By Zach Berman
In the baseball world, we all know how much can happen on July 31 each year. Good teams get stronger and bad teams ship away their best players for future assets. I expect these power rankings to shift a little bit next week, but as of today (July 27), here’s where things stand.
1: New York Yankees
Yes, I know their starting pitching has been absolutely horrific in the last week or so. Masahiro Tanaka giving up 12 ER in three innings last night vs the Red Sox was downright ugly. That being said, the Yankees haven’t lost a series since early June, and their bats have been firing on all cylinders despite losing Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner to IL stints. In particular, Didi Gregiorius, Mike Tauchman, Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres have carried the team as of late, and it seems to be a different hitter doing the job each night. However, Brian Cashman needs to make a move for a good starter for the Yankees to win title #28.
2: Los Angeles Dodgers
In the class of the National League, the Dodgers are so much better than the rest of their competition to the point that it’s somewhat pathetic. You know the typical cast of characters: Bellinger, Ryu, Kershaw, Seager. Everybody is performing as expected, and the infusion of youth through guys like Alex Verdugo, Matt Beaty and Will Smith just makes this juggernaut even better.
3: Houston Astros
Everything is going swimmingly in the Space City. Besides some early-season injuries, the Astros are performing as expected, and breakout star Yordan Alvarez just makes this team even scarier. Look out for the ‘Stros to add at the deadline too.
4: Oakland Athletics
Wow, Oakland has really turned a rough first half of the season around. Starting pitching is still quite a concern, but assuming players like Matt Chapman, Khris Davis and Marcus Semien continue to cement themselves as stars, the A’s should at least compete for a Wild Card berth. Also, Ramon Laureano might be the greatest defensive center fielder I’ve ever seen.
5: Cleveland Indians
Yes, I know. The Tribe still trails Minnesota by two games for the AL Central, but when I look at which team has the tools to compete down the stretch, I give Cleveland the slight advantage due to their pitching staff. Despite dealing with a boatload of injuries, the emergence of pitchers such as Shane Bieber and position players such as Oscar Mercado have catapulted the Indians back into the playoff hunt.
6: Atlanta Braves
The Braves are a frustrating team to say the least. Like the Yankees and Twins, their phenomenal lineup is nearly offset by their dismal pitching staff. While Josh Donaldson has had a nice return to form and Ronald Acuna has emerged as a superstar, the starting pitching has been shaky as of late and the bullpen hasn’t fared much better. Getting swept by Kansas City doesn’t help.
7: Minnesota Twins
Noticing a trend here? Awesome lineup, shaky arms. The Twins have emerged as one of the premier offensive teams in the league, with guys like Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano improving on their already high potential. Veteran presences like Marwin Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz have only helped, however the Twins will need some help at the deadline to compete for a title.
8: Chicago Cubs
What a frustrating team. Javy Baez may very well be the NL MVP, and Rizzo and Bryant are delivering solid campaigns too. However, it’s the PITCHING. AGAIN. Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish have both struggled, and their remaining starters have been inconsistent. Lucky for the Cubbies however, their division is a bloodbath and first place is quite obtainable.
9: Milwaukee Brewers
Same story as before, but with a lot less hitting depth. This is Christian Yelich’s team through and through. Pitching at the deadline would help to say the least.
10: Boston Red Sox
The defending champs are slowly getting back to their old selves, and the emergence of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers as franchise cornerstones helps a ton. However, the bullpen and rotation are points of concern, and this team happens to play in the same division as the Yankees.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org