Update on the MLB 15-20 Games in: Podcast, Power Rankings

We’re about a third of the way through this shortened baseball season, and already, the contenders are separating themselves from the pretenders. I went on another episode of my cousin Michael Philipkosky’s podcast, “The Master Plan”, to discuss the state of each MLB team at this point in the season and talk about teams that have surprised us. Teams like the Rockies have exceeded our expectations, while teams like the Angels and our hometown Red Sox have struggled more than we expected. You can listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify with the links below:

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mlb-update-podcast-find-out-why-red-sox-stink-andrew/id1495662343?i=1000488294222

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4J5fdqnOIosOz8KkGqdck1

I’ve also included my current MLB power rankings. These rankings are a combo of my updated projections and my reaction to the performance of teams so far this year. Check them out below:

Note: Records as of August 18, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST

New York Yankees
They got off to a really strong start. Despite injuries to Stanton, Judge, and LeMahieu after dominance at the plate, they’ve won 6 in a row to stay comfortably atop the AL East and remain one of the top teams in the league.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw came back from his injury looking good as new, and Dustin May is also throwing the ball very well. Bellinger has struggled all year, but the rest of the lineup has made up for it. Betts, Seager, Pollock, and Turner led this team to surge to the top of the NL West this past week.
Minnesota Twins
The Twins have one of the most balanced rosters in the league, but their success has been driven by a few surprise standouts. Nelson Cruz has been playing as if he’s in his prime, and starters Randy Dobnak and Kenta Maeda have performed surprisingly well.
The Braves have been very streaky, losing 4 in a row before taking their last 3. The team has been hitting the ball very well, and Swanson is having a career year. The rotation has been riddled by injuries, but Max Fried has been dominant so far, and they’ll be better if they can get similar success from other pitchers.
Chicago Cubs
Despite losing Quintana and Chatwood to injury, the rotation has been on fire. In addition, OF Ian Happ is having a breakout year. This has led the Cubs to what’s arguably their best season since 2016.
This team started slow but they are 13-3 since the start of August. Much of last year’s core has struggled but Grossman, Laureano, and Canha have had career years. Meanwhile, Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt have led a strong rotation filled with young talent.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have taken 9 of their last 10, a stretch that included a sweep of the Red Sox. Brandon Lowe has only improved upon his strong rookie year, and fellow infielder Willy Adames has also been hitting well. The rotation struggles have held them back though.
Cleveland Indians (13-9)
The White Sox have been streaky, and Detroit came back down to Earth after a strong start. This allowed Cleveland to take second place in the division. Shane Bieber has led the pitching staff to dominance. Lindor has struggled at the plate, but power hitters Franmil Reyes and Jose Ramirez are making up for it.
Chicago White Sox
They started slow but are starting to put things together after a big off-season. Young stars Moncada, Jimenez, and Robert are starting to hit the ball well. Keuchel has proven to be a worthwhile addition, and Giolito and Cease have pitched well despite occassional rough days.
Houston Astros
They were never punished for cheating, but they have been hit by a lot of pitches and got into two bench clearing brawls. Correa and Gurriel are still hitting well, but much of this lineup has struggled after the scandal. The rotation is lacking depth despite the success of Greinke and Framber Valdez.
New York Mets
We hear the same story year after year here: tons of talent, lack of execution. This team has hit the ball rather well, and the young David Peterson has made for a dynamic rotation duo with deGrom. But the Mets have blown many games this year, and rotation depth is a concern too. They have had a tough schedule though, and that will get easier.
San Diego
Fernando Tatis Jr. has had an MVP-caliber year so far, and Wil Myers and Trent Grisham have backed him up in the lineup. The young rotation has also met expectations. They did recently lose 5 in a row though, which was because of bullpen struggles without closer Kirby Yates and a good stretch by the D-Backs.
St. Louis Cardinals (5-5)
The Cardinals are behind schedule this season due to a COVID outbreak, but they’ve done alright in the games they have played. The rotation has a good balance of youth and experience, and Paul Goldschmidt has returned to prominence at the plate. They’ll be competing for second place in their division.
Cincinnati Reds
They made some serious upgrades this off-season, and it hasn’t made a huge difference so far but this team has showed promise. Winker and newcomer Nick Castellanos have led the lineup. The rotation has done well, but its inconsistencies has held the team back. Eugenio Suarez’s slump has also been a major setback.
