- Chicago Cubs (69-41) (1)
The Cubs are winners of seven straight and remain atop our leaderboard again. Chicago is, without a doubt, the favorite to win the National League. Jorge Soler returned from the disabled list, and, at times, he appears to be the best offensive complement to Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
- Washington Nationals (66-45) (2)
The Nats owned the Giants this weekend. Trea Turner looks like a natural centerfielder and should remain there for the rest of the season. The Mark Melancon trade has worked out thus far, and the front office should certainly be happy about that.
- Texas Rangers (65-47) (4)
Texas is 7-3 over their last 10 games, in large part to consistent offense production and timely pitching. The Lucroy trade is paying dividends, as the catcher had three home runs in four games going into Sunday. Beltran has been pretty solid, too. The Rangers get the Rockies and Tigers this week.
- Baltimore Orioles (63-47) (5)
Manny Machado hit three home runs in three innings on Sunday. The rest of the offense is in midseason form. Tillman has pitched well all season, and Bundy seems to be molding into the starter many scouts thought he’d be. The O’s have nine games against Boston and six games against Toronto remaining this season.
- San Francisco Giants (63-48) (3)
Madison Bumgarner threw an eight-inning complete game Sunday, allowing just one earned run on a Wilson Ramos solo shot. Yet, the Giants inept offense failed to put anything together to plate a single run. San Francisco’s lead over Los Angeles in the NL West is down to one game. The Giants and Dodgers still have nine games against each other before the end of the season.
- Toronto Blue Jays (63-49) (7)
The Blue Jays appear to be the best team in the AL East. Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez have been lights out this year. We love the decision to move to a six-man rotation rather than move Sanchez to the bullpen. The Jays will need Sanchez through August and the fall, so it doesn’t make sense to put the AL ERA leader in the bullpen.
- Cleveland Indians (62-47) (6)
Corey Kluber bailed out a struggling rotation this weekend, and Andrew Miller registered his first save as an Indian against his former team in New York. Salazar was placed on the DL, and Bauer and Carrasco did not pitch well this week. If the Indians want to maintain their lead, they’ll have to perform much better down the stretch.
- Detroit Tigers (61-50) (13)
Despite losing 3-1 to the DeGrom and the Mets on Sunday, Detroit is just two games back of the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. The Tigers’ offense is clicking on all cylinders, and Justin Verlander has pitched extremely well over his last several starts.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (62-49) (8)
With their 8-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, the Dodgers are now just one game back of the Giants. Yasiel Puig, allegedly, has not reported to his minor league assignment. The young outfielder continues to put off the work he needs to put in to setup his return to the Majors.
- Boston Red Sox (60-50) (9)
Andrew Benintendi was called up this week, and the top ten prospect has added a spark to the energy on the field. Despite losing two straight, the Sox still remain a formidable opponent in the AL East and are capable of making a run at anytime.
- St. Louis Cardinals (58-53) (10)
St. Louis dropped two games each to the Braves, Reds, and Marlins this week. While Miami has a good ball club, the Cardinals simply should not be losing to bottom feeders like Atlanta and Cincinnati. The Cardinals have been shutout three times over the last ten games (once by each of the aforementioned teams). If they end up making the playoffs, they definitely won’t have home field advantage. Maybe that’s a good thing for them, considering the Red Birds are just 26-32 at home, but are an MLB-best 32-21 on the road. Hmm…
- Miami Marlins (59-52) (11)
Ichiro registered his 3,000 MLB hit on Sunday, becoming the 30th member of the illustrious 3,000 Hit Club. Miami currently holds onto the second Wild Card spot in the NL. Stanton seems to be out of his slump, and Dee Gordon hasn’t lost a step since coming off his suspension for PED use.
- Houston Astros (57-54) (12)
The Astros had a mound visit on Sunday and I got the opportunity to look at their infield gathered around the pitcher. A.J. Reed, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman. The future is bright, but the young stars need to hit better if they want to make the postseason in 2016.
