|The Yankees and Red Sox again battle atop the AL East|
In the American League, the Boston Red Sox in the East Division (4.5), Cleveland Indians in the Central (7.5), and Houston Astros in the West (5) all have comfortable leads at the moment.
In the AL Wildcard race, the New York Yankees hold a comfortable eight-game cushion for one of the two available playoff berths. The Seattle Mariners currently hold a three-game edge on the division-rival Oakland Athletics for the other slot.
Just two more teams, the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels, are above the .500 mark at the break. They sit 8.5 and nine games out in that Wildcard race respectively, and are all but out of their respective divisional battles.
But over in the senior circuit it's an entirely different picture. The Philadelphia Phillies hold just a half-game edge on the Atlanta Braves in the East Division. In the Central, the Chicago Cubs are just 2.5 up on the Milwaukee Brewers.
The NL West Division is by far baseball's best divisional race this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers finally got their act together after struggling for much of the first half. The Dodgers are by a half-game on the Arizona Diamondbacks, with the Colorado Rockies two back, and the San Francisco Giants lurking at four games off the pace.
The National League's two Wildcard berths are presently controlled by the Brewers and Braves. However, six teams are within 5.5 games of the second spot held by Atlanta. It all seems to be setting up for a tremendous second half.
When I released my July 1 MLB Power Ranking, only the team rankings on offense, defense, and pitching were considered. This time around, I've allowed for their winning percentage to also be considered.
I researched each of the 30 MLB clubs current rankings in four categories: winning percentage, runs scored, pitching OPS, and fielding percentage. I then simply assigned each of those rankings a 1-30 value, and added them up to determine the below MLB Power Ranking for the middle of July.
This is the formula that I am going to stick with moving forward. It encompasses a team's ability to actually win games, while also taking into account their performance on offense, defense, and on the mound. Yet it is also simply enough for the average baseball fan to comprehend.
Here is the current MLB Power Ranking, with each team's previous rank from July 1 in parentheses:
1. Houston Astros (1)
2. Boston Red Sox (2)
3. New York Yankees (5)
4. Atlanta Braves (4)
5. Chicago Cubs (7)
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (9)
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (3)
8. Milwaukee Brewers (9T)
9. Colorado Rockies (12T)
10. Cleveland Indians (12T)
11. Oakland Athletics (15)
12. Seattle Mariners (11)
13. Washington Nationals (8)
14. Los Angeles Angels (6)
15. Tampa Bay Rays (14)
16. Philadelphia Phillies (23T)
17. Minnesota Twins (16)
18. Saint Louis Cardinals (23T)
18. Pittsburgh Pirates (18)
20. San Francisco Giants (22)
21. Cincinnati Reds (17)
22. Detroit Tigers (19T)
23. Miami Marlins (26)
24. New York Mets (27T)
25. Toronto Blue Jays (19T)
26. Texas Rangers (19T)
27. San Diego Padres (25)
27. Kansas City Royals (27T)
29. Baltimore Orioles (29)
30. Chicago White Sox (30)
The next MLB Power Ranking will be released around August 1, right in the middle of the dog days of summer. By then, some of these teams will have made significant moves to improve their chances as the MLB non-waiver trade deadline arrives on July 31.