By: Chris Larson
Here we are already in July! Hard to believe and what's even more hard to believe is that the All-Star Break is right around the corner already. It's amazing how fast time flies once the season actually starts and continues to just keep on rolling by week-by-week. With that being said, we are pretty much at a point where teams know definitively whether or not they will be buyers or sellers coming up at the trade deadline. We've already seen three trades last month and are waiting around for the next one to come down the pipeline, but we shouldn't have to wait much longer given the aggressiveness of teams in the game today.
While the Trade Deadline is coming up, there is other business to focus on and that involves what happened this past week as well as who the hottest teams in baseball are right now and who the MVP's in both leagues were from this past week. All of that will be discussed below.
Week In Review
Top 15 Power Rankings
1. New York Yankees (54-27) [Ranking Last Week: 2]
2. Houston Astros (55-31) [Ranking Last Week: 1]
3. Boston Red Sox (56-29) [Ranking Last Week: 3]
4. Cleveland Indians (45-37) [Ranking Last Week: 4]
5. Seattle Mariners (54-31) [Ranking Last Week: 10]
6. Chicago Cubs (47-35) [Ranking Last Week: 12]
7. Philadelphia Phillies (45-37) [Ranking Last Week: 7]
8. Atlanta Braves (48-34) [Ranking Last Week: 6]
9. Milwaukee Brewers (48-35) [Ranking Last Week: 9]
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (47-37) [Ranking Last Week: 5]
11. Oakland Athletics (46-39) [Ranking Last Week: 14]
12. San Francisco Giants (45-40) [Ranking Last Week: 11]
13. Los Angeles Dodgers (44-39) [Ranking Last Week: 8]
14. Washington Nationals (42-40) [Ranking Last Week: N/A]
15. St. Louis Cardinals (42-40) [Ranking Last Week: 13]
Summary of Thoughts
Once again, the Top 3 teams are the same as they have been ever since the start of the season and rightfully so. So much of the discussion about Power Rankings revolves around those three teams and it's easy to see why that is. Beyond that, the Cleveland Indians have certainly played their way into the discussion and are currently the 4th best team in baseball. If they continue playing like they have, then it wouldn't be a shock to see them potentially boot out one of the other three mainstays from the Top 3 spots in the rankings. Over the last 10 games, the Mariners have once again come back to life and have an 8-2 record and are going for their 8th win tomorrow against the Los Angeles Angels. Seattle received great pitching from both Marco Gonzales and James Paxton this past week which has certainly helped give them a boost and keep them relevant in the race for contention.
After those 5 teams, the next best team is the Chicago Cubs who have really been doing well as of late once again. Each week it seems as though we see the Cubs come back to relevance and then they end up sliding out of relevance once again the following week. Chicago just can't seem to quite catch a stride, but it looks as though that could be coming as they currently sit only a 1/2 game back of the division leading Milwaukee Brewers. Furthermore, both the Braves and Phillies belong in their respective rankings as they have played similarly to how they performed last week and have both continued to be great surprises. I don't think anyone could have expected this type of performance from either team especially at this point in the season.
Finally, the Oakland Athletics have quietly been playing really well out near the Bay with little to no fanfare and definitely deserve to be ranked where they are. It's hard to know what to expect from the team moving forward because of their young core, but if they are able to continue playing like this, they should have no problem staying relevant and in contention until the very end. It's hard to put the A's ahead of the other Top 10 teams at this moment, but that could always change if they put together another nice week of games and continue to prove to the rest of baseball who they really are.
MVPs of the Week
1. Alex Bregman (Houston Astros): 13-for-28 with 5 doubles, 5 home runs, 10 RBI, 3 walks, a .464 batting average, and a .516 on-base percentage
2. Nick Castellanos (Detroit Tigers): 11-for-28 with 3 doubles, 4 home runs, 12 RBI, 3 walks, a .393 batting average, and a .452 on-base percentage
3. Brad Keller (Kansas City Royals): 0.60 ERA over 15.0 IP with 9 Strikeouts and a .157 Opponent Batting Average Against
4. James Paxton (Seattle Mariners): 1.20 ERA over 15.0 IP with 21 Strikeouts and a 0.73 WHIP
1. Jesus Aguilar (Milwaukee Brewers): 8-for-19 with 1 double, 3 home runs, 4 RBI, 2 walks, a .421 batting average, and a .476 on-base percentage
2. Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs): 14-for-29 with 6 doubles, 2 home runs, 11 RBI, a .483 batting average, and a .467 on-base percentage
3. Kenta Maeda (Los Angeles Dodgers): 1.29 ERA over 14.0 IP with 18 Strikeouts and a 0.79 WHIP
4. Matt Harvey (Cincinnati Reds): 0.73 ERA over 12.1 IP with 8 Strikeouts and a .186 Opponent Batting Average Against