Every week, the Pitcher List team publishes an update to our MLB Power Rankings, reviewing the biggest risers and fallers of the past seven days. As always, the full rankings can be found at the bottom of this article … but where’s the fun in that?
Welcome to the All-Star break edition of the MLB Power Rankings. Since there was only a few games played since last week’s rankings, we are taking a different approach and identifying which teams are likely to be on the move in the second half of the season.
Of course, we can’t forget your Power Rankings staples.
Even though it was just a weekend series, the Seattle Mariners took a big leap up, going from No. 18 to 14. The M’s are finally showing some life after treading water in the first half. Remember last year? Seattle rode a huge winning streak into the All-Star break and then battled to earn an American League wild-card berth. The Mariners (45-44) are currently six games behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers and four games from the final wild card.
Heading south are the Minnesota Twins. The AL Central is the most enigmatic division in MLB and could realistically send a below-.500 division champ to the postseason. The Cleveland Guardians are in first place at 45-45, with the Twins a half-game back at 45-46.
Our Power Rankings staff identified a handful of clubs as teams to keep an eye on as we approach the Aug. 1 trade deadline before heading down the stretch.
Rank change: +1 (6 to 5)
This is really a two-parter. First, what will the young Orioles pursue at the trade deadline? Starting pitching would seem to be the bigger need and the O’s have a wealth of upper-level prospects from which they could deal. As the Tampa Bay Rays have slowly fallen back to earth after a white-hot start, the Orioles have crept within two games of the AL East leader. Bolstering the rotation to complement the young core of position players would increase their postseason odds. Second, with the number of young players they have, will the Orioles wilt under the pressure of a battle royale that appears to be building in the AL East? Remember, the Orioles fell out of playoff contention at the end of last season when they were a surprise. This year, there figure to be at least three teams (two wild cards) that come from the East, with the other coming from the West.
Rank change: +2 (11 to 9)
A lot of ink has been spilled about the New York Mets and San Diego Padres being utter disappointments this season, but Canada’s team hasn’t exactly lived up to its preseason hype, either. Many experts had the Blue Jays as a chic pick to win the World Series. While sitting at 50-41, the Jays are seven games out of first in the AL East and tied for the final wild-card spot. Toronto’s pitching has been holding its own, which means the onus is on the hitters. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hasn’t been as dominant as expected, but will his Home Run Derby victory unlock his power after just 13 first-half homers? Outfielder Daulton Varsho has 12 homers, but is hitting just .214, not what the Jays expected when acquiring him from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Rank change: +1 (13 to 12)
The reigning National League champions came to life by posting an 18-8 record in June. Phillies pitching has been solid, but the bats are finally coming to life. That is mainly due to right fielder Nick Castellanos hitting .351 in June and shortstop Trea Turner, the Phillies’ big offseason signing, coming around. Don’t forget that the Phillies were the last team in the NL playoffs a year ago, so they know they don’t have to panic, especially just a half-game out of the postseason picture at the moment. While the Phillies are unlikely to chase down NL East-leading Atlanta (trailing by 12), they are 3½ games behind the second-place Miami Marlins, a much more realistic goal.
Rank change: +1 (14 to 13)
While everyone’s new favorite player, infielder Elly De La Cruz, has certainly been electric, he has also juiced up the Reds to the point that they begin the second half leading the NL Central by a half-game. De La Cruz’s arrival coincided with the Reds going on a hot streak. While that level of play isn’t expected to continue, it certainly sets Cincy up for the future. The division is certainly winnable, but with young pitchers Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo not expected to return from injuries until August, any games missed could be the difference in winning the division or missing a playoff berth altogether. Meanwhile, enjoy what De La Cruz does on the daily.
Rank change: +1 (15 to 14)
Nothing has gone horribly wrong for the Crew, but nothing has been extraordinarily good, either. The Brewers have been able to hold steady near the top of the Central despite injuries to three-fifths of their projected season-opening starting rotation. But Colin Rea, Julio Teheran and Adrian Houser have stepped up to keep the ship afloat. Brandon Woodruff could return by the trade deadline or shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, the Brewers’ power has been in short supply and they can’t hit left-handers. Left fielder Christian Yelich has been more productive than the past few seasons, but he isn’t providing the home run numbers he did in 2018 and 2019. A trade to boost the offense, potentially a first baseman, could be the move, in addition to shoring up the bullpen.
Rank change: +1 (19 to 18)
If not for the Mets, the Padres would be the biggest disappointment in MLB so far this season. Offense has been the biggest issue, with a team slash line of .235/.324/.402 for an OPS of .726, 20th in MLB. Not a good number with three MVP candidates in third baseman Manny Machado, outfielder Juan Soto and outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. to go along with their big offseason signing in shortstop Xander Bogaerts. A once-bountiful farm system has been used for big trades, so it will be up to the bats already on the roster to resurrect their former form in order to climb back into the NL race. The Padres are six games out of a wild-card spot.
Rank change: -3 (16 to 19)
Things were looking fairly positive for the Angels until just before the All-Star break. That is when center fielder Mike Trout went down for six to eight weeks with a broken left hamate bone. In that same July 3 game, two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani left with a blister on his pitching hand, a start after he sustained a cracked fingernail. The All-Star break will likely provide Ohtani enough time to heal the blister and not miss any further starts, but the writing is on the wall. The Angels are seven games out of first place in the AL West and five games from the last wild card. While the prudent move would be to trade Ohtani to land multiple prospects instead of a lone draft pick should he (likely) land elsewhere in free agency, the Angels won’t dash the hopes of their fans and will miss the playoffs in all six years with Trout and Ohtani sharing the field.
Rank change: None (22)
Finally, we come to easily the most disappointing of all 30 teams. Owner Steve Cohen spent a small fortune (he can afford it) after the Mets won 101 games a year ago in hopes of dethroning Atlanta in the NL East. While their rival appears well on its way to a sixth consecutive division title, the Mets are wallowing 18½ games behind, including 10 games back of the surprising Miami Marlins. New York is also seven games out of the last wild-card position. The Mets’ ERA (4.54) is 20th in MLB, while their OPS is 15th at .726. What happens on the field in the next two weeks will dictate what the front office does at the deadline. Dealing impending free agents might be all the Mets will do.
Week 15 (All-Star Break) MLB Power Rankings