By David Weiss
Now that July is over, it is time to go over where each team stands. My ranking is a simple calculation of the team’s record.
1- Red Sox (June rank- 1)
The Bo Sox may have had their best month of the season. As a team, they have led the AL in OBP. Betts could win the MVP award. It is scary how good they are.
2- Yankees (June rank- 2)
July was not a good month for the Yanks. The injuries to Judge and Sanchez are not going to make things easier. While they are almost guaranteed a wild card spot, they would like to beat out Boston, which is becoming gradually harder.
3- Astros (June rank- 3)
Their pitchers looked like mere mortals this month, as they had a team ERA of 3.95 in July. However, Bregman has been a beast all season and is making up for the injury to Correa.
4- Mariners (June rank- 4)
Don’t panic. This team is still really good. They may be 8-13 since July 3rd, but every team has slumps. Their next 30 games will be key. They have nine against some really bad teams that they need to beat and another seven against Oakland. The rest are against some of the best teams in the majors.
5- Athletics (June rank-9)
They could be the Cinderella story of the season. The A’s have just been as hot as can be and are right behind the Mariners for the second wild card spot. Chapman could be a gold glove winner and has been a real breakout player. Now that they got Familia, the bullpen is downright terrifying. Familia, Treinen and Trivino are were games go to end. This should be a great race until the end.
6- Cubs (June rank- 7)
Good teams stay calm and know how to win. That is what the Cubs have done. Chicago has great offense, even though only Baez has an OPS over the .900 mark. They have tremendous relief pitching. The starters need to improve as a group. Now that they have Hamels, they should go far.
7- Brewers (June rank- 5)
Since the end of May, the Brew Crew has been playing .500 ball. As a result, the Cubs have been able to overtake them. Picking up Moustakas made a lot of sense since the offense is pretty much middle of the pack in most categories. This includes; runs scored (16th) batting average (16th) OPS (18th) and homers (Tied 10th). One thing that could turn them around is getting hits with the bases loaded. As a ream they have a .181 batting average when the ducks are on the pond.
8- Phillies (June rank- Tied 10)
Let this sink in for a moment. The Phillies are in first. While their bats are mediocre, they have been getting great pitching. Nola, Arrieta and Elfin are manning what has turned into a shockingly great rotation. Dominguez has been a fantastic rookie closer. It should be a fun race with the Braves all summer.
9- Diamondbacks (June rank- 8)
After the D-Backs had a rough start in July, fans were beginning to worry that this was becoming a trend. Every great month is followed by a disastrous month. Luckily, the team was able to turn it around. Thanks to Goldschmidt, Pollock, Descalso and Peralta Arizona has four seasoned veterans that lead a formidable attack. Additionally, the Buchholz comeback story is really nice.
10- Braves (June rank- 6)
The Padres were the only NL team to have a worse record in July. Atlanta took it to heart. They went out and raided Baltimore’s few decent pitchers. At the deadline they acquired Gausman, O’Day and Brach. With Duvall joining the offense, expect them to improve. In the coming weeks, they face many weak teams.
Tied 11- Indians (June rank- Tied 10)
The Tribe didn’t have a great month, but they never the less picked up ground against their week AL Central rivals. While they have some flaws, they will still run away the division title. The real question is if their bullpen will hold up enough for a deep payoff run. Thanks to Ollie Perez and now Brad Hand, the answer could be yes.
Tied 11- Rockies (June rank-18)
With Harper, Trout and Machado getting so much attention, I feel like people forget that Arenado is superb. However, Colorado won’t go far until their bullpen shapes up. Their bullpen ERA of 5.12 is unacceptable. The Oh trade should help, but others need to step up if they plan on going back to the postseason.
13- Dodgers (June rank- 12)
The blasts keep coming for LA. Currently they have eight players with 12 or more homers as Dodgers. They then went out and got Machado. The rotation has been fantastic all year and they look like they are ready to go for the division once again.
14- Pirates (June rank- Tied 19)
Did anyone else see that? Pittsburgh just had an eleven-game winning streak to get back into contention. In the process they swept the Brew Crew, which was particularly shocking. Not many people think this will last, but hey you never know…
15- Rays (June rank- Tied 17)
I give Tampa a lot of credit. They realized that they are a .500 team and decided to cash in their chips. They made a whopping nine trades in July. Let’s see if these moves pay off in the long run.
