MLB Power Rankings: Week 15

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Welcome to the NBC Sports EDGE MLB Power Rankings, a weekly feature that will run every Tuesday through the end of the 2022 regular season. These rankings are not fantasy-driven in any way, though I do tend to sprinkle in fantasy-relevant nuggets here and there. Who’s hot, who’s not, who to watch -- that sort of thing. Send any and all complaints to me on Twitter: @drewsilv.

Please believe me when I tell you that I do not hate your team.

1. New York Yankees
Record: 64-28
Last Week: 1

With a relatively mediocre 8-7 record so far in July, it might seem like the Yankees have cooled off somewhat as a team. But many of those eight wins have been of the blowout variety, including a 14-1 thrashing of the arch-rival Red Sox on Saturday and a 13-2 drubbing on Sunday. Their current +199 run differential is the second-highest such mark at the All-Star break in MLB history. The only team to post a higher first-half run differential was the 1939 Yankees, who went on to win the World Series.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 60-30
Last Week: 2

The host team for the All-Star Game and the events surrounding it, the Dodgers closed out the first half on a 15-2 run between June 29 and July 16 to grab a 10-game lead on first place in the NL West. They were just one game up on the Padres as of June 26. Clayton Kershaw was named the starting pitcher for the NL side on Monday, which may have been a case of home-cooking but should provide a cool moment in Los Angeles. It’s his ninth career All-Star appearance and first-ever start.

3. Houston Astros
Record: 59-32
Last Week: 3

They did just lose two of three to the A’s over the weekend, but the Astros are in pretty good shape at the break with a nine-game lead over the hard-charging Mariners for first place in the AL West. Hopefully young slugger Yordan Alvarez is ready to rock around the opening of the second half. He was placed on the injured list on July 10 due to lingering soreness in his right hand. When healthy this year, Alvarez has posted an MLB-best 1.058 OPS with 26 home runs and 60 RBI in 75 games.

4. New York Mets
Record: 58-35
Last Week: 4

Having taken three of four from the Cubs over the weekend and two of three from the division-rival Braves before that, the Mets finished the first half of the season at 58-35. That is the second-best record before the All-Star break in all of franchise history, behind only the 1986 team that would ultimately win the club’s second -- and most recent -- World Series title. This roster might only get better in the second half with Jacob deGrom (elbow) flashing dominance through three rehab starts.

5. Atlanta Braves
Record: 56-38
Last Week: 5

The defending World Series champions have rattled off a 33-11 record since the end of May, including a 12-5 mark so far in July, while moving to within 2 1/2 games of the NL East-leading Mets. They were 10 1/2 games back of New York on June 1. A wrong was made right this past Saturday when Austin Riley got named as a late addition to the NL All-Star roster. He is the second-ever Braves player to have 100-plus hits and 27-plus homers at the break. The only other? Hank Aaron.

6. Seattle Mariners
Record: 51-42
Last Week: 12

Jumping up six spots this week after a five-spot leap last week, the Mariners ended the first half on a 14-game winning streak. They can match the longest winning streak in franchise history with a defeat of the AL West-leading Astros this Friday night. Another fun note: Julio Rodríguez is the first player in MLB history to put up 15-plus home runs, 50-plus RBI, and 20-plus stolen bases through his first 90 career games. He’s already one of the most impactful players in the sport at age 21.

7. San Diego Padres
Record: 52-42
Last Week: 6

They sit 10 games above .500 at the All-Star break -- things could be worse -- but the Padres are 7-14 since June 25 and losing ground fast in the National League West. The best bit of news at the end of the first half was that Fernando Tatis Jr. has finally been cleared to begin a hitting progression, four months removed from surgery to repair a fracture in his left wrist. When he might actually make his season debut is still in question, but mid-August or so seems doable if there are no setbacks.

8. Milwaukee Brewers
Record: 50-43
Last Week: 7

With losses in eight of their last 11 games, the Brewers will head into the second half of the season with just a half-game lead over the Cardinals for the top spot in the National League Central standings. It’s imperative that Freddy Peralta’s rehabilitation from a right posterior shoulder strain continues to go swimmingly and that he can return sometime within the next month. It’s also imperative that the front office reels in some sort of offensive upgrade before the August 2 trade deadline.

9. Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 51-41
Last Week: 11

Tampa Bay began the final week of the first half with a four-game sweep of the division-rival Red Sox before then taking two of three from the upstart Orioles. There are serious injury concerns here -- Shane Baz (elbow) and Wander Franco (wrist) could both be sidelined into September -- but that patented Rays resilience is shining through. Shane McClanahan will start for the AL in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night, boasting a 1.71 ERA with 147 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings this year.

10. Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 50-43
Last Week: 13

Beating up on a couple of clubs with vaccination constraints, the Blue Jays won five of six against the visiting Phillies and Royals to finish out the first half. They are 4-1 since firing Charlie Montoyo last Wednesday and installing John Schneider as interim manager. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be the starting first baseman for the American League in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game and Alejandro Kirk will get the start at catcher. Kirk is batting .315 with an .882 OPS in 83 games this season.

