When you see the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees at the top of the standings at the MLB All-Star Break, it tugs at the heart strings of baseball historians. After all, it’s two power franchises with a lot of history leading the way in the middle of the summer.
A run through of the TWHS Power Rankings statistical model spits out the Dodgers in first place at the All-Star Break, with the Yankees in second place. That is no big surprise.
The Minnesota Twins are somewhat of a surprise landing in third place, followed by the Houston Astros in fourth and the Tampa Bay Rays in fifth.
A number of stars from each of the aforementioned five teams highlighted the MLB All-Star Game. It was a thrilling Midsummer Classic that resulted in another win by the American League. This has been a really dominant stretch.
But each team’s success – while obviously a team effort – is often the result of one or two elite performances. With this thought in mind – as TWHS has done in recent seasons – here is the Most Valuable Player for each team that landed in the TOP 15 at the All-Star Break. Those other teams will have to settle for a list of “least valuable players”.
KP’s Power Rankings: 2019 MLB All-Star Break – The TOP HALF
Note: Statistics and point totals as of Wednesday July 10, 2019
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (172 points)
This is an easy one (insert heartfelt apology here for SP Hyun-Jin Ryu). It’s Cody Bellinger (.336, 30 HR, 71 RBI), who leads the Dodgers in all major offensive categories. Major League Baseball is already focusing on Bellinger’s Triple Crown battle with Milwaukee star Christian Yelich. Just seek out the #BellivsYelli hashtag if you’re curious.
2. New York Yankees (169 points)
While so many will focus on the big hitters and power pitchers, DJ LeMahieu is the clear first half MVP in New York. He leads the team in batting average (.336) and more surprisingly, RBI.
3. Minnesota Twins (166 points)
Jose Berrios is turning into the pitcher that the Twins hoped he would become. The numbers speak volumes: 8-5, 14 QS in 18 starts, 117 IP and 104 K’s.
4. Houston Astros (158 points)
So many stars on this team, including a lot of productive players on offense. But the real MVP has to be Justin Verlander (10-4, 2.98 ERA, 153 K’s), who received the start in the All-Star Game. Throw in a ridiculous 0.81 WHIP, Kate Upton as a wife and a young daughter, too. The 36 year-old has it all, despite the random complaints about the baseballs being extra juiced this season. Hey, nobody’s perfect.
5. Tampa Bay Rays (126 points)
Charlie Morton (10-2, 2,32 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) has been phenomenal this season for the Rays and deserved the All-Star nod. But can he keep up this torrid pace?
6. Atlanta Braves (122 points)
This is a tossup between Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman, but the nod should go to Freeman considering he leads the Braves in all major offensive categories, including batting average (.309), home runs (23), RBI (68), on base percentage (.394) and hits (110).
7. Boston Red Sox (101 points)
A sluggish start by Boston has all but vanished, with Xander Bogaerts (.294/.384/.535) again leading the way for the loaded Red Sox.
8. Oakland Athletics (93 points)
Many will look to Matt Chapman as the first half MVP, but it’s hard to argue with Mike Fiers as the selection. His 3.83 ERA, no hitter and 8-3 record have been huge for an Oakland team looking to snag another playoff berth.
9. Cleveland Indians (84 points)
The Indians are back in the thick of things, with the Twins very much in reach. Carlos Santana has led the way, posting incredible first half numbers (.297 average, .418 OBP and 19 HR).
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (75 points)
Greinke may be an obvious choice for many, but 25 year-old 2B All-Star Ketel Marte (20 HR, .311 average) has been a steady presence on offense.
11. Washington Nationals (70 points)
Who saw the Nats being this high in the rankings after the way the season started? Thank the steady rotation, led by Stephen Strasburg and first half MVP Max Scherzer (181 K’s in 19 starts).
12. Chicago Cubs (68 points)
Javier Baez still needs to cut back on the strikeouts (108 in 356 AB’s), but you can’t argue the numbers when he makes contact. His 22 HR and 62 RBI lead a Cubs offense that will need to remain steady if Chicago wants to compete for another division title.
13. Texas Rangers (37 points)
One of the pleasant surprises of the year, the Rangers have a two-headed monster in the rotation. It’s tough to pick who deserves the MVP between Mike Minor (8-4, 2.54 ERA) and Lance Lynn (11-4, 3.91 ERA). Give the edge to Minor because of the ERA.
14. Philadelphia Phillies (31 points)
It has been a bit of a choppy and inconsistent first half for the Phillies. Still, the talent remains there. In a tough call, give the first half MVP edge to Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.74 ERA, 124 K’s).
15. Cincinnati Reds (28 points)
The Reds have impressed after a stretch of down years. While there are two 20 HR players on offense, it’s Luis Castillo (8-3, 2.29 ERA, 124 K’s) that has been the star of the first half for Cincinnati.
That does it for the top half of the 2019 MLB Power Rankings at the All-Star Break.
What about the rest of the pack? Because we can’t look away from a train wreck, here are the least valuable players tied to the second half of the rankings (and the bottom 15 teams).
* All stats per MLB.com
The Wife Hates Sports’ MLB Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record. It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system. The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and pitching staff, too.