Tom Greene | July 2nd, 2019
On the first of June, the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Dodgers stood atop their respective leagues. Both were rolling. Both had comfortable division leads. Now, on July 1st, a team has overtaken the Minnesota Twins for best in the American League. Thankfully for our @jball0202 and my friend @Audra_Martin, the Twins still hold an eight-game lead in the American League Central. So, it certainly wasn’t the Twins fault they don’t hold the best record in the American League. This new team has just been on fire. Let’s break down who the best teams are on July 1st.
The AL’s Best Team on July 1st
Is the New York Yankees. At 54-28, Yankee fans aren’t surprised about where the team is at right now, but how they got there. However, the team was not healthy to start the year. Losing Didi Gregorius, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Troy Tulowitzki, and Greg Bird, just to name a few players, left Yankee fans thinking “Will we EVER win another ring?”. But, the emergence of DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit at the plate with James Paxton, J.A. Happ and Domingo German on the mound have kept Aaron Boone‘s squad winning, and his job assured (Yes, we’re dealing with New York expectations, that’s a real thing).
Looking back at the batting, LeMahieu is putting up numbers that we saw him put up in Colorado. Not many people outside of Colorado and Michigan (as he was born and raised in Michigan) heard of him. However, he’s hitting .345, with 12 Homers and 61 RBI’s. Not mashing (to Yankee Standards), but raking. Gary Sanchez, however, is leading the team in Homers with 23. Voit has also driven in 50, and Gio Urshela is batting .303. Needless to say, the offense hasn’t skipped a beat
In pitching, the starting rotation has a 4.24 ERA. This can be concerning to a lot of teams, but not the highest of complaints to the Yankees. If you play at a park where you hit a lot of homers, chances are the other team will hit them, too. German leads the team with 9 wins and Happ has 7. Masahiro Tanaka leads the starting ERA at 3.74. Again, not amazing, but not terrible.
The Bullpen has nailed it down for the Bronx, however. The regular pen’s ERA is 3.11. This also accounts for Jonathan Holder‘s 6.81 ERA. Aroldis Chapman and Adam Ottavino have held down the late innings, with Zach Britton keeping things honest. Truth to be told, the Yankees are scary, and if they become 100% healthy, they could be a dominant force in the postseason.
The NL’s Best team on July 1st
Is still the Los Angeles Dodgers. At 57-29, they still haven’t skipped a beat. In a previous article I wrote, I predicted the Dodgers to hit a cold patch at some point. They still haven’t. The “cool” thing they’ve done was have Max Muncy hit a ball into McCovey Cove that Madison Bumgarner took exception to. (as far as that goes, Bumgarner can fish it out himself if he took exception to it)
In batting, the same guys are doing the same damage. Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo, and Justin Turner are all batting over .300, with Muncy right behind them at .278. Bellinger has hit 27 Homers, Muncy and Joc Pederson have each hit 20. They are mashing. They are raking. They are dominating the NL West.
In pitching, the Dodgers’ starting ERA is under three, at 2.96. With a 1.83 ERA (and this is AFTER getting beaned in Colorado- who doesn’t?), Hyun-Jin Ryu is on track to becoming more popular than Psy in South Korea. Anyone remember the Gangnam Style? Yeah, Ryu seems to be doing that on the mound. 94 times, he’s done it, at least. With that being said, Walker Buehler has lead the team in K’s with 104. In a rotation where Clayton Kershaw seems to be an afterthought, the whole league has been put on notice. The Dodgers aren’t going away anytime soon.
The Bullpen’s regular ERA is at 3.64. In a league that’s gone on the offensive, most teams wouldn’t mind a 3.64 ERA from their starters. They’re getting it from the pen. While Kenley Jansen has 23 saves, Pedro Baez actually leads the pen in ERA with a 2.65 mark. On a lighter note, it probably takes him 2.65 minutes to deliver the ball to the plate. Thanks, Pedro Baez, in advance, for the pitch clock that will most likely be coming to the league. We appreciate it. (We truthfully do!)
Again, the Dodgers aren’t cooling down. If I’m convinced of it, I think you should be, too. Look for them come October.
The Point of it All
We have an All-Star Week in Cleveland (which I will be attending the festivities) to get through, as well as a Trade Deadline. At least three teams (Yankees, Twins, Dodgers) will be looking to add pieces to make a stretch run. This article, as well as June’s, proved that. Where will these teams be come August 1st? The MLB will find out.
Read our previous Best Team Profiles: June 1
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images