Greetings Place to Be Nation, and welcome to another installment of our MLB Power Rankings!
July was an exciting month, with a clearer picture of the teams saying “This Year!” and those that are stuck with “Wait ‘Til Next Year”.
Of course, with the crazy-busy August 1st non-waiver trade deadline just passed, many contenders hope now for a late-season boost from their talent additions, while the pretenders are looking at next season and beyond.
For a comprehensive look at all of the significant MLB deals that went down over the past month, click here.
Standings and stats current as of Wednesday, August 3.
|1||Chicago Cubs (4)||65-41||The Cubbies went 2-8 from July 1 through the ASB, but have righted the ship with a 13-5 record since. Some deadline ‘pen reinforcements should help, but I don’t know if these guys are The Best Team In Baseball anymore. At least not the capitalized version.|
|2||Texas Rangers (1)||62-45||Crazy thing about this Texas team is that the Rangers have only outscored their opponents by three runs (504-501). Accordingly, they should be a .500 ball club. Instead, they lead their division and just added two bats and some arms in their march to October.|
|3||Cleveland Indians (3)||60-44||A mediocre July (12-12) coupled the Tigers’ recent hot streak is cause for concern, as is Danny Salazar’s trip to the DL. Still, the Andrew Miller deal makes a good team possibly great as the Tribe has a legit shot at its first world title in 68 years.|
|4||San Francisco Giants (2)||61-45||Jake Peavy has made one relief appearance over his career (June 25, 2011 for the Chicago White Sox). He is about to add a few more, moving to the ‘pen after the Giants added Matt Moore at the trade deadline. Peavy is taking it quite well, another reason he is one to root for.|
|5||Baltimore Orioles (6)||60-45||The Birds continue to crush the ball and deliver end-game fireworks with that bullpen, but the real story is that Dylan Bundy (3.05 ERA, 56 K in 59 innings) may finally deliver of all that promise as a 2011 first-round, fourth overall draft choice.|
|6||Detroit Tigers (9)||58-48||Winners of seven in a row, with a slew of home games this month, no team has a better chance to make an August statement than the Tigers. And Miguel Cabrera since the break? Oh, just a slash of .383/.457.750 with 10 extra-base hits and 16 RBIs in 17 games.|
|7||Washington Nationals (5)||63-44||Bryce Harper (12 doubles, a 117 OPS+) really needs some time off to clear his head and/or get healthy. The Nats are gangbusters with him, but just think if he can get right for the stretch run.|
|8||Los Angeles Dodgers (7)||59-47||A nice deadline deal, but now the questions for LA are: What about Clayton? and How do you solve a problem like Yasiel?|
|9||Toronto Blue Jays (12)||60-47||The “quantity over quality” rotation approach will have to do for the Jays this year, as there was no David Price for them to trade for. A return to form from Jose Bautista would go a long way in balancing things out up north.|
|10||Boston Red Sox (15)||58-47||Dave Dombrowski has improved this team without sacrificing the farm system thus far, and the callup of top prospect Andrew Benintendi could give Boston an outfield to rival the next team on our list for years to come.|
|11||Miami Marlins (14)||57-50||With Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna breaking through this year, the Marlins have the game’s most fascinating outfield. Imagine if Giancarlo Stanton were better than .245/.334/.490.|
|12||Houston Astros (8)||56-50||Since a 7-17 April, the Astros have gone 49-33, good for a .597 winning percentage, or a full season record of 97 wins. But, April counts, which is why Houston is 5.5 back of Texas, and in a dogfight with a whole bunch of Wild Card hopefuls.|
|13||St. Louis Cardinals (13)||56-50||Injuries to top position players Matt Carpenter (3.5 bWAR) and Aledmys Diaz (3.2) cloud the club’s overall chances, but the issues faced by the Mets and Pirates have helped a bit. This team is still very much in the Wild Card hunt.|
|14||New York Mets (10)||55-51||Injuries and poor luck have just decimated the 2015 World Series participants this year. Note to possible 2016 World Champs: Invest in duct tape and superglue.|
|15||New York Yankees (18)||53-53||Cashman cashed in (eh, eh, nudge, nudge) on several good vets. Now he just needs to purge the bad ones. Rodriguez, Teixeira, I’m writing in your direction.|