Colorado Rockies (13-9)
So far, everything has gone right for Colorado. The young rotation is playing to the best of their ability. Arenado and Story have been strong as usual at the plate, and Blackmon has done especially well, batting .429. The question is whether they can keep this up, as they fell apart late into last season.
Arizona Diamondbacks (12-11)
The D-Backs have played some very competitive baseball. But they’re stuck in a division with the Dodgers, Padres, and Rockies who are all performing well too. All three starting outfielders (Marte, Peralta, and Calhoun) have hit the ball well, and the young Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly have been near unstoppable on the mound.
Washington Nationals
The problems here go beyond the absences of Juan Soto and Stephen Strasburg. Soto has mashed 7 homers since his return, and Scherzer and Corbin have pitched well with Strasburg out. Rotation depth is a growing concern, and with Rendon gone the Nats lack other good bats around Soto.
Texas Rangers (10-11)
Everyone knew Lance Lynn could pitch well, but he’s been unbelievably good. However, their other pitchers are struggling and aside from Gallo, the lineup has underperformed. This team has been a .500 team so far, as I expected. But their season could go in either direction from here.
Milwaukee Brewers
Yelich is starting to rebound from early struggles, and the rotation has done better than I expected. But Milwaukee will need to continue to impress if they want to secure a playoff spot.
Los Angeles Angels (8-15)
Trout and Rendon have been living up to expectations, and the rotation is a bit better than last year. But a bad bullpen and inconsistent pitching as a whole has led this team to a rough start that has included some embarrassing losses.
Toronto Blue Jays (8-11)
The Blue Jays lineup is loaded with young talent. Grichuk, Biggio, Hernandez, and Bichette have led them. Pitching is still a concern though. Ryu has been good but was better in LA. Pearson had a nice debut but hasn’t been able to replicate it.
Philadelphia Phillies (8-9)
Bryce Harper is finally playing like a $30 million/year player, and J.T. Realmuto has done just as well. Nola and Wheeler are a nice duo atop the rotation. But this team is seriously lacking in the depth department, and won’t contend unless that improves.
Boston Red Sox (6-17)
The rotation has been among the league’s worst since Sale and E-Rod are out for the year. The lineup has showed promise, but Devers has failed to replicate his 2019 success. Despite the talent of Moreland, Verdugo, and Bogaerts, execution has been a problem. Putting together a good season with this bad a rotation takes even better hitting and better execution.
Miami Marlins (9-7)
Despite being sidelined with a COVID outbreak, Miami has been surprisingly good so far. However, they haven’t beaten out any top teams, and nearly half of their wins came against Baltimore. Don’t let the early success and the strong record mislead you. Starters Elieser Hernandez and Pablo Lopez have been pleasant surprises, but I’m not buying this team as a contending team yet.
Detroit Tigers
They fought for second place in their division after giving the Reds a very hard time. They’ve seen OF JaCoby Jones and SP Spencer Turnbull break out. I think they’ll beat out Kansas City, but can’t see them contending quite yet, even after the Mize call-up.
Kansas City Royals (9-14)
The Royals have essentially performed how most expected them to. They’ve had their moments despite overall struggles. They did give the Twins a good challenge, but I don’t see any reason to move them higher than this.
San Francisco Giants (9-16)
Like the Royals, the Giants have had their moments. But every other team in their division has the capacity to contend for a playoff spot. Even with Mike Yastrzemski and Donovan Solano posting career years, I expect the Giants to remain in the division’s basement.
Baltimore Orioles (12-10)
Don’t let Baltimore’s record fool you. The best team they’ve succeeded against is Washington, and that was when Soto and Strasburg were both out. They were swept in a 4 game series by the Marlins, and that’s not a good sign. I don’t think they’ll be anywhere close to contention by the end of August.
Seattle Mariners
I didn’t expect much from Seattle this year, and they haven’t done much as they’re in the midst of a rebuild. Kyle Seager has been good, and Kyle Lewis, Dylan Moore, and Marco Gonzales have showed promise. But this team just doesn’t have many proven players yet.
Pittsburgh Pirates (4-14)
I thought Josh Bell would be a bright spot for this team, but he’s struggled to repeat his 2019 numbers. The rotation is banged up and the lineup just doesn’t have much talent, so I can’t see the Pirates doing much of anything this year.

That’s all for my latest update on this MLB season. The first quarter of the season is complete, and it’s starting to become clear who will buy and who will sell at the deadline. Stay tuned for my article about the strategy the Red Sox and other selling teams in their position should go through with.

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