Every team is obviously on a bit of a different schedule, but we've basically just passed the halfway point of the 2017 season and I can't help but ponder how many actually trustworthy good teams there are.
Past that, what do we really know about any of the good teams? Which are definitely going to continue to be good?
The Diamondbacks have been incredible, but it's tough to 100 percent trust them after last season, right? It's probably not the greatest of signs that I still get messages like "I'm a D-Backs fan, but you have them too high."
The Nationals are stacked offensively and in the rotation, but the bullpen continues to crumble into pieces and they now have to deal with Trea Turner's injury in addition to continuing to absorb the Adam Eaton one.
The Indians are going well now, but every other time this season that has happened, it has been followed by a negative.
And other than that, we're down to teams within a few games of .500.
I often chuckle when fans of other sports -- namely those with salary caps -- preach about "parity." I chuckle because Major League Baseball has as much, if not more, parity than the other major professional sports. Consider this season yet another in a long line of examples, because there are basically two elite teams, a few more good teams and then a bunch of middling ones who might bust through. Or might not.
It's gonna be an unpredictable second half, and unpredictable in sports is fun. Baseball is fun. It all works.
For the ranking comments this week, I'll take a stab at something that will change in the second half. I'll be wrong a lot -- and here come the creative retorts -- because it's gonna be unpredictable. Fun!
|What'll change? They'll add a very good (such as a No. 2 or 3) starting pitcher via trade.||--||85-69|
|What'll change? Cody Bellinger is going to go on a home run drought. Lots of misguided folks will claim the Home Run Derby is the culprit and not simply that he just can't keep up this pace.||--||94-59|
|What'll change? They won't stay in last in the AL in home runs.||3||76-78|
|What'll change? The D-Backs rank second in the NL in team ERA. They have some good arms, but they shouldn't be this good.||1||81-73|
|What'll change? Somehow, someway, by the grace of Dusty Baker's toothpick, the bullpen will get figured out.||1||68-87|
|What'll change? Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor are all having down offensive seasons. They'll get hot.||4||74-81|
|What'll change? Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman get things figured out and the back-end settles down. Adam Warren's return from injury helps as well.||--||78-76|
|What'll change? Cargo has been utterly dreadful this year. He's only 31. He'll bounce back and have a strong second half.||3||56-97|
|What'll change? Jonathan Villar wakes up and starts to party like it's 2016.||4||88-66|
|What'll change? Logan Morrison is on pace for more than 40 home runs. I'll take the under.||2||94-61|
|What'll change? In terms of franchise history, the home run record. Steve Balboni's 36 is going down. MOOOOOOOSE!||6||52-102|
|What'll change? Kyle Hendricks returns from injury and deals down the stretch.||--||80-74|
|What'll change? I'm not seeing them stay above .500. (Of course, I've been saying this for weeks).||4||82-72|
|What'll change? In terms of history, nothing. The Mariners extend MLB's longest playoff drought.||1||84-69|
|What'll change? Kole Calhoun. Yeah, let's go with Kole Calhoun having a big second half.||1||69-85|
|What'll change? Freddie Freeman stays at third base. Yes.||3||99-55|
|What'll change? Several players start to hit better, though Jedd Gyorko suffers a major slump.||6||67-87|
|What'll change? Jonathan Lucroy's down offensive year turns on its head.||7||85-68|
|What'll change? Manny Machado is having a lost season, offensively. I just can't accept this as a reality for a full season.||3||95-59|
|What'll change? The scenery for several big names. Yep, trades forthcoming.||2||86-68|
|What'll change? Gerrit Cole looks a lot more 2015 than 2016.||1||73-81|
|What'll change? They come to their senses and quit playing Jose Reyes? They hard sell at the trade deadline? They fire Terry Collins? Nah, nothing will change here.||2||71-83|
|What'll change? They say goodbye to one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history.||2||72-82|
|What'll change? It's too easy to say Jose Quintana gets traded, but Jose Quintana gets traded.||2||58-96|
|What'll change? The hulking Giancarlo Stanton has never hit 40 homers in a season ... until 2017.||5||79-75|
|What'll change? He's a great story, but Scooter Gennett is definitely due a downturn.||1||79-76|
|What'll change? Brandon Crawford erases a terrible first half with a monster second half.||2||77-77|
|What'll change? The Padres haven't had a pair of 30+ homer guys since 2001. Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe update that.||--||76-78|
|What'll change? It'll finally happen. Sonny Gray will be traded.||8||47-107|
|What'll change? The Phillies haven't lost 100 games since 1961. That changes this year.||--||85-69|