MLB Power Rankings: The Race for the Playoffs Begins
By Craig Campbell
July 24, 2019
All-Star Weekend has come and gone and the second half of the season is underway. The top teams are basically unchanged but still jockeying with one another for playoff position. Some teams have come out red hot (Cardinals, Giants, Indians) and are making their push for the postseason while other teams have either lost their positioning or are seeing their playoff hopes vanish altogether (Brewers, Rangers, Rays).
This week’s biggest gainer is easily the St. Louis Cardinals, whom have been absolutely on fire since the All-Star Break, jumping seven spots this week and find themselves just outside the Top-10. This week’s biggest slide belongs to the Texas Rangers, sliding down six spots.
Already through the two weeks since the Break and we’ve seen some major moves by teams to position themselves in the Wild Card race. This is about to be a very intense second half of baseball.
THE TOP 5
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (67-36; last week: 1)
2. New York Yankees (65-35; last week: 2)
3. Houston Astros (65-38; last week: 3)
4. Minnesota Twins (61-39; last week: 4)
5. Atlanta Braves (60-42; last week: 5)
The Top 5 remains unchanged this week, with the Top 3 still looking like the biggest World Series contenders. The Twins have slipped up a bit to start the second half, only winning five of 11 games, and are only three games ahead of the surging Cleveland Indians in their division. The Braves still hold a somewhat comfortable lead in the NL East but that could easily slip away with the solid play from both the Nationals and the Phillies over the past two weeks.
6. Cleveland Indians (58-42; last week: 7)
7. Oakland A’s (58-44; last week: 8)
8. Boston Red Sox (56-46; last week: 9)
9. Tampa Bay Rays (57-47; last week: 6)
10. Washington Nationals (53-46; last week: 10)
Every team in this group has been playing very well since the break, minus the Rays. The Indians continue to get ever closer to the previously mentioned Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. Cleveland has gone 8-3 since the break and nearly DOUBLED their run differential in that span (+27 to +48). The Rays have been fading already in the second half, falling 10 games behind the Yankees in the AL East race but are still only two games back on the second spot in the AL Wild Card race. This group will look to be active come the trade deadline next week.
11. Chicago Cubs (54-47; last week: 11)
12. St. Louis Cardinals (53-47; last week: 19)
13. Philadelphia Phillies (53-48; last week: 13)
14. Milwaukee Brewers (53-50; last week 14)
15. Los Angeles Angels (53-49; last week: 17)
The Cardinals continue to make their playoff push, currently sitting in the second Wild Card spot and only a half game behind the Cubs for the NL Central division lead. The Brewers are slowly fading from the playoff picture and have lost their best starting pitcher, Brandon Woodruff, for the next six weeks. They will need to make some moves to their pitching staff if they want to stay competitive. The Angels have been playing well since the break (8-3) and are slowly closing in on the second Wild Card spot in the AL.
16. San Francisco Giants (52-50; last week: 22)
17. Arizona Diamondbacks (51-51; last week: 15)
18. Texas Rangers (51-50; last week: 12)
19. Cincinnati Reds (46-53; last week: 23)
20. New York Mets (46-54; last week: 24)
The Rangers have stumbled out of the second half gate, only 3 out of 11 games since the break and are seeing their Wild Card hopes fade before their eyes. The Giants have been red hot to start the second half, winning 11 out of 13 games and have positioned themselves within two games of the 2nd Wild Card spot in the NL. The Mets have also been playing well since the break, winning 6 of 10, but that ultimately won’t help their playoff chances and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are a big seller come the trade deadline.
21. San Diego Padres (47-53; last week: 16)
22. Colorado Rockies (47-53; last week: 18)
23. Pittsburgh Pirates (46-54; last week: 20)
24. Chicago White Sox (45-53; last week: 21)
25. Seattle Mariners (41-63; last week: 25)
Seattle drops four spots since last Power Rankings and falling fast. The Mariners have gone 14-20 since June 1st, along with trading Edwin Encarnacion to the Yankees. The Giants & White Sox have been playing surprisingly well leading into the break.
26. Kansas City Royals (38-64; last week: 28)
27. Toronto Blue Jays (39-64; last week: 27)
28. Miami Marlins (37-62; last week: 26)
29. Baltimore Orioles (32-68; last week: 30)
30. Detroit Tigers (30-66; last week: 29)
Orioles fans rejoice! There is a NEW worst team in Major League Baseball and it’s the Detroit Tigers! The Tigers have officially taken the mantle after now holding the worst run differential in all of baseball at a whopping -190. The Royals seem to have forgotten they are one of the bottom teams in baseball, having gone 8-3 since the break and attempting to show Kansas City fans some signs of hope leading into next season.
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