Mid Season MLB Report Cards – American League

Bob Melvin grew up in the Bay area, and has the pulse of both of his team and the fanbase.  He has brought in a winning attitude and accountability among his players.  Melvin loves to platoon players, work matchups, and tweak his players 1 - 25 for the purpose of winning games.  Can the Oakland Athletics head back to the ALCS for the 1st time since 2006?  Or even help his team make the World Series for the 1st time since 1990?  Oakland has been had plenty of injuries, and Melvin has pressed the right buttons.  This team's depth is why they are so good.

Bob Melvin grew up in the Bay area, and has the pulse of both of his team and the fanbase. He has brought in a winning attitude and accountability among his players. Melvin loves to platoon players, work matchups, and tweak his players 1 – 25 for the purpose of winning games. Can the Oakland Athletics head back to the ALCS for the 1st time since 2006? Or even help his team make the World Series for the 1st time since 1990? Oakland has been had plenty of injuries, and Melvin has pressed the right buttons. This team’s depth is why they are so good.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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When we determine the reports cards for each of the teams, a lot of weight will be given to what expectations are, and if they are met are not.

There are variances with each club that come into play whereas we may say the team receives a slight pass on some of the issues they have had to endure.

The Texas Rangers come to mind with about 20 DL Stints, and the Yankees losing 4/5ths of their roster.

One thing we have definitely seen a spike in is long term injuries to pitchers and position players.  It has actually leveled the field or mid to low market franchises.

Seeing Billions of dollars on the shelf for clubs that have high payroll is equaling out the playing field.

The A’s do better because their 1 – 25 roster is not much in differential between salaries, and if they occur an injury, the next man up isn’t costing them money to replace.

The Yankees in contrast, have two pitchers in Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia drawing about the Miami Marlins Payroll for the year, and are both likely sidelined for the remainder of the season.

It has become a war of attrition out there.  You even have to consider Clayton Kershaw is being paid about a $1 MIL per start.

Can you imagine if he had to go through Tommy John Surgery?  I mean Tanaka is technically making just over $22.16 MIL per year he is in operation.

Enough of that chatter, that is a topic for another blog…. I digress.

Buck Showalter may finally break the curse of his previous managerial jobs - where his teams become stagnant after a few years.  He has help the club ply through many injuries and inconsistent play so far this year.  They are pretty much healthy - and could really put a dent into the AL East in the 2nd half.  The O's seek their 1st division pennant since 1997.

Buck Showalter may finally break the curse of his previous managerial jobs – where his teams become stagnant after a few years. He has help the club ply through many injuries and inconsistent play so far this year. They are pretty much healthy – and could really put a dent into the AL East in the 2nd half. The O’s seek their 1st division pennant since 1997.

Division             GBL Letter Grade

AL EAST

1.  BAL 52 – 43 – A-

When you consider this team has had brutal offense averages from Chris Davis, little power from J.J. Hardy, has been without Manny Machado for several pockets of games, and are without ALL – Star Catcher Matt Wieters, these guys have overachieved.

Chris Tillman has thrown well for the majority of starts, while Ubaldo Jimenez has been the other way.

Nelson Cruz is the best Free Agent Signing, and Steve Pearce is rivaling J.D. Martinez for the unsung hero of the AL.

Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman have emerged to give the O’s the depth they missed last year.

The management still must realize this window will be a short one where the Yankees and Red Sox are bad, so trade for some more reinforcements.

2. TOR 49 – 47  3 GBL (C+)

This team was propelled to 1st place on the strength of a superhuman power effort by Edwin Encarnacion (5 Multi HR efforts in about a month) and Mark Beuhrle’s quick 10 – 1 ace like start.

The law of averages have kicked in, and everyone else is not picking up the slack.

Jose Bautista is playing his best baseball in a few years, and the teams hold 6 double digit HR players, but there Bullpen has let them down a little bit.

Injuries to EE,  Adam Lind, and Brett Lawrie expose the team, and has them susceptible to worse play in the 2nd half.

Alex Anthopoulos will have another season be rippled by health.

3. NYY  47 – 47 4 GBL (C)

I gave this team a C rating simply because of injury and Pytherogen Theory suggesting they should be 4 or 5 games worse.

Joe Girardi has done another masterful job of keeping this team relevant.

Horrible marks for Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann having brutal 1st halfs, and also the newly released Alfonso Soriano.

Ichiro Suzuki batting near .300 is a nice surprise, Derek Jeter playing regularly is a good story – and Brett Gardner has has a nice 1st half.

The Bullpen is way better than anyone had anticipated, and that is due to the efforts for Dellin Betances, David Robertson and Adam Warren most namely.

T4.  TB  44 – 53 – 9.5 GBL (C)

Being better of late (20 – 11) doesn’t erase a 24 – 42 start.  Wil Myers hurt and having a sophomore slump.

3 of 5 Starting Pitchers have been hurt, and the Bullpen has been unlike the Rays of previous years.

A nice kickstart to the offense provided by Kevin Kiermaier, and David Price is pitching like he is auditioning for a championship team to trade for him.

Grant Balfour has been lit up far too often this season.

T4.  BOS 43 – 52 9.5 (C-)

This team had everything go right for them in 2013, and 2014 is vaguely resembling the 2012 season, except there are 2 differences.

The team is loaded with young players that could shape the core of the club for many years, and the brass looks like it might be willing to trade some veterans for future years.