- New York Mets (57-54) (14)
With Yoenis Cespedes hitting the DL, the Mets will struggle to find offense until he returns. Neal Walker hit a two-run game-winning home run off K-Rod in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday, but the rest of the lineup has been largely inconsistent for most of the year.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (55-54) (15)
Andrew McCutchen did not play a single game against the Braves during the week. Manager Clint Hurdle wanted to give the former MVP real time away to collect his thoughts and reset his swing. But, it seems odd considering the franchise maintains the position they have not given up on 2016.
- Colorado Rockies (55-56) (17)
Colorado has been one of the hottest teams coming out of the All-Star break. Rookie slugger David Dahl has been ripping the cover off the ball. He’s slashing .370/.393/.593 in 16 games thus far. Oh, yeah.. Nolan Arenado leads the NL with 29 HR and 87 RBI, too.
- Seattle Mariners (57-53) (16)
The Mariners are 3.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot currently held by the Tigers. Edwin Diaz usurped Steve Cishek from the closer role, so perhaps the late innings yips will no longer plague Seattle.
- New York Yankees (56-55) (18)
New York announced the retirements of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira this week. A-Rod will retire after his final game on Friday August 12th against the Rays, before signing a new contract with the Yankees to serve as a special advisor through December 31, 2017. Teixeira’s retirement is effective at the end of the 2016 season. P.S. the Yanks are just five games out of the second Wild Card spot.
- Chicago White Sox (53-58) (20)
I still think the White Sox should have sold the majority of their major leaguers. They should have traded Shields while he was hot, but he gave up six hits and eight earned runs in just 1.1 IP on Sunday. The White Sox now find themselves eight games out of the Wild Card race.
- Kansas City Royals (53-58) (19)
Like the ChiSox, the Royals did not do enough at the deadline to improve for 2017.
- Philadelphia Phillies (52-61) (21)
The Phillies trounced the Giants and Padres this week, taking two of three from both clubs. The future is bright in Philadelphia, but the Phils should follow the Yanks and force their older players out. Cough, Ryan Howard, cough.
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (49-62) (24)
The Angels have been hot! Albert Pujols is one of the best second half hitters so far, hitting .291 with 6 HR and 26 RBI in 22 games. Trout looks to be an MVP candidate once again with 22 HR, 74 RBI, and 17 SB. Let’s hope he doesn’t get snubbed – again.
- Oakland Athletics (48-63) (23)
The A’s rotation got beat up this week, and the A’s are largely just playing games with the thought of getting at-bats and innings for young players.
- Milwaukee Brewers (49-60) (22)
Jonathan Villar is having a nice year, but there isn’t much else to see in Milwaukee these days.
- San Diego Padres (48-63) (25)
The Padres had to take back Colin Rea in exchange for Luis Castillo after the Padres failed to disclose a pre-existing elbow issue that Rea was being treated for. There is widespread discontent around the league over the ethics not exercised by the Padres during the deadline.
- Minnesota Twins (45-66) (29)
Despite his recent propensity for the long ball, rumors are swirling that Miguel Sano may be sent down to the minors on Monday to develop his work ethic and attitude. The Twins would replace him in the lineup with Trevor Plouffe, who is eligible to come off the DL today.
- Cincinnati Reds (45-65) (28)
Joey Votto has been a second-half maniac thus far, hitting .449 with 4 HR and 13 RBI in 21 games.
- Tampa Bay Rays (45-65) (27)
The Rays are definitely one of the worst teams in the league, but at least they held on to Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer in hopes of making a run in 2017.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (45-66) (26)
A.J. Pollock began his rehab assignment this weekend, so his 20-day clock is ticking in advance of his return to the Majors. It would be nice to see the young CF end 2016 on a high note.
- Atlanta Braves (41-70) (30)
The Braves are garbage, but the Matt Kemp trade should pay dividends in the clubhouse and on the field in 2017.
Stats courtesy of ESPN.com and Fangraphs.com