It’s the Fourth of July, Independence Day here in the United States, and the teams of Major League Baseball have reached the halfway point of the regular season schedule.

When I last ran the stats for my MLB Power Ranking back on Memorial Day it was the San Diego Padres on top as the best team in the National League and all of baseball, just ahead of the American League’s top club, the Tampa Bay Rays.

With these latest rankings there is not only a new team on top, but new teams ranking at the top of both the National and American Leagues. A pair of perennial contenders in each league, the NL’s Saint Louis Cardinals and AL’s New York Yankees, have each collapsed from fringe contention to a scramble now trying to save their seasons.

Meanwhile, my hometown Philadelphia Phillies were struggling along, ranked just 23rd overall on Memorial Day weekend. Back then the Fightin’ Phils were a game under the .500 mark, tied for second place in the National League East Division, 2.5 games behind the New York Mets.

Now as they prepare for an Independence Day game on a Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies have slipped a bit in the standings. They currently sit two games below the .500 mark in a tie for third place in the NL East. But at just four games back (six in the loss column) they remain in the hunt, and the Phils have inched up a bit in the rankings thanks largely to other teams slumping.

With just one week until the MLB All-Star Game break, the time is now for the Phillies to make their first legitimate run of the season. I will be releasing my next MLB Power Rankings one month from now during the first week of August.

RANKINGS METHODOLOGY

I am always evaluating the Power Ranking formula to see if it can be improved upon. It is currently made up of the same categories as used in 2019 and 2020: winning percentage (most recent 30 games), runs-per-game, FIP (fielding independent pitching), and defensive runs saved as measured by Fangraphs.

The ‘winning percentage/30 days’ component reflects each team’s ability to actually win ball games during recent weeks. ‘FIP’ reflects a pitching staff’s ability to control the game and limit damage. The ‘runs-per-game‘ component acknowledges that teams play various numbers of games as of the time of each ranking. For example, it wouldn’t be fair to consider a club that had scored 100 runs over 50 games as effective as a club who scored 100 runs over just 45 games. ‘Defensive runs saved‘ is a stat measuring the effectiveness or costliness of each club’s defenders in trying to keep opposition runs off the scoreboard.

Each team’s placement in the four component categories gets them assigned a 1-30 numerical value. Those are added up to determine a final overall rankings points total. The lower the overall points total, the higher you finish in the rankings.

Where there are any ties, those are broken using each team’s winning percentage over the last 30, and then by their current overall winning percentage since, in the end, winning is what it’s all about. If still even, run differential is used to break the tie.

2021 MLB RANKINGS – INDEPENDENCE DAY

(THROUGH GAMES OF July 3)

In parentheses below are each team’s total ranking points

  1. Houston Astros (19)
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (20)
  3. San Francisco Giants (23)
  4. Boston Red Sox (30)
  5. Milwaukee Brewers (31)
  6. Tampa Bay Rays (37)
  7. Chicago White Sox (43)
  8. San Diego Padres (43)
  9. Toronto Blue Jays (46)
  10. Oakland Athletics (52)
  11. Cincinnati Reds (53)
  12. New York Mets (54)
  13. Washington Nationals (56)
  14. Colorado Rockies (56)
  15. Los Angeles Angels (57)
  16. Atlanta Braves (57)
  17. Miami Marlins (57)
  18. Seattle Mariners (59)
  19. Cleveland Indians (63)
  20. Philadelphia Phillies (73)
  21. Chicago Cubs (73)
  22. Saint Louis Cardinals (78)
  23. Minnesota Twins (80)
  24. Texas Rangers (81)
  25. New York Yankees (82)
  26. Detroit Tigers (95)
  27. Kansas City Royals (96)
  28. Pittsburgh Pirates (98)
  29. Baltimore Orioles (104)
  30. Arizona Diamondbacks (105)

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