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MLB standings: Division and wild card leaders at the All Star break

We discuss the MLB standings as we head into the All-Star break.

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after he hit a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on July 16, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

We have made it to the 2022 All-Star break. While it is often referred to as the halfway point in the season, it is slightly passed halfway as most teams have played around 90 of their 162 games. The New York Yankees head into the break with the most wins in the league and are strong contenders to get past the coveted 100-win total this season. Let’s take a look at the standings across the league as we head into the All-Star break.

NL East

  1. New York Mets, 58-35
  2. Atlanta Braves, 56-38 — 2.5 games back
  3. Philadelphia Phillies, 49-43 — 8.5 games back
  4. Miami Marlins, 43-48 — 14 games back
  5. Washington Nationals, 31-63 — 27.5 games back

The Mets find themselves atop the division as they were expected to be. The Braves got off to a horrible start to the season, so getting back to second place is a testament to the moves this team has made and the fight they have shown. This Phillies can’t be happy with third place given their offseason moves. The injury to star Bryce Harper certainly doesn’t help, but Philadelphia needs to make a strong second-half push for this season to not go down as a disappointment.

The Marlins are in fourth place but still within realistic striking distance if they can get hot coming out of the break. The Nats are all but out of it this year, and it is that discourse that likely played into star outfielder Juan Soto rejecting the $440 million offer the team had offered him. With the trade deadline for this season approaching, there should be a lot of action involving teams in the NL East.

NL Central

  1. Milwaukee Brewers, 50-43
  2. St. Louis Cardinals, 50-44 — 0.5 game back
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates, 39-54 — 11 games back
  4. Chicago Cubs, 35-57 — 14.5 games back
  5. Cincinnati Reds, 34-57 — 15 games back

The NL Central is playing out as many expected it to. The Brew Crew and the Cardinals are battling out atop the division and will likely remain neck and neck the rest of the way. The surprising thing for Milwaukee is dominant closer Josh Hader is 0-4, but with 27. St. Louis has their two MVP candidates playing to their potential in Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. The surprise in the division is that Pittsburgh is sitting in third place. This team isn’t nearly as talented as their divisional counterparts, but they are playing to their potential. It just remains to be seen if they can sustain it.

Chicago being in fourth place is also surprising, and they are opposite of the Pirates as they are playing well beneath their potential. They have typically been highly involved at the trade deadline, so we will see if that remains the same this year. Cincinnati deserves more credit than they get being in last place. Remember that not only did their ownership trade nearly all of their best players in the offseason, but they went 3-20 in the first month of the season. They have gone 31-37 since but are expected to finish trading off the rest of their notable roster before the trade deadline.

NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers, 60-30
  2. San Diego Padres, 52-42 — 10 games back
  3. San Francisco Giants, 48-43 — 12.5 games back
  4. Colorado Rockies, 43-50 — 18.5 games back
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks, 40-52 — 21 games back

Hey, guess what, the Dodgers are really good. Who could’ve thought that adding Freddie Freeman would make this team better? Also, they have three starting pitchers that all could easily make a claim for the NL CY Young Award if they keep up this pace. San Diego is expecting Fernando Tatis back at some point after the break, and if they can finally stay healthy, he could be the spark they need to either catch up in the division or run away with one of the Wild Card spots.

San Francisco needs to have something more consistent than Rodon on the mound. He has been great in his first year with the new team, but the Giants are in this weird void of potentially being buyers or sellers at the deadline, depending on what they want to do. They are still within striking distance of a Wild Card spot. The Rockies and Diamondbacks are likely out of contention at this point and will likely offload some players at the trade deadline as they look to bounce back in 2023.

AL East

  1. New York Yankees, 64-28
  2. Tampa Bay Rays, 51-41 — 13 games back
  3. Toronto Blue Jays, 50-43 — 14.5 games back
  4. Boston Red Sox, 48-45 — 16.5 games back
  5. Baltimore Orioles, 46-46 — 18 games back

The Yankees have the best record in baseball and are benefitting from yet another standout performance from Aaron Judge. The brightest spot for New York has been veteran Matt Carpenter, who has hit 13 home runs in only 30 games played. The Rays are in second place and are playing up to their potential before the break. The Blue Jays are on the other end of that spectrum as this powerful lineup hasn’t quite gotten into its groove. If they can use the break to get right and on the same page, they are due for a big splash in the second half.

The Red Sox have been the Rafael Devers show this year as he leads the team, hitting .327 and 22 home runs. Second baseman Trevor Story heads into the break on the IL, but when he returns, Boston has the best chance of jumping up from fourth place in their division, given their roster. Baltimore has seen a string of good luck as they get into the break. They are a handful of games back of a Wild Card spot, and if they can not lose this momentum going into the second half could continue to be just as entertaining as they make their run.

AL Central

  1. Minnesota Twins, 50-44
  2. Cleveland Guardians, 46-44 — 2 games back
  3. Chicago White Sox, 46-46 — 3 games back
  4. Detroit Tigers, 37-55 — 12 games back
  5. Kansas City Royals, 36-56 — 13 games back

The Twins are clinging to their divisional lead with their biggest threat being the Guardians. Minnesota needs to acquire some starting pitching at the trade deadline to help to keep their slim lead. Cleveland is in a similar boat, but with Jose Ramirez in tow, their lineup is well anchored. He can’t do everything, so don’t be surprised if they try to pull off a deal that gets them another bat to help out.

The White Sox’s biggest issue this year has been health. If they can stay healthy in the second half, they are easily within striking distance of the divisional crown. The signing of Javier Baez wasn’t enough in the offseason to keep the Tigers in contention. They will do their best to send Miguel Cabrera out on a high note, but don’t expect them to suddenly experience this huge season turn around to find themselves in contention. Kansas City is still a stone’s throw from the top of the division, but they would need to buy at the deadline, which isn’t expected. We will find out how much heart this team has in the second half, but I think they are already looking towards 2023.

AL West

  1. Houston Astros, 59-32
  2. Seattle Mariners, 51-42 — 9 games back
  3. Texas Rangers, 41-49 — 17.5 games back
  4. Los Angeles Angels, 39-53 — 20.5 games back
  5. Oakland A’s, 32-61 — 28 games back

The Astros have a likely AL Cy Young favorite in Justin Verlander and MVP in Yordan Alvarez. They are banged up heading into the deadline, but they have a large enough lead to take the time to get healthy and not have trouble maintaining their division lead. Seattle made big signings in the offseason, and they started clicking as the All-Star break got closer. This is one team that the break may have come at a bad time if it derails their progress. Catching Houston will be tough, but an AL Wild Card spot isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.

Texas spent half a billion dollars to shore up their middle infield for the next seven years, but Corey Seager is the only one making it worth their money. Tying up all of that cash in two players could limit what the Rangers can do at the deadline, but they have to make a big move if they hope to contend this year. It is honestly a travesty that the Angels now have the two best players in baseball and are as bad as they are. Oakland needs a sequel to Moneyball to kick in at some point, but they are done-zo for 2022.