As the glow of the All-Star Game fades into the rearview mirror, it’s time to buckle down for the second half. The next week will be dominated by trade rumors and speculation before the Aug. 2 deadline, and the postseason race will continue to heat up with each passing day. As we refine our focus, there will be a slight tweak to the formatting here at Power Rankings HQ: Starting with this week’s release, we’ll forego writing announcements for each club and instead dive a little deeper into a handful of each iteration. (Don’t worry, we’ll keep the rotation balanced so each team still gets some love.)
The two week break has us feeling very rested and ready for the second half. With that, let’s go.
30. Washington Nationals (Last week: 30)
29. Oakland A’s (LW: 29)
28. Cincinnati Reds (LW: 27)
The red they may own the second-worst record in the National League, but they will be among the focal points of baseball next week given the team’s rather obvious trade chips. Against a backdrop of a market not overflowing with viable options, Brandon Drury may be the most sought after infielder. He has seen time at all four infield spots and owns a career-best 130 wRC+ on the year in 352 plate appearances. Set to hit free agency this November, he’s almost certain to be snapped up soon. The same goes for the All-Star starter louis castlewhich offers one more year of team control before becoming a free agent after the 2023 campaign.
how Tyler Mal fits into future plans is a bit more intriguing. The 27-year-old returned to the mound Sunday for the first time since July 2 after a stint on the injured list with a sprained throwing shoulder. He was mostly efficient, allowing just two hits (both home runs) over six innings with five strikeouts and a fastball that touched 96 mph. Mahle’s slow start to the season (he had a 6.48 ERA through his first seven games) and injured shoulder have made it difficult to gauge his trade value, but if other teams are convinced he’s returned to his usual strong form, he could be a significant addition for a playoff team in need of another starter.
27. Detroit Tigers (LW: 24)
26. Kansas City Royals (LW: 28)
25. Chicago Cubs (LW: 26)
24. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 25)
23. Los Angeles Angels (LW: 21)
On Sunday, the incredible happened: angels won and Shohei Ohtani didn’t do much of anything. Los Angeles jumped out to a 5–0 lead in the top of the first inning against the Braves, with Ohtani striking out twice in both plate appearances that inning. So often, the reigning American League MVP seems to put together heroic performances that end in defeat (invoking legions of O’Doyle “Tungsten Arm” tweets in the process). But Sunday’s 9–1 victory over Atlanta was significant in that it marked the first time since June 27 that the Angels won a game in which Ohtani did not play, snapping a 15-game losing streak in such contests.
That’s about as damning a sentence as you’ll read about the state of the team’s roster. The Angels are the highest-grossing organization, with their two highest-paid players…Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon— are on IL, the latter of which is in the offseason. There simply aren’t nearly enough viable everyday at bat options to field a competitive team. With the deadline approaching, the chances of Los Angeles seriously considering parting ways with their two-way star appear remote. But also the notion that a team with so much star power would find itself in such a hopeless position before the end of July, especially after a promising first month and a half of the season.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 23)
21. Colorado Rockies (LW: 22)
20. Texas Rangers (LW: 18)
19. Miami Marlins (LW: 16)
18. Chicago White Sox (LW: 20)
17. Baltimore Orioles (LW: 17)
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16. Boston Red Sox (LW: 11)
Where to start with the state of red socks? Things were already looking pretty bleak after a 3-10 first half finish. Then 28-5 happened and Boston’s season trajectory went from “trending bad” to “cosmic doomed.” Raimel Tapia’s grand slam inside the park on Friday was a laughable generational blunder that is sure to be one of the lasting images of the 2022 campaign.
So where do the Red Sox go from here? They’re just three games out of the final wild-card spot, but the flaws in Boston’s squad look too much to overcome, especially after Chris Sale’s incredible broken finger that will sideline him indefinitely. Since the calendar turned to July, the Red Sox’s playoff odds have dropped from 80.7% to 25.9%, according to FanGraphs. This stunning turn of events could turn them into sellers in the coming days, an outcome few could have predicted a few weeks ago.
15. Cleveland Guardians (LW: 19)
14. San Francisco Giants (LW: 14)
13. Philadelphia Phillies (LW: 9)
12. Seattle Mariners (LW: 12)
11. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 13)
The battered and wounded Rays dropped two out of three against the low Royals to start the second half, but still maintains a solid position in the second wild card spot. A series of injuries to key figures left Tampa Bay in disarray just before the break, but the team ignored its key absences by winning six of its last seven games to close out the first half. The hot streak came at a cost, however, as the injury problem resurfaced with Harold Ramirez, the team’s hottest hitter for the past month, with a broken right big toe.
Despite the loss, however, Sunday brought a silver lining as Jeffrey Springs returned from Illinois after not playing since July 5. The lefty gave up just one earned run in 4 1/3 innings on 78 pitches (though he worked around eight hits). The next nine games will be a critical stretch for the Rays as they face three teams (the Orioles, Guardians and The blue jays) firmly in the postseason mix.
10. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 15)
9. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 10)
8. Minnesota Twins (LW: 8)
7. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 7)
6. San Diego Padres (LW: 6)
5. New York Mets (LW: 5)
4. Atlanta Braves (LW: 4)
3. Houston Astros (LW: 3)
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 2)
For the first time since abdicating the throne, this is the closest to Dodgers have come to overtake the Yankees for first place. Los Angeles has won 19 of its last 21 games as all the big guns in its lineup appear to be ready. With a soft record coming up this week vs Nationals and The Rocky Mountainsit seems a safe bet that the good times will continue to roll for the Dodgers.
Considering how untouchable they seem right now, it’s pretty scary to imagine a world where John Soto joins the fold. The very reason it seems unlikely that Soto will actually be traded – who could afford what is surely an exorbitant price? – is why it seems inevitable that Soto will end up with the Dodgers. Los Angeles is one of a very, very short list of teams that actually have the prospect capital, aggressive mindset, and deep pockets necessary to pull off a deal for Soto (and then expect to be able to sign the generational talent to a mega-extension ).
Andrew Friedman and Co. have shown a penchant for bold moves at deadlines in the past (traded for Yu Darvish, Manny Machado, Max Scherzer and Trea Turner come to mind). A Soto move this time around will certainly take the cake, and if they can pull it off, don’t expect to see any team listed ahead of the Dodgers in this space for a while.
1. New York Yankees (LW: 1)
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