The 2020 NPB season passed its halfway point. With plenty of storylines ahead, it's time for another edition of power rankings of games through the month of August.
A reminder that power rankings are not reflective of win and loss record.
1. [=] Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 37-23-2 (16-8-1 in August)
The defending champions retain the top spot with Yuki Yanagita having an MVP season with Yurisbel Gracial returning to the team. What's even better? Kodai Senga hasn't needed to carry the rotation with others stepping it up. This team should continue their winning ways with minimal flaws. They're also milking out Tsuyoshi Wada with a solid season from him and Shuta Ishikawa rebounding frmo 2019. Nobody has it better than the Hawks.
2. [^] (3) Yomiuri Giants 35-21-3 (14-10-1 in August)
The Giants have had no trouble on offense and others improving without Hayato Sakamoto needed has made a difference. Zelous Wheeler was a steal of a trade from the Rakuten Eagles while Tomoyuki Sugano is on pace for a Sawamura Award. Quietly, Shosei Togo is playing well for their rotation too. Who would have thought Hiroyuki Nakajima Only problem? Their competition is the Central League. Are these numbers all a farce against a watered down league?
3. [^] (7) Chiba Lotte Marines 34-26-2 (16-8-2 in August)
The Marines take a leap after a strong effort from winning. However, their pitching is a concern with several starters giving up runs. What's also deceiving in their record is how they're 12-2-1 against the Orix Buffaloes while a combined 22-24-1 against everyone else in the Pacific League. This ranking is tentative, but the breaks have gone their way up to this point. What's been key is the power from Leonys Martin and Seiya Inoue, but their run differential is currently (-14). They'll still compete for a possible 2nd place postseason spot, but the Marines have their flaws from the rotation.
4. [^] (8) Yokohama DeNA Baystars 31-28-3 (14-11-1 in August)
The Baystars remain inconsistent, but finished with the second best record in the Central League overall and for the month. Keita Sano has been on a tear and the starting pitching has shown they can win games. Offense as a whole is still a question mark, but right now, they're the closest answer to the Giants in the Central League race, emerging from the pack.
5. [v] (2) Rakuten Eagles 31-28-3 (12-12-2 in August)
A .500 month for the Eagles has shown they're human. After the first month of the year, they looked like they can hang with the Softbank Hawks with their offense, but the close games have resulted in losses more times than not. Pitching is suspect, but the main bullpen arms have shown they can close the deal. If anything, the Eagles offense shows they can't be written off in a game.
6. [^] (9) Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 29-30-3 (13-11-1 in August)
The Fighters take a leap and even had a day above .500 in a small surge. Drew VerHagen looks to be a solid import pitcher while Naoyuki Uwasawa's return and the emergence of Toshihiro Sugiura have carried the rotation. However, the bullpen is still a weakness. On offense, Haruki Nishikawa is playing like he wants to be posted and Sho Nakata is providing the needed power. Kensuke Kondo can still hit for average, but there are still holes in the lineup. If anything, the Fighters have overachieved up to this point for a rebuilding group and it's good in the long run that guys like Ryusei Kawano are getting reps.
7. [v] (5) Hanshin Tigers 29-28-3 (13-12-1 in August)The Tigers get a notch down in these rankings for being in the Central League compared to what the Fighters accomplished this month. Their biggest kryptonite is thee Yomiuri Giants, where they have a 2-8 record against them and were shutout for three consecutive games during a series in Tokyo Dome this month.