I’ll keep it brief this week, with comments on the top 10, plus each team’s biggest need at the upcoming July 30 MLB trade deadline. Next week, I’ll have some commentary on the trades made at the deadline.
Here are my MLB power rankings for this week:
1. San Francisco Giants (62-37, No. 1 last week): The National League version of the Red Sox, the Giants’ surprising run comes with one huge difference — the Red Sox have a lot of real players having good-to-great seasons. Giants still look like they’re getting it done with smoke and mirrors. Biggest Need: Upgrade starting rotation, either at top of rotation or at No. 4.
2. Boston Red Sox (61-39, No. 4): They have really gotten into the Yankees’ heads. Biggest Need: It looks like they already have him, as starting pitcher Chris Sale might be back in the Sox rotation in 10-14 days. But I am hearing whispers that Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is high on their shopping list.
3. Houston Astros (61-39, No. 5): Manager Dusty Baker and his boys are doing it without banging on trash cans. Biggest Need: A meaningful starting pitcher.
4. Chicago White Sox (59-40, No. 2): It hasn’t always been pretty, but they have a nine-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. Biggest Need: They already have them on board. Outfielders Eloy Jimenez, who has missed the entire season with a torn pectoral muscle, is expected to be activated July 26 and Luis Robert is due back in the next 2-3 weeks.
5. Tampa Bay Rays (60-40, No. 8): They have more pitchers than Carter’s has liver pills. Biggest Need: They just got him in dealing for designated hitter Nelson Cruz, a veteran who can show these guys how to really win.
6. Milwaukee Brewers (58-42, No. 6): That two-game sweep last week by Kansas City in Milwaukee may be the only off-key moment in a season on steady navigation. Biggest Need: Christian Yelich to become Christian Yelich again. Back in 2019, Yelich had hit 44 home runs with 97 RBIs in 130 games before he fractured his kneecap. He led the NL in batting average (.329), on-base percentage (.429), slugging percentage (.671) and OPS (1.100). Since then, in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, he has played in 124 games and has just 18 home runs and 50 RBIs with a .223 batting average. You get the picture at what those 2019 league-leading numbers look like.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (61-40, No. 3): The Dodgers aren’t in trouble where they can’t pay the rent, but they may be in trouble in repeating as a World Series participant or World Series winner. Biggest Need: I actually see two needs. Acquire Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals to take over for Trevor Bauer, who clearly won’t be back. They also could use Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel, Nationals closer Brad Hand or anyone who can make the late innings less dicey.
8. San Diego Padres (58-44, No. 7): Is it just me or do the Padres just keep trading and standing still? I say that after they picked up Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier, who leads the NL in hits. Biggest Need: Either have Blake Snell show up or trade for yet another starter, say Kyle Gibson of Texas.
9. Seattle Mariners (54-46, No. 11): Back on June 14, the Mariners were No. 21 in these power rankings. Since then, they have been on fire at 22-11, and they just took care of business by winning three of four from Athletics in Seattle. Biggest Need: Adding an Anthony Rizzo or Kris Bryant would make them intimidating. It also wouldn’t hurt if young Jarred Kelenic could start sniffing some hits.
10. Oakland Athletics (56-45, No. 9): Their malaise isn’t just a short-term thing. In fact, going 12-16 during 28 games may be more about that being who you are. Biggest Need: I can’t put my finger on it, but this club used to play with an edge. It’s just not there now. They may have fallen and might just be incapable of getting back up.
11. New York Mets (52-44, No. 13)
12. Toronto Blue Jays (49-46, No. 10)
13. New York Yankees (51-47, No. 14)
14. Cincinnati Reds (51-48, No. 15)
15. Cleveland Indians (49-48, No. 12)
16. Philadelphia Phillies (49-49, No. 16)
17. St. Louis Cardinals (50-50, No. 18)
18. Atlanta Braves (48-50, No. 20)
19. Detroit Tigers (47-54, No. 22)
20. Los Angeles Angels (49-49, No. 17)
21. Washington Nationals (45-53, No. 19)
22. Chicago Cubs (49-51, No. 21)
23. Colorado Rockies (43-56, No. 23)
24. Kansas City Royals (42-55, No. 26)
25. Minnesota Twins (42-58, No. 25)
26. Miami Marlins (43-57, No. 24)
27. Baltimore Orioles (34-64, No. 29)
28. Pittsburgh Pirates (38-61, No. 27)
29. Arizona Diamondbacks (31-70, No. 30)
30. Texas Rangers (35-65, No. 28)