For an explanation of how the SD Score is calculated, see below.
1 – Houston Astros (56-27); SD Score +3.15, Ranking Last Week – 1
Opponents – vs A’s (2-1), vs Yankees (2-1)
The Astros are continuing to show why they’re the best team in the American League but they will need to figure out something in the starting rotation for the postseason since the news of David Paulino’s PED suspension.
2 – Los Angeles Dodgers (55-29) SD Score +4.02, Ranking Last Week – 2
Opponents – vs Angels (1-1), at Angels (1-1), at Padres (2-1)
The Dodgers are the odds-on favorite to win the NL going into the All Star Break. Obviously, a lot can happen, but with Justin Turner, Corey Seager, and Cody Bellinger in the lineup, their offense will continue to roll. Now imagine if they acquire another big gun pitcher before the trade deadline.
3 – Arizona Diamondbacks (52-31); SD Score +2.86, Ranking Last Week – 3
Opponents – vs Phillies (1-0), vs Cardinals (1-2), vs Rockies (2-1)
Arizona is still finding ways to compete in the difficult NL West and they’re doing it with late-inning heroics. They’re an amazing 18-8 in one-inning games this season.
4 – Washington Nationals (48-34); SD Score +2.30, Ranking Last Week – 4
Opponents – vs Cubs (2-2), at Cardinals (1-2)
Washington has been up and down as of late, but they could be the team no one wants to play in the postseason.
5 – Boston Red Sox (47-35); SD Score +1.68, Ranking Last Week – 7
Opponents – vs Twins (3-1), at Blue Jays (3-0)
There were times earlier in the year when the Red Sox were missing opportunities to take over the AL East. That isn’t the case anymore as they are now up 2 games over the Yankees are the firm number two team in the American League.
6 – Cleveland Indians (44-37); SD Score +1.59, Ranking Last Week – 8
Opponents – vs Rangers (3-1), at Tigers (2-1)
The Indians have an aura about them as they appear poised to make a run at the AL title again. Their only question mark at this point, like last year, is pitching.
7 – Colorado Rockies (48-36); SD Score +0.73, Ranking Last Week – 5
Opponents – at Giants (0-3), at Diamondbacks (1-2)
The Rockies are still in a rut, but the good news for them is Jon Gray is back from injury and looking good.
8 – New York Yankees (43-37); SD Score +2.64, Ranking Last Week – 6
Opponents – at Whitesox (2-2), at Astros (1-2)
Boston is up and the Yankees are struggling to keep pace. We’ll see how they respond after the break.
9 – Milwaukee Brewers (44-40); SD Score +0.37, Ranking Last Week – 9
Opponents – at Reds (1-2), vs Marlins (2-1)
The Brewers have missed several opportunities to beat some lesser teams and widen their lead over the Cubs. While it seems inevitable that Chicago will go on a run, the Brew Crew is surpassing expectations.
10 – Tampa Bay Rays (43-41); SD Score +0.42, Ranking Last Week – 10
Opponents – at Pirates (1-2), at Orioles (2-1)
The Rays are 5 games back in the AL East race and pretty much tied for the Wild Card. They have to feel good about where they are heading into the second half of the season.
11 – Los Angeles Angels (43-43); SD Score -0.15, Ranking Last Week – 13
Opponents – at Dodgers (1-1), vs Dodgers (1-1), vs Mariners (1-2)
The Angels are another team that not only could make the postseason, but could be a team that no one wants to deal with.
12 – Chicago Cubs (41-41) SD Score +0.41, Ranking Last Week – 14
Opponents – at Nationals (2-2), at Reds (1-2)
Right now, Chicago has to feel fortunate that Milwaukee hasn’t gotten a bigger lead in the division. They’re not playing particularly well, but they’re only 2 games out. The only question is, when will we see them make a run?
13 – Texas Rangers (40-42) SD Score +0.51, Ranking Last Week – 11
Opponents – at Indians (1-3), at White Sox (1-2)
The Rangers will have to improve in the second half in order to land that Wild Card, but there’s no reason to think that they can’t pull it off.
14 – Kansas City Royals (41-40); SD Score -0.60, Ranking Last Week – 16
Opponents – at Tigers (1-2), vs Twins (3-1)
The Royals are my pick to cut through the log jam and be the Wild Card team this postseason. Who would have thought a month ago?
15 – Minnesota Twins (41-40); SD Score -1.57, Ranking Last Week – 12
Opponents – at Red Sox (1-3), at Royals (1-3)
Minnesota could be coming back to earth, but they have been one of the big surprises of the season and could still win the AL Central.
