The New York Yankees remain the best team in baseball, and with a week until the All-Star Break, no team appears to be a close second. Throughout the season’s first half, they’ve managed to show their dominance in a number of ways.
Their offense is the thing that stands out, as the Yankees lead baseball in runs (450), home runs (146), walks (332) and OPS (.771). Aaron Judge, whose monster season has him headed toward a massive payday in free agency, leads the majors with 30 home runs, but it hasn’t just been Judge. The Bronx Bombers have gotten contributions from the entire lineup. Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres have been factors. Catcher Jose Trevino, who was named an American League All-Star reserve, has been a pleasant surprise.
On the mound, the Yankees have been just as strong, as each of their starters have had moments of brilliance. Not only have Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes led the way, but Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino and Jameson Taillon also have all been strong, making the rotation air-tight. The bullpen has been anchored by right-hander Clay Holmes, who’s arguably been the best reliever in the game with a 0.46 ERA and 16 saves while taking over the closer role for the injured Aroldis Chapman.
Maybe the most underrated area of the Yankees’ game is their defense. They currently lead baseball in defensive runs saved by a wide margin with 54. The combination of offense, pitching and defense truly make them a team with almost no flaws.
It’s not crazy to wonder if the Yankees can make a run at the all-time single-season record of 116 wins set by the 2001 Seattle Mariners. At this point of the season in ’01, the Mariners had a record of 63-24 (.724), not too far ahead of the Yankees’ current 61-25 mark (.709). If they can stay healthy, the Yanks have a chance at catching the Mariners.
Our MLB Power Rankings panel voted the Yankees the consensus No. 1 team for a sixth straight week. Here’s a closer look at all 30 clubs.
MLB Power Rankings
Rankings are determined by staff vote
Records and statistics are through July 10
1. New York Yankees (61-25, Last week: 1): They’re the first team to reach 60 wins, and they achieved it not even halfway through July.
2. Houston Astros (56-29, LW: 2): The AL MVP race feels like it’s between Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani, but Yordan Álvarez is building a case for himself. The 25-year-old outfielder/DH is not only an elite slugger but also an elite hitter. He leads MLB with a 1.058 OPS.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (56-29, LW: 3): Right-hander Tony Gonsolin has been one of the season’s biggest surprises. He’s made the most starts of his career in the first half, going 11-0 (tying Justin Verlander for most victories) and leading the majors with a 1.62 ERA.
4. New York Mets (53-33, LW: 4): Max Scherzer is back, and if his first start was any indication, he looks ready to dominate once again. And with Jacob deGrom inching closer to a return, the duo is as good of a trade deadline acquisition as you can find.
5. Atlanta Braves (52-35, LW: 5): It might be time to start talking about Michael Harris II for National League Rookie of the Year. The center fielder’s calling card is his glove, but he has not looked overmatched at the plate while hitting ninth in Brian Snitker’s lineup. The 21-year-old is slashing .300/.331/.520 with seven homers and has been an above-average defender with two defensive runs saved and six outs above average.
6. San Diego Padres (49-38, LW: 6): Right-hander Joe Musgrove has been one of the NL’s best starters, leading his hometown Padres with a 2.09 ERA to earn his first All-Star selection.
7. Boston Red Sox (47-39, LW: 9): Rafael Devers has entrenched himself as a top-five hitter in the sport. In 80 games, the 25-year-old third baseman is slashing .327/.384/.593 with 19 homers and 51 RBIs.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (48-39, LW: 7): The Brewers had a tough June, going 12-15, but they were able to regain the NL Central lead. Right-hander Freddy Peralta is on his way back from a right shoulder injury, and his return would improve the Brew Crew with the Aug. 2 trade deadline approaching.
9. Philadelphia Phillies (46-40, LW: 13): Well, Kyle Schwarber is doing that thing where he homers twice a game. After Bryce Harper went down with a fractured thumb, the Phillies needed someone to step up, and Schwarber is doing just that, hitting 14 homers over his last 30 games.
10. Minnesota Twins (48-40, LW: 11): The Twins are the front-runners in the AL Central. Carlos Correa has overcome a slow start and is looking like the player Minnesota had envisioned with seven home runs and an .833 OPS over his last 30 games.
11. Seattle Mariners (45-42, LW: 17): AL Rookie of the Year appears to be Julio Rodríguez’s to lose. The 21-year-old’s tools are off the charts with his power and speed taking center stage. He leads all rookies with 15 homers, ranks second in MLB with 21 stolen bases and was named an AL All-Star reserve.
12. Tampa Bay Rays (45-40, LW: 12): Shane McClanahan should be the AL’s All-Star starter. The 25-year-old southpaw has been masterful this season, leading the majors with 141 strikeouts with an AL-best 1.73 ERA.
