Our MLB power poll is back, as we analyze all of the best and worst money teams in the bigs that MLB betting action has to offer through 7/15/13.
1: Pittsburgh Pirates (56-37, +$2,350) (LW: 1): Pirates fans had reason for concern after losing two out of three to the Phillies, the Cubs, and the A’s, but they rebounded with a solid series against the Mets to head into the break with 56 wins. The team is going to get to 82 wins this year, but the question is whether the team is really going to go for it or not. At some point, we think the Bucs need to add another big time bat to the fold to help them get over the top.
2: Oakland Athletics (56-39, +$1,456) (LW: 2): We never would have believed at the outset of the year that the A’s would be the team going into the All-Star break with the lead in the AL West, but that’s exactly what has happened. The team won four of its last six games before the break, and it did so without scoring more than three runs in any of those games. If the Athletics can continue to win games like that in the second half, they’ll be the most dangerous and most underappreciated team in baseball.
3: Boston Red Sox (58-39, +$1,217) (LW: 3): The first half of the season has to be considered a success for the Red Sox, who are leading the AL East. However, with a starting pitching staff that looks like Swiss cheese and a bunch of streaking teams still right in the rearview mirror in the AL East, Red Sox Nation can’t rest on the fact that it has the most wins in baseball, because it could all be gone in the blink of an eye.
4: Cleveland Indians (51-44, +$1,195) (LW: 4): Cleveland is one of these teams that we have just been waiting to fall off the map. However, if you take away a 4-16 stretch of games between May 21st and June 10th, what’s left is a team that is 47-28 and up 23.62 units. There clearly hasn’t been a bigger surprise team in the American League this year, and the argument could be made that the Tribe have every shot in the world to take down the AL Central race this year.
5: Baltimore Orioles (53-43, +$913) (LW: 5): The Orioles have everything working for them at the All-Star break as well, except they have one major problem that Cleveland doesn’t have: They’re playing in the AL East. Baltimore has 53 wins, but that’s only good enough for third best in the division right now. Keep watching though, as the O’s might make some subtle moves at the trade deadline to help out. 1B Chris Davis has 37 homers at the intermission of the season, and he could ultimately get into the 60s this year if he continues to be as hot as he was this past week.
6: St. Louis Cardinals (57-36, +$897) (LW: 6): The Cards enter the All-Star break having won seven of their last nine games to get back in the lead in the NL Central. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt left that this is going to be a playoff team. C Yadier Molina, 1B Allen Craig, 2B Matt Carpenter, and OF Carlos Beltran are all batting at least .309, and both RHP Adam Wainwright and RHP Lance Lynn could ultimately get to 20 wins this season. It’s all good in the Gateway to the West at this point.
7: Tampa Bay Rays (55-41, +$416) (LW: 10): What a hell of a close to the first half of the season for the Rays! We are aware that they didn’t play much in terms of quality foes in the last two and a half weeks, but since June 29th, the team is 14-2, and it has gone from last place in the AL East to a team that is just 2.5 games back with the third most wins in the American League. The schedule will get tougher from here, and Tampa Bay is going to have to buck up in the second half to get into the show, but there is no doubt that the totality of the first 96 games of the season has to be looked at with success.
8: Arizona Diamondbacks (50-45, +$371) (LW: 7): The Diamondbacks play in the most embarrassing division in baseball this year, but they have emerged as the first half leaders thanks to a few unexpected stars. 1B Paul Goldschmidt has rounded into one of the best pure hitters in the National League, and LHP Patrick Corbin is almost miraculously 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA. The rest of this staff is littered with pitchers with losing records though, so if Corbin doesn’t continue to carry the load in the second half, things could get ugly.
9: Texas Rangers (54-41, +$164) (LW: 9): The Rangers might have some real problems in the second half of the season. They have six starting pitchers on the DL going into the All-Star break, and they are without DH Lance Berkman for at least the next few weeks as well. Now add in the fact that it seems like only a matter of time until 3B Adrian Beltre is suspended for 50 games for his connection to the Biogenesis Lab, and the makings are there for some ugliness in the second half if moves aren’t made.
10: Atlanta Braves (54-41, +$134) (LW: 11): The Braves had a ridiculously unlucky last week before the All-Star break, as they ended up losing OF BJ Upton, OF Justin Upton, OF Jason Heyward, and 1B Freddie Freeman all to injury in a span of just a few days. That said, thanks to the fact that the rest of the NL East has been abysmal, Atlanta still has a comfortable lead on the rest of the pack, and a spot in the playoffs really shouldn’t be up in the air at this point. The Braves are in fine shape going into the second half.
