Matt Olson has been a fine replacement for Freddie Freeman and the Braves have one of the most underrated 1-2 starting pitching combos in the game with Max Fried and Kyle Wright. Can they keep it up? I wouldn’t bet against them.
9. St. Louis Cardinals (38-31) – Previous Ranking: 10 – Paul Goldschmidt has found the fountain of youth this year with a 1.031 OPS, .339 batting average and 58 RBI’s. The Cardinals have a lot of pieces to runaway with a very vulnerable division. Their biggest weakness is depth at the back end of their rotation. If they can make a trade for a very good starting pitcher, I believe they will win the NL Central.
10. San Francisco Giants (37-29) – Previous Ranking: 13 – For the past 2 seasons it seems as if we’ve been waiting for the Giants to start imploding and it just isn’t happening. The bullpen is a little spotty and they can use some more production from the DH spot but with an 81% chance to make the postseason, the Giants don’t look like they’re going anywhere anytime soon.
11. Toronto Blue Jays (38-29) – Previous Ranking: 8 – I’d rank the Blue Jays higher on this list based on talent but there are a couple of housekeeping items they need to get sorted out. They’ve underperformed against the AL East (12-14), Jose Berrios is carrying a 5.11 ERA and former ace Hyun Jin Ryu is out for the season. Will the Blue Jays look to right the ship at the trade deadline?
12. Cleveland Guardians (34-28) – Previous Ranking: 16 – At the time of our Month 1 Power Rankings the Guardians were 12-13 but I had said that “they’ll be better than they were projected to be this season”. Fast forward to today and they are only a game out of 1st place in the AL Central. I don’t think they’ll be buyers at the trade deadline, but they may not need to be with the pitching they have in place.
13. Boston Red Sox (37-31) – Previous Ranking: 23 – A month ago I had said that improvement should be on the horizon and what an improvement it’s been. Since that column the Red Sox have gone 27-14 and are finally playing to their potential. If Trevor Story continues his turnaround, the Red Sox may outpace some of their AL East rivals to get a wild card opportunity.
14. Philadelphia Phillies (36-32) – Previous Ranking: 20 – If you’re Joe Girardi you may want to turn away. Since the former manager was fired after a 22-29 start, the Phillies have gone 14-3. The offense is there, it’s the starting pitching where there are some question marks. Some of the underlying metrics indicate that those starters have had bad luck, so if that luck turns around the NL East may get a whole lot more interesting.
15. Tampa Bay Rays (36-31) – Previous Ranking: 9 – Writing off the Rays typically comes at your own peril; however I just don’t see them being the same type of contender that they’ve been in years past. The offense is not what it once was as evident by their team OPS of .663 which is 27th in MLB. The pitching may cobble some success together but for how long?
16. Chicago White Sox (32-33) – Previous Ranking: 14 – At the time of our last column I had mentioned that the White Sox were some offensive fireworks from turning it around. Fast forward a month later and those fireworks have been more like damp sparklers that just won’t ignite. There are some nice pieces like Tim Anderson, Andrew Vaughn and Jose Abreu but the outfield has underperformed, and Tony LaRussa may be on the hot seat.
17. Los Angeles Angels (33-37) – Previous Ranking: 5 – Yikes. The Angels have gone 15-27 since our last Power Rankings and are now fighting with Texas for second place behind the division leading Astros. Mike Trout has been spectacular per usual, and his supporting cast has been a huge letdown…per usual. The Anthony Rendon contract is looking worse by the day.
18. Texas Rangers (31-35) – Previous Ranking: 21 – The Rangers may not make the playoffs and have to be disappointed with where they are at considering the investments they made on offense (Corey Seager and Marcus Semien). If things don’t turn around quickly, they may sellers at the trade deadline much sooner than anticipated. Closer Joe Barlow has been lights out.
19. Arizona Diamondbacks (32-37) – Previous Ranking: 15 – The Diamondbacks may have a losing record this season, but one could make the argument that they have overachieved consider the baseline of their talent. That said, the pitching is coming back down to earth other than Zac Gallen, and without a potent offense it looks like a ho-hum year for Arizona.