16 – Seattle Mariners (41-42); SD Score -0.06, Ranking Last Week – 15
Opponents – vs Phillies (0-2), at Angels (2-1)
See the Angels, Rays, Rangers, and Twins. Possible Wild Card team that has to have a good second half.
17 – Atlanta Braves (40-41); SD Score -0.95, Ranking Last Week – 18
Opponents – at Padres (1-2), at A’s (3-0)
The Braves are hanging around that .500 mark and could have a chance at a Wild Card spot, but it will take a couple of runs in the second half.
18 – Baltimore Orioles (40-41); SD Score -1.80, Ranking Last Week – 19
Opponents – at Blue Jays (2-1), vs Rays (1-2)
This is another team to watch out for, but they don’t appear to be the same team from April and May.
19 – St. Louis Cardinals (39-42) SD Score +0.12, Ranking Last Week – 20
Opponents – vs Reds (1-0), at Diamondbacks (2-1), vs Nationals (2-1)
This was a better week for the Cardinals and in the NL Central, anything is possible.
20– New York Mets (38-43); SD Score -0.93, Ranking Last Week – 22
Opponents – at Marlins (2-1), vs Phillies (2-1)
This was a good week for the Mets, but see Miami.
21 – Pittsburgh Pirates (37-45); SD Score -0.92, Ranking Last Week – 25
Opponents – vs Rays (2-1), vs Giants (0-3)
The Pirates are like the Mets and Marlins, but they have a chance because of the division they’re in.
22 – Toronto Blue Jays (37-44); SD Score -1.09, Ranking Last Week – 17
Opponents – vs Orioles (1-2), vs Red Sox (0-3)
The Blue Jays have a lot of work to do and unfortunately for them, they may be too far behind.
23 – Miami Marlins (36-44); SD Score -0.60, Ranking Last Week – 21
Opponents – vs Mets (1-2), at Brewers (1-2)
The Marlins are facing a difficult uphill battle, but if they can hang in there, you just never know who might drop off.
24 – Detroit Tigers (36-45); SD Score -0.70, Ranking Last Week – 19
Opponents – vs Royals (2-1), vs Indians (1-2)
The Tigers need to all of a sudden become a great team and go 2-1 in every series for the rest of the year.
25 – Chicago White Sox (36-45); SD Score -0.40, Ranking Last Week – 20
Opponents – vs Yankees (2-2), vs Rangers (2-1)
26 – Oakland A’s (35-47); SD Score -2.15, Ranking Last Week – 26
Opponents – at Astros (1-2), vs Braves (0-3)
The A’s look like a bottom-dweller, but we’ll see.
27 – Cincinnati Reds (35-46); SD Score -1.40, Ranking Last Week – 27
Opponents – at Cardinals (0-1), vs Brewers (2-1), vs Cubs (2-1)
The Reds are like the Pirates. They have a chance because they’re in the NL Central.
28 – San Diego Padres (35-48); SD Score -3.02, Ranking Last Week – 28
Opponents –vs Braves (2-1), vs Dodgers (1-2)
It’s over, but maybe they’ll make it interesting.
29 – San Francisco Giants (33-51); SD Score -2.20, Ranking Last Week – 29
Opponents – vs Rockies (3-0), at Pirates (3-0)
Just how much of an impact has Bumgarner’s injury made? If he’s pitching, they probably win half of the games he pitches in or more and suddenly they look like a Wild Card team.
30 – Philadelphia Phillies (27-53); SD Score -2.27, Ranking Last Week – 30
Opponents –at Diamondbacks (0-1), at Mariners (2-0), at Mets (1-2)
Another week in the books and the Phillies remain the worst team in baseball.
SD Score explanation:
Run production is one of the best measures of how a team is performing and how dominant or bad they are.
The formula takes each team’s runs scored and runs allowed totals and how many standard deviations from the league average they are.
Example: 1927 Yankees
The 27 Yankees score 975 runs (1927 AL average was 762 and SD of team runs for the AL was about 115). Take the difference from the league average (975-762=213) and divide by the SD (115), the 1927 Yankees were 1.85 SD above the league average in runs scored.
They allowed 599 runs (the SD in runs allowed for the 1927 AL was about 88.5), which was 163 runs less than the league average. 163/88.5 gives us a 1.84 SD above the league average in runs allowed.
Add 1.85 and 1.84 to get a final SD Score of +3.69 for the 1927 Yankees, which is amazing.
(SD ranking explanation found in “Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time” by Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein)