How they rank: July 15


With the first half over, here’s how teams rank, with the good news and the bad news. Last rankings in parentheses (stats through Sunday’s games):

1. San Francisco (4): Good news: Madison Bumgarner has 10 wins, a 1.94 ERA and two home runs as a hitter. Bad news: That’s one more homer than Gregor Blanco, who’s batted 136 more times.

2. Chicago Cubs (1): Good news: Cubs lead MLB with a +139 run differential. Bad news: It was +170 before Cubs lost nine of 11 before the break.

3. Texas (3): Good news: Prince Fielder has hit .300 with four homers, four doubles and 10 walks in his last 70 at-bats. Bad news: He was hitting .197 in his first 245 at-bats.

4. Washingon (2): Good news: Stephen Strasburg’s back injury, which limited him to 29th in pitches thrown in the NL. Bad news: Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez are second, fourth and eighth, respectively. Good thing manager Dusty Baker learned the lessons of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood so well.

5. Baltimore (5): Good news: Hyun Soo Kim, who refused a demotion to the minors, is hitting .355 with a .917 OPS vs. righties. Bad news: Kim hurt his hamstring, and Orioles haven’t taken advantage of Kim’s player development skills to ask him what to do about pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who has a 7.38 ERA but is second on the team in starts.

6. Cleveland (10): Good news: The Indians are 26-16 at home and six-and-a-half games in front in the AL Central. Bad news: They’re not the Cavs or the Browns. They’re 29th in total fans and fans per game.

7. Toronto (8): Good news: Aaron Sanchez, 24, has nine wins, a 2.97 ERA, 103 strikeouts and .643 OPS against, and has been arguably, the Blue Jays’ best starter. Bad news: He’s pitched 118.1 innings and the team plans to move him to the bullpen to limit them and replace him with Drew Hutchison (career 4.92 ERA). Hurry back Jose Bautista.

8. L.A. Dodgers (13): Good news: Adrian Gonzalez’s .370 on-base percentage is his highest since 2011. Bad news: His 7 home runs put him on pace for a career-low, previously the 18 he hit in 2012.

9. Boston (6): Good news: The Red Sox plan to move Yoan Moncada, who homered in the Futures Game and was its MVP, from second base, where Dustin Pedroia plays. Bad news: He can’t pitch.

10. St. Louis (7): Good news: Only five pitchers — Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia, Adam Wainwright and Mike Leake — have started games this season. Bad news: Four of them — all but Martinez — have ERAs over 4.00.

11. Houston (21): Good news: Astros are ninth in MLB and third in AL in team pitching with 3.87 ERA. Bad news: Dallas Keuchel’s ERA (4.80) is almost twice last year’s 2.48, which helped him win the Cy Young.

12. N .Y. Mets (9): Good news: All-Star Bartolo Colon, at age 43 and almost 300 pounds, is healthy. Bad news: Almost no other starter is. Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard have bone spurs, Matt Harvey is out for the season and Zack Wheeler may not make it back for this one. There’s a scene in the Pink Panther where Peter Sellers breaks a valuable piano and a woman says, “But that’s a priceless Steinway.” Sellers responds, “Not anymore.” Same with the Mets’ great young pitching staff. “Not anymore.”

13. Miami (16): Good news: Dee Gordon is coming back. He’s eligible to return on July 28. Bad news: Dee Gordon is coming back. Derek Dietrich has produced a .303 average and .817 OPS, compared to Gordon’s .266 and .629, in the latter’s absence.

14. Pittsburgh (15): Good news: Andrew McCutchen changed his introduction song to Adele’s Send My Love (To Your New Lover) and homered twice in late June, and twice more against the Cubs before the break. Bad news: He was homerless in 32 road at-bats without Adele, getting just six hits, and is at an unfamiliar .247 average and .745 OPS at the break. Maybe he should switch songs to Adele’s Don’t You Remember.

15. Detroit (14): Good news: Rookie outfielder Steven Moya has 11 extra-base hits in his first 86 at-bats. Bad news: He’s also fanned 32 times and has a .360 average on balls put in play, which isn’t often.

