|The LA Dodgers were scorching hot in June|
One month ago, the Houston Astros sat atop my June MLB Power Ranking, my first of the 2017 season.
My personal policy has always been to make sure we get two full months behind us before making such evaluations, other than a preseason list.
Back at the start of June, the Los Angeles Dodgers were third in the Power Ranking. The Dodgers were also the second-ranked team in the National League at that time behind only the Washington Nationals.
Now as July opens, those Dodgers have romped their way to the very top. The month of July began in exactly the way that June had ended for the club, with an impressive performance.
The Dodgers shut out the San Diego Padres on Saturday night by an 8-0 score. Los Angeles won for the third straight time. It also marked the club’s 20th victory in their last 23 games.
That 20-3 stretch has pushed Los Angeles out to a 3.5 game lead in the NL West. The hot three-week stretch also gives them the best overall record in the National League standings with a 55-28 mark.
The Dodgers are fourth in baseball with 436 runs scored. A combined .790 team OPS is also the fourth-best in the game. Their 344 walks is the highest total of free passes drawn in all of MLB.
On the mound, Dave Roberts‘ pitching staff is the best in all of Major League Baseball statistically. The Dodgers pitchers have a cumulative 3.20 ERA and .224 Batting Average Against. Both of those are the best marks in baseball by a wide margin.
DEEP AND TALENTED PITCHING STAFF
Clayton Kershaw is back to being the best starting pitcher on the planet. The 29-year old lefty has a 12-2 record with a 2.32 ERA, 0.911 WHIP, and 3.23 FIP mark. Kershaw has allowed just 86 hits in 116.1 innings over 17 starts with a 135/20 K:BB ratio.
Incredibly, Kershaw has only been the second-most impressive starter for the Dodgers. 26-year old lefty Alex Wood is 9-0 with a 1.83 ERA, 0.910 WHIP, and 2.11 FIP. Wood has allowed just 47 hits in 73.2 innings with an 87/20 K:BB ratio.
In the bullpen, Kenley Jansen has been the most dominant closer in the game. The big 29-year old righty is 4-0 with 18 Saves. Jansen has a 0.79 ERA and 0.529 WHIP, has allowed 17 hits over 34 innings, and has produced an insane 53/1 K:BB mark. No, that walks total is not a typo.
Their deep, veteran pitching rotation also includes lefties Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu, righy Kenta Maeda, and currently injured righty Brandon McCarthy. LA appears built to weather most any storm.
VERSATILE OFFENSIVE ATTACK
Cody Bellinger is the top National League Rookie of the Year candidate, and has been a revelation for the Dodgers offensive attack. The 21-year old left fielder leads the club with 24 home runs, 39 extra-base hits, and 56 RBI. Bellinger is second on the team with 47 runs scored.
23-year old shortstop Corey Seager, last year’s NL Rookie of the Year, continues to demonstrate that he is one of the top young players in the game today. Seager has a .299/.401/.511 slash line with 13 homers and 40 RBI. His 57 runs scored leads the team.
Enigmatic 26-year old right fielder Yasiel Puig is second on the team with 15 homers, 42 RBI, and nine stolen bases. Puig can both exasperate and exhilarate the Dodgers fans. Fortunately, it appears that he is doing more of the latter this season.
Third baseman Justin Turner continues to be one of the most underrated stars in the game. The 32-year old veteran is hitting for a phenomenal .388./.473/.565 slash. Turner has seven homers, 31 RBI, and 37 runs scored despite missing almost a month on the DL.
HELP DOWN THE STRETCH?
The offense could get even better in the second half of the season. Adrian Gonzalezis on the Disabled List with a herniated disc in his back. Los Angeles is deep enough that they can likely allow the 35-year old veteran first baseman to take his time. Gonzalez’ experienced bat could make all the difference come October.
So the Los Angeles Dodgers having vaulted to the top of the July MLB Power Ranking. Now let’s take a look at where the other 30 clubs in Major League Baseball currently stand as America prepares to celebrate its Independence Day holiday.