Power Rankings: Griff’s MLB Power Rankings #10
July 7, 2023
NOTE: Please think about joining thew growing list of paid subscription to Griff’s The Pitch premium content as well as the thoughtful weekly commentary on the Blue Jays and all things baseball. This is my new approach to a lifelong passion. Consider coming along for the ride.
A closer look at this week’s Power Rankings, shows the National League pulling away from the AL in inter-league play, now sitting at plus-18. With the clear MLB changing of the guard in terms of 5-team strength among the six divisions, based on inter-division and interleague play, the senior circuit has been led in its recent surge by the Braves, Marlins, Phillies and the Reds.
The six divisions and their overall 5-team standings (i.e. won-lost outside of their division) through July 6 are as follows: 1-AL East +58 … 2-NL East +27 … 3-NL West +3 … 4-NL Central minus-12 … 5-AL West minus-14 … 6-AL Central minus-62.
The credo by which we live in placing the 30 teams within the power rankings, is that baseball remains the most evenly balanced of major North American pro sports from top-to-bottom. Rankings can change quickly. Consider that through Thursday, there were just two MLB teams with win-percentage over .600, four teams at or under the .400 mark and fully 24 teams in the middle range at .401-.600.
What happens at the Aug. 2 trade deadline? Buyers? Sellers? Consider that through July 6, 25 of 30 MLB teams were within eight games of a division lead or wildcard.
Numbers in parentheses are from Edition 9 power rankings.
Griff’s Power Rankings – Edition 10
The team with the most all-stars has taken over at No. 1 following a jackrabbit start by the Rays. The Braves have seven players with 14-plus homers and 40-plus RBIs. Have been in first place all but one day this season. RF Ronald Acuna Jr. has 21 homers, 41 steals and 1.008 OPS.
The Rays have cooled off mightily and are five games under .500 since June 10. Seven Rays pitchers rest on the IL, including ace LH Shane McLanahan and RH Drew Rasmussen. Are hoping for a complete rebound from RH Tyler Glasnow who has made seven starts since his return from the IL.
Arguably the deepest batting order in the AL, have received pleasant surprises from the bats of C Jonah Heim, 3B Josh Jung, LF Travis Jankowski and CF Leody Taveras. The trade for CL Aroldis Chapman could go either way, but fills a need.
The top of the rotation off-season signing of RH Kyle Gibson helped, but he is not a post-season ace. The rotation is the Achilles Heel of this team, but the bullpen makes it a 7-inning game with the lead. C Adley Rutschman will be a Top 5 MVP.
In hindsight, the lefty hitting outfielder from the Snakes that the Jays should have insisted on in return for LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and C Gabriel Moreno was CF Corbin Carroll. The 22-year-old all-star has 18 HRs, 24 steals and a .905 OPS. Sure, Daulton Varsho can catch them in the outfield … but he hasn’t hit much.
With reigning Cy guy RH Sandy Alcantara struggling, the Fish have come up with a 20-year-old homegrown phenom RH Eury Perez, who in 10 starts, has led the surge up through the standings to No. 1 in the wild-card. 2B Luis Arraez still a magician with the wand but showing how difficult hitting .400 is.
Too many key Astros players have been in and out of the lineup with injuries, like 2B Jose Altuve and DH Yordan Alvarez, but 2B Mauricio Dubon has been a pleasant surprise and 1B Jose Abreu is starting to regain his footing. RH Rafael Montero has been a bullpen disappointment.
The Dodgers are loaded with talent, but are under .500 since June 1. The rotation has been fragile, with only LH Clayton Kershaw making more than 12 starts and he is currently on the IL. LH Julio Urias has had a disappointing first half. The offence has not been to blame with 1B Freddy Freeman and UT Mookie Betts leading the way..
Here come the Reds, with rookie IF Elly de la Cruz providing instant energy and charisma. The facts do not indicate Top 10 but their rise to the top has been like a Midwest tornado. Rookie LH Andrew Abbott is a revelation. Edwin’s younger brother, CL Alexis Diaz is an all-star.
Oops, they’ve done it again. Just as the Phillies rebounded from a disappointing start last year, so are they charging through the pack again under MGR Rob Thomson. Ever since 12 games below .500 on June 1, they are going for a piece of the pi, at 22-7.
Court is now in session and these Yankees are guilty of relying too much on MVP RF Aaron Judge, who has played just 49 games after running into an outfield fence. RH Domingo German perfect game doesn’t mean he’s now to be admired.
12-Blue Jays (13)
So many convincing arguments to be made about how the Jays’ second half will be easier and more successful. They have played 32 games against teams at .500 or below and 56 against teams with winning records. That will even out on the side of “easier”. MGR John Schneider has now won 94 of his first 162 games.
The Giants simply go about their business and after a slow start have crept back to within striking distance of the D’backs and Dodgers. RH Logan Webb has rebounded from a slow start, but this team relies on a balanced offence and baseball’s most anonymous all-star, closer, Camilo Doval.
