There was not a lot of movement this week, despite some teams posting some impressive streaks—both up and down. That is the challenge this far into a season: Formulas based on statistical performances don’t change with the teams’ fortunes.
Remember, too, that all formulas these days generally rely on run differential as a key predictor of future performance, and that factors into these rankings prominently.
Note: Current records through Sunday, July 21, are included, as well as the previous ranking from last week.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (67-35, 1): The Dodgers are 25-7 in games decided by at least five runs. They aren’t just winning; they’re generally blowing teams out. Toss in a 19-12 record in one-run games, and L.A. is doing what it takes to win in 2019.
- New York Yankees (64-34, 4): Here is a mystery. Even for a small sample size, it’s weird how the Yanks are just 4-6 combined against the White Sox and the Tigers, two of the worst teams in baseball. Go figure.
- Houston Astros (64-37, 2): Since July 5, the Astros have played only the Angels and the Rangers, putting up a 9-5 record in that span. Houston now gets a break by hosting Oakland for three games at home.
- Chicago Cubs (54-45, 6): The Cubbies are 7-2 since the All-Star break, which is a nice way to start the second half when you’ve been scuffling through the first half of the season.
- Tampa Bay Rays (57-45, 3): The Rays suffered a five-game losing streak last week, which hurts when two of those contests were at home against the White Sox. Maybe the Pale Hose aren’t as bad as we think?
- Minnesota Twins (60-38, 5): One day after blowing a ninth-inning lead at home against the A’s, the Twinkies returned the favor. That’s resiliency, and that’s why we are confident that Minnesota will make the postseason in 2019.
- Oakland Athletics (57-43, 7): The A’s are 1-7 against the Astros this season. Fine, but how do you explain the 0-6 record against the Blue Jays? If Oakland misses the postseason, there’s the reason why. Have we pointed this out before? Probably.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (50-50, 8): With a plus-63 run differential this season, it’s clear the D’backs are underperforming. Baseball-Reference.com gives them a minus-6 luck rating so far this year. And we know how luck works in baseball.
- Atlanta Braves (60-41, 9): This team is pretty balanced, overall, 18 one-run wins and 18 blowout victories, too. The Braves can beat you any which way you like. We are probably underrating them right now, but maths is maths (for the time being).
- Boston Red Sox (54-46, 10): Since that 13-17 start to the season, the Red Sox have posted a 41-29 mark. But that 1-6 record against the Yankees has to sting. Boston doesn’t like losing to New York, in any way that’s out there.
- Cincinnati Reds (44-53, 11): The plus-27 run differential keeps floating Cincy higher than it should be in our rankings, but it’s the way the formula(s) work. The 15-20 record in one-run games is keeping the Reds down in 2019.
- Washington Nationals (52-46, 12): Just think if the Nats were better than 11-14 in one-run games and 11-14 in blowout games. They’d be a pretty good team, if they could just keep all the games decided between 2-4 runs.
- Milwaukee Brewers (53-48, 18): With a 21-22 record since June 1, the Brewers are not inspiring a lot of confidence, currently. The fact they are just two games behind the Cubs in the National League Central is cause for optimism.
- St. Louis Cardinals (51-47, 14): Winners of seven in their last nine games, the Cards are pushing back into that same NL Central conversation, residing just a half game behind Milwaukee. Is this the best division in baseball?
- Cleveland Indians (57-41, 16): Strangely, the Tribe has closed to within three games of the Twinkies in the American League Central. A 29-12 mark since June 1 will help any team catch up in the standings.
- Los Angeles Angels (52-49, 13): The Halos had the same 13-17 start that the Red Sox did, but Boston has more talent on their league-high payroll. In MLB, money talks, and it’s been that way since the late 1990s.
- Philadelphia Phillies (52-48, 19): With a 19-24 record since the start of June, the Phillies are making life more difficult than it should be. However, they’re also minus-17 in run differential this year. That is not a good sign for the next month.
- Colorado Rockies (47-52, 17): With just three wins this month, the Rox are heading south fast. Colorado averaged 14 wins per month from April to June, so either this is an anomaly—or it’s the new norm for the Rockies.
- New York Mets (45-54, 21): The Mets lost three times in San Francisco over the weekend, all three times on walk offs. What are the odds? The other game against the Giants, the final score was New York 11, San Francisco 4.
- Texas Rangers (50-49, 15): The Rangers have a mere four victories in July, after averaging almost 15 wins per month from April to June. Just like Colorado, this this Texas team is a mystery in the making at this point in the 2019 season.
- San Diego Padres (47-52, 22): Since the early 17-13 start to the season, the Padres haven’t posted a winning month. They do have a 20-12 record in one-run games, but San Diego is getting blown out too often, which counteracts those small successes.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (46-52, 20): Playing .500 ball through the first few months of the season was a nice surprise for the team that should be last in the NL Central. It should be time for the Pirates to start selling off spare parts before July 31.
- San Francisco Giants (50-50, 23): Speaking of that idea, the Giants are 14-3 in July now, despite still posting an overall minus-42 run differential. The 22-10 record in one-run games and the 9-2 record in extra-inning games hide a lot of warts.
- Seattle Mariners (40-62, 24): In May and July combined, the Mariners have gone 10-32, which is no way to impress the fan base when you haven’t reached the postseason since 2001. It also won’t make the new sponsors of your stadium happy?
- Toronto Blue Jays (38-63, 25): When you’re only 4-5 in games against the Orioles, you know it’s not a good season. The Blue Jays also are only 4-3 in games against the Tigers, so the .500 record against the two worst teams in baseball is bad news.
- Miami Marlins (36-61, 26): The Marlins are consistent, with just 18 wins both at home and on the road, respectively. But hey, at least Miami is 3-0 against Detroit, so the team is proving it is better than the worst team in the sport.
- Chicago White Sox (44-52, 27): On Friday, the ChiSox broke a seven-game losing streak with a win over the Rays on the road, and then they followed it up with another win on Saturday. Chicago is 11-9 in one-run games this year, too.
- Kansas City Royals (37-64, 28): The Royals are 8-9 in July, which is a significant improvement over the prior months of the season, of course. Can Kansas City keep it up and build some momentum for 2020?
- Baltimore Orioles (31-67, 29): Likewise, the Orioles are 7-8 this month, and the season high for wins in a month is just eight victories. Maybe Baltimore can top that in this “short” month? That would be really impressive.
- Detroit Tigers (30-65, 30): The Tigers have 17 road wins and only 13 home victories. They have a minus-191 run differential this season so far. The Detroit organization needs a serious overhaul … and soon, too. This is embarrassing.
Come back every Monday to check out our MLB power rankings!