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Some teams will use the upcoming All-Star break as a reset in the hopes of finishing their 2022 campaign strong. Others may not be thrilled with the three-day gameplay stoppage.
Teams that potentially fit into the latter category are Seattle and Baltimore — two of the hottest clubs in the American League at the moment (yes, the Yankees are still good, too). The Orioles won their 10th consecutive game on Wednesday — their longest streak since 1999 — while the Mariners strengthened their hold on second place in the AL West, with July 1 as their only loss this month.
Where do these two squads, as well as the other 28, stand ahead of All-Star weekend?
Our expert panel has combined to rank every team in baseball based on a combination of what we’ve seen so far and what we already knew going into the 162-game marathon that is a full baseball season. We also asked ESPN MLB experts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Jesse Rogers, Joon Lee and Alden Gonzalez to weigh in with an observation for all 30 teams.
Week 13 | Preseason rankings
Previous ranking: 1
The Yankees remain a historic juggernaut to this point in the season. The team hasn’t had a losing streak of more than three games since May 23 and rank among the top teams in baseball in ERA, OPS and home runs. Catcher Jose Trevino remains a bright spot for this squad and was named a first-time All-Star heading into the break. — Lee
Previous ranking: 2
Every week, it seems, we chime in with another reason why every team in the AL ought to be very worried about the indicators coming out of Houston. Here’s another installment of that ongoing series: Veteran Michael Brantley has been out of the Astros’ lineup since June 26 because of shoulder trouble and there remains no timetable for his return. Houston has not missed a beat in his absence. Since Brantley last played, the Astros have gone 12-2 — the best record in baseball over that span — and have ranked in the top four in runs, batting average, OBP and slugging percentage. Brantley’s injury roughly coincided with the return of outfielder Jake Meyers. Meyers has hit .281 with a .733 OPS over 16 games (including 13 Houston wins) since June 24. — Doolittle
Previous ranking: 3
The Dodgers won five of six games this past week and continue to do an exceptional job of limiting runs despite a relatively short-handed pitching staff. They went into Wednesday’s win with the lowest team ERA in the sport despite the prolonged absences of Walker Buehler and Blake Treinen. Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson have been revelations, but Clayton Kershaw — somewhat quietly — has continued to produce at an elite level. The future Hall of Fame left-hander has recorded 44 outs and allowed only one earned run over his last two starts and boasts a 2.40 ERA in 63 2/3 innings for the season. Next up could be his first All-Star Game start. — Gonzalez
Previous ranking: 4
With the Braves breathing down their necks, the Mets went into Atlanta this week and took two of three. Max Scherzer set the tone in the opener with one run over seven innings. In his two starts since coming off the IL, he’s allowed one run in 13 innings with 20 strikeouts. As expected, Pete Alonso announced he’s back to go for his second straight Home Run Derby championship. He’s also back for his second All-Star appearance, as the players voted him in as the backup to Paul Goldschmidt at first base. Starling Marte and Jeff McNeil were also voted in as backups, although the offense has scuffled the past two months compared to April and May. — Schoenfield
Previous ranking: 5
Even after losing two of three to the Mets, the Braves are 30-10 since the end of May, the best record in the majors. Not coincidentally, Michael Harris II was called up May 28 and Spencer Strider made his first start May 30. Now, to the All-Star Game. William Contreras is in as the starting DH in place of the injured Bryce Harper — while Austin Riley (so far) is one of the biggest snubs this year. Of course, it’s silly that somebody with fewer than 150 at-bats on the season makes it while Riley, who has been so good two seasons running now, is an odd man out. The league should leave the DH roster slot to one player, not two, so you have a better chance of getting the best players to the All-Star Game, regardless of position. — Schoenfield
Previous ranking: 6
The Padres’ offense couldn’t sustain itself with only Manny Machado producing. Somebody else needed to step up, and Jake Cronenworth — easily the Padres’ second-best hitter when Fernando Tatis Jr. is absent — has certainly done so. Cronenworth leads the Padres with an .879 OPS since the start of June, a major boost considering he’s almost always connected to Machado in the lineup. Eric Hosmer, meanwhile, has trended in the other direction, with a .577 OPS over his last 33 games. The Padres are going to acquire more offense before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. It’s just a matter of how A.J. Preller will do so. — Gonzalez
