We’re a few weeks into the new MLB season and it’s already been an intriguing one. The new 60-season format has had its fair share of complications with COVID-19 induced postponements, and significant injuries to players such as Justin Verlander, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Corey Kluber.
That being said, it’s been an absolute joy having MLB back on our screens. With the games happening thick and fast, it also means that it’s time to update the power rankings based on the way the teams have started. Let’s take a look at how the teams have performed in the first couple of games, how the COVID-19 postponements have affected the standings, and the top ten in the power rankings right now.
How have the teams performed so far?
There were a number of teams that we expected to have hot starts, in this 60-game sprint, and they’ve done just that. The Astros and the A’s have started as we predicted and are tied in the lead in the AL West; while the Twins, Braves, and Yankees are all in the top spot in their divisions. While the Dodgers aren’t in first place, they are looking particularly lethal.
The short season means that there is an urgency in every game that we aren’t used to. This means that the teams who have started the fastest are looking a lot more interesting than they were expected to — take the Padres for example. The next two months are going to be incredibly exciting and it's important to keep your eyes on the MLB betting odds and picks to keep up-to-date with the ever-changing predictions.
Unfortunately, the MLB has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Miami Marlins, in particular, being hard hit. At least 17 of their players and staff tested positive, and the whole team had to quarantine in Philadelphia after their opening game against the Phillies. The Marlins’ games were postponed throughout the entire week from that point. These are some of the postponements that have taken place:
- The Phillies game against the Yankees on Monday, July 27 was postponed, as was the Orioles vs. Marlins. The same went for their games due to be played on Tuesday, July 28.
- On Wednesday, July 28, the Phillies at Yankees and Orioles at Marlins was postponed and replaced by the Yankees at Orioles, with the same happening for the Thursday, July 29 games.
- Friday, July 31 saw the postponement of Cardinals at Brewers; Phillies at Blue Jays; Nationals at Marlins.
- Saturday, August 3rd brought the postponement of Cardinals at Brewers again, this time after four more Cardinals tested positive for COVID-19.
- Monday, August 3rd resulted in the four-game series between the Cardinals and Tigers being postponed after MLB released a statement saying "the Cardinals have had 13 members of the organization test positive for COVID-19 in the last week, including seven players and six staff members.”
How these postponements impact the performance of the affected teams remains to be seen throughout the season, but it’s likely that there will be a shift in MLB betting lines, as they take the growing COVID-19 ‘injured list’ into consideration.
Although they started the season second in the power rankings, the Yankees have come out of the break looking hot. Their offense is looking just as lethal as it is on paper, with Aaron Judge getting two homers against the Red Sox to bring his total up to six this season. Giancarlo Stanton is also looking locked in and Aroldis Chapman is finally allowed to pitch. The only concern could be Tommy Kahnle, who looks like he might be headed for surgery. It looks like the depth in the bullpen could be tested.
We don’t expect the Dodgers to stay in second place for long. Given that Clayton Kershaw only had his first start on Sunday and had a strong outing, Walker Beuhler hasn’t really had much time on the pitch, and Cody Bellinger only got his first home run in 36, we expect the team to go from strength to strength. They have the best run differential in the majors, 5 2/3 scoreless innings, six strikeouts, and no walks. They are certainly a force to be reckoned with!
Nelson Cruz just doesn’t seem to let up and it looks like the Twins are going to score endless homers again this season. Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill have had strong starts, and Taylor Rogers looks like the best closer in the league. In fact, the Twins, on average, are outsourcing their opponents by 26-to-5 in the first two innings of their games at the moment.
There is some concern about the number of rookies included in this Astros team. With 10 of these being in pitching positions, there could be an issue in the team’s depth and quality, with Justin Verlander out and closer Roberto Osuna injuring his arm on Saturday. However, they have had a hot start and it’s just a matter of time until we see whether having Ryan Pressly as the only non-rookie in the bullpen is going to cause problems.
Mike Soroka and Max Fried have been the best players for the Braves and have combined for a 1.95 ERA twice through the rotation. The bullpen has been strong and with an average of 6.2 runs a game, the offense is looking rather lethal too. The problem comes in their rotation. Ronald Acuna Jr. seems to be striking out for fun and Mike Foltynewicz is not at his best. The Braves will need to address their starting pitching problems.
The Rays offense has fallen horribly short at the start of the season, with under .200 from half of the lineup and a sweep to forget against the Orioles. Luckily, their pitching is incredibly strong. It’s hoped that the return of Austin Meadows, who tested positive for COVID-19, will help them put a run together to at least attempt to challenge the Yankees in the AL East.
Pitching-wise, the A’s don’t have much of a problem and we’re yet to see the best of rookie Jesus Luzardo from the bullpen, and hopefully, A.J. Puk will make a timely return from his shoulder issues. Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Marcus Semien haven’t been abysmal in the offense, but Khris Davis really needs to pick up his game if we are to see anything special from the A’s this season.
Shane Bieber has been at his very best in the majors. With no runs allowed, 27 strikeouts, and alongside Zach Plesac’s 11 K’s and no runs in his first start, it’s safe to say that their starting rotation is strong. Their offense, however, is entirely another matter. It’s very likely that the rotation could take the Indians through as a playoff team, but relying on Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, and Jose Ramirez is unlikely to take them any further.
Tyler Chatwood has had a strong start to the season, winning both his starts and allowing one run with 19 K’s in 12 ⅔ innings. However, Craig Kimbrel doesn’t look like he’s found his form at all. The Cubs have the largest lead in all six divisional races at 2 ½ in NL Central. The concern for the cups comes in the form of their bullpen, who had an MLB-worst 9.75 ERA going into the Pirates game on Sunday. However, four of their pitchers combined for five scoreless frames, could this mean that there is more strength in their bullpen than they are given credit for? It remains to be seen.
There’s no way around the fact that the Nationals haven’t had the best start. Although, keep in mind that Juan Soto and Stephen Strasburg haven’t played yet, and their series against the Marlins was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Marlins team. Soto will be ready to return to the fold this week and Strasburg should be throwing in the bullpen. The Nationals will undoubtedly come back a lot stronger with these two players back in the ranks.
The rest of the rankings
14) White Sox
19) Blue Jays
22) Red Sox
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The power rankings are bound to change as we get further into this shortened season. It’s essential that you are on top of the latest MLB odds to keep up. This is an unprecedented season and no one knows exactly what will happen. However, having MLB back on the screen is giving us all a sense of hope in what has been a hard year. We are bound to see some exciting games and intriguing results this season. You can catch all this sports betting action with BetMGM sportsbook casino. Register today!