16- Cardinals (June rank- 15)
Firing Matheny was a radical move. So far the Red Birds haven’t turned it around. My advice for them is to just trade Fowler after the season and eat his contract if needed. Harrison Bader has earned the right to play nightly.
17- Giants (June rank- Tied 13)
Like the Mets, they built their team around old everyday players. Aside for Hanson and Panik their key hitters are all 30 or older. They rank 23rd in runs scored and 24th in OPS. With Posey, Belt and Longoria tied up for long term deals, they aren’t getting younger any time soon.
18- Angels (June rank-16)
Does anyone else get the feeling that Trout is rotting away in Anaheim. The man is a baseball god on a team that just can’t get its act together. Maybe one day the baseball gods will reward him by either improving the Halos or by having him traded to a contender.
19- Nationals (June rank- 14)
A case can be made that Washington is the biggest bust of the season. The fact that they were considering trading Harper at the deadline shows how low they have fallen. If there is one thing to learn here it is that Dusty Baker shouldn’t have been fired. They may have fallen flat in the NLDS the last couple of years, but at least he got them there.
20- Twins (June rank- 22)
It is ridiculous that a second place team finds themselves this low on the list. After trading away Escobar, Dozier, Pressly and Duke they may very well get even worse.
21- Blue Jays (June rank- Tied 19)
Smoak has truly become a great hitter. The rest of the lineup is just boring. The Happ trade will pay off in the long run if Drury can revert to his old ways. It is never easy to see your team trade away the entire bullpen, but time will tell if it was worth it.
22- Reds (June rank- 25)
For whatever its worth, they are the best last place team. That isn’t meant facetiously. They have a lot of good players. Votto’s power numbers are down but he still leads the NL in OBP (with Winkler right behind him). Suarez is amid a breakout year and Gennett was an all-star. With Peraza at short, they have arguably the best infield in the league. The day they finally dump Hamilton, they will improve tremendously. If they get some good pitching in the offseason, they may shock some people next year.
23- Tigers (June rank- 24)
Castallanos is their only good hitter, and as a team they rank 28th in OBP. They have a mediocre rotation. It’s like they gave up once Cabrera got hurt, which is a real shame.
24- Mets (June rank- 27)
It is sad to look at the standings and see that the Marlins actually have more wins. They traded away their closer and best infielder. To close out the month, the Mets got trashed in Washington. All that is left, is to see which players are going to important parts of next years team will be.
25- Rangers (June rank- 21)
Their starters have an ERA that is 5.26 on the season. Being that Cole Hamels is now a Cub, this will likely go up. Aside for Choo, none of their bats are interesting. Well, you could call Gallo interesting. The Rangers need to change his approach to hitting. He has more homers than singles. He leads the majors in K’s, and is batting well below the Mendoza line. His defensive metrics are below average and right now his style hurts the team.
26- Marlins (June rank- 26)
I think it is time for the Marlins to have a reality check. While we all know that their team is bad, their minor leaguers aren’t turning many heads. When MLB pipeline came out with their new ranks only one guy ranked on the top 100 list. That player ranked 80th. Anderson is very good, but guys like Brinson, Riddle and Rivera haven’t done much yet. Rojas and Castro are both having good seasons but are approaching 30. Get ready for a long rebuild in front of an empty stadium.
27- Padres (June rank- 23)
The nightmare that San Diego called July is finally over. Sadly for them, they are about to play a lot of good teams. The next time they will face a team that currently has a record below .500 will be on the second week of September when they go to Cincy. Don’t be shocked to see 100 loses before it is all over. On the bright side, they will get a high draft pick to add to a stacked minor league system.
28- White Sox (June rank- 28)
They may have the worst defensive infield in the baseball. Any ball hit to Moncada, Anderson or Sanchez is an adventure. Their prospects are the only reason to have faith in this team. If they get some good pitching soon, they will be division winners sooner than people thing.
29- Royals (June rank- 29)
It is hard to imagine that just three years ago they were busy running away with the best record in the AL. With the Moustakas trade, the core of that team is almost all gone. Perez is still solid but Escobar is a shell of himself. To make things worse, they still have another season left of Gordon before KC has a buyout clause.
30- Orioles (June rank- 30)
Now that Machado is gone, the eyes of the baseball world will only be on Baltimore for one reason. Are they bad enough to challenge the 62 Mets? Being that they also traded their bullpen to Atlanta, it is possible.
(David Weiss is a lifelong Mets fan. He has lived in Israel since 2008 and runs the Facebook page Jewish Mets Fans.)