MLB Mid-Season Power Rankings – Top 5 in National League

Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB All-Star Game takes place on Tuesday, July 11. This is a good week to look at the teams with the best shot to get into the MLB Playoffs. Once the second half of the season starts, that’s really all that’s going to matter. That is what our mid-season National League power rankings are looking at.

Check our Mid-Season American League Power Rankings

Every MLB Season, it’s interesting. Teams spend the first half of the season jockeying for position. Then, they make the necessary trades to get into the MLB Post-Season.

Which teams from the National League are looking like MLB Playoff participants?

Check it out!

Mid-Season National League Power Rankings

Mid-Season National League Power Rankings – Current Top 5 Playoff Contenders

1. Los Angeles Dodgers 61-29

Not even the Houston Astros are suited for the post-season the way the L.A. Dodgers are. The Dodgers did what teams that have won the World Series the past few years have done, they went out and built one of the best bullpens in MLB.

Los Angeles’s bullpen is ranked second in MLB. Dodger relievers have a 2.99 ERA. What’s even more exciting is that the Dodgers’ BP has a fantastic 17-8 record. What it means is that often the Dodgers’ bullpen can bail out starters that get into trouble.

Speaking of L.A.’s starters, is there a better pitcher in MLB than Clayton Kershaw? Kershaw has a 2.18 ERA and a .88 WHIP. His record is ridiculous. Clayton’s won 14 games. He’s lost only 2. Kershaw isn’t even the starter in the rotation with the best ERA.

Alex Wood has a 1.67 ERA. He’s 10-0 with a .89 WHIP. Rich Hill hasn’t pitched badly, either. His ERA is a decent 3.69. His WHIP is a good 1.23.

With a great starting rotation, and an unreal bullpen, the Dodgers are fierce.

Questions for the Second Half

Don’t get me wrong. The Dodgers appear destined for a World Series win. You must have a great bullpen, and at least 2 lockdown starters to win the World Series. The Dodgers have that. Dave Roberts has brilliantly managed the team.

But, there is a big question, two big questions, that the Dodgers must answer. First, will Clayton Kershaw be as good in the post-season as he is during the regular season? Kershaw shouldn’t take too big of a step back in the second half.

Once the Dodgers start in the MLB Playoffs, it could be a different story. Clayton doesn’t have a great post-season history. Will history repeat itself with Kershaw throwing duds?

The second question is if, or when, Alex Wood starts to regress. Wood has pitched at such a high-level this entire season that it’s only a matter of time before he hits a bump in the road.

2. Washington Nationals 52-36

It doesn’t get better than the Nat’s starting rotation. Think about it. Max Sherzer, who’s been better than Clayton Kershaw the past 4 years, has a 2.10 ERA and a .78 WHIP. Want to hear something crazy? Scherzer’s struck out 178 batters in 128.1 innings pitched.

Scherzer’s just the beginning of the Nat’s incredible rotation. Remember when the world was hot and heavy about Stephen Strasburg? He still pitches for the Washington Nationals. Strat has a 3.43 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, and a 9-3 record. Gio Gonzalez still heads to the mound for the Nats as well. Gio’s ERA is 2.86. His WHIP is 1.23.

Washington isn’t just about pitching. The Nationals also have one of the very best batting line-ups in MLB. Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Daniel Murphy make up the best three hitters on any single team in Major League Baseball.

Questions for the Second Half

The injury to short-stop Trea Turner, where Turner broke his wrist, is big. Turner is an All-Star shortstop. Stephen Drew has filled in nicely. But, he’s no Trea Turner. Will Turner come back in time for the MLB Playoffs? Probably. Will he be 100%? Who knows?

Turner’s injury isn’t the biggest question. The biggest question is that as great as the Washington Nationals’ starting rotation is, the bullpen is just as bad. I’m not kidding.

