By: Chandler Ragsdale
The first half of the 2017 season is in the books, and man what a season it has been up unto this point! Aaron Judge is perhaps becoming the face of baseball in the blink of an eye, we have not one, but two 60 win teams already, and we are seeing some surprisingly good teams this year as well. The Cubs actually do appear to be hungover from last year’s World Series run, and find themselves below the .500 mark, while the Brewers have remained consistent all season, to the surprise of many (including myself). So, based off of teams’ first half performances, here are my power rankings for the entire league.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (61-29; 1st in NL West)– This club has been on fire lately! They’ve been on a ridiculous tear, and they are seeing great production from their whole team. I’m not one to usually credit one player to a team’s overall success, but this has been a completely different ball club since Cody Bellinger was called up.
2. Houston Astros (60-29; 1st in AL West)- The Astros are still playing great baseball, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve are continuing to be the anchors of this team, and they have some great help beside them. I give the Dodgers the nod ahead of them for the top spot currently simply because they have been too good as of late. Not because the Astros have played poorly, because they haven’t, just look at their record!
3. Arizona Diamondbacks (53-36; 2nd in NL West)- This club has surprised many so far in 2017, and a lot of their success has been directly correlated with their pitching staff. Zack Greinke is pitching like the player that the Diamondbacks paid him to be originally, and Taijuan Walker is pitching great so far in 2017 too. They also have Robbie Ray coming out of their bullpen, and we already knew that this lineup could hit, having all-stars Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb in the middle of it.
4. Boston Red Sox (50-39; 1st in AL East)- The Red Sox had been playing mediocre baseball all season it seemed until the last 2 weeks or so before the break. Ever since, however, they have been playing a lot better, and now find themselves 3.5 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East. Some encouraging starts by Rick Porcello also give me reason to believe that this team is really about to take off, because if Porcello can get back on track when Eduardo Rodriguez comes back, then this team will be sending out a solid starter every game.
5. Washington Nationals (52-36; 1st in NL East)- The Nationals are still playing consistently good baseball, but they aren’t higher on my list because of who they’ve been playing for most of the time. They are in the weakest division in baseball in my opinion, and as a result, they have a pretty nice record. But if they were in say the NL West or AL East, I don’t think that they would be sitting so nicely. My number one reason for this belief is because of their bullpen. They have to get this fixed, or come October, they’ll be finding themselves back home pretty quick.
6. Colorado Rockies (52-39; 3rd in NL West)- If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m pretty high on the NL West, and why shouldn’t I be? I mean 3, yes 3 out the 5 teams in the division already have 50 wins. The Rockies are a very good team, however, they have to play the Dodgers and Diamondbacks a good bit, and this can bring any team some headaches after awhile. Their young pitching will be tested and may not be as good towards the end of the season, but they can still compete for a wild card spot this season, and this team definitely isn’t going away in years to come.
7. Cleveland Indians (47-40; 1st in AL Central)- The Tribe aren’t looking too bad going into the second half of 2017, and they definitely don’t seem as badly hungover from the World Series as the Cubs are currently. However, you still get the sense that this team is still underachieving, and we keep waiting for them to go on a serious run like the Dodgers or Astros. This bullpen will keep them in close games, so maybe they’ll come around and start doing more as the postseason draws near.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (50-41; 1st in NL Central)- The Brew Crew hold a 5.5 game lead currently heading into the second half, and if that doesn’t surprise you, then you must be from Wisconsin. Eric Thames has cooled off a bit, but consistent play and a lack of production from the rest of the division has the Brewers sitting with a nice lead right now. The question is, however, can they hold it?
9. New York Yankees (45-41; 2nd in AL East)- The Yankees lost their division lead before the break, and will now be chasing the Red Sox it seems for that coveted AL East division title. Aaron Judge has been great for them, no doubt about it. But the main reason that the Yankees have cooled off so much is because their veteran players aren’t producing like they did at the beginning of the season. This was to be expected, but if the Yankees want to compete for the division this season, they’ll need to make some moves for some younger, established talent at the trade deadline to help Aaron Judge.
10. Minnesota Twins (45-43; 2nd in AL Central)- The Twins have cooled off as July has come, but I still think that they can be a contender for the remainder of the season. Miguel Sano seems to be figuring it out more and more, and Byron Buxton, Joe Mauer, and Brian Dozier are all still there to help as well. Some more pitching would be useful for the Twins, preferably a veteran who can help Jose Berrios to learn more and to teach him on how to continue to develop as a big league pitcher.
11. Tampa Bay Rays (47-43; 3rd in AL East)
12. Kansas City Royals (44-43; 3rd in AL Central)
13. Chicago Cubs (43-45; 2nd in NL Central)
14. Los Angeles Angels (45-47; 2nd in AL West)
15. St. Louis Cardinals (43-45; 3rd in NL Central)
16. Atlanta Braves (42-45; 2nd in NL East)
17. Texas Rangers (43-45; 3rd in AL West)
18. Baltimore Orioles (42-46; 4th in AL East)
19. Seattle Mariners (43-47; 4th in AL West)
20. Pittsburgh Pirates (42-47; 4th in NL Central)
21. Toronto Blue Jays (41-47; 5th in AL East)
22. Miami Marlins (41-46; 3rd in NL East)
23. Cincinnati Reds (39-49; 5th in NL Central)
24. San Diego Padres (38-50; 4th in NL West)
25. Oakland Athletics (39-50; 5th in AL West)
26. Detroit Tigers (39-48; 4th in AL Central)
27. Chicago White Sox (38-49; 5th in AL Central)
28. New York Mets (39-47; 4th in NL East)
29. San Fransisco Giants (34-56; 5th in NL West)
30. Philadelphia Phillies (29-58; 5th in NL East)