For those of you who are unfamiliar with baseball power rankings, they are statistics that are used to determine teams’ standing in the major leagues. For example, the number of wins is multiplied by a team’s strength of schedule. This means that a team with a 40-70 record in a difficult division isn’t as bad as it might seem. However, a team with a 40-70 record in an easy division might not be all that bad, and the same goes for the other teams.
The Houston Astros started the season 11-11, but have reeled off an 11-game winning streak to climb six spots to No. 3 in MLB power rankings. In that span, the Astros held opponents to three runs or less, including four shutouts. On Saturday, Houston fell to the Washington Nationals, but rebounded with an 8-0 victory. Right-hander Justin Verlander went 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA, and the team has won eight of nine games against teams with a.500 record or worse.
The Astros lost two of three to the A’s, but still hold a nine-game lead over the Mariners in the AL West. However, despite a lack of pitching depth, the Astros’ lineup still looks strong. Yordan Alvarez leads Major League Baseball in OPS with a 1.058. While Alvarez is on the disabled list, he has posted a 1.058 OPS. With a healthy Alvarez, the Astros’ offense is likely to remain competitive.
As for the Diamondbacks, they have lost eight of their last 10 games and went 3-24 during June. Baltimore Orioles have a good story to tell in 2021. They have comeback hero Trey Mancini, an All-Star, and a rebuilding Ryan Mountcastle. The Pittsburgh Pirates boast two All-Stars in Adam Frazier and Bryan Reynolds. But will the Astros make the playoffs?
Los Angeles Dodgers
With an impressive 13-4 record and a three-game lead in the National League West, the Los Angeles Dodgers have soared to the top of the MLB power rankings. They have surpassed the New York Yankees, who occupy the top spot, and are now the team to beat. This weekend, the Dodgers host the Pittsburgh Pirates for a three-game series. The Los Angeles Dodgers have four games against the NL-East-leading New York Mets. They also face the Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Angels.
The Dodgers have a good chance to win the NL West and the World Series. They have an incredible roster, led by former NL MVP Cody Bellinger, who is swinging the bat again after surgery on his dislocated right shoulder in November 2020. While the former NL MVP was terrible in 2021 and 2022, he is slowly swinging the bat like the old Cody Bellinger. The Los Angeles Dodgers have some great players, including Cody Bell, Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman, and Fernando Tatado.
The Dodgers have been one of the best teams in baseball since June 28, when they went 30-5. Their last missed the playoffs, and they are about to win their ninth division crown in 10 years. It was only in 2012 that the Dodgers did not win the division, and the team has made the NLCS six times in the past nine seasons. They have won the NL pennant three times. Their only World Series title was in 1988.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees have been the consensus No. 1 team in MLB for the last six weeks, according to a panel of experts. They are the first team in MLB history to reach 60 wins. They have the best record in baseball, have the second best run differential, and have the best record in the American League. In addition, they are 19-9 against teams that are.500 or better, which gives them a ninety-seven percent chance of winning the division.
This week’s MLB power rankings will be released, and the Yankees remain atop the list. The gap between them and the rest of the league continues to widen. As the trade deadline nears, the Yankees are one of the teams that are entering “buy mode.” They are expected to target several positions, including catcher and pitcher. They could also target the Reds’ ace Luis Castillo, which would solidify their starting rotation.
The Dodgers have been a surprise this season, and their play is underappreciated considering the team’s record. The Dodgers have added former MVP Freddie Freeman, who has been a key contributor in their offense. And while they are currently 19 games behind the Yankees in the power rankings, the Dodgers have an offense that has been slightly better than New York this season. Compared to the Yankees, their offense has been slightly better, and they look like a 110-win team.
As the NL East race heats up, the Atlanta Braves continue to chip away at the New York Mets’ lead. With 21 wins in June, the Braves are on pace for the best month in franchise history. While the Mets remain in first place, the Braves have closed the gap to five games, and are on pace for 94 wins this season. In addition, the Braves are looking to continue their recent consistency by winning the NL East.
The Braves are coming together, and their outfield has been showing signs of improvement. While Ronald Acuna Jr. continues to battle injuries, Michael Harris II has emerged as a viable answer for center field. Additionally, Adam Duvall has found his stroke at the plate. He’s now 9-for-27 in his last seven games, including four home runs and nine RBIs. If the outfield starts to come together, the Braves should be in good shape.
The NL West race has major implications for the wild card. If the NL West team finishes second, it will host a do-or-die matchup with the AL. Meanwhile, if the NL East team finishes second, it will miss out on October. The Red Sox and Yankees hold the two wild card spots. The Blue Jays and Mariners remain outsiders, but still have a chance.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays continue their hot streak. Since July 12, Toronto has led in nearly every offensive category. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has 182 wRC+. Teoscar Hernandez has pitched in four home runs. A number of players who were not producing in the first half are contributing offense. While the team is still young, the offense is coming from the right spots. Here’s what makes the team a strong contender.
The team’s recent hot streak explains the spike. The Blue Jays, who were 16 1/2 games back before Charlie Montoyo’s firing, have jumped up a spot in the rankings. Prior to Montoyo’s firing, the Jays had lost 12 of their previous 16 games, and were 15 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East. Since Montoyo left, Toronto has gone 11-3 and made up four games in the division. Ultimately, they’re knocking on the door of the Top 5 in the MLB power rankings.
The Yankees are the better team. They are a little more expensive than the Blue Jays, and have more power than the Giants, but they lack starting pitching. Toronto also has a better rotation and better players at more positions. In the first half of the season, the Yankees are expected to make the playoffs, but they could finish fourth in the division. With a new 12-team playoff format, they could be either third or fourth.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals’ jump in the MLB power rankings can be attributed to several factors. They are on an 8-2 streak and have won seven straight games. The team’s slugging duo of Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt is responsible for their success. The team’s lineup is strong and balanced with several players contributing to the success of the team. The team is likely to finish the season with a.500 record and be one of the top three teams in the league.
The Cardinals’ lineup is full of future Hall of Famers Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Dylan Carlson, and Harrison Bader. Their rotation is stacked with future Hall-of-Famers Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. The Cardinals’ rotation also includes Steven Matz, Adam Wainwright, and Jack Flaherty.
The White Sox, meanwhile, have slid into the middle of the pack after a strong start to the season. They need to improve their second half record to stay in the playoff picture. If they can finish better than fourth place in the American League East, they could contend for a wild card spot in October. The Chicago White Sox, meanwhile, have fallen out of the top two spots in the MLB power rankings.