Categorizing All 30 MLB Teams At The Season’s Mid-Point

We’ve reached the mid-point of this strange, confusing MLB season.  Personally, I thought it’d be more exciting than it has been.  There’s been too many teams that’ve been underperforming. Like, way underperforming.  That’s our first category.

“We were supposed to be good” Category:

  • Boston Red Sox
  • Cleveland Indians
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Miami Marlins
  • San Diego Padres

When I talk about the season of disappointment, these are the teams I’m talking about.  Some of these have similar issues.  The Red Sox and Padres aren’t pitching too well, Boston especially.  The Red Sox have a rotation that’s ERA is 28th in the bigs by ERA.  The walk rate by the pitchers is horrendous.  Their offense has improved, as they’re 9th in runs scored, but certain players just aren’t producing.  The massive Hanley Ramirez contract has been a disaster, as he’s generating a -0.2 WAR.

Bottom line with the Red Sox:  The money they spent hasn’t paid off.  It might be time to truly turn to the young talent they have.

Quick Hits on this category:

  • The Mariners and Indians have both been killed by their bad defense.  The two are 24th and 25th in DRS.  Both teams have great pitching, which is keeping them where they are, sadly.
  • I’ve completely given up on the Marlins.  Jose Fernandez’s return was a great sign, but losing Giancarlo Stanton was devastating.  Their division has two competitors, which actually does help Miami.  Then again, this is a team managed by their GM.
  • I don’t think San Diego needs to blow it up at the Trade Deadline.  They need outfield help.  Flip someone for stronger arms, and a better bat, hopefully on the left hand side of the plate.

“See you next season!” Category:

  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Oakland A’s
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Chicago White Sox

The Reds and Phillies are the two biggest sellers at this upcoming Trade Deadline, and depending on what they do will shift the bigs.  Ryan Howard, even with the huge salary, could be a target for a team like St.Louis.  Chase Utley and Cole Hamels could be moved.  Hamels will be traded.  I’ve been pushing for the Dodgers to make that move, but I really don’t think, at this point, they’ll do it.  They’re fine for now.

The Reds could be floating Johnny Cueto, who’s a free agent in the Winter.  There’s no way he’s coming back to Cincinnati.  Getting rid of him now would give the Reds value out of losing him.  As we saw with Jon Lester last season, the team that trades for Cueto would get two months of him, depending on a playoff run or not.

Quick Hits on this category:

  • As much as I’d like to see Troy Tulowitzki moved, it won’t happen
  • Why are people surprised about the White Sox being bad?
  • All of these teams are going to be sellers.

(Sing it!) “Don’t you…. forget about me” Category:

  • The Whole AL East
  • Cleveland Indians
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Los Angeles Angels
  • New York Mets
  • San Francisco Giants

The Mets are getting overlooked simply because they have the World Series favorites Washington Nationals up three games on them in the lonely NL East (both East divisions suck this year).  The pitching has been phenomenal, and is 3rd in the NL.  I could keep going and going about the names in the rotation, and the insane stats their putting up.  The reason the Mets are getting overlooked is because they can’t score.  New York is 28th in the bigs in run scored, and the highest oWAR (offensive WAR) score they have is being put up by Curtis Granderson at 1.3.  That’s not good.  No one’s batting close to .300 (though almost no one is this year in the bigs).

I listen to Boomer&Carton quite a bit in the mornings on CBS Sports Network, and they’re always complaining about the offense.  It seems like something will happen, I’m just not sure who the right person is.  Maybe Adam Lind?  Or is that a big enough name?  It’s tough.  They’ll do something, and when they do, it’ll make them a whole lot scarier than they already are.

Quick Hits on this category:

  • Still deciding whether the AL East is a disaster or if it’s really good.
  • Yup, it’s a disaster. Boston is 5.5 games back of 1st place and has 41 wins.
  • I still have hope for the Indians and Mariners.  Those were my AL Wild Cards.  That’s as good as they can do at this point.
  • The Angels are in the Mets position.  They’re overshadowed by a more popular team who has a better story.
  • Yeah, the season’s been down.  But they have the AL MVP.  You can’t count them out.
  • The Giants fit this category perfectly.  It’s been and up and down year, but they’ve beaten projections.

“In a galaxy far, far away” Category:

  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Washington Nationals
  • Kansas City Royals

These are the big boys.  The teams that are blowing away everyone.  And not unexpectedly!

Notice how three of these teams are NL teams?  Yeah!  Because the NL actually makes sense!

The NL has the true contenders.  The AL has a bunch of teams we can’t figure out.  When it comes to contenders, we know how they play.  There’s no questions.

The Cardinals have overcome major injuries and off-the-field distractions, yet have 56 wins.  Matt Adams is gone for the year.  Matt Holiday has been hurt.  Jon Jay is hurt.  They keep getting injured, and are still producing.  Their pitching staff hasn’t fallen off since losing Adam Wainwright.  All their starters are above .500, win-loss wise.  The ERAs are in check.  They’re definitely getting help, as St. Louis’ offense is first in the NL Central.

While the NL Central is tough, there’s no reason why the Cardinals will dip in production.  They’re too talented, and don’t forget, they’re playing like this, injured.

“Wait, you’re here?” Category:

  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Minnesota Twins
  • New York Mets
  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Houston Astros
  • Baltimore Orioles

The Twins and Diamondbacks, my local (Twins) and my favorite (Diamondbacks) team (thought I’d make that clear), were the two teams I thought would be terrible this season.  I joked at school before the season “Who’d be the first team to win 70 games?”.  Or, “Will the Twins win 70 games?”, just to piss my friends off.

Technically, we were both wrong, because I got equal amount of crap about the Diamondbacks.  We were both wrong because, well, each team will win 70 games, eventually.  Both teams are doing much better than expected.  Insanely better than expected.

Even though the Twins are five games back in the AL Central, they’re tied for the 3rd best record in the AL.  It only shows you how good Kansas City and their (Twins and Royals) division is.

Look, I’ve finally realized that this team is good.  They aren’t great, but they’re good.  I kept driving the fluke thing before I gave up.

There’s a lot of good things going on with this team, but nothing really explains it.  Their stats aren’t that great.  It’s amazing that this team is doing this well, because there ain’t a lot that can explain it.  Their prospects that they’ve called up aren’t making immediate impacts like others around the league (though they’ve been very fun to watch and are exciting).

Is it luck?  Luck’s a bad term overall, though if there is a sport to use the word in, it’s baseball.  Why?  Because in baseball, we have stats and other things that explain stuff to us.  Those can usually tell you what’s up.  With the Twins, that’s not telling us much.  In other sports, (hockey, really.  Other sports don’t really have advanced stats, yet.) the advanced analytics don’t tell us nearly as much as they do in baseball.  Other sports take chemistry.  Baseball is individual.  One bad performance by one guy can swing a game, or even a season.

But there isn’t a swingman, good or bad, on the Twins.  There’s nothing that explains it.  And that’s why they’re taking everyone by storm.

Quick hits on this category:

  • I’ve ignored the Orioles most of this year because I find them very boring.  Well, it’s probably time to start paying attention to them.
  • The Pirates have won 50 games, and like the Cardinals, have battled through injuries.  The run they’ve gone on has been incredible.  This is a team that’ll become more fun soon.
  • I’ve talked about the Mets, but I really didn’t think they’d be this good.  I thought the offense would struggle too much… Which is starting to come true.
  • The Astros have surprised everyone this season.  Don’t deny your prediction.

All stats are current through Wednesday’s games.