11: New York Yankees (51-44, +$84) (LW: 8): So let’s get all of this straight about the Yankees. SS Derek Jeter has played in exactly one game. 3B Alex Rodriguez has yet to suit. 1B Mark Teixeira came back from injury, only to ultimately be knocked out for the year just a few weeks into his time back on the field. OF Curtis Granderson has only played in eight games. 3B Kevin Youkilis has only suited up 28 times. LHP CC Sabathia has a 4.07 ERA. RHP Phil Hughes is 4-9. And the team is still seven-games above .500??? New York probably isn’t ever going to get totally healthy, but as the rest of the season plays out, if this team can somehow keep it together, it could be tremendously dangerous.
12: Cincinnati Reds (53-42, -$47) (LW: 12): Manager Dusty Baker has to be happy with the fact that his team has 53 wins in the first half of the season. However, he can’t possibly be happy knowing that that’s only good enough for third place in the packed NL Central. The pitching staff has done the job all year long for this team, but Cincy could use another bat, perhaps in the outfield to help out an offense that is probably slacking just a bit, averaging 4.35 runs per game and batting .250 as a club.
13: Toronto Blue Jays (45-49, -$305) (LW: 14): There was no greater disappointment in the AL in the first half of the season than the Blue Jays, who took all of their money spent in the offseason and parlayed it into a first half of the season mired at four games below .500. Take out that massive winning streak the team went on in June, and things would be devastatingly ugly. The truth of the matter is that this has been the worst team in the AL East all year long, and it’s not tolerable at this point with all of this money that has been invested in the team.
14: Minnesota Twins (39-53, -$315) (LW: 13): Manager Rod Gardenhire would be in a heck of a lot of trouble if he was managing just about anywhere else in the bigs. In Minnesota though, his job still appears to be safe in spite of the fact that the Twins are 14-games below .500 in the lackluster AL Central. There aren’t enough bats and there surely aren’t enough starting pitchers, and what little is here in the Great Lakes will probably be up for sale right after the All-Star break is said and done with.
15: Chicago Cubs (42-51, -$342) (LW: 19): The Cubs closed out the first half of the season with a mixed bag of results, but they have the makings there for a franchise that is on the up and up. These young starting pitchers have had great seasons, and once Matt Garza is traded for another haul of prospects, it is very clear that Chicago is going to be just two years or so away from contending as one of the top teams in baseball. The wins aren’t there now, but Theo Epstein knows what he’s doing.
16: Philadelphia Phillies (48-48, -$396) (LW: 21): The Phillies won eight of their last 11 games before the All-Star break, and they are back at .500. It’s a precarious position to be in, as it’s sort of No Man’s Land in terms of the trade deadline. Trading LHP Cliff Lee and perhaps some others could put the Phils in a position to rebuild quickly after this year. Keeping Lee is going to cost oodles of money, and eventually, he is going to end up falling apart at some point at the tail end of this contract that he is currently under. We definitely don’t envy GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. for the decisions he has to make in these next two weeks.
17: Colorado Rockies (46-50, -$495) (LW: 22): The Rocks are going to get back to their offensive ways at some point now that both OF Carlos Gonzalez and SS Troy Tulowitzki are back in the lineup together, but there is a real question as to whether or not there is enough time and enough energy to get back in the thick of the fight in the NL West. This might be the only team in baseball that enters the break below .500 that could reasonably be a buyer at the trade deadline and make it pay off.
18: Houston Astros (33-61, -$544) (LW: 18): Believe it or not, the Astros are still going in the right direction even though they are on a pace to lose over 100 games again this season. 2B Jose Altuve has been locked up for the next several years, and the team watched at the end of the first half of the season as it got an insanely good start out of RHP Jarred Cosart, who is one of the many pitchers who will be helping reshape this franchise going forward. Sometimes, you have to stink out loud before you can get better, and Houston is doing a great job of being bad.
19: Seattle Mariners (43-52, -$599) (LW: 20): Seattle’s first half of the season can be summed up as such: RHP Felix Hernandez and RHP Hisashi Iwakuma are 18-8 with a combined ERA of 2.77 ERA. The rest of the team is 25-44 with a combined ERA of 4.87. 3B Kyle Seager, 1B Kendrys Morales, and OF Raul Ibanez have combined to drive in 154 runs this season. The rest of the team has combined to drive in 206 runs. To say that Seattle needs a few more role players is like saying that Amanda Bynes needs some counseling.
20: Kansas City Royals (43-49, -$617) (LW: 17): Getting swept by the Indians at Progressive Field was likely the end of the season for the Royals. They really tried their best to get back in the thick of the fight, but being six-games under .500 through 92 games just isn’t conducive to getting back into the swing of things. The pitching staff has been rebuilt with a bunch of new starters, but KC apparently still has a lot of holes to fill if it is going to be a contender for the postseason going forward.
