Thursday, September 28, 2023
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MLB Power Rankings: Cardinals and Braves continue to surge; Yankees barely clinging to top-five spot

MLB Power Rankings: Cardinals and Braves continue to surge; Yankees barely clinging to top-five spot

The Yankees are having a historically bad second half given their pre-All-Star Game success


Remember when the Yankees were on pace to win around 120 games? You should, because it wasn’t really that long ago. Through July 8, the Yankees were 61-23, which is a winning percentage of .726 and a full-season pace of 118 wins. 

They’ve been bad since then. At 13-25, only the Tigers have been worse among AL teams. They have been atrocious this month, having gone 5-14 in August so far. 

It got me thinking about whether we’ve seen this type of season before. Not necessarily a collapse, but a team playing at a historic pace throughout the entire first half of the season and then just falling apart. 

Sorting via the All-Star break is quick and easy. The Yankees had a .696 winning percentage at the break. Via Stathead, I’ve found 21 teams in the integration era (1947 to present) who hit the break at .667 or better. Among those, here are the worst second-half records, including only those teams that were less than 15 games over .500 after the break: 

  • 2022 Yankees, 10-20
  • 2006 Tigers, 36-38
  • 1978 Red Sox, 42-38
  • 1970 Reds, 40-34
  • 1976 Phillies, 45-36
  • 1952 Dodgers, 45-36
  • 2017 Astros, 41-32
  • 1954 Giants, 40-30
  • 1955 Dodgers, 40-29
  • 2017 Dodgers, 43-29

Yes, there has only been one team in the last 75 years that had a losing second-half record after winning at least 2/3 of their games in the first half. I guess the silver lining for the Yankees is that Tigers team won the AL pennant. Still, this current Yankees slide has them in much more drastic circumstances, perhaps the most extreme splits any of us have ever seen in our lifetimes. You’ll notice most of the rest of the list contains teams that were still pretty good, just not nearly as good. 

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These Yankees right now are not “pretty good.” They are awful. It’s a smallish sample, but consider: 

  • They are 13-25 since July 8. 
  • They are 5-14 in August. 
  • They’ve lost 14 of their last 18. 

It certainly makes ranking difficult. If we only looked at the overall record and run differential, it’s a no-doubt top-five team. But as I’ve gone to great lengths to point out over the years in doing this, the rankings are my subjective intersection of season-long body of work and “what have you done lately?” If I back myself into a virtual “tie” in my head, the tiebreaker is who I think would win a seven-game series between the two tied teams. How many teams would we actually pick the Yankees to beat in a seven-gamer at this exact moment? The list isn’t nearly as long as it should be, right? 

And yet, we cannot just toss out how good they were through their first 84 games. It’s essentially the same team, after all. 

I’ve settled on fifth due to the body of work and the personnel being mostly the same, but I’d be a lot more confident in them falling further moving forward then moving back up. 

We’ll see if they can make the good times roll again, like they did for several months, but right now they look like the most extreme example of a once-elite team totally falling apart. 

Biggest Movers






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In each of the last two full seasons, 2019 and 2021, the Dodgers won 106 games. That’s the most ever in a season for this decorated franchise. And they are on pace to shatter that record this season. 84-36

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I don’t think losing three of four in Atlanta was the biggest deal in the world, especially since they just took four of five from those same Braves. 79-44

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In 30 games since the All-Star break, Alex Bregman is hitting .325 with 13 doubles, seven homers and 26 RBI. 78-45

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They’ve won 11 of their last 13. Another hot finish coming? 75-48

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Aaron Judge’s current home run pace? 61.08 74-48

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They’ve now won seven straight and have pushed that NL Central lead up to five, which is the highest it has been this season. 69-51

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They are 5-14 against the Mets and 61-41 against everyone else. 66-55

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Blue Jays

Ross Stripling has been so important to the club this season, specifically since the start of June. In his last 12 outings, he has a 2.11 ERA. 2 65-55

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Losing a series to the A’s? They just can’t make things easy on their fans, can they? 2 66-56

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Drew Rasmussen is now 3-1 with a 2.09 ERA in his last nine starts. 3 65-55

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Tough week coming, as they’ll head West to visit the Padres and Mariners. 2 64-56

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They have plenty of talent, but at some point they have to start playing better. They’ve lost 10 of 17 and just went 3-4 in a week against the Marlins and Nationals. 4 68-56

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Since July 30, the Brewers are 7-12 and have lost 9 1/2 games of ground on the Cardinals. 1 64-56

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Adley Rutschman might be the best catcher in baseball in 2023. In fact, I’ll predict that he will be. 63-58

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White Sox

After a tough week, the White Sox now have one of the easiest remaining schedules in all of baseball. Can they take advantage? 1 62-59

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Sloppy and just plain bad series in Texas. That hot start is buried deep in the rearview, too, as the Twins have gone 35-41 since May 24. That’s not exactly a small sample. They’re just a sub-par team at this point. 1 62-57

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Red Sox

Nathan Eovaldi has been scratched from his next scheduled start as he continues to deal with neck and shoulder issues. This rotation just isn’t going to cut it. The rejuvenated Michael Wacha can only do so much. 1 60-62

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Evan Longoria’s grand slam on Sunday was his first since 2013, back when he played for the Rays, and that one came off Mark Buehrle. 1 60-61

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Though his tenure needed to come to an end, let’s give a tip of the cap to Jon Daniels. He was the youngest GM in baseball history when hired and was the architect for the most successful run in franchise history (playoffs five out of seven years, including the Rangers’ only two pennants). 1 55-66

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Stone Garrett made his MLB debut this past week and has gone 6 for 15 (.400!) so far, but that pales in comparison to his amazing name. That’s 80-grade stuff right there. 1 55-66

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The Cubs are 17-11 since the All-Star break and have had some pretty damn good vibes. 2 52-68

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Mike Trout is back and the Angels still lost a series to the Tigers. That’s about right. 1 52-69

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Charlie Blackmon has actually had an underrated Rockies career, I think. He’s now second in franchise history in hits, total bases and will move into second in runs soon (he’s 16 behind Larry Walker). He’s also only 15 doubles away from second. Of course, first is unattainable in all of these categories, thanks to Todd Helton. 1 53-70

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Total bummer with Joey Votto being out for the season. He has one year left on his contract, so hopefully it’s a good swan song (I’m assuming the 2024 team option won’t be picked up). 48-71

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Through the fifth of July, the Marlins were only a game under .500 and looked like a possible contender. They are 13-29 and have been outscored 178-98 since. 52-69

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We might be watching his career winding down, so let’s make sure to catch a few Zack Greinke starts down the stretch. It’s been a fun ride. Did you know he’s 20th in career strikeouts? He’s 127 away from 3,000, so maybe he will come back next season? Then again, he only has 64 in 2022 and he doesn’t come off as the type to chase an individual stat like that. 49-74

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Rookie catcher Shea Langeliers has only played in five games since his promotion, but he already has three doubles, a triple and a home run. 1 45-77

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Hey, Eduardo Rodriguez is back! So there’s that. 1 47-76

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Twenty years from now, this Pirates team being 5-1 against this Dodgers team will remain absolutely, mind-bogglingly insane. 2 47-74

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They are on pace to go 54-108. That would be the second-worst season in franchise history, after the expansion Montreal Expos went 52-110 in 1969. 41-82



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