Previous ranking: 7
The Red Sox saw the return of Chris Sale this past week, as the All-Star veteran threw five scoreless innings in his season debut on Tuesday. The team continues to fight with the Blue Jays and Rays for positioning in the AL East behind the Yankees. Boston has gotten a spark plug out of Rob Refsnyder, who has even taken at-bats away from Jackie Bradley Jr. The team’s pitching depth, however, has been tested in recent weeks, with Michael Wacha going on the injured list. — Lee
Previous ranking: 8
Milwaukee lost two of three at home to Pittsburgh and don’t look any better equipped than St. Louis to run away with the NL Central. Keston Hiura is having a good month after struggling, but the Brewers will probably still look to add some offense by the trade deadline. If Hiura can find some consistency, he might be an internal answer. With his OBP hovering around .500 so far in July, he has provided a nice boost for a Brewers squad that, at the moment, is the top team in the division. — Rogers
Previous ranking: 13
Kyle Schwarber’s recent home run barrage earned him his second straight All-Star selection. Hopefully he’ll get to play in this year’s game after missing last year’s with an injury. He’ll also participate in his second Home Run Derby, finishing as the runner-up to Harper in 2018. Sitting on 28 home runs and leading the NL, Schwarber catching Ryan Howard’s team record of 58 is pretty much impossible, but Howard and Mike Schmidt are tied for No. 2 in franchise history with 48. Phillies to lead the league in home runs since 1900: Howard (twice), Jim Thome, Schmidt (eight times), Chuck Klein (four times), Cy Williams (twice) and Gavvy Cravath (six times). — Schoenfield
Previous ranking: 10
What’s happened to the Cardinals’ offense? Despite producing All-Stars in Nolan Arenado and Goldschmidt, the team has produced very few runs as of late. Taking nothing away from Albert Pujols, when he’s your best hitter over the course of a week, that’s probably not a good thing. He went 6-for-16 over a seven-game span but that didn’t make up for struggles from Nolan Gorman, Tommy Edman or Brendan Donovan. St. Louis may need a run like the one they went on last year before it’s all said and done. — Rogers
Previous ranking: 11
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Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has proven to be one of baseball’s top managers during his 3½ seasons with the Twins. And while the Twins have been good offensively with a power-laden lineup this year, this is yet another campaign in which Minnesota has been historically inept when it comes to stealing bases. Through Tuesday, the Twins were just 14-for-25 on steal attempts this season. That puts them last in both stolen bases, six fewer than any other club, and steal percentage (56%). So Minnesota doesn’t run much and when they do, they don’t run efficiently. This is nothing new: Since Baldelli took over after the 2018 season, the Twins have stolen 50 fewer bases than any other club in baseball and are tied for last in steal percentage. — Doolittle
Previous ranking: 12
The Rays, like the Red Sox, are being tested on the mound, as Wander Franco and Kevin Kiermaier have both been placed on the injured list. Tampa Bay notched series wins against division rival Boston and Toronto, but struggled against Cincinnati, suffering a series sweep to the Reds. With a resurgent Red Sox team and a surprising Orioles squad, the team will need its bench to step up to find success. — Lee
Previous ranking: 16
At age 21, Julio Rodriguez is an All-Star. While he’s the only Mariners rep, he is hardly a token selection. Heading into Wednesday, he tied for fifth among AL position players in Baseball-Reference WAR and tied for ninth in FanGraphs WAR. He became the Mariners’ sixth rookie All-Star, joining Michael Pineda (2011), Ichiro Suzuki (2001), Alvin Davis (1984), Matt Young (1983) and Ruppert Jones (1977). The Mariners swept four straight from the Blue Jays, putting them in a tie for the final wild-card spot and giving them six straight series. In going 16-3 over that stretch, J-Rod hit .306/.363/.681 with seven home runs, 14 RBIs and 20 runs. — Schoenfield
Previous ranking: 9
The Blue Jays fired manager Charlie Montoyo on Wednesday in an effort to shake up the team’s clubhouse amidst several stars having disappointing performances so far this year. While catcher Alejandro Kirk has been excellent this season, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette have struggled to follow up on their strong 2021 seasons and will need to be more successful if Toronto hopes to live up to its World Series aspirations. — Lee
