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We are midway through the MLB season and the playoff picture has gotten a little clearer. These teams have been on streaks and some have run into a skid and it has changed the balance of power tremendously. Also, with the trade deadline coming up, these teams could look to make moves to get an edge and maybe move up in our next ranking.
As of now here is how the league has shaken out prior to the halfway mark of the 2021-22 season:
The Top 5
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (53-34) [↑6]
Was there any questions as to when the Dodgers were going to top a power ranking? They have beaten the Cubs, Giants and Nationals on route to a nine game winning streak. Also they have played through adversity with Trevor Bauer’s off the field issues. They could also add pieces as the trade deadline approaches…could this team get better? Answer is yes.
2. San Francisco Giants (54-32) [-]
The Giants are still the second best team in the league. They have been the most consistent team to this point in the season, led by top performer Buster Posey. No one saw the Giants coming but they are here.
3. Boston Red Sox (54-34) [↓2]
The Red Sox are still one of the best in the league and their numbers prove it. Even though they haven’t been as dominant as they were to begin the season, they still have one of the most potent bullpens in baseball and a good batting rotation. They will need to add to their batters with their first basemen being a weak point.
4. San Diego Padres (51-38) [↑2]
The Padres may be the best third place team in the entire MLB and even though they are third in their division, I can’t think of 26 teams better than them. The bullpen and offense aren’t at their best but are still better than 70% of the league. They are in prime position to make a run at the NL West title here in the second half of the season.
5. Houston Astros (54-33) [↑4]
2020 is looking less and less fluky as this season goes on. The Astros are one of the most potent offensive teams in the MLB and also have a solid bullpen led by Ryan Pressly. They have shown to be one of the best in the AL and the MLB thus far.
6. Milwaukee Brewers (52-36) [↑6]
It’s not too early to say that the Willy Adames trade was a god send for the Brewers, who have scored the most runs in the NL since the acquisition. Mind you they also have a solid bullpen and four former gold glove winners to bolster the defense. If the 11-game win streak didn’t win you over, then maybe a postseason run will.
7. Tampa Bay Rays (51-36) [↑6]
Tampa Bay has shown that their depth is something to fear and that they could get hot and make another run at the AL title. They get amazing production from their everyday players but may need some bullpen help with Tyler Glasnow still nursing the UCL injury. All-in-all they don’t have any glaring weakness and should give the Red Sox some stiff competition for the AL East title.
8. Chicago White Sox (51-35) [↓5]
The White Sox record says top team but context is gold in this sport. They have the best win percentage against losing teams in the AL but are 16-24 against winning teams. They have a great bullpen and defense but can it show up against teams that are worth their salt?
9. Oakland Athletics (49-39) [↓4]
The A’s have been carried by their starting rotation this year and have done well. There is no reason why they won’t make a another trip to the postseason as they have two of the premier arms in the sport with Chris Bassett and Sean Manaea leading the charge.
10. New York Mets (45-38) [-]
The Mets began in the top ten and there they remain as they have led the NL East since April and haven’t looked back. The team does need to produce more runs as they are second to last in runs scored in the entire league. They do have a formidable bullpen led by Jacob deGrom, so it balances out.
11. Cleveland (42-42) [-]
Cleveland has been hit by the injury demons but have stayed relevant in the wild card race. They are good against sub-500 teams but need to up their game against teams with winning records. Outside of that they are a solid team who should make some noise in the postseason if they can keep their ship steady.
12. Chicago Cubs (43-44) [↑7]
The Cubs were solid then hit a slump that came in the wake of the Brewers 11-game win streak. They need to find a remedy to their bullpen, seeing as Kyle Hendricks is their only trusted starter. They could still hit a steak and be right back in the playoff picture but it depends on what moves are made at the trade deadline.
13. Washington Nationals (42-43) [↑11]
Max Scherzer is having one heck of a season but may be dealt during the trade deadline to a contending team. The Nationals have some promise in their batting rotation but the bullpen is dragging the team down. They have clawed back into the NL East race, but for how long?
14. Toronto Blue Jays (44-40) [↑3]
The Blue Jays would miss the wild card if that improbable run for the Mariners continues, as they trail them by a half a game in the standings. The Blue Jays will need to clean up their starting rotation as they allow the third most home runs in the league. I expect them to be big players in the trade market for bullpen help in order to make a run at the postseason.
