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Mid-Season MLB Division Power Rankings

We’ve entered the second half of the season with many teams playing their 30th game this past week. Hence, it’s time to look at the mid-season MLB Division Power Rankings.

How have the teams and divisions done in the couple weeks since my last ranking? What division races are heating up? Let’s take a look! Just like last time, I’ll also be assigning each team to a category based on where they stand in the playoff picture.

A QUICK RUNDOWN OF THE CATEGORIES:

  • Likely playoff teams: Pretty self-explanatory. These are the teams that are expected to make the postseason based on current performance and/or expectations.
  • In the hunt: These are teams that may or may not be currently in a postseason spot, but are just a few games out of a spot, or expected to compete for one.
  • Work to do: These are teams that are not currently in a postseason spot with significant ground to cover. They will need to go a solid run (and possibly get some help) to get in the hunt.
  • See you next season: These are teams that might as well start looking forward to 2021. Virtually no chance to make the postseason without some divine intervention.

Here is where I have the divisions ranked as of the completion of Friday’s games:

1. AL CENTRAL

#AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRALWLPctGBR +/-
1CHICAGO WHITE SOX20120.625+42
1CLEVELAND INDIANS20120.625+44
1MINNESOTA TWINS20120.625+36
4DETROIT TIGERS13160.4485.5-30
5KANSAS CITY ROYALS12200.3758-19
DIVISION TOTAL85720.541+73

Note: standings and records are current as of Saturday morning, 8/29/2020

LIKELY PLAYOFF TEAMS: WHITE SOX, INDIANS, TWINS

The division has a three-way tie for first place! Hard to say which team will come out on top, but all three are in a good spot to make the postseason.

There probably isn’t a hotter team in baseball right now than the White Sox, who are 9-1 in their last ten games. They’ve played themselves firmly into the division race. Lucas Giolito pitching a no-hitter last Tuesday is the icing on the cake. The best part about this for Sox fans? They have a very young and talented roster built to play like this for several years.

Cleveland has stayed strong despite the mess that included Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger going out and then lying about it to their clubhouse, resulting in both being optioned off the team. Clevinger has since returned, but rumors are that Cleveland could be trying to trade both pitchers before the deadline on Monday.

The Twins have retained their division lead, though now they share it with both the Indians and White Sox, each team at 20-12 going into Saturday’s games. The good news is that winning the division is not as important as in normal years. The bad news is that they could match up with the Yankees again.

WORK TO DO: TIGERS, ROYALS

I said in my previous ranking that I was wary of the Tigers’ good start because they played a soft schedule. It looks like my concern was correct as the Tigers went 5-10 in a stretch against the White Sox and Indians, including a nine-game skid. With how well the three teams ahead of them are playing, the Tigers will need to string together wins against those teams to get back into the hunt. If they do, their best shot to make the postseason could be as the 2nd wild card. It is possible given the relative weakness of the other two divisions of the American League. They are only 2.5 games behind the Blue Jays for that spot. It’s not like 2020 has given us enough surprises already.

The Royals have also struggled of late, going 3-8 since the last ranking. Even more frustrating is that three of their last four losses have been by just one run. Just like Detroit, they will need to put together a good winning streak to get back in the race. They could be selling off some pieces to contenders to bolster their farm system, so who knows.

2. NL WEST

#NATIONAL LEAGUE WESTWLPctGBR+/-
1LOS ANGELES DODGERS24100.706+82
2SAN DIEGO PADRES20140.5884+27
3COLORADO ROCKIES16160.5007-4
4SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS15190.4419-25
5ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS14190.4069.5-24
DIVISION TOTAL89780.533+56

Note: standings and records are current as of Saturday morning, 8/29/2020

LIKELY PLAYOFF TEAMS: DODGERS, PADRES

The Dodgers are still dominating the competition. They’ve built a comfortable lead in a tough division. I commented on their run differential in the last ranking. Their run differential now? Plus-82. That’s winning by an average of 2.4 runs per game. That’s over a full run per game better than the second-best team (Cleveland). Outstanding!

Slam Diego has a nice ring to it! The Padres set an MLB record by hitting a grand slam in four consecutive games last week. What’s even better for the Friars? They are on track to make the club’s first postseason appearance since 2006.

IN THE HUNT: ROCKIES

While the Padres’ stock rose, the Rockies’ fell like a rock (Get it?). Anyway, Colorado now finds themselves as a wild card team, and unless they turn it around could be on the outside looking in when all is said and done.

WORK TO DO: GIANTS, DIAMONDBACKS

The Giants are hanging in there. In such a tough division and a roster that wasn’t expected to compete, they’ve been decent but have their work cut out for them.

The Diamondbacks had worked themselves nearly back to .500 before falling back into the cellar. They will need to go on another run, or they can kiss the season goodbye.

3. NL EAST

#NATIONAL LEAGUE EASTWLPctGBR +/-
1ATLANTA BRAVES18130.581+24
2MIAMI MARLINS14130.5192-4
3NEW YORK METS15160.4843-10
4PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES13140.4813-1
5WASHINGTON NATIONALS12170.4145+1
DIVISION TOTAL72730.497+10

Note: standings and records are current as of Saturday morning, 8/29/2020

LIKELY PLAYOFF TEAMS: BRAVES

The Braves have taken the lead and have built a gap, though not a big one. This is the tightest division with all teams within five games. At this point, they’re the only team in the division I have a good feeling about.