Previous ranking: 14
The magic from last season has mostly faded. The Giants were essentially a .500 team in May and June and have been even worse in July, dropping eight of their last 13 games while also learning that veteran starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani will undergo season-ending ankle surgery. Logan Webb and Carlos Rodon have combined for a 1.88 ERA in 16 starts since the beginning of June, but the offense — behind a struggling Mike Yastrzemski — has mustered only a .707 OPS during that stretch. — Gonzalez
Previous ranking: 15
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If you could point to one player as the key to the Guardians’ postseason hopes, it might be massive slugger Franmil Reyes. Reyes looks like someone who can hit the ball far and when he connects, he converts that perception into reality. The problem is how infrequently that contact happens because of Reyes’ ongoing problems with plate discipline. Reyes’ walk rate this season is nearly 3% under his career mark and his strikeout rate is 9.1% higher than his norm. The end result is a 6’5 slugger with a .367 slugging percentage. Cleveland has the table-setters, but Reyes needs to give Jose Ramirez some help in bringing them home. — Doolittle
Previous ranking: 21
There’s signs of hope in Baltimore as the Orioles climb past the .500 mark with their 10th consecutive win on Wednesday night. The team’s bullpen has played a huge role in their success. While top prospect and catcher Adley Rutschman has struggled to adapt to major league pitching since being called up to the big leagues May 21, other stars like Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini have helped anchor the Orioles lineup. — Lee
Previous ranking: 18
Sandy Alcantara, Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Garrett Cooper give the Marlins three All-Stars, with Cooper making it as the injury replacement for Harper. It’s the first time the Marlins have had three All-Stars since they had four back in 2016 with Marcell Ozuna, Jose Fernandez, Fernando Rodney and AJ Ramos. (Rodney had started 2016 with the Padres, but the Marlins acquired him before the All-Star break.) Before that, you have to go back to 2005, when Miguel Cabrera, Luis Castillo, Paul Lo Duca and Dontrelle Willis made it. — Schoenfield
Previous ranking: 17
One bit of solace disappointed White Sox fans might take is the notion that the second half of the season couldn’t be worse than the first. But in baseball, things can always get worse. The White Sox continued to tread water this past week. There has been nothing like a collapse but Chicago also hasn’t gathered any momentum at a point of its schedule that features a lot of games against division opponents. Even the All-Star selection process was a disappointment.
Righty Dylan Cease has been the White Sox’s top performer this season and one of the best 10 or so pitchers in the AL. Nevertheless, Cease was passed over in the early incarnations of the AL All-Star roster, though it’s still possible Cease could make it as an injury replacement. It’s been that kind of a year. — Doolittle
Previous ranking: 19
Texas rebounded after getting swept by the Orioles last week by winning a series against division-leading Minnesota, followed by securing a win over Oakland to start this week. The Rangers have been one of those teams hovering just under .500 for most of the season — their offense and pitching have almost never clicked at the same time. And last week, it was their hitters carrying the load, with Corey Seager homering in four straight games and Marcus Semien continuing a power surge after his extremely slow start. — Rogers
Previous ranking: 20
Angels GM Perry Minasian spent the offseason focused on addressing the pitching staff (rightfully so) but it’s the offense that has become the team’s biggest issue — a byproduct, largely, of inferior depth throughout their 40-man roster. In the seven-week stretch that began with the start of a 14-game losing streak and ended with a four-game sweep at the hands of the Orioles this past weekend, the Angels posted a .633 OPS, lower than that of every team except the hapless A’s. Remove Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, and the Angels’ OPS during that stretch was .575 — more than 125 points below this year’s major league average. — Gonzalez
Previous ranking: 22