|16||Seattle Mariners (17)||53-52||There is not much of pulse left on the 2016 M’s, but the bright spots include Robbie Canó being amazing again, and the emergence of pitchers Taijuan Walker and James Paxton as legit tentpoles for the next Seattle contender.|
|17||Pittsburgh Pirates (18)||53-51||The Francisco Liriano deal was a white flag on the 2016 season for sure. With a core of Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, and Josh Bell, it would be a real shame if tight-pocketed ownership stalled this team’s chance. But alas, it looks like that’s what’s up in the Steel City.|
|18||Colorado Rockies (20)||53-53||The loss of rookie wunderkind Trevor Story for the rest of the year dent the Rox’s thin contention dreams. At this point, just buckle up and hope to finish at or above .500.|
|19||Chicago White Sox (19)||51-55||The Chris Sale jersey incident is yet another example of a hot-headed idiot getting a slap on the wrist. What an ass.|
|20||Milwaukee Brewers (22)||48-57||Milwaukee did very well at the deadline, and with the promotion of top shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia, it makes one wonder why they did not move incumbent Jonathan Villar (.298/.380/.433 with 24 2Bs and 40 steals). If Arcia plays well, Villar could have a new address sometime this month.|
|21||Kansas City Royals (11)||51-55||When it’s all said and done, will history view the mid-2014 to end-of-2015 Royals as one long, lucky fluke? It’s something to at least consider, although flags fly forever.|
|22||San Diego Padres (23)||46-61||Okay, okay, let’s all admit A.J. Preller has made some spectacular failures to the major league product as GM, but word is the Padres’ international talent is off the charts. It remains to be seen if any of that will translate to big league wins, but it’s a bright spot at least.|
|23||Philadelphia Phillies (25)||49-59||Philly went onto its assets at the deadline, looking to grab some qualifying-offer-related draft picks, or make some winter deals to keep restocking their system for a late-decade run.|
|24||Tampa Bay Rays (26)||42-63||Scanning the OPS+ marks for this team, I wonder if I’ve got the Rays too high. Evan Longoria leads the team at 132, while Curt Casali (60), Desmond Jennings (73), Logan Morrison (86), Steven Souza (87), and Kevin Kiermaier (93) are all just putrid this year. Woof.|
|25||Anaheim Angels (27)||48-58||The deal for erstwhile Twins’ ballast Ricky Nolasco and one-time prospect Alex Meyer is so, so, so weird. The Angels are head-scratching to say the least. I wonder if Mike Trout has a wall calendar where he crosses off the days until his sweet, sweet freedom?|
|26||Oakland A’s (24)||47-59||The A’s got what they could for upcoming free agents Rich Hill and Josh Reddick, with Grant Holmes probably the best arm of the three from LA. But the non-deals of 3B Danny Valencia and all those relief arms who won’t be around for the next great A’s team. Weird. Get the Mystery Machine!|
|27||Cincinnati Reds (28)||43-62||The Jay Bruce trade had to happen, and while the Reds will miss that bat, it really was for the best. Joey Votto, meanwhile, gets more press for his on-field heel schtick than his excellent .293/.425/.500 performance.|
|28||Minnesota Twins (30)||42-64||The dismissal of longtime GM Terry Ryan was long overdue. It remains to be seen if new GM Rob Antony brings a needed change in philosophy to the organization. Can he cure the team’s Brad Radke Syndrome? Can he stop jerking Byron Buxton around? In other news, how about that Max Kepler!|
|29||Atlanta Braves (29)||37-69||The addition of Matt Kemp simply gets rid of train-wreck Hector Olivera. Pretty amazing that a 774 OPS+ with crap defense can “win” a trade, but that tells you how badly the Braves wanted rid of Olivera. (And the Padres too, as it turns out.) Kemp. on the other hand, seems like a decent dude.|
|30||Arizona Diamondbacks (21)||43-64||While not the worst team record-wise, a lot more was expected of Arizona to this point. A brutal July mark of 7-17 puts them here. It gets worse, as the Snakes have been outscored 24-5 in two August games thus far.|
As the “dog days” of August are upon us, it is clear the contenders and pretenders have sorted themselves out. Now we watch for which trades pay off, those that bust, and which teams can stand the heat, and which ones get the f#$# out of the kitchen.