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The Sports Daily > The Giants Cove
The Sports Daily July 2017 MLB Power Rankings

Behold The Sports Daily July 2017 MLB Power Rankings, hosted by Joseph Coblitz of the excellent Cleveland Indians blog Burning River Baseball.

Curious about which MLB teams are climbing up the ladder and which teams are in catastrophic freefall? And why?

Now you can simply refer to the crusty, underpaid baseball writers at The Sports Daily who are forced to rank all 30 teams each month.

Contributing are Joseph Coblitz, Gavin Potter and Justin Lada from Burning River Baseball, John Coppinger from Metstradamus, Aaron Hooks from CardsDiaspora and yours truly from The Giants Cove.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers – 53-28 – ↑5

The Dodger juggernaut rolled at home and on the road in June, producing a 10 game win streak and a resurgence by starters Kenta Maeda (3 starts, 1.71 ERA), Alex Wood (4 starts, 1.83), and Brandon McCarthy (5 starts, 3.20). Cody “Breakout” Bellinger’s 13 June home runs also helped. The loss of LH starter Julio Urias to a season-ending shoulder injury will lead LA to think hard about available starters at the trade deadline. – Richard Dyer

2. Houston Astros – 54-27 – ↓1

Three starting pitchers on the DL hasn’t slowed the ‘Stros one bit. Houston is 3rd in the Majors with a 3.86 ERA. Sluggers George Springer (.952 OPS), Jose Altuve (.929 OPS), and Carlos Correa (.898 OPS) lead an offensive tsunami. There’s no doubt Houston will go hard for an innings-eating starter at the trade deadline, and their high-rated farm system will allow them to pick and choose any pitcher available. – Richard Dyer

3. Arizona Diamondbacks – 50-30 – ↑2

The DBacks have the second best pitching staff in baseball, fourth best offense in the NL and an above average defense, yet sit 2.5 games back in the NL West because the Dodgers are better in every one of those facets. The good news, they have such a huge lead in the Wild Card they’re nearly guaranteed a play-off spot and with two aces as good as any in baseball, they could go a long way. – Joseph Coblitz

4. Washington Nationals – 47-33 – ↓2

An 8-9 stretch has made June a pedestrian month for Washington, but their lineup is still one of the scarier lineups in the league. Their worst regular is Matt Wieters, and he’s hitting .252. For reference, the Padres best hitter is Yangervis Solarte, at .268. – John Coppinger

5. Colorado Rockies – 47-34 – ↓1

In the Rockies first stumble of the 2017 season they hit an 8-game losing streak thanks to being swept in consecutive series by the DBacks and Giants. The good news is that RH starter Jon Gray is about to return from the DL to join a Rockies’ rotation with three rookies (German Marquez, Jeff Hoffman, Kyle Freeland). Despite slugger Carlos Gonzalez’s .648 OPS this season, it’s probably finally time to trade him for some relief pitching before Colorado slips too far back in the NL West pack. – Richard Dyer

6. New York Yankees – 43-35 – ↓3

After taking a step back from their red-hot start in May, the Yankees took another step back in June, going just 12-15. They’ve dealt with some injuries recently, but as long as Aaron Judge – the current front runner for AL MVP – keeps mashing, New York will be tough to beat. – Gavin Potter

7. Boston Red Sox – 44-35 – ↑1

With five starters at 10 HR’s and up, and Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts at over 45 runs each, the Red Sox offensive attack is extremely balanced. They’ve ridden that, Chris Sale, and a Yankees slump all the way to first place in the A.L. East. – John Coppinger

8. Cleveland Indians – 42-36 – ↓1

They rattled off another June winning streak although this time it was just six games, but it was an impressive stretch with bulldozer wins over the Dodgers, four vs. the Twins in three days and then they took three of four in Baltimore in impressive fashion. That gave them some cushion in the AL Central which they then blew with by being swept at home by the Twins the next weekend. They finished the month off by taking three of four from the Rangers. Jose Ramirez  posted a 1.066 OPS in June, Edwin Encarnacion a 1.042 and Corey Kluber was 4-0 in six run starts with a 1.26 ERA and 62 strikeouts. – Justin Lada