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Madison Bumgarner, who pitched seven innings of two-run ball against the Rockies on Saturday, will undoubtedly be a name to monitor leading up to the Aug. 2 trade deadline. The 32-year-old left-hander has the second-lowest strikeout rate and the third-highest walk rate of his career and ranks within the bottom 17th percentile in expected slugging percentage — but he has managed a 3.65 ERA while making all 18 of his starts. Starting pitching is expected to be hard to come by this month, so teams will surely express interest. The question is whether they’d be willing to take on all that remains on his contract, which calls for a combined $37 million from 2023 to 2024. — Gonzalez
Previous ranking: 23
Charlie Blackmon has begun to resemble his old self offensively of late. The 36-year-old outfielder is slashing .317/.346/.552 over his last 36 games, raising his OPS by 83 points during that stretch. Kris Bryant has come around, too, with an OPS of 1.221 in 38 plate appearances this month. The Rockies will gladly take it, given the way C.J. Cron has almost single-handedly carried their offense for most of this season. — Gonzalez
Previous ranking: 25
Pittsburgh struck out a whopping 82 times over the course of eight games this past week, but that didn’t stop it from winning a series on the road against Milwaukee. The Pirates have had a volatile time at the plate lately, which is not unexpected considering the amount of young players that are in the lineup. There were some solid performances on the mound during that time frame, with Mitch Keller and Roansy Contreras producing good outings and Bryse Wilson also throwing well. The Pirates have a precarious hold on third place in the NL Central. — Rogers
Previous ranking: 24
There are few moral victories in professional sports, so playing the Dodgers tough in L.A. last weekend but losing all four games did very little for manager David Ross. It won’t be long before catcher Willson Contreras and outfielder Ian Happ return to Hollywood for the All-Star Game. Coincidentally, they both could be on the move before the trade deadline, as they’re having career years. Contreras is a free agent after this season while Happ becomes one after 2023 — making them both available this month. — Rogers
Previous ranking: 26
The Tigers recalled Akil Baddoo from Triple-A Toledo when the 23-year-old showed signs of improvement after his poor start to the season in the majors. Baddoo was hitting .167 with a .478 OPS over 18 games when he was demoted in early May, one year after Baddoo was an early-season sensation in 2021 as a Rule V pick for the Tigers. After some continued struggles in the minors, Baddoo eventually caught fire and hit .438/.526/.750 over his last 13 games for the Mud Hens before being recalled. In his first game back, against Kansas City on Tuesday, Baddoo had two hits and drove in a run. Last season, Baddoo finished fifth among AL rookies in runs created (61). — Doolittle
Previous ranking: 28
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Once again, Cincinnati is flirting with emerging from last place after a weekend sweep of the playoff-contending Rays. All-star Luis Castillo led the way with a solid seven-inning performance that should have teams salivating at acquiring him before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. Fellow trade candidate, Brandon Drury, had another solid week at the plate, compiling an OPS of 1.040 over the last seven days. Meanwhile, veteran Mike Moustakas struggled, striking out 10 times in 22 at-bats in that span. The Reds could jump into third place with another good week. — Rogers
Previous ranking: 27
Brad Keller has easily been the Royals’ most steady starter this season. He leads the club in quality start percentage (53%) and is the only KC starter with an ERA+ (103) better than league average. No, it’s not Cy Young material, but it’s not lead-the-league-in-losses material, either. That outcome is the fault of Keller’s teammates. Royals batters have scored just 2.2 runs per 27 outs with Keller on the mound this season. Only two qualifying AL starters have had worse run support. — Doolittle
Previous ranking: 29
Juan Soto is finally starting to heat up. He has hit .429 with five home runs in 15 games since June 26 — oh, plus an incredible 19 walks, giving him a .607 OBP over that span. He’ll also be back in the Home Run Derby for the second straight year. He ousted Ohtani a year ago in a memorable first-round battle (Soto won in overtime, connecting on all three of his tie-breaking swings) before falling to Alonso in the semifinals. — Schoenfield
Previous ranking: 30
The focus in Oakland remains on Frankie Montas and Paul Blackburn, who will be the team’s most coveted pitchers heading into the Aug. 2 trade deadline. However, much of the drama around this team is not on the wins and losses of this season, but whether or not the Athletics remain in Oakland beyond this year. Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob said he has a standing offer to buy the team in an attempt to keep them in the Bay Area. — Lee