13. St. Louis Cardinals (46-42, LW: 10): Paul Goldschmidt will start at first base for the NL at the All-Star Game, and it’s much deserved. He leads MLB in OBP (.424) and tops the NL in average (.340), slugging (.610) and OPS (1.034). Also with 19 homers and 65 RBIs, Goldschmidt is the front-runner for NL MVP.
14. Toronto Blue Jays (45-42, LW: 8): One of the season’s breakout stars has been catcher Alejandro Kirk, who was named the AL’s All-Star starter. Kirk has a higher OPS (.879) than teammates Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.829) and George Springer (.821).
15t. San Francisco Giants (43-41, LW: 15): The Giants won 107 games in 2021, but they have fallen back to earth in 2022. After career years from Brandon Crawford and LaMonte Wade Jr. and one last hurrah by Buster Posey before retirement, the Giants don’t resemble the team that won the NL West last season.
15t. Baltimore Orioles (43-44, LW: 20): The Orioles have been one of the more exciting teams to watch, and their seven walk-off wins are second only to the Yankees. Baltimore recorded its first month over .500 since August 2017 with a 14-12 June and, at 8-2 in July, is on track to finish over .500 again.
17. Cleveland Guardians (41-42, LW: 14): The Guardians are still very much in the hunt for the AL Central because they do a lot of things right. They pitch well, catch the baseball and run the bases well. They also have the lowest K rate in baseball.
18. Chicago White Sox (41-43, LW: 16): One step forward, three steps back. That’s what the 2022 season has been for the White Sox. Once thought to be a World Series contender, they’re 41-43 and five games behind AL Central leader Minnesota. It might be time to face the fact that they’re not the elite team many thought they were.
19. Miami Marlins (41-43, LW: 19): Sandy Alcantara deserves to be the NL’s All-Star starter. The right-hander has been the most dominant pitcher in the game with a majors-leading 130 1/3 innings and two complete games. He’s also third in MLB with a 1.73 ERA.
20. Texas Rangers (39-44, LW: 18): The Rangers took a flier on right-hander Jon Gray this offseason, and after some bumps, he’s started to look like the pitcher many thought he could be in Colorado. He has a 3.24 ERA over his last seven starts.
21. Los Angeles Angels (38-49, LW: 21): Shohei Ohtani is making his case to be the first back-to-back MVP since Miguel Cabrera did it in 2012 and 2013. Ohtani has a .911 OPS at the plate since June 1 and has only allowed a .520 OPS as a pitcher over the same span.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks (38-48, LW: 22): He may not make the NL All-Star team, but Christian Walker deserves some love. He’s one of the NL leaders in homers with 21 and has been the best defensive first baseman in the game with 12 defensive runs saved.
23t. Colorado Rockies (38-48, LW: 24): Kris Bryant missed much of the first half with a nagging back injury, but he’s been strong since his return, hitting .371 with four home runs and a 1.021 OPS in July.
23t. Detroit Tigers (36-49, LW: 27): At 39, Miguel Cabrera doesn’t have the power he once did, but he’s still racking up hits. The Tigers’ leader in hits (78), average (.295) and on-base percentage (.333) was a special All-Star selection by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
25. Chicago Cubs (34-52, LW: 23): The Cubs are one of several teams expected to be active sellers at the deadline. Catcher Willson Contreras and outfielder Ian Happ, both NL All-Stars, are the two players who could really help a contender.
26. Pittsburgh Pirates (36-50, LW: 25): Rookie outfielder Jack Suwinski ranks second among rookies with 14 home runs.
27. Cincinnati Reds (32-54, LW: 29): Right-hander Tyler Mahle was starting to look like a pitcher headed out of Cincy as a prime trade target with a 2.58 ERA over his last seven starts. But a right shoulder strain may have put a damper on things. All eyes will now turn to righty Luis Castillo.
28. Kansas City Royals (32-52, LW: 28): If there’s one name to watch before the trade deadline in Kansas City, it’s Andrew Benintendi, who’s back to being a solid performer at the plate with a .317 average and .389 on-base percentage. Defensively, Benintendi has been above average in left field.
29. Oakland Athletics (29-58, LW: 30): Like Cincinnati’s Mahle, right-hander Frankie Montas has been on trade watch since the offseason, but his latest shoulder injury could be the latest misfortune to hit the A’s.
30. Washington Nationals (30-58, LW: 26): Things haven’t gone well in D.C. There was some uncertainty over what the team would do with manager Dave Martinez, but his option was picked up as well as the option for general manager Mike Rizzo. We’ll see if their return means the Nats are committed to making their rebuild a brief one.