John Supowitz | July 8th, 2019
New York Yankees 57-30, 1st place +7.5 GB
The offense is what held the team together. You would expect without Didi Gregorius to start the season, followed by Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, all on the IL, players like Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, and Clint Frazier all stepped up. The team had set a new record for consecutive games with a home run with 31. They have three hitters selected to the All-Star Game (Gary Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres) and five total players (Aroldis Chapman, Masahiro Tanaka).
The bullpen has also been dominant. The addition of Adam Ottavino has been back-end even more dangerous than last year as he posts a 1.83 ERA and a 12.6 strikeout per nine. Aroldis Chapman is the most dominant closer in the league posting a 1.82 ERA and league-leading 24 saves. Their .242 BAA is fourth-best in the league.
The starting pitching has been the weakness of the team. In his first full season with the Yankees, J.A. Happ is struggling with a 5.02 ERA. C.C. Sabathia’s swan song has been injury-plagued, he’s already been placed on the IL multiple times. Domingo German replacing injured Luis Severino, was the ace of the staff after the beginning of the year, going 9-1 with a 2.60 ERA with players hitting just .204, he struggled his next three starts posting an 8.59 ERA.
Team MVP: DJ LeMahieu
With 23 players total going on the IL, LeMahieu has been the most consistent of the everyday players. Many criticized the Yankee’s move by signing the second baseman, but everyone is now eating their words. He’s currently the American League leader in average (.336). It’s obvious the team are buyers. They’ll look to add another starter.
Team Grade: A
Tampa Bay Rays: 51-39 2nd Place -7.5 GB
The Rays’ pitching staff has been top of the line the first half. Their starting rotation has an American League-best 3.03 ERA, 135 ER, .214 BAA, and 113 BB. Charlie Morton in his first year with the Rays is an early Cy Young posting 9-2 with 2.36 ERA. The relief pitching has been a compliment as well with an AL second-best 3.65 ERA and .235 BAA.
They could use some upgrades in the lineup. The team is in the middle of the pack in most offensive categories, including 10th in the AL in home runs, and ninth in average and slugging, lumped in with teams below .500 with little to no playoff chance.
Team MVP: Charlie Morton
Charlie Morton has established himself as the ace of the staff posting an American League-best 2.36 ERA.
Buyers or Sellers:
Tampa could look to add a veteran bat in the middle of the lineup to bolster their power.
Team Grade: B
Boston Red Sox: 48-41 3rd Place -10.5
The offense has been keeping this team afloat. They’re tied with the Twins for the best team batting average of .273, the leader in hits (865), and OBP (.346). The defending American League MVP Mookie Betts has declined slightly this year, but J.D. Martinez, who finished fourth, is keeping the momentum strong from last season.
The pitching has been the big reason for the team’s early-season struggles. Their ace Chris Sale is currently 3-8 with a 4.04 ERA. Aside from David Price, the entire rotation has not been dependable.
The bullpen hasn’t been much better. Aside from Brandon Workman, they haven’t had a reliable player. They have the most blown saves with 18 and the worse save percentage with 48.57.
Team MVP: Rafael Devers
Devers struggled last year, both at the plate and in the field. People questioned whether or not he was the future third baseman for the Red Sox. A year later those question has been put to rest; the team leader in average, slugging, and OPS and second in both home runs and RBI, his fielding still needs some work, but with his bat, the Sox will live.
Buyers or sellers:
In order to make any significant push in the playoffs, Boston will need to upgrade their pitching staff, both starting and relief.
Team Grade: C+
Toronto Blue Jays: 33-57 4th Place -25.5 GB
The team has a great collection of young players with the potential to be superstars including Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Rowdy Tellez . Vladmir Guerrero Jr.’s call up in itself was huge news, he has had some ups and downs, but the future is bright. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., has been best of the younger players. He’s batting .298 with 15 HR and 35 RBI going into the Allstar break.
Their pitching has underachieved. Beside starter Marcus Stroman and closer Ken Giles, their pitching staff has not been dependable. Their 4.96 ERA is ranked 10th in the American League.
Buyer: or Seller:
The team has the young superstars to re-build in upcoming years, they’ll look to trade off some of the veterans to continue that. Stroman has already been involved in several trade rumors.
Team MVP: Freddy Galvis
Galvis is currently leading the team in RBI (44), tied for the most home runs (15), and third in AVG (.269).
Team Grade: D+
Baltimore Orioles: 27-61 5th Place, -30.5 GB
It’s not all doom and gloom for Baltimore, Trey Mancini (.294 17 HR 40 RBI), Renato Nunez (20 HR 49 RBI), Andrew Cashner (9-3 3.83 ERA), and John Means (7-4 2.50 ERA) give the team hope for the future.
They rank at the bottom in nearly every pitching and batting category. They were the fastest team to give up 100 home runs in just 48 games.
It’s hard to give it to one person being that the team is not very good as a whole. The players I mentioned above can all make a case for the title.
Buyer or seller:
As mentioned, the players above are the pieces they need in order to rebuild the team, everyone else is expendable.
Team Grade: D
Midseason Grades |AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central | NL West
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images