16. Seattle (11): Good news: The Mariners traded reliever Carson Smith, who’s out for the year, and Roenis Elias, who gave up seven runs in his only start (to the Mariners), to the Red Sox for Wade Miley. Bad news: Miley is healthy and has five quality starts among the 16 he’s made, and a 5.44 ERA.

17. Kansas City (12): Good news: Brazil’s Paulo Orlando is hitting .317 in 208 at-bats. Bad news: He has almost as many triples (3) as walks (5).

18. Chicago White Sox (19): Good news: Todd Frazier, acquired from the Reds, leads his new team in home runs with 25. Bad news: That’s more than twice as many as any other White Sox player; Jose Abreu, who has hit 36 and 30 in his first two seasons, and Brett Lawrie, have 11 each. And Frazier is hitting just .213.

19. N.Y. Yankees (17): Good news: Yankees beat AL Central leader Indians three of four in last series before the break. Bad news: According  to espn.com, that empowered the go-for-it faction of ownership to do just that, despite a .500 record and seven-and-a-half game deficit. “We believe in this team,” said team president Randy Levine, although he didn’t say for what. Delusion, apparently, is a river in the South Bronx.

20.  Colorado (20): Good news: Corey Dickerson, traded to the Rays, is hitting 53 points and slugging 60 below his career averages. Bad news: Reliever Jake McGee, who came to the Rockies for Dickerson, has been even worse. He’s thrown eight home runs, blown four saves and has a 6.12 ERA and .893 OPS against in 25 innings. Has there been a trade that hurt both teams more?

21. Philadelphia (25): Good news: After getting knocked out in the third inning — three home runs, nine runs — in his debut, rookie Zach Eflin had allowed just eight runs in his next 32.2 innings. Bad news: He’s fanned just 18 in 35.1 innings total, with a high of six, in four straight quality starts.

22. L.A. Angels (23): Good news: Cam Bedrosian finally pitching like dad Steve, 1987 Cy Young winner. Younger Bedrosian has 1.09 ERA, .558 OPS against and 36 strikeouts in 33 innings. Bad news: Closer Huston Street, when not hurt, has a 5.09 ERA and prime setup guy Joe Smith, when not hurt, has 4.80 ERA.

23. Milwaukee (22): Good news: First-year Brewer Jonathan Villar, is batting .298, leads the NL in steals with 31 and has a .380 on-base percentage. Bad news: Villar hit .284 for the Astros last year but couldn’t keep Carlos Correa down in the minors. He might be making the Brewers reassess what to do with top-20 prospect Orlando Arcia, who’s hitting .270 with Colorado Springs in AAA. Second baseman Scooter Gennett can’t be too secure.

24. Arizona (24): Good news: Much-panned trade for pitcher Shelby Miller isn’t as bad as first thought. Bad news: It’s worse. Miller is 2-9 with a 7.14 ERA and was demoted to the minors Thursday,

25. Oakland (26): Good news: Marcus Semien, who made 35 errors at shortstop last year, has committed just nine this year. Bad news: Danny Valenica has made 13 at third base and has a -1.5 defensive WAR, meaning a ground ball to the left side of the infield is still not a sure out for a staff that needs all it can get.

26. San Diego (27): Good news: After winning 14 games in five seasons, Drew Pomeranz finally pitches like the fifth pick of the 2010 draft he was for the Indians. Bad news: That meant the Padres could trade him to the Red Sox for top-20 prospect Anderson Espinoza, who’s 18 and in low A. He should be in the majors just as the Padres are ready to rebuild again.

27. Tampa Bay (18): Good news: The Rays are seventh in MLB home runs with 118 after finishing 25th last year (167). Bad news: Rays pitchers have thrown almost as many (116).

28. Minnesota (29): Good news: Twins won seven of nine before the break. Bad news: They still have the worst record in the AL at 32-56 and are 20 games out of first place and 13 out of fourth.

29. Cincinnati (28): Good news: Reds have five players — Adam Duvall, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez — with at least 14 home runs. Bad news: Only five other players have homered, and Bruce’s good season will be just good enough to trade him. He’ll be replaced by one of the many Reds who haven’t homered.

30. Atlanta (30): Good news: Rookie reliever Mauricio Cabrera hit 103 mph on the radar gun. Bad news: He’s fanned just one in his first six innings. It might be a while before he hits 103 Ks at that pace.

 

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