MLB Power Rankings: The first half of 2017 belongs to the Astros and Dodgers
For only the second time in MLB history, two teams in the same season won 60 games before the break
To what extent? We've only seen this kind of dominance from two teams in the same season once before.
Here are the teams that won at least 60 games in a season before the All-Star break:
- 1969 Orioles, 65
- 1973 Dodgers, 63
- 1974 Dodgers, 63
- 2001 Mariners, 63
- 1970 Reds, 62
- 1969 Cubs, 61
- 1975 Reds, 61*
- 1998 Yankees, 61*
- 2003 Braves, 61
- 2017 Dodgers, 61
- 2017 Astros, 60
(It doesn't mean anything, really, but for those curious the teams with the asterisk were the only ones to win the World Series that season).
So while we're always, as fans, technically watching history, we did witness a historic first half. The only other season with two 60-win teams at the break was 1969. Nice, eh?
How about the Astros' lead? They are up a ridiculous 16 1/2 games in the AL West. That's virtually over. It's hard to envision any plausible scenario where they don't win the thing.
"It's only July," Astros leadoff man extraordinaire George Springer told CBS Sports. "The season doesn't end until October. Understand, there are some good teams out there. Our division is really good. No matter what the lead is, we just gotta play hard and attempt to win every series and see what happens."
OK, but he has to say that. He's a player. We fan and media types can tell it like it is. It's over.
"You look at it, you see it and it's way up there, but we still gotta focus on one game at a time," Chris Devenski said of their lead. "Hopefully we finish strong and make a great run in the playoffs."
It seems likely for both the Dodgers and Astros that would be the case.
Moving forward, the intrigue lies in what teams can fill in behind them as truly great teams. If any. So far this season, every time we've seen a team get dominant enough to join the ranks with those two, it falters. We just saw it again. The Red Sox rose to No. 3 last week and stagger into the break having lost four of five. The Nationals sit in third, but just split a series with the Braves, in which they lost one game 13-0. The Diamondbacks had a great first half, but have lost eight of 11.
And by the time I get down to No. 11, it just feels like we're in that big group of mediocrity we discussed a few weeks ago.
The trade deadline comes here in the next few weeks. Within that time, we won't likely see much clarity in the teens.
One thing we can, however, count on is the Astros and Dodgers being awesome. Both have weathered injury adversity and proven themselves in it for the long haul.
||The Astros didn't lose this spot. The Dodgers stole it. They have gone -- brace yourselves -- 26-4 in their last 30 games. Absurd.||1||99-57|
||The Astros are 33-11 on the road, on pace for the best road record in MLB history.||1||95-60|
||They've played roughly .500 ball for the past month, but it doesn't really matter. No one in the East is going to push them, so just get to October and get hot at the right time.||2||94-61|
||Rough close to the first half, but they actually have a 9 1/2 game cushion for a playoff spot.||--||90-66|
||Sure, they open with a six-game West coast swing, but the Indians don't play a team with a winning record until July 31.||1||98-58|
||They've won four of David Price's last six starts and he has a 3.25 ERA in that time. Good sign.||3||91-64|
||Only once since 1948 have we seen a player top 30 doubles, 15 triples and 30 home runs (Jimmy Rollins, 2007). Charlie Blackmon is on pace for 30 doubles, 18 triples and 36 homers.||1||84-72|
||If you aren't taking them seriously yet, I can't help you.||1||82-74|
||The Rays closed the first half strong, winning six of their last nine.||1||76-80|
||The Yankees did not, losing 18 of their last 25.||3||86-69|
||The Royals have a mediocre pitching staff and rank last in the AL in runs scored. They have a winning record. *Shrugs shoulders*||--||76-79|
||That the Cubs aren't in the bottom half says a lot more about the number of mediocre teams than it does the Cubs. This is a broken team right now. Perhaps the All-Star break does some good, but things don't seem fixable.||--||87-68|
||Hopefully Miguel Sano's performance in the Home Run Derby gets him some more recognition among other fan bases, because he is an utter beast.||--||82-74|
||Their top three players by WAR this year: Jedd Gyorko, Tommy Pham and Mike Leake. Just like they drew it up, right?||3||81-74|
||The Rangers rank third in the AL in runs despite being 14th in batting average. Power is good, people.||3||76-79|
||Still hanging around in contention -- I have no idea how, in looking at the roster -- and Mike Trout comes back soon.||1||77-78|
||They won five of their last six games before the break and Starling Marte comes back soon. Don't count them out.||4||71-85|
||They closed with wins in six of their last eight games, then Justin Bour put on a hell of a show in the Home Run Derby, only to be defeated. Boo!||7||73-82|
||Rough last few weeks, but Felix Hernandez threw six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts on Sunday. That's definitely encouraging.||5||75-81|
||Anyone notice R.A. Dickey's last four starts? 1.00 ERA in 27 innings.||4||70-84|
||It seems to me that if they decide to sell, now is the time to move Josh Donaldson. He's a free agent after 2018 and is 31 years old.||1||73-83|
||Their rotation ERA is 5.75. Holy smokes that's atrocious.||3||75-82|
||Jacob deGrom has already allowed a career high in home runs.||1||66-89|
||Only once in franchise history have the Reds had three players with at least 35 home runs (1956 with Ted Kluszewski, Frank Robinson and Wally Post). Joey Votto, Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall are all on pace to top 35 this year.||2||66-90|
||Jordan Zimmermann has a 5.87 ERA this season. He's still due $74 million for the next three seasons. Yikes.||2||62-94|
||Among AL teams, only the Tigers have had a worse bullpen ERA to this point than the A's.||3||72-83|
||Everyone had Matt Davidson leading the team in home runs at the All-Star break, right?||3||63-92|
||Brad Hand is having an excellent seasons, but it's a really bad sign when a reliever leads the team in WAR.||--||70-86|
||This is the team I'm most excited to watch in trade dealings these next few weeks. They could be almost anywhere between "massive sell-off" to "do nothing."||2||61-95|
||In a lost season, at least they appear to have found something in Aaron Altherr and Aaron Nola is throwing well, too. Attack of the Aarons!||--||62-94|
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