11. Minnesota Twins
Record: 50-44
Last Week: 9

They have been in command of first place in the American League Central for 85 days this season, but the Twins finished the first half on a downturn, dropping seven of their last 10 games. Four of those losses were to the preseason-division-favorite White Sox. Pitching will likely be the primary focus for Minnesota’s front office at the fast-approaching trade deadline, as this group currently ranks 16th among all 30 big league teams in combined ERA. A starter and back-end bullpen help?

12. Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 49-43
Last Week: 10

Philly closed out the first half with a three-game sweep of the Marlins, helped by a dominant performance from Aaron Nola on Sunday afternoon. The 29-year-old right-hander racked up 10 strikeouts across 8 1/3 scoreless innings at loanDepot park, scattering four hits and one walk in a 5-0 victory. Nola is just the fifth pitcher in MLB history to record 137-plus strikeouts and 16 or fewer walks before the All-Star break, joining Jacob deGrom, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Curt Schilling.

13. Boston Red Sox
Record: 48-45
Last Week: 8

The situation in Boston has abruptly turned sour, with the Red Sox dropping six of their last seven games and 10 of their last 13 to wrap up the first half of the season. They will also again be without Chris Sale for an extended period after he suffered a fractured left pinkie finger Sunday on an Aaron Hicks comebacker that was struck at 107 mph. Sale underwent surgery on Monday and seems likely to miss at least the next 6-8 weeks. The southpaw has logged only 5 2/3 innings this year.

14. St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 50-44
Last Week: 14

Continuing their season-long struggles against contenders and season-long success versus the tankers and rebuilders, the Cardinals lost two of three to the Dodgers in the final week of the first half but rebounded to beat the Reds 7-3 on Friday and 10-3 on Saturday. Sunday’s game was rained out. Overall this year, St. Louis is 23-31 when facing teams better than .500 and 27-13 against everybody else. This roster needs multiple arms at the trade deadline and probably a high-impact bat too.

15. San Francisco Giants
Record: 48-43
Last Week: 16

Most of the Giants storylines this time last week were about a possible shift into sell-off mode with the August 2 trade deadline on the horizon. But they just took three of four from the NL Central-leading Brewers, after winning two of three against the Diamondbacks and the final two games of a four-game set versus the Padres. At the break, San Francisco is 12 1/2 games behind the Dodgers for first place in the NL West but only a half-game back for the third National League Wild Card spot.

16. Chicago White Sox
Record: 46-46
Last Week: 15

In winning five of their last six games leading into the All-Star break, the White Sox are back at .500 for the first time since June 21 and suddenly only three games behind the Twins for first place in the American League Central. Andrew Vaughn closed out the first half on a heater, becoming the first player this season to tally four straight multi-hit, multi-RBI games. The 24-year-old holds a .301/.350/.470 batting through 306 plate appearances here in his sophomore campaign.

17. Cleveland Guardians
Record: 46-44
Last Week: 17

José Ramírez bowed out early in the Home Run Derby on Monday night, falling to eventual champion Juan Soto in the opening round, but he went deep twice in the Guardians’ first-half finale on Saturday -- Sunday’s game was rained out -- and will try to continue carrying the Cleveland offense on his back when play resumes this Friday. The star third baseman has posted a stellar .944 OPS with 19 home runs, 30 doubles, 75 RBI, 13 stolen bases, and 53 runs scored through 87 games.

18. Baltimore Orioles
Record: 46-46
Last Week: 18

With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, the Orioles selected high school shortstop Jackson Holliday, the son of former seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday. A baby-faced 18-year-old out of Stillwater High School in Oklahoma, Holliday batted .685 with a .749 on-base percentage and 1.392 slugging percentage in his 40-game senior season. He put up 52 extra-base hits -- 17 of them home runs -- and stole 30 bases. It’s high school ball, but those numbers are ridiculous … a 2.141 OPS!

19. Miami Marlins
Record: 43-48
Last Week: 19

Miami got swept by the Phillies over the weekend and scored just one total run across the three games. Offensively challenged, as the entire baseball world knew they would be, the Marlins currently rank 27th among all 30 major league teams in combined OPS with a mark of just .681. Only the Pirates (.660), Tigers (.619), and Athletics (.603) have been worse. Sandy Alcantara will merely be playing the role of spoiler down the stretch as he makes his case for the 2022 NL Cy Young Award.

20. Colorado Rockies
Record: 43-50
Last Week: 22

It’s a too-little, too-late type of scenario for this season, but the Rockies are finally getting the production they paid for out of Kris Bryant. Signed to a seven-year, $182 million free agent contract shortly after the lockout was lifted in March, he slugged his first home run in a Colorado uniform on July 5 and is batting .333/.391/.587 in 69 plate appearances since returning from the IL on June 27. A fully healthy second half from Bryant would help this club map out a better blueprint leading into 2023.

