Outside of the regression of the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays and the rise of the Baltimore Orioles, the 2022 season hasn’t seen many big surprises.
Precision favorites – the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Houston Astros – have dominated their respective divisions, while rebuilt teams like the Cincinnati Reds, Oakland A and Chicago Cubs remain bottom-feeders.
With the All-Star break on deck, it’s time to update our rankings for the first time since the start of the season.
Rather than a traditional strength ranking of the strongest teams, our list is based on overall talent level, ability to withstand injuries, management’s willingness to make in-season adjustments, and the possessiveness that is needed to win this year.
(opening-day ranking in parentheses)
New York Yankees (2)
Is this the best team in baseball history or just media hype in the Twitter era? The Yankees are on 115 win pace, but they are 2-3 against the Houston Astros, the team they should face in the American League Championship Series.
Houston Astros (7)
Dusty Baker’s ninth life may be his best management job to date. The hated Astros are America’s best bet for saving us from the Yankees-Mates World Series.
New York Mets (10)
No wonder White Sox president Jerry Reinsdorf didn’t want Steve Cohen to buy the Mets. Spending a lot of money clearly works, and hiring a wiser, older man at Buck Showalter was the right move to take the Mets to the next level.
Los Angeles Dodgers (1)
Freddie Freeman’s teardrop tracks took on a life of their own, but the former MVP made the best lineup in baseball even stronger. With so many current and former All-Stars on the roster, the Dodgers can cruise through the post season without adding up. But they will anyway because they are the Dodgers.
Atlanta Brave (5)
He woke up four games under .500 on June 1 and suddenly remembered that he was the world champion. The Braves went on a 14-game winning streak and challenged the Mets in the NL East, winning 31 games out of 41 in the final weekend of the first half.
Tampa Bay Rays (13)
Starter Shane Baz became the 17th ray player and 12th pitcher on the injured list this week. But you don’t hear manager Kevin Cash complaining about it because the Rays have a lot of depth and play through injuries.
Milwaukee Brewers (8)
The Brewers have no real stars in their lineup outside Christian Yelich, yet they are fourth in baseball in home runs and receiving enough starting pitching to lead the weakest division of the majors. How long can this last? At least until 2023.
Philadelphia Phillies (15)
Replacing manager Joe Girardi with Rob Thomson proved to be the right move for GM Sam Fuld. But they are 3-9 against the Mets, and Bryce Harper is out with a fractured thumb, leaving it to Kyle Schwarber to take the load. So far, so good.
St. Louis Cardinals (12)
The “meh” contender in the “meh” division. The Cardinals should be running with SL Central along with sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, but they are still treading water at the halfway point under first-year manager Oliver Marmol.
Boston Red Sox (17)
They have nothing but a wild-card spot to play for, and two out of three losses to the Cubs sent them into a tailspin in July. Luckily Chris Sells is back to give the Red Sox a lift before their next deflating injury.
San Diego Padres (3)
His late fall last year is fresh in everyone’s mind, so even after another strong start, skepticism remains. Bob Melvin replaced Jayce Tingler, but it could be 2021, after all, it was the players’ fault. Padres fans are piling on President AJ Preler.
Seattle Mariners (14)
give Peace a chance? no, thanks. His epic feud with the Angels turned into a disappointing season. M went 11-1 during the player’s suspension and continued to roar over the weekend with 14 wins in 15 games.
Toronto Blue Jays (6)
Still living away from his potential instead of living, which led to the shooting of Charlie Montoya on Wednesday. Like the White Sox, the Jays still hope their talent will make a difference in the long run. what else is there?
Miami Marlins (19)
The Marlins posted a 2.56 ERA in 15 games from Thursday, June 29, and Sandy Alcantara may be the best starter in baseball. But all that pitching is being wasted on a young team that always has less than a few players to turn the corner.
Minnesota Twins (21)
Give the twins credit for being in the first place for so long. But they had better hang on because Carlos Correa would probably opt for more money after the season. Then it’s back to rebuild.
Baltimore Orioles (30)
Brandon Hyde should be AL Manager of the Year if the Orioles finish above .500 after a 110-loss season. Even the weakest link in the AL East is better than some of the contenders with better records.
Chicago White Sox (4)
Baseball’s biggest bust in the first half? Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa is banging on Twitter, sports-talk radio, and the Sox postgame show. GM Rick Hahn couldn’t be happier with the way his team plays.
Cleveland Guardian (23)
New name, same old team. The Guardians are a young swarm fighting in a bad division by mistake. When players get better, they will be introduced to more possibilities. It’s a vicious circle in Cleveland.
Texas Rangers (20)
The Rangers achieved great success this offseason, setting a record by spending more than half a billion dollars on players, most notably signing Corey Seeger and Marcus Semien to long-term deals. They still suck, and their longest winning streak is four games.
San Francisco Giants (9)
They won 107 games last season but would be lucky to finish .500 the way they have been playing since June. Defensively impolite is a polite way to put it.
Colorado Rockies (25)
Kris Bryant’s playing third base appears to be history, but he doesn’t have back issues, so the Rockies have something to explain if he doesn’t get back in form.
Detroit Tigers (16)
Xavier Baez needed an audience to perform but was somehow injured in Detroit. This should have been the year they turned the corner, but it’s still the same old Lions… I mean the Tigers.
Arizona Diamondbacks (24)
5 starters combined for a 7.93 ERA, so he called on Dallas Ketchell to stop the bleeding. Should we tell them? Nah.
Los Angeles Angels (11)
Firing manager Joe Maddon for Phil Nevin was like replacing Steve McQueen with Don Knotts. The Angels hitters have a strike rate of over 26%, which is worse than many T-ball teams.
Chicago Cubs (27)
A rebuild that cannot be called a rebuild looks like a rebuild that is going the wrong way. But Cubs fans are leading the league in beer-cup snakes, so there is that.
Pittsburgh Pirates (28)
The Bucs lost 21–0 to the Cubs and this was still not their low point of the season.
Cincinnati Reds (26)
At least Joy Voto seems to be having fun during the sinking of the Titanic. The Reds’ only saving grace is getting to play in the same division as the Cubs and Pirates.
Kansas City Royals (No. 18)
Ten players could not travel to Toronto because they had not been vaccinated, which must be an embarrassment to Baseball and the Royals front office. But GM Dayton Moore and manager Mike Matheny are embarrassing.
Citizens of Washington (22)
The nation is not listening to Juan Soto’s offers, which is a delight to fans as he is the only player worth watching.
Oakland Athletics (29)
Four fans at an A’s game were reportedly injured in Oakland by bullets from people who were shooting into the air to celebrate the Fourth of July. Another reason to avoid going to A’s game.