Mid-Season MLB Report Cards
CHICAGO (52-32) - Maybe it's crazy to have the NL All-Star starting infield be all members of these Cubs but gotta say 3B Kris Bryant and 1B Anthony Rizzo have legit MVP credentials right now and little has gone wrong for Joe Maddon's crew save for that recent four-game sweep at the hands of the Mets. Some in-the-know folks say the Cubbies have "come back to the pack" a bit, but, hey they're still 20 games north of .500 and still the best story in the senior circuit.
SAN FRANCISCO (54-33) - Gotta admit we thought the every-other-year-win-the-World Series Giants would be slightly improved with the free-agent additions of RHPs Johnny Cueto (13-1) and Jeff Samardzija (8-5) but even Hall of Fame skipper Bruce Bochy has outdone himself so far in 2016.
WASHINGTON (51-35) - Dusty Baker's magical arrival as manager of this once-dysfunctional crew wound up being the biggest off-season move of 'em all and we're still waiting for RF Bryce Harper to "take off" following last year's MVP campaign.
MIAMI (44-41) - Heck, the Marlins have been without star 2B Dee Gordon for weeks now but they haven't missed a beat and now OF Giancarlo Stanton is heating up ... well done, first-year boss Don Mattingly.
PHILADELPHIA (40-46) - The Phillies won't scare anyone with the league's 14th most productive offense (a minus 82 in runs differential, you'll note) but they win plenty of close games and closer Jeanmar Gomez is 23-of-25 in save opportunities.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS (48-39) - No LHP Clayton Kershaw for these past 10 days (or two starts) and still LA's 7-3 in these games and hanging tough while just six games back of San Fran and right there for a wild card.
COLORADO (38-46) - No question Rockies have exceeded expectations thus far but it bothers us they're 18-20 at home.
NEW YORK METS (46-38) - Don't mean to be rough on the defending NL champs but the offense has been horrific at times (see first half of 2015) and that glittery starting rotation has hit plenty of rough spots with RHP Matt Harvey now hurtin' again.
MILWAUKEE (37-47) - There's been plenty of positives for a Brewers crew that has good chance to beat 71.5 wins (their '16 wins projection). Solid job by young manager Craig Counsell even if they hit out of order sometimes!
PITTSBURGH (44-41) - Gotta hand it to the Pirates for not waving the white flag on this '16 season but still Buccos dug deep hole and two weeks ago we would've given them an "F".
SAN DIEGO (37-48) - Fact of matter is Padres entered campaign with wins projection of 74 so they are halfway there and, well, pretty much where folks expected 'em to be at this stage.
ST. LOUIS (43-41) - The Cardinals are a plus 75 in run differential and yet just two games above .500 ... not good. At season's start there were folks waiting for the Redbirds to falter and those guys/gals may be prophets.
ATLANTA (28-57) - Okay, so the Braves have perked up a bit in recent weeks but this has been an unmitigated disaster in the swan song season for Turner Field.
CINCINNATI (32-54) - Firing your pitching coach ain't gonna save this season.
ARIZONA (38-49) - All the hoopla that preceded this 2016 season and here's the Diamondbacks essentially playing out the string days before the All-Star Game break. True, season-ending injury to CF A.J. Pollock right before season started was a killer but do you believe this staff is 13th in the NL in team ERA (4.77)?
TEXAS (53-34) - Best team in AL showing a little wear-and-tear at this stage (see 3-7 in last 10) but second-year manager Jeff Banister has pushed all the right buttons and how about all this winning with RHP Yu Darvish giving 'em all of three starts?
CLEVELAND (51-34) - Gotta say not many teams could lose their best hitter (OF Michael Brantley, only 39 at-bats) practically the entire season and still be playing .600 ball. The rotation is second-to-none and isn't it about time we heard RHP Danny Salazar's name as a Cy Young candidate (see 10 wins, 2.36 ERA)?
BALTIMORE (49-35) - The Birds are 31-13 at home and a rock-solid 22-13 against fellow AL East teams and dare we say most baseball fans couldn't name three guys in their starting rotation ... so manager Buck Showalter and Company are doing plenty of things right and not just smacking dingers (see AL-best 131 home runs).
BOSTON (46-38) - That's no typo, the Red Sox team ERA is a bloated 4.52 (10th-best in the junior circuit) and can you imagine where they'd be if LHP David Price was the ace?
TORONTO (49-39) - No question the Blue Jays are starting to fit all the puzzle pieces together quite nicely with a six-game winning streak while heading into this on-going four-game weekend series versus Detroit. Still, this is a team that was expected to be right there in the AL East and so the Jays are right around where they should be.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX (44-41) - Real Jekyll and Hyde season for the Pale Hose who've managed to stay on the plus side of .500 even though Chisox can't count on anyone but LHP Chris Sale (14 W's) to win a start.
DETROIT (45-41) - Recent hot streak by the Tigers has saved the season (and saved manager Brad Ausmus' job) and where on earth would Motowners be without rookie RHP Michael Fullmer (9 wins)?
HOUSTON (46-40) - It's been a long climb back from that rotten start for the 'Stros but keep in mind the "experts" said this AL West crew would win 86 games. Yes, 2B Jose Altuve (.346 BA and .418 on-base percentage with 64 runs scored) is your MVP frontrunner at press time.
SEATTLE (43-43) - Season fell apart a couple of weeks back when M's were swept by the Rangers and when RHP Felix Hernandez went to the sidelines.
KANSAS CITY (44-41) - Defending world champs simply have been one of MLB's biggest enigmas but why be surprised with this shaky starting rotation? Come back, Johnny Cueto!
NEW YORK YANKEES (42-43) - So what that the Yanks have the proverbial "big three" at the back of their bullpen with All-Stars Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller plus closer Aroldis Chapman ... they still stink plus they're boring!
OAKLAND (37-49) - No-name A's rank 12th in the league in runs scored, 12th in home runs and 14th in team ERA ... 'nuff said, folks.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS (36-50) - Gotta say we absolutely hate the way the Halos have fallen apart this year; yes, there's key injuries to the rotation and CF Mike Trout gets precious little support in this lineup (see next-to-last in the league in total home runs with 84). As we said in an earlier-week Jim Sez, manager Mike Scioscia should have been given the heave-ho a long time ago.
TAMPA BAY (34-51) - We're ashamed to admit we though the 2016 Rays would win it all! Pathetic efforts produced 17 losses in a 21-game stretch.
MINNESOTA (30-55) - Things went ker-plunk right out of the starting gate and Twinkies just hope to avoid 100 losses.