21: San Diego Padres (42-54, -$646) (LW: 15): San Diego closed out the first half of the season losing 12 of its last 14 games, and it’s a shame to think of that after the club fought to get above the .500 mark. Now, the Padres are back to being just the Padres, and this is another year of shopping around the best players on the team to see what could be gotten for them at the trade deadline. Another last place finish in the NL West seems inevitable.
22: Washington Nationals (48-47, -$767) (LW: 16): The Nats are going to go into the break above .500, but it isn’t a pretty above .500 by any stretch of the imagination. The team is still six back of the Braves in the NL East, and that isn’t going to cut it for a team that was expected to be dominating this year. Washington has a lot of work to do with a lineup that ranks 20th or worse is literally every single major offensive category. We know the Nationals Park isn’t hitting friendly, but this is a tad ridiculous.
23: New York Mets (41-50, -$794) (LW: 26): The Mets probably didn’t have quite as disastrous of a first half of the season as some would have thought, and if nothing else, they proved that they have some starting pitchers that are going to be worthwhile down the line. The combination of RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Jeremy Hefner, RHP Dillon Gee, RHP Zack Wheeler, and LHP Jon Niese is actually rounding into a darn good rotation, and if this unit can stay healthy, the Metropolitans will have something to root for down the line.
24: Miami Marlins (35-58, -$801) (LW: 24): The Marlins might lose 100 games, but they aren’t the most disgraceful team in the history of the game as many thought they had the ability to be at the outset of the season. They went into June without a series win against any team outside of the Mets, but they have since really turned it on and have played .500 baseball over the course of the last month and a half. Still, the purge is clearly going to continue, as LHP Ricky Nolasco has already been shipped off. Is 1B Giancarlo Stanton next?
25: Los Angeles Dodgers (47-47, -$1,034) (LW: 26): Just the fact that the Dodgers have gotten back to the .500 mark is out of this world. This was a team that was a wreck for easily 2+ months, and Manager Don Mattingly was on the verge of getting fired a number of times in that stretch. However, since that point, Mattingly has turned it around, as has the rest of the team, and it’s thanks to OF Yasiel Puig and SS Hanley Ramirez, who have gotten in the lineup and have really lit the world on fire. It will be interesting to see how this team manages in the NL West in the second half.
26: Detroit Tigers (52-42, -$1,054) (LW: 23): The Tigers might win the AL Central this year, but it’s so darn impossible to bet on this team on a nightly basis any longer. The numbers on RHP Max Scherzer are clearly starting to get insane, and they are remaining absolutely crazy on RHP Justin Verlander as well. The truth of the matter is that, considering how well Scherzer pitched in his 13-1 first half of the campaign, it’s a sin that the rest of this team is below .500 considering how many superstars are on the roster. Detroit had best be thanking its lucky stars that it is in the AL Central and not the AL East, where it would barely be in third place at the break.
27: San Francisco Giants (43-51, -$1,524) (LW: 27): Are the defending champs going to be sellers at the trade deadline? There’s a decent chance that could turn out to be the case when push comes to shove. The Giants are eight-games under .500, though there definitely is a chance that the no-hitter pitched by RHP Tim Lincecum could be the shot in the arm that the club needs to get back in the chase in a still very wide open NL West.
28: Chicago White Sox (37-55, -$1,784) (LW: 30): The White Sox are already planning on their mass exodus of stars at the deadline, and they have a chance to rebuild their farm system by getting rid of LHP Chris Sale and OF Alex Rios, perhaps amongst others. This team just hit the skids around 40 games ago, and it has never managed to get back in the saddle since that point. Now comes the long decline through the dog days of summer, when it will be clear that this team will be one of the worst in the game.
29: Milwaukee Brewers (38-56, -$1,868) (LW: 29): Milwaukee wrapped up the first half of the season with just a 16-30 record on the road, a miserable mark for a team that truly hoped to be competitive this year in the NL Central. Instead, it’s going to be nothing but a long summer for the Brew Crew, who are inevitably going to be losing OF Ryan Braun at some point to what could be a damning suspension for his connection to the Biogenesis Lab.
30: Los Angeles Angels (44-49, -$1,871) (LW: 28): The Angels are still in a lot of trouble at this point. Yes, they’re playing a lot better baseball than they were at the outset of the season, and they still have a team that we think can roll off 10 games in a row without batting an eyelash. However, the bottom line for LA is that it has just 69 games left in the season, and it is 11 back of the A’s at the top of the AL West and nine back of the Rangers in a division in which only one team might get into the show. We’ve got to think that it is going to take at least 90 wins to get into the playoffs, and even that might not be enough. In order to get there, the Halos have to go 46-23, or play .667 baseball the rest of the way. It’s a tough task for sure.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.