IN THE HUNT: MARLINS, METS, PHILLIES, NATIONALS

The Marlins have cooled off, but they still hold onto a playoff spot for now. All of the other teams are nipping at their heels right now. It’ll be up to them to hold on to their spot.

The Mets and Phillies are playing better as both have winning streaks of three and four games, respectively. The Mets would be the 2nd wild card team if the season ended today. The Phillies are in a virtual tie with them but have played two fewer games.

Despite being five games under .500, the Nationals have a positive run differential, meaning they aren’t losing games by much. With no one running away with the division, could the defending champs could make a second-half run to the playoffs like last season?

4. AL EAST

#AMERICAN LEAGUE EASTWLPctGBR +/-
1TAMPA BAY RAYS22110.656+30
2NEW YORK YANKEES16130.5794+20
3TORONTO BLUE JAYS16140.5714.5+9
4BALTIMORE ORIOLES14160.4677-13
5BOSTON RED SOX10210.32311.5-56
DIVISION TOTAL78770.503-10

Note: standings and records are current as of Saturday morning, 8/29/2020

LIKELY PLAYOFF TEAMS: RAYS, YANKEES

The Rays have made a statement and have a comfortable four-game lead over the Yankees, who have struggled lately. Tampa Bay has gained five games on the Yankees in the last ten!

The Yankees have hit a bit of a slump, going 3-7 in their last ten. That being said, I still think they are too talented to miss out on October baseball. That being said, they are missing Aaron Judge in a big way.

IN THE HUNT: BLUE JAYS, ORIOLES

The Blue Jays have played very well of late and are currently in a wild-card spot. Buffalo seems to have treated them well as a temporary home!

The Orioles have fallen back after a good start, but still within striking distance of a wild card spot, which would be amazing for this rebuilding franchise.

SEE YOU NEXT SEASON: RED SOX

I’m sure that Boston fans are ready for football season. The Red Sox now have the worst run differential in baseball at -56.

5. AL WEST DIVISION

#AMERICAN LEAGUE WESTWLPctGBR +/-
1OAKLAND ATHLETICS22100.688+41
2HOUSTON ASTROS17140.5484.5+18
3TEXAS RANGERS12190.3879.5-50
4SEATTLE MARINERS13210.36710-32
5LOS ANGELES ANGELS11220.31311.5-33
DIVISION TOTAL72840.462-56

Note: standings and records are current as of Saturday morning, 8/29/2020

LIKELY PLAYOFF TEAMS: ATHLETICS, ASTROS

The Athletics have remained strong in the last two weeks. The Astros have made a bit of a run. With the other three teams so far behind, they can a so-so second half and still comfortably make the postseason.

The Astros have recovered from a rough start, and with the struggles of the rest of the division, can coast their way to a playoff spot as the division runner-up. They could challenge for the division crown, but the A’s look too good right now.

SEE YOU NEXT SEASON: RANGERS, MARINERS, ANGELS

I hate to say it, but I think you can call it for all three of these teams. The holes they’re all in and the strength of Oakland and Houston make it tough. I don’t think any of them make the postseason, even as a wild card. The Rangers have not recovered from the beating they took from the Padres. The Angels have been a huge disappointment from the start. The M’s are well, the M’s. With the trade deadline looming, look for several pieces from these teams to be moved. Lance Lynn and Dylan Bundy appear to be the most popular ones.

6. NL CENTRAL DIVISION

#NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRALWLPctGBR +/-
1CHICAGO CUBS18130.581+2
2ST LOUIS CARDINALS11120.47830
3CINCINNATI REDS14170.4524-2
3MILWAUKEE BREWERS14170.4524-26
5PITTSBURGH PIRATES9200.3108-47
DIVISION TOTAL66790.455-73

Note: standings and records are current as of Saturday morning, 8/29/2020

LIKELY PLAYOFF TEAMS: CUBS

The Cubs still lead the division, but their big lead has evaporated. Their lead is down to just three games over St. Louis, despite taking three of five when the two teams played last week. Another interesting aspect is that the Cubs only have a plus-2 run differential, suggesting that the Cubs might have overachieved a bit. But everyone else has a zero or negative differential, so it’s been tough for everyone it appears.

IN THE HUNT: CARDINALS, REDS, BREWERS

The Cardinals still have a ton of games to play, and they’re 9-9 since returning. They mainly have to take care of the Reds and Brewers and they’re in. Getting swept in a doubleheader by the Pirates on Thursday is not a good sign, though.

Has there been a more underwhelming team in baseball so far than the Reds? A popular division-winning pick before the season has slumped out in the first half. They are starting to heat up though and could jump into a postseason spot.

The Brewers are running out of time. Getting swept by the Pirates is not a good start. Their games coming up against division rivals will be very important. Christian Yelich needs to find his MVP form.

SEE YOU NEXT SEASON: PIRATES

Sweeping the Brewers over the weekend and winning both games on Thursday against the Cardinals gave Bucco fans something to cheer about this season. They still have basically no shot at the postseason, and could let other teams into the Kumar Rocker sweepstakes if they win too much.


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