9. Milwaukee Brewers – 43-39 – ↑2

They remain in first place despite all projection systems seeing the Cubs eventually just taking over at some point. Despite a losing month, they’ve treaded water thanks to Chase Anderson, Jimmy Nelson and Zach Davies in the rotation and Corey Knebel settling in at closer. Eric Thames struggled in June (68 wRC+) as well as Jonathan Villar struggling after coming off the DL. Ryan Braun is healthy again (for now) and Travis Shaw (158 wRC+ in June) has picked up the slack. – Justin Lada

10. Chicago Cubs – 40-40 – 0

The Cubs changed their slogan prior to the 2017 season to #ThatsCub, cheekily turning what used to be a dig into the mantra of a burgeoning juggernaut. But three months into a title defense #ThatsCub appears to be pushing back hard on the new branding. After ripping off 5 straight wins to start June, the Cubs looked like they – finally – were going to shake the World Series hangover. As the month closes, though, they’re still locked in a tight race with the Brewers for 1st place in the NL Central. – Aaron Hooks

11. Tampa Bay Rays – 42-40 – ↑3

It’s been a streaky month for the Rays who have had losing streaks of four games (to start the month), three and two. They’ve had winning streaks of four, three and two (twice). Brad Boxberger is back in the bullpen and they upgraded SS defense by dealing for Adeiny Hechavarria. As a bonus, Jacob Faria is 3-0 in four starts with a 2.10 since being called up. – Justin Lada

12. Minnesota Twins – 40-38 – 0

The Twins lead the Central until June was almost over, but like the Brewers and the Cubs, national projections never believed it was real. Now, they still tenuously hold a Wild Card spot, but chances are that with lack of depth in the rotation and an inconsistent offense, that may not last much longer either. – Joseph Coblitz

13. Texas Rangers – 39-40 – ↑2

The Rangers have been a little unlucky according to their run differential and extremely unlucky in their choice of division. The Astros have pushed their lead in the West to such an extreme level that their only shot is a Wild Card and they should have a chance at that, although it will be a tough road. – Joseph Coblitz

14. Seattle Mariners – 39-41 – ↑12

The biggest gainers in the rankings this month, the Mariners went just 14-12 in June, but it was by far their best month this year. They used this hot streak to stay ahead of Oakland in the division and, if Felix Hernandez can turn a warm month into a hot streak, they have an outside shot at a Wild Card. – Joseph Coblitz

15. Los Angeles Angels – 42-41 – ↑3

A 15-12 month without Mike Trout is pretty impressive for this Angels club. They won three of Matt Shoemaker‘s starts before he hit the DL too and they felt comfortable enough to let Doug Fister opt out of his minor league deal where he promptly signed with the Red Sox and beat them the next day. Eric Young was recalled after Trout’s injury and has posted almost a full win (0.9 fWAR) and has a wOBA .354. Trout could also be back before the All-Star break and the Halo’s are just a game back in the Wild Card race. – Justin Lada

16. Kansas City Royals – 39-39 – ↑11

The Royals may have pushed their way back into third in the Central, but that shouldn’t effect their long term outlook. They need to be sellers at the deadline or will be mortgaging the future of their franchise for the opportunity to be a couple games out of a play-off spot. – Joseph Coblitz

17. Toronto Blue Jays – 37-41 – ↑3

The Jays have an incredible 11 men on the DL right now and sitting in dead last in the East, should be in full sale mode. Boston and New York have truly dominant teams while Baltimore and Tampa have enough talent to be considered contenders. This leaves little room for the Blue Jays, especially considered their rough start to the year. – Joseph Coblitz

18. Atlanta Braves – 37-41 – ↑3

R.A. Dickey has stepped it up in June and has kept the Braves from being completely irrelevant. He’s 3-1 with a 0.99 WHIP and a .205 average against during in the last month. A seven out of eight stretch near the end of the month has kept the Braves near .500 on the fringe of a run. – John Coppinger

19. Baltimore Orioles – 39-40 – ↓10

With their starting pitching in the dumpster and the bullpen lost without closer Zach Britton, the Baltimore Orioles have nose-dived below .500 and are now challenging Toronto for last place in the AL East. Thanks to Cincinnati, the Orioles are only 29th in the Majors with a 5.08 ERA. This is a team increasingly lost in the dust of the Yankees, Boston, and Tampa Bay and with little hope of improving this season and beyond. – Richard Dyer

