|The World Series champion Astros remain baseball’s top team|
As July 2018 opens, the majority of teams across Major League Baseball have now reached the 81-game mark, which marks the exact halfway point to their regular season.
There are a dozen teams that I feel safe in saying there is no chance at recovering from a poor first half. These 12 ball clubs have no chance at reaching the postseason this year.
Seven of those clubs are found in the American League: Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, and Texas Rangers.
In the National League, the five clubs now out of it are the Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, and San Diego Padres.
The only team currently with a losing record that I am not quite ready to say is totally out of things would be the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies are a game below the .500 mark at 41-42. They are six games off the NL West pace, but just four games in back of the second NL Wildcard berth.
A quick look around at the six MLB Division races finds only one team in a comfortable position. That team would be the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central. Despite losing four of their last five, the Tribe hold an eight-game lead.
The Boston Red Sox currently lead the arch-rival New York Yankees by one game in the American League East standings, but trail the Bronx Bombers by a game in the loss column.
In the AL West Division, the defending World Series champion Houston Astros are on top by just 1.5 games over the Seattle Mariners. However, a look at the statistical breakdown in the offense, defense, and pitching categories reveals that Houston is clearly the top team in baseball.
The Yankees currently hold the first of two American League Wildcard playoff berths, and do so by a comfortable nine-game margin. The Mariners hold a seven-game lead for the second slot over their division rivals, the Oakland Athletics. Every other AL team is at least 10 games off the Wildcard pace.
In the National League, the Atlanta Braves are one of best young teams in the game. They lead the NL East race by three over the Philadelphia Phillies, a team whose win-loss record is far better than their statistical evaluations. The always dangerous Washington Nationals lurk just five games back.
The NL Central has seen the Milwaukee Brewers jump out with a strong first-half, with the Brew Crew taking a 1.5 game lead over the divison’s two-time defending champion Chicago Cubs. The always tough Saint Louis Cardinals are 5.5 games off the pace.
Out in the NL West, it’s the Arizona Diamondbacks who have taken the lead at the halfway mark. The Dbacks are currently 3.5 ahead of a pair of historic arch-rivals, the San Francisco Giants and the five-time defending division champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
The National League Wildcard berths are held by the Cubs and the Phillies. The confusing Fightin’ Phils are up by 1.5 games on both the Dodgers and Giants, two up on the Cardinals and Nationals, as they try to emerge from a half-decade of losing.
So with those six divisional and two wildcard playoff races in mind, let’s take a look now at where the 30 teams in Major League Baseball currently stand when compared to one another as a group.
The following is the MLB Power Ranking as of July 1, with my ‘Power Points’ formula shown in parentheses. The number has little to do with the MLB standings, and is based solely on statistics. The lower the number, the stronger your club:
1. Houston Astros (4)
2. Boston Red Sox (14)
3. Arizona Diamondbacks (20)
4. Atlanta Braves (21)
5. New York Yankees (24)
6. Los Angeles Angels (29)
7. Chicago Cubs (31)
8. Washington Nationals (33)
9. Milwaukee Brewers (35)
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (35)
11. Seattle Mariners (38)
12. Cleveland Indians (40)
12. Colorado Rockies (40)
14. Tampa Bay Rays (45)
15. Oakland Athletics (48)
16. Minnesota Twins (52)
17. Cincinnati Reds (53)
18. Pittsburgh Pirates (58)
19. Toronto Blue Jays (59)
19. Detroit Tigers (59)
19. Texas Rangers (59)
22. San Francisco Giants (61)
23. Philadelphia Phillies (62)
23. Saint Louis Cardinals (62)
25. San Diego Padres (64)
26. Miami Marlins (65)
27. New York Mets (66)
27. Kansas City Royals (66)
29. Baltimore Orioles (71)
30. Chicago White Sox (81)
The next MLB Power Ranking will be released around August 1, right in the middle of the dog days of summer. By then, some of these teams will have made significant moves to improve their chances as the MLB non-waiver trade deadline arrives on July 31.