20. Miami Marlins (29-36) – Previous Ranking: 17 – The Marlins have 2 of the best starters in all of baseball with Cy Young candidate Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez. The problem is that beyond that they don’t have much to build around. Former owner Derek Jeter was hoping that the team would look to spend money in free agency and that doesn’t look like it’s happening anytime soon, one of the main reasons he left.
21. Baltimore Orioles (30-38) – Previous Ranking: 24 – The Orioles have some nice pieces on offense including Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle and Anthony Santander. Sadly for Orioles fans, I’d expect some of those pieces to be moved at the trade deadline as the Orioles have shown no interest in building a competitive franchise. Their starting pitching may be one of the worst rotations in the history of Major League Baseball…which is really saying something.
22. Colorado Rockies (30-37) – Previous Ranking: 12 – What’s old is new again in Denver, meaning the Rockies offense is fantastic at home and the pitching is equally abysmal. Let’s put it this way – when Jhoulys Chacin became a full-time starter in 2010, Rockies teammates included Melvin Mora, Jason Giambi and Mets legend Jay Payton. Fast forward to 2022 and Chacin is one of the key members of their bullpen. Not good.
23. Seattle Mariners (29-39) – Previous Ranking: 19 – Last time we mentioned that if Robbie Ray could pitch to the same level he did last year the Mariners could make some noise. Right now he’s sitting with a 6-6 record and a 4.25 ERA. More concerning is the anemic offense, especially in the outfield and at the DH spot. Seattle is young but eventually guys (looking at you Jarred Kelenic) are going to have to step up.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates (27-39) – Previous Ranking: 22 – Yawn. The Pirates are 25th in ERA and 28th in OPS. Brian Reynolds has been okay, but nowhere close to the level that the Pirates expected and the primary starting infielders have a combined 15 home runs. Other than one of the best ballparks in the majors, not much to be excited about in Pittsburgh.
25. Detroit Tigers (26-41) – Previous Ranking: 26 – At the time of our last Power Rankings I mentioned that Detroit’s offense was too talented to perform so poorly. Fast forward a month and not much has changed. The Tigers are next to last in the league in OPS, last in home runs, and last in RBI’s. Going to be a long summer in the motor city.
26. Chicago Cubs (25-42) – Previous Ranking: 27 – The Cubs offense has actually been okay so far this year. Wilson Contreras has been excellent, Ian Happ has been solid and Christopher Morel looks like a future building block. The pitching has been a huge letdown this year however. The Cubbies have attempted to mix and match pieces in the rotation but to no avail. As mentioned previously, look for closer David Robertson to get moved. I’d almost guarantee it.
27. Cincinnati Reds (23-43) – Previous Ranking: 30 – Hey, let’s give some credit where credit is due. The Reds started the season 4-22 and are 19-21 since! Brandon Drury is having a career year, the offense is showing some signs of life and even though the pitching is still a disaster, the Reds should be credited for not throwing in the towel like some of the other teams on our list.
28. Washington Nationals (24-46) – Previous Ranking: 29 - How the mighty have fallen. I thought that the Nationals would at least find a way to be a little more competitive this past month and it’s been more of the same. They have the worst ERA in the majors at 5.28, they have the worst WHIP in the majors at 1.509 and regardless whether they are sellers or not at the deadline, this season is over.
29. Kansas City Royals (24-42) – Previous Ranking: 28 – Brad Keller had looked like an ace in the making to start the season and has quickly fallen back to earth. In his first 31 innings he gave up 6 earned runs. In 44 innings since, he’s given up 30 earned runs. Keep an eye on Andrew Benintendi who looks like a prime candidate to be traded.
30. Oakland A’s (23-45) – Previous Ranking: 25 – Since our last Power Rankings the A’s have gone 13-29 and show no signs of turning things around. They’re last in the league in OPS at a paltry .604, they’re next to last in HR, next to last in RBI’s, and last in on base percentage. After starters Frankie Montas and Paul Blackburn the pitching isn’t much better. How much longer do the A’s last in Oakland?
Thanks for reading! And if you’re an NBA fan don’t worry, we’ll have our draft preview and mock draft for you before Thursday!