20. St. Louis Cardinals – 38-41 – ↓7

The Cardinals beat the Phillies 5 times between June 9th and June 22nd. Seeing as the Phillies are the worst team in baseball, this normally wouldn’t be cause for anything but a shoulder shrug, but since these two series happened at a very fortuitous time (insert ‘CARDINALS JUNE’ image), the front office is still convinced the ’17 roster can make a run at the NL Central. Are they right? Probably not. Will the Phillies be responsible for two lost seasons instead of one? Possibly. – Aaron Hooks

21. Pittsburgh Pirates – 37-43 – ↑2

Surprisingly, the Pirates have actually played better since losing Starling Marte to an 80-game PED suspension. Much of that is Andrew McCutchen’s resurgence – he posted a 205 wRC+ in June. Still, the Pirates sit five games below .500, and look like sellers at the trade deadline. – Gavin Potter

22. Oakland Athletics – 35-44 – ↑3

The A’s fired pitching coach Curt Young before their series against the Yankees. They wound up sweeping the Yankees and going 7-4 since. Probably a bigger factor has been the contributions from young players such as Franklin Barreto, The A’s have committed to their young players, costing vets like Stephen Vogt their starting jobs, and in Vogt’s case, his spot on the roster. – John Coppinger

23. Miami Marlins – 35-43 – ↑6

Edinson Volquez has turned it around, leading the Marlins to a somewhat successful month of June. He kicked his month off with a no-hitter, and went 3-1 with a 3.64 ERA. Miami’s problem is control. Their 291 walks are tied for the most in the National League. – John Coppinger

24. New York Mets – 37-42 – ↓2

The Mets’ last chance at a big playoff run came with an eight game stretch against the Nationals and Dodgers. They lost seven out of eight against those teams and were completely outclassed in those seven losses. Jacob deGrom has been their lone bright spot, going at least eight innings in three straight starts. – John Coppinger

25. Detroit Tigers – 35-43 – ↓9

Miguel Cabrera is heating up, and the Tigers’ offense is still tough to deal with, but the pitching has been a disaster. The bullpen currently has the worst ERA in baseball, and the starters are just 18th in ERA out of 30 teams, despite Michael Fulmer’s 2.94 mark. As a result, Detroit is 23-31 in the past two months. – Gavin Potter

26. Cincinnati Reds – 34-45 – ↓9

The Reds still have the best defense in all of baseball, if only they had a pitching staff to go with it. It’s a pretty incredible split when you have a field of elite defenders, but your pitchers are still last in ERA by a third of a run per nine. There’s potential here, but they need to stay on path and focus on 2019. – Joseph Coblitz

27. Chicago White Sox – 34-44 – ↓8

White Sox fans knew they’d be eating their vegetables in 2017 (and probably 2018). Through May it was mostly carrots and cucumbers and edamame – hey, pretty tasty! June, though. June has brought out whatever vegetables they grind up and feed to rabbits, capped off with a wonderful number retirement ceremony for Mark Buehrle… that ended in a 10-2 loss to a last-place team and set a peculiar record in the process. 2019 seems further away by the game.

28. San Diego Padres – 33-46 – ↑2

Give San Diego’s ownership group, front office, and the Padres fanbase credit for being cool, calm and collected during what has become a challenging multi-year rebuild. There’s a lot of value in knowing exactly who you are and where you’re going. In the meantime, there are emerging hitters (OF Hunter Renfroe, 30 XBH), emerging superstars (Wil Myers, 15 HR, .814 OPS), and among the top ten NL players in June OPS: 2B Yangervis Solarte. – Richard Dyer

29. San Francisco Giants – 31-51 – ↓5

Don’t let the fact that the Giants just swept a series for the first time in the 2017 season get you all giddy and hopeful. San Francisco came out of that three-game sweep against the Rockies still in last place in the NL West some 22.5 games out of first place. Then there’s that pesky -97 Run Differential. It will take a lot more than the return of RHP Madison Bumgarner to jumpstart this wreck. The trade deadline? They have little of real value to deal other than C Buster Posey, 1B Brandon Belt, and SS Brandon Crawford. – Richard Dyer

30. Philadelphia Phillies – 26-52 – ↓2

Hey the Phillies won four straight in June! Unfortunately for them, however, they won just one out of their next 13. To make matters worse, their best trade chip, Jeremy Hellickson, has fallen off a cliff after going 4-0 in April. Since then, he’s 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA and hitters are hitting .289 against him. – John Coppinger

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