The Boston Red Sox once again top our MLB Power Rankings. How boring, right?
Maybe not. The New York Yankees are slowly starting to make their move. After being stuck in the third spot for weeks, New York crept up to No. 2 this time around. And while the Yankees didn’t add a big name at the deadline, they effectively addressed their biggest weakness.
The Red Sox keep rolling, and the Yankees are still five games back, but we’re not willing to call the American League East just yet.
1. Red Sox (75-34; last week: 1)
The Red Sox are the first team in the majors to 75 wins and still the only team in baseball over that 70-win mark. That should give you an idea of how well things have gone all year. The team only got stronger at the trade deadline, picking up Ian Kinsler and Nate Eovaldi. As long as Chris Sale doesn’t miss much time, they’ll be just fine.
2. Yankees (68-37; last week: 3)
The Yankees may not have acquired a superstar at the deadline, but the team did a lot to improve at their weakest spot. J.A. Happ should slot in as a mid-rotation starter. Lance Lynn could also start, but has experience as an effective reliever. He could play a bigger role in the postseason, where long relievers and tandem starters are becoming more popular these days.
3. Astros (68-41; last week: 2)
A recent losing streak has the Astros out of the No. 2 spot for the first time in a while. There’s no reason to panic just yet. The team is still loaded with talent and shortstop Carlos Correa is making progress in his rehab.
4. Cubs (61-45; last week: 5)
The Cubs did what was necessary and found an upgrade in the rotation over Tyler Chatwood. Cole Hamels isn’t in his prime anymore, but he isn’t walking more batters than he’s struck out. Getting Yu Darvish back at 100 percent would go a long way toward making a Cubs a major postseason threat again.
5. Mariners (63-44; last week: 4)
To no one’s surprise, the Mariners made a flurry of moves in the days leading up to the trade deadline. That’s to be expected from general manager Jerry Dipoto by now. No major names went to Seattle, but the team improved. Now, the focus is squarely on ending their lengthy playoff drought.
6. Brewers (63-47; last week: 9)
It looks like the Brewers are going to ignore infield defense in the second half after they acquired Jonathan Schoop at the deadline. It’s a bold move for a team that has been fairly average since the start of June, and it comes with some major risks.
7. Dodgers (59-49; last week: 6)
The Dodgers continued to go all-in at the deadline, picking up Brian Dozier and John Axford to pair with Manny Machado. It’s a sign that the team wants to put last year’s failure in the World Series behind them. Now that they have the pieces, it’s time to prove they can win it all.
8. A’s (63-46; last week: 7)
Outside of picking up Jeurys Familia, the Athletics mostly stood pat at the deadline. Though the club has holes, the A’s just keep winning. By winning percentage, July has been the team’s best month so far. They sit just one game out of a wild card spot in the AL.
9. D-backs (60-49; last week: 11)
The Diamondbacks did well at the deadline with deals for Eduardo Escobar, Brad Ziegler and Jake Diekman, but it still feels like they got left in the dust by the Dodgers. Arizona’s situation would be helped by better health during the second half. Robbie Ray’s recent return could be like adding a top flight starter.
10. Indians (58-48; last week: 8)
Aside from adding Brad Hand, the Indians didn’t do anything inspiring on the trade front. The division is not in question with everyone else looking to 2019 and beyond, but the Indians are still well behind the AL’s elite and perhaps even the next tier. It doesn’t help that ace Corey Kluber has looked more human than Klubot recently. Perhaps an August trade or two will bring more help to Cleveland.
11. Phillies (59-48; last week: 12)
Losing three of four to the Reds over the weekend showed that the Phillies aren’t yet a sure thing. The talent here is excellent, and it’s deeper now after Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilson Ramos were added at the trade deadline. But it feels like they’ve entered a critical stretch that could determine the direction of their season.
12. Braves (57-47; last week: 10)
The Braves were very aggressive at the deadline, adding Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day, Brad Brach, Jonny Venters and Adam Duvall to the mix in a flurry of deals. They gave up a lot too though, which could hurt the future. In the here and now, the Braves are definitely serious players.
13. Rockies (58-48; last week: 13)
14. Pirates (56-52; last week: 14)
15. Angels (54-54; last week: 17)
16. Cardinals (54-53; last week: 19)
The Rockies should stand out from this pack, but the front office did nothing at the trade deadline that would lead you to believe they believe in the them. The Pirates added Chris Archer and are very much in the NL Wild Card. So too are the Cardinals despite their relative silence. The Angels are still stuck behind Houston, Oakland and Seattle, so they’re destined to remain middle of the pack
17. Giants (55-54; last week: 16)
18. Rays (54-53; last week: 15)
19. Nats (53-53; last week: 18)
What to make of these teams? The Giants stood pat at the trade deadline, leaving them every bit as average as their record indicates. The Rays were sellers, leaving them with no starting pitchers on the active roster and a payroll commitment of only $10 million next season. The Nationals sent mixed messages, selling relievers while general manager Mike Rizzo claiming to still believe his squad is a contender. We don’t get it.
20. Twins (49-57; last week: 21)
21. Blue Jays (48-58; last week: 20)
22. Reds (48-59; last week: 23)
23. Rangers (46-63; last week: 26)
24. Tigers (46-62; last week: 24)
A lot of big names were traded from these squads at the trade deadline, which means there’s little hope for a resurgence here. All should reach 50 wins soon enough, but 60 and especially 70 wins just got a little further away.
25. Mets (44-60; last week: 27)
26. Marlins (46-63; last week: 22)
27. Padres (42-68; last week: 25)
28. White Sox (37-69; last week: 28)
29. Royals (33-73; last week: 29)
30. Orioles (32-75; last week: 30)
It might be lonely at the top, but it’s getting packed at the bottom of MLB. These squads remain on the outside of relevancy looking in. But in the case of the Marlins, White Sox and Orioles, at least the effort to rebuild has begun.
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