21. Texas Rangers
Record: 41-49
Last Week: 21

Corey Seager got blitzed by Julio Rodríguez in the first round of Monday night’s 2022 Home Run Derby, but he did put 24 balls over the Dodger Stadium wall, continuing his overall summer-months power surge. Seager hit seven home runs in a span of 10 games for the Rangers between July 5-15 and is batting .315/.402/.648 over his last 127 plate appearances going back to June 15. Fresh reminder that this is the first year of a blockbuster 10-year, $325 million free agent deal.

22. Los Angeles Angels
Record: 39-53
Last Week: 20

Mike Trout is on the IL with rib cage inflammation and the Angels have a 2-12 record so far in July. Let’s just celebrate Shohei Ohtani. The two-way superstar finished the first half with 19 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 89 games and also a 2.38 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 87 innings pitched. Ohtani will start at DH and bat leadoff for the American League in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game but will not take the mound because he is lined up to start Friday’s second-half opener in Atlanta.

23. Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 40-52
Last Week: 23

Diamondbacks top prospect Corbin Carroll started in center field for the National League in the 2022 Futures Game on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. He also hit leadoff and stroked a double in his first at-bat. A fast-rising 21-year-old -- drafted 16th overall out of high school in 2019 -- Carroll is slashing .315/.434/.653 with 19 home runs and 23 stolen bases in 64 games this season between three different levels of Arizona’s minor league system. He was promoted to Triple-A Reno on July 10.

24. Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 39-54
Last Week: 24

Even with the heavy number of late additions and injury replacements, the Pirates ultimately sent only one representative -- closer David Bednar -- to the All-Star festivities in Los Angeles. Bednar has 16 saves this season to go along with a 2.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 57/13 K/BB ratio in 43 2/3 innings. Since being acquired from the Padres as part of the Joe Musgrove trade in January 2021, the 27-year-old has posted a 2.50 ERA and 134 strikeouts across 104 1/3 innings with Pittsburgh.

25. Detroit Tigers
Record: 37-55
Last Week: 25

There was a lot of excitement when Spencer Torkelson cracked the Opening Day roster in Detroit this spring, but the 22-year-old got demoted to Triple-A Toledo on Sunday, having registered a weak .197/.282/.295 batting line and only five home runs through his first 298 major league plate appearances. A bit more Triple-A seasoning will probably do him good in the long term. Torkelson has played in just 121 minor league games after being selected No. 1 overall in the 2020 MLB Draft.

26. Chicago Cubs
Record: 35-57
Last Week: 26

David Robertson earned his 13th save of the season Sunday against the Mets, helping the Cubs land a 3-2 win and avoid heading into the break on another lengthy losing streak. They had dropped nine straight before Sunday’s victory, and that’s not even their longest winless drought this year. Robertson should carry a lot of trade appeal at the August 2 deadline as a veteran reliever with loads of high-leverage experience. He’s posted a 1.93 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings at age 37.

27. Cincinnati Reds
Record: 34-57
Last Week: 27

Luis Castillo has rapidly become the hottest name on the starting pitching trade market. He finished off the first half by tallying eight strikeouts over seven innings of one-run ball at Yankee Stadium and boasts a 1.00 ERA with 33 strikeouts over his last 27 innings (four starts) dating back to June 28. For the season, Castillo is sporting a 2.77 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 78 total frames. The 29-year-old right-hander is under control through the 2023 campaign, which only adds to his appeal.

28. Kansas City Royals
Record: 36-56
Last Week: 28

Andrew Benintendi, Whit Merrifield, Michael Taylor, MJ Melendez, Hunter Dozier, Kyle Isbel, Cam Gallagher, Brady Singer, Brad Keller, and Dylan Coleman all missed the Royals’ four-game weekend series in Toronto because they are unvaccinated for COVID-19. This story is sure to have a ripple effect at the trade deadline with most AL teams likely opting to shy away from Benintendi, Merrifield, and Taylor in favor of players who are able to travel into Canada come October.

29. Oakland Athletics
Record: 32-61
Last Week: 30

By far the biggest trade chip for the A’s, Frankie Montas is officially slated to return to the starting rotation in the nightcap of Thursday’s doubleheader versus the Tigers. He has not appeared in a game since July 3 due to right shoulder discomfort, but the 29-year-old threw another successful side session on Saturday and will now look to prove his health under two weeks away from the August 2 deadline. Montas carries a 3.26 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings this year.

30. Washington Nationals
Record: 31-63
Last Week: 29

If a report comes out that you’re shopping Juan Soto, you fall to the very bottom of these rankings. We’re making that standard policy around here. And also the Nats lost 15 of their last 17 games leading into the All-Star break to finish the first half with the worst record among all MLB teams. Don’t blame Soto, who posted a .421/.551/.842 batting line over his final 49 plate appearances before the break while lifting his season OPS above .900. He also won the Home Run Derby on Monday.