In 2012, the club shed itself of many dollars going forward, maybe it is time to flip some guys to save enough dough to re-sign Jon Lester.

Division            GBL   Letter Grade

AL CENTRAL

1.  DET  53 – 38 – (B-)

The reason for their letter grade is they flew out to a 27 – 12 record, before going 9 – 20, followed by a 17 – 6 final 23 games prior to the Break.

Overall Miguel Cabrera is not having his MVP season yet, although he could drive in 130 RBI still.

J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez are the offensive heroe’s, while Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander seemed to have wharfed into each other from 2012.

The Relief Core is still suspect, and should be overemphasized in shoring up for the Trade Deadline.

2.  KC  48 – 46 6.5 GBL (C)

It is hard to believe that this club was slated for just 82 wins as set by oddsmakers.  So why am I assessing a mark so low?  It is underachieving by the offense.

Please… for the love of god… I beg you.. Release Raul Ibanez… Dude went 0 – 23 after a nice 2 game start for the club.  It is not like he wasn’t hitting .153 prior to him being with KC.

Spend the cash on a big bat to aid the lineup. Also if there was ever a club who should overpay for a pitcher – it is the Royals with James Shields.

You could extend your win window by a year or 2 if you inked him (even if it is a little more than you want to pay him).  Seriously, you could trade the man a few years away anyway.

3.  CLE 47 – 47: 7.5 GBL (C+)

Honestly, these guys are playing way better than most people thought they would.

Top 10 BA for Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley have masked poor starts by Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana.

Terry Francona always finds a way to keep his clubs in the mix – even when the talent says no.

The Tribe are 29 – 19 at home, which is the 3rd best record in the AL to stalwarts Oakland and Los Angeles.

T4.  CWS 45 – 51: 10.5 GBL: (C+)

Chris Sale and Jose Abreu both receive A’s for their contributions, while others had a good start and are slowing down.

Conor Gillaspie is improving daily.

The Pitching after Sale has been less than stellar.

On pace for about 76 wins sounds about right.

T4.  MIN 44 – 50 (C+)

The Twins are actually keeping their heads above water.  This despite the worst year ever for hurt 1B Joe Mauer.

Brian Dozier is one of the best stories in baseball, and Phil Hughes is pitching to the form they club thought he could bring.  Ricky Nolasco is not.

Great 1st half by Kurt Suzuki as well

Be patient Minny, you guys are loaded on the farm.

 Division     GBL   Letter Grade

AL WEST

1. OAK 59 – 36 – (A)

The mark is not based on their record, because they are 237 – 139 since mid 2012 (.631),  however it is the manner in which the team has accomplished the feat this year.

Losing Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin with Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz, and having Scott Kazmir replace ace Bartolo Colon is incredible.

Sean Doolittle with a historic BB/SO rate – and encompasses what the A’s are all about.

Brandon Moss is an unheralded slugger…Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Donaldson can also burn you.

Every platoon is working.

2. LAA 57 – 37: 1.5 GBL (A)

This clubs offense is the deepest 1 – 9 team in the Majors finally.

It is amazing what happens once you got rid of Ibanez.

C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun definitely have lengthened this lineup. Just need to keep everybody on the field in the 2nd half.

Garrett Richards has become one of the best pitchers in baseball this year.

The brass needs to pull the trigger on 1 – 2 more Bullpen arms.

3. SEA 51 – 44: 8 GBL (B-)

The Mariners have seen Robinson Cano at least turn the fortunes of the club around with his consistency.

Besides Kyle Seager, and some power from Mike Zunino, it has been a malaise of mediocrity with the rest of the offense.

Jack Z. needs to pull some deals to aid the offense.

The Starters looked like that Softball team in house league mens tourney’s, made up of castoffs from other squads, that decided to form their own club.

Hisashi Iwakuma has stabilized the rotation, and King Felix is the first half Cy Young!

Fernando Rodney still doesn’t know how to wear a baseball cap, but he did remember to save games.

4. HOU 40 – 56: 19.5 GBL (C+)

For a squad of 111 loss variety in 2013’s end, this team has fared almost at a .500 clip since George Springer came up.

The pitching has been better than projected, and who has been hotter than Jose Altuve?

The little big man has been playing all worldly in the 1st half.

5. TEX 38 – 57: 21 GBL (C-)

You just can’t suffer 20 DL stints and have your team relevant.  The bad mark has more to do with the 3 – 21 clp the team has experienced in the last 24 games.

A team with that decent offense comprised of Adrian Beltre (not his fault, BA leader at .337 in AL) Alex Rios and Shin-Soo Choo.

Yu Darvish has also slowed down a little in the last few starts after carrying the club for months.

The Tigers have been a streaky bunch. but where they are at is pretty much where a lot of the prognostications had placed them half way through the year.  Ian Kinsler and Rajai Davis have added a speed element, while Rick Porcello and J.D. Martinez have provided great 1st half's, to make up for some of the others.  Cabrera looks to be finally healthy - and they are counting their lucky stars they traded Prince Fielder!

The Tigers have been a streaky bunch. but where they are at is pretty much where a lot of the prognostications had placed them half way through the year. Ian Kinsler and Rajai Davis have added a speed element, while Rick Porcello and J.D. Martinez have provided great 1st half’s, to make up for some of the others. Cabrera looks to be finally healthy – and they are counting their lucky stars they traded Prince Fielder!

 *** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at http://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/
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