Washington’s bullpen ranks third last in MLB based on ERA. The Nat’s relievers have a crazy 5.20 ERA. Washington doesn’t have a true closer, either. Blake Treinen has a 5.73 ERA. He only has 3 saves on the season. His WHIP is 1.62.

Will Washington find a closer? If they don’t, the Nationals could be toast.

3. Milwaukee Brewers 50-44

The Milwaukee Brewers lead the NL Central Division by 5.5 games. While everyone has expected the Chicago Cubs to overtake Milwaukee, all the Brewers have done is increase their lead over the defending World Series Champions.

Questions for Second Half

I wish I could write something ultra-positive about Milwaukee. It’s difficult for me to do so. The Brewers, unbelievably, aren’t ranked in the Top 5 in any pitching or hitting category. They don’t have a single ace unless you count Zach Davies. Davies has a 4.90 ERA. His WHIP is a ridiculous 1.46.

Milwaukee’s bullpen? The ERA is 4.08. And, get this, Milwaukee’s relievers have a 15-21 win-loss record.

Seriously, it’s difficult to see why the Brewers are ahead of both St. Louis and Chicago in the NL Central Division. But, they are!
I suppose the biggest question is this: can the overachieving Milwaukee Brewers continue to overachieve? Cinderella stories happen in baseball. Maybe, the glass slipper fits the Brewers. It’s been looking good on them so far.

4. Arizona Diamondbacks 53-36

Like the Nats, the D’Backs also have two lockdown starting pitchers. Zack Greinke can be flat out dominant. Arizona’s ace is another with a shot at the Cy Young. Greinke has a 2.86 ERA. His record is 11-4 while his WHIP is 1.00. The man can pitch.
Greinke is expected to dominate. Robbie Ray? Not so much. Ray has been a revelation for the fans in the Valley of the Sun. What makes Ray so exciting is his strikeout ratio. Ray has struck out 141 batters in only 106 innings pitched. What’s crazier, and one of the reasons Arizona is a legitimate contender for the NL Pennant, is Ray’s away ERA. Ray has a 1.34 ERA and .99 WHIP on the road.

Arizona is also one of the better batting teams in MLB. It’s led by the brilliant Paul Goldschmidt who has 20 home runs and averages .312 at the plate. Led by Goldschmidt, the Diamondbacks average over 5 runs a game. Their bullpen is ranked fifth based on ERA while the D’Backs’ starting rotation ERA is at 3.42.

Questions for the Second Half

Arizona finished the first half of the season losing 3 in a row to the Dodgers and losing 2 out of 3 to the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are one of the worst teams in the National League. Although every team plays 162 games every season, Arizona can’t afford to lose to inferior squads. The Dodgers have already won 61 games.

If the D’Backs are going to challenge the Dodgers in the second half for supremacy in the NL West, someone else in the rotation, maybe Taijuan Walker, must become as consistent as Greinke and Ray.

Can the D’Backs find that third pitcher to help them keep pace with L.A.? If not, an NL Wildcard Game berth is the most that can be expected for the D’Backs.

5. Colorado Rockies 52-39

The Rockies have two things that should keep them in the playoff hunt during the second half of the season. The first thing they have is one of the best hitting teams in MLB. Colorado’s bats average .270. The second thing that Colorado has is a ballpark that flatters their bats.

Coors Field has the highest on-base percentage and slugging percentage of any ballpark in MLB. The OBP is .342. The slugging percentage is .475.

Questions for the Second Half

Yes, the Rockies hit well at Coors Field. But, here’s the thing: every team hits well at Coors Field. The real question for the Rockies must do with their young pitcher, Kyle Freeland.

Freeland can be brilliant. He almost pitched a no-hitter over the weekend. He can also be terrible. Freeland allowed 5 earned runs off 8 hits in only 5.1 innings versus Cincinnati on July 4.

Jon Gray might be coming around. If he is, he can serve as the Rockies’ ace while Freeland works on being more consistent. Will Freeland do it? We’ll have to wait and see.

What do you think?

Written by D.S. Williamson


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