I hope everyone had a fantastic Independence Day weekend! Now that America’s birthday is in our rearview mirror, it’s time to focus on baseball once again! July 4th weekend is the unofficial marker of baseball’s halfway point.
Let’s take a look at the first Overtime MLB Power Rankings of the second half.
30. Minnesota Twins (Last Week: 30)
It was another mediocre week for the Twinkies, who still hold the MLB’s worst record by a long shot. The Twins are on pace for a franchise-worst 54-108 record.
29. Atlanta Braves (Last Week: 29)
The Braves sold off another one of their veterans last week in Bud Norris. The fire sale will only continue, and while it will help the Braves of the future, it will only lead to more losses in the present day.
28. Cincinnati Reds (Last Week: 28)
Despite the Reds getting absolutely demolished by the MLB-leading Cubs, the ineptitude of the other cellar-dwellers keeps the Reds in their cozy old number 28 seed. Can the season end soon enough?
27. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Last Week: 25)
A team with Mike Trout in its prime should be much better than the Angels have been. However, injuries to the rotation and an inconsistent bullpen have doomed the Angels. They still beat the Red Sox 21-2 last week though.
26. Tampa Bay Rays (Last Week: 27)
Don’t be fooled by the Rays’ modest jump in the Power Rankings; it has more to do with the Angels sliding than the Rays succeeding. They have gone 3-7 over their last 10 games and are poised to sell at the deadline.
25. Oakland Athletics (Last Week: 24)
The A’s just got swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates and are playing uninspired baseball. If the A’s decide to sell, they could tumble in these rankings.
24. Colorado Rockies (Last Week: 22)
It was not a pretty week for the Rockies, who went 3-7 and lost shortstop Trevor Story to an injury. They have lost 6 straight games and have not pitched, hit, or done anything remotely well recently.
23. Milwaukee Brewers (Last Week: 21)
Things have settled as per usual for the Brew Crew: they have enough young players to tease more but always end up far below .500. Veterans Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy, and Aaron Hill could all be on the block.
22. San Diego Padres (Last Week: 23)
The Padres had an impressive series against the Yankees last weekend, but that may have been more an indication of the Yankees’ poor play rather than a turnaround for the Friars. They are the proud host city of the MLB All-Star Game this coming Tuesday.
21. Arizona Diamondbacks (Last Week: 17)
One week after I proclaimed that the D-Backs could be in line for a sneaky Wild Card berth, they proceeded to go 2-8 and fall 4 spots in the rankings, despite the great play of Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, and Yasmany Tomas.
20. Philadelphia Phillies (Last Week: 26)
The Phillies showed some signs of life this week, going 7-3 and seeing outfielders Odubel Herrera and Peter Bourjos get hot. Still, the collective pitching struggles that the Phils have had will keep them in the league’s bottom third.
19. New York Yankees (Last Week: 16)
The Yankees had a bad week at the worst possible time, going 4-6 while their competition surged. It’s been one step forward and two steps back this year for the Bombers.
18. Chicago White Sox (Last Week: 18)
The ChiSox held their ground, going 7-3 and closing the gap to only 2.0 games out of the Wild Card. Still, their hitting and pitching is likely too inconsistent to warrant a postseason run.
17. Seattle Mariners (Last Week: 19)
The M’s picked up ground after a dry spell, going 7-3 over their last 10 games. They will need to win divisional games to maintain a playoff chance though, something they haven’t done recently.
16. Kansas City Royals (Last Week: 12)
The fact that the Royals lost 2 of 3 to the Phillies over the holiday weekend tells you all you need to know about the Royals. They’ve got the talent and the pedigree, but they are too unsteady for their own good.
15. Miami Marlins (Last Week: 14)
This year’s surprise team, the Fish lost control of their Wild Card spot this week and only went 4-6. They’ll have to decide if it’s worth mortgaging the future to pursue a playoff berth in the coming weeks.
14. Detroit Tigers (Last Week: 20)
The Tigers have roared back from the 20th seed last week to the upper half this week. They have hit, as per usual, but the pitching has been a pleasant surprise, particularly Michael Fulmer and a surprisingly reliable bullpen.
13. Pittsburgh Pirates (Last Week: 15)
The Pirates had a disappointing June as a whole, but they have started July on the right foot. They’ve won 5 straight and are only 3.5 games out of a playoff spot with a dangerous roster.
12. Houston Astros (Last Week: 13)
The re-emergence of the Astros has been quite a story this year, but it may be too little too late. While the Astros just keep winning games, they’ve also found it tough to actually grab a playoff spot. They’ll need a smart trade deadline.
11. St. Louis Cardinals (Last Week: 11)
The Cards continue to disappoint, but they also have not been bad by any stretch. They sit at 43-39 and 2.0 games out of the Wild Card. That’s not an impossible hole to climb out of, but the Cards need a hot stretch and fast.
10. Boston Red Sox (Last Week: 6)
The sky is falling in Boston! Their firm grip on the Wild Card has all but vanished, and their pesky competition is smelling blood in the Boston Harbor. An embarrassing 21-2 loss to the Angels isn’t helping either.
9. Toronto Blue Jays (Last Week: 9)
The Jays just keep on slowly improving, as they have held a playoff spot for much of the last month or so. The Jays are always prone to an active trade deadline, and some starters could really put them over the top.
8. Los Angeles Dodgers (Last Week: 10)
Despite the news that Clayton Kershaw would miss time with a back injury, the Dodgers continued their success. How they manage without the best pitcher in baseball for a month will define their season.
7. Baltimore Orioles (Last Week: 5)
The Orioles have hit some recent adversity, losing 5 consecutive contests. Once in the playoffs, the O’s have the ultimate home field advantage; they are 31-13 at home, a .704 winning percentage.
6. New York Mets (Last Week: 8)
The Mets showed some signs of life this past week, winning a series against the fearsome Cubs. If Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz can pitch through their bone spurs and Jose Reyes provides a spark, the Mets could be dangerous.
5. Texas Rangers (Last Week: 3)
The Rangers still hold the best record in the American League, but the insane amount of injuries to their rotation (3 starters on the DL) has tripped them up recently and could put them in the market for some pitching.
4. Washington Nationals (Last Week: 7)
The Nats of old used to always dominate this time of year before folding late, but this year seems different. The Nats are finally living up to their potential and look like a force to be reckoned with.
3. Cleveland Indians (Last Week: 4)
The mighty 14-game winning streak ended for the Indians this week, but they showed that they are to be taken seriously as pennant contenders. The Indians don’t usually buy big at the deadline, but this is their best chance at a pennant in decades.
2. Chicago Cubs (Last Week: 1)
The Cubs are out of the number 1 spot for the first time all year, but this is likely only temporary. It’s only a matter of time before Jake Arrieta finds himself again and the Cubs are back to normal.
1. San Francisco Giants (Last Week: 2)
The Giants have been dominant all year, and part of that has to do with their whopping .636 road winning percentage. We know they can win at AT&T Park, but now they’ve proven that they can win in anyone’s house.