15. Seattle Mariners (45-42) [↑6]
The Mariners are both a mystery and a relief up to this point in the season. They have won a lot of one-runners this season and though improbable, have sustained some success. If they can keep this up they will be one heck of a surprise team going into the second half of the season.
16. Cincinnati Reds (45-41) [-]
The Reds are still in the hunt for their first division title since 2012 and are more than halfway there as they have found their groove on offense. The bullpen on the other hand is their Achilles heel as they rank 29th in ERA. Manager David Bell will have to hope the trade deadline holds the answer for his team’s pitching issues.
17. New York Yankees (44-41) [↓12]
The Yankees are at the bottom of the AL in runs scored with maybe the most talented batting rotation in baseball. A team that may be a big buyer at the deadline, they will need to find both offense and pitching. Giancarlo Stanton said it best, the Yanks need to “pick this s**t up.”
18. Atlanta Braves (42-44) [↓3]
The Braves have had major issues with consistency up to this point in the season. Their bullpen is struggling and the batting rotation is in turmoil with the off-field problems of Marcell Ozuna. They are not out of the playoff race but they will need something close to a miracle to turn this boat around.
19. St. Louis Cardinals (43-45) [↓14]
Going 10-17 in the month of June doesn’t help your chances of making the postseason. The Cards were the prohibitive preseason favorites to win the division but the Brewers have all but run off with that. With their bullpen struggling, it doesn’t seem like their luck will get any better.
20. Los Angeles Angels (44-42) [↑2]
The Angels are 14-20 in their division this year and are better without their star player than with. They have won 6 of their last 8 games but if they can’t win in the division, it won’t matter.
21. Philadelphia Phillies (41-43) [↓7]
The Phillies bullpen is in the basement and the relief corps can’t convert a save. Even though they have that issue, they have still found a way to stick around .500 and be second in their division behind the New York Mets.
22. Miami Marlins (38-47) [↑1]
The Marlins are a sub-500 team with winning statistics? Yeah you read that right. They have a +21-run differential, which is top five in the National League. They are a young team but making a couple of moves at the deadline could help them make a push to get into the postseason again this year.
23. Colorado Rockies (37-50) [↑5]
The Rockies have been atrocious away from Coors’ Field this year, posting a 6-31 record. They would get a nod of confidence if they were playing the bulk of their next stretch at home but they have all but five games on the road.
24. Minnesota Twins (35-50) [↑3]
Pitching has been the crux of what has sunk what looked to be a promising season for the Twins. Add on injuries and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. They may be able to turn it around but with the trade deadline approaching, they may be major players with the assets they have.
25. Detroit Tigers (40-47) [↑5]
The Tigers have beaten both Cleveland and the Chicago White Sox and look like a team on the rise. Miguel Cabrera has led the charge as he is nearing the 500-home run mark. If this trend continues, the Tigers could be a surprise to sneak into the wildcard picture.
26. Kansas City Royals (36-50) [↓8]
The Royals have been okay this year but have had issues with injuries all season. It’s really impacted the team’s success, going 1-9 in their last ten. With Danny Duffy back in the fold they should be able to find some consistent chemistry and wins as they get healthier.
27. Pittsburgh Pirates (32-54) [↑2]
The Pirates have been in rebuild mode and they have two great cornerstone pieces to jumpstart that. Bryan Reynolds and Adam Frazier have been some of the best hitters in the MLB and could be either franchise players or trade bait. Pittsburgh maybe reluctant to let them go if they can contribute to some key victories.
28. Texas Rangers (34-53) [↓8]
The Rangers are a weird team in the MLB. They have three All-Stars yet can’t win games. They have shown the capability to play and beat the top teams, they just need some consistency.
29. Baltimore Orioles (28-54) [↓3]
The Orioles are being carried by two players and it is showing in their play. AL Rookie of the Month Ryan Mountcastle is the future of the franchise and is showing it, batting .327/.382/.634 splits while driving home nine home runs. They also have Cedric Mullins who will attend his first All-Star Game, but they need to get pieces around them to succeed.
30. Arizona Diamondbacks (25-63) [↓5]
Arizona is bad. They have only won five games since May and don’t look like they even belong on the diamond. They will need to vastly improve to be competitive, which is looking unlikely at this point.