14-Red Sox (14)
Are 12-1 combined vs. the Yankees and Blue Jays but are 33-42 against the rest of baseball. Explain that, please. DH Justin Turner and LF Masataka Yoshida were great signings, while CF Jarren Duran is going to be a star. Total of 14 players on the IL does not help.
The Brew Crew has been first or second in the weak NL Central every day since April 1 and no more than 2 games ahead or behind the leader. LF Christian Yelich represents everything that is a reflection of these current Brewers. He has bounced back from three down seasons to do well, but still nowhere near his MVP numbers.
The curse that haunts the Angels has struck again. Looking very much like a wild-card, the Halos suddenly lost CF Mike Trout, had RH Shohei Ohtani leave a start with a blister and have 14 players on the IL. Oh yeah, 3B Anthony Rendon left Tuesday’s game with a shin contusion but remains active — for now.
Missed by the Twins on the field is the 5-tool presence of Byron Buxton now the main DH and also the bat of the traded 2B Luis Arraez. Runs have been tough to come by at times for these Twins, but the top three in the rotation – RH Joe Ryan, RH Sonny Gray and RH Pablo Lopez – are solid.
The fact that a wild-card team from ’22 now hosting the All-Star Game had just one player, RH Luis Castillo, originally announced for the AL squad tells you how far they have stumbled. M’s have since added two injury replacements, but the point was made. Kingston (ON) RH Matt Brash has 61 Ks in 35.0 IP.
A tremendous group performance from a bullpen, led by CL Emmanuel Clase. The righthander has had four blip games on his radar, 10 ER in 3.2 innings, but his team won 3 of those 4. The Guardians are lurking for OIctober. Mississauga brothers 1B Josh and C Bo Naylor homered in the same game.
The 1-2 most disappointing failures of the ’23 season, the Mets visit the Padres leading into the ASG. Owner Steve Cohen staged a thumbs-up press conference last week that only made one person feel better – Steve Cohen. Hopes for the future shift to slugging 21-year-old C Francisco Alvarez.
The fans of very-southern Cal clearly still believe in this disappointing team, with 20 of the last 21 attendances at Petco Park being over 40,000. One of most disappointing teams that are failing to contend, the Padres fail despite the trio of LF Juan Soto, 3B Manny Machado and SS Xander Bogaerts. That is astounding. Sellers?
Having two rotation starters named to the NL All-Star team should bode better for the Cubs than sitting 3rd in the winnable NL Central. LH Justin Steele and RH Marcus Stroman combine for 18-8 in 35 starts. Maybe the curse of three former Jays in your bullpen may be too much to overcome.
The Bucs version of Elly de la Cruz is SS Oneil Cruz, but the sensational sophomore was injured and has not played since April 9. The Bucs were 20-8 on April 29, but have been 20-39 since then. Ace RH Mitch Keller and CL David Bednar are all-stars.
After climbing to within a game of .500, on May 28, a 2-13 stretch through mid-June, left the Tigers purring like clawless kittens. Former Jays 3rd round pick (2009), CF Jake Marisnick is now playing every day due to injuries. DH Miguel Cabrera in his last hurrah has tied Hall-of-Famer Mel Ott on the all-time career RBI list.
The bronze medallists of disappointing teams, the Cards have just 11 wins in 87 games from starting pitchers. If this is the end for RH Adam Wainwright, then it’s a sad way to go, stuck on the IL after 11 failed starts and a smattering of boos from fans.
Nats have required just six starting pitchers to cover the first 87 games, but those six have combined for a dismal 21-37 record. RH Josiah Gray is an all-star but unfortunately the total offence has struggled with just 70 team homers and 47 steals.
27-White Sox (26)
The South Side Sox have plenty of individual talent, but not a lot of team chemistry, as they emerge from a 3-game sweep by the Jays. The Sox have had just three players participate in more than 71 games – 1B Andrew Vaughn, LF Andrew Benintendi and CF Luis Robert Jr. Someone will have a bargain if the Sox deal SS Tim Anderson.
Rox have 21 players at 30-years-old or more, so they can’t claim this is a rebuild. For those wondering about popular Jays’ OF Randal Grichuk, yes he is still in the Mile High City, bumping up to 4 HR and 20 RBIs, starting 5 of last 6 games in the field.
Only RH Shintaro Fujinami at 5-7, 9.35 ERA has more than two wins. The two highest paid A’s are IF Aledmys Diaz and CL Trevor May. The only two players with OPS over .680 are DH Brent Rooker and 1B Ryan Noda. ‘Nuff said. Viva Las Vegas.
The Royals need to go young on the pitching staff. They’ve used 11 hurlers at 30- years or older with a combined 12-39 record, led by RH Jordan Lyles (32) 1-11 and Zack Greinke (39) 1-9, currently on the IL. Some young hitting prospects did not pan out.