There is only one month until Major League Baseball goes on break for a few days before the second half of the 162-game season gets underway, and where teams stand at the halfway point is important.
After the All-Star Break comes to a close, there will only be a few weeks until the July 31 trade deadline. Why does that matter? Well, where teams are positioned after around 30 more days could say whether a team is a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline. That matters.
So, how has your favorite team been playing this year? You probably know where they stand within their respective division, but here, I’ll be giving you a look at how the team looks compared to the other 29 clubs in the league.
While you’re voting for which players should be in the All-Star Game and speculating as to who will represent each league in the Home Run Derby, keep in mind the importance of finishing the first half among the best teams in baseball. That can go a long way for the remainder of the year.
Here’s a look at where all 30 MLB teams stand with just over a month before the Midsummer Classic gets under way at Citi Field in Queens.
*Italicized teams are those with additional in-depth analysis about how the first half of the season has gone thus far.
1. St. Louis Cardinals (43-23)
The Cardinals have been outstanding this year and look poised for another deep postseason run. St. Louis has gotten enormous contributions from its lineup, rotation and bullpen this year. The Cardinals are the most balanced team in the game, and that’s why they’ve been so successful to this point in the season.
2. Cincinnati Reds (40-26)
It’s a shame that the Reds aren’t going to win the NL Central this year because they deserve more than a spot in the NL Wild Card Game, where anything can happen. Cincinnati is looking like one of the top teams in baseball, and if everyone manages to stay healthy, it could really do damage in the second half and in the playoffs.
3. Boston Red Sox (41-26)
Not many people expected the Red Sox to have the best record in the AL just a month until the All-Star Break, but that’s why baseball is so unpredictable. The offense has been great for most of the year, and several pitchers have been more than reliable.
Clay Buchholz has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this year. In 12 starts, he’s 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA. Jon Lester was just as good to start the season, but he has cooled off since and has been struggling over his last couple of starts. Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have both played huge roles in the bullpen, aiding Andrew Bailey.
The offense has been clicking on all cylinders. Dustin Pedroia has been great as the team’s regular No. 3 hitter, and David Ortiz has been a nightmare for opposing pitching. He leads the team with 13 homers, despite the fact that he missed the beginning of the year due to injury. It’ll be interesting to see if Boston’s winning is sustainable in the second half.
4. Atlanta Braves (39-27)
The Braves look like the team to beat in the NL East. Justin Upton started the season hotter than any other player in baseball, but he has since cooled off considerably. Atlanta has gotten good production from several players, but its offense revolves around Upton hitting like an MVP. They need him to pick up the slack the next few months.
5. Texas Rangers (38-27)
The Rangers are a very good team now and will be even better once Matt Harrison comes back from an injury. The loss of Josh Hamilton isn’t noticeable, as Lance Berkman has been good in the heart of the lineup. Yu Darvish looks to be the early favorite in the AL for the Cy Young Award, as he’s 7-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 13 starts this year.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (39-26)
Pittsburgh is playing a lot like it did during the first half of 2012. But for those who don’t remember, the Pirates were bad in the second half and missed the postseason. This year, the Pirates have to prevent that second-half slump and attempt to overtake the division from the big-guns—St. Louis and Cincinnati. That’ll be difficult to do.
7. Oakland Athletics (40-27)
The A’s don’t usually get the credit they deserve, but I think the No. 7 spot fits them well. I think they’re good, but I still want to see a little more from the pitching staff and the offense. Is Yoenis Cespedes going to hit .240 all year? What about Chris Young, who’s hitting .173? Is Bartolo Colon going to pitch like an ace all year long? Answer those questions, and I’ll jump on board.
8. New York Yankees (37-28)
The Yankees have played so well without most of their injured stars that they’re bound to get better and better as the year goes on. It appears, though, that some of the unsung heroes aren’t playing so well anymore, which means the remaining injured players need to hurry back. I think the Bronx Bombers will be just fine, though.
9. Detroit Tigers (36-28)
Miguel Cabrera is doing that thing he does so well again. Oh yeah, that’s hit. He’s hitting .358/.450/.638 with 18 home runs and 69 RBI. Compared to the rest of the AL, there’s no question that he’ll be in the running for another MVP and potentially another Triple Crown—which would be insane.
While the Detroit offense has been fine this year, it could use a bit more power. Outside of Cabrera and Prince Fielder, no other Tiger has more than six home runs. Only one other player has more than 25 RBI. Cabrera and Fielder can do a lot of things, but the rest of the lineup needs to step it up a bit.
Tigers fans can’t complain about the pitching staff, or at least not the rotation. Anibal Sanchez is 6-5 with a 2.65 ERA. Justin Verlander is 8-4 with a 3.41 ERA. Max Scherzer is 9-0 with a 3.19 ERA. Need me to keep going? Detroit has the rotation that every other team wants but can’t have.
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (37-29)
I’m all for Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin teaming up to win the NL MVP and Cy Young Awards this year. They’ve certainly earned it, leading the Diamondbacks to the top spot in the NL West. Arizona hasn’t been to the postseason since the team lost in the Division Series two years ago. It looks like they’ll be back this year.
11. Tampa Bay Rays (35-30)
I don’t think the Rays have enough right now to land a spot in the playoffs. B.J. Upton’s loss seems to be playing a bit of a role in why Tampa Bay hasn’t played as well as it has in recent years. Evan Longoria is still playing well, as is Desmond Jennings. The pitching staff needs a bit of a spark and the offense does, too.
12. Colorado Rockies (35-31)
We’re one month from the All-Star break and the Rockies are still in the picture. Can you believe that? Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are playing the best baseball of their careers, which has certainly helped Colorado’s cause. They could be a very dangerous team if they were to add a pitcher toward the trade deadline.
13. Baltimore Orioles (37-29)
Baltimore seems to be the real deal, after it’s still in contention this year after the remarkable season the Orioles had in 2012. Chris Davis might give Miguel Cabrera a run for his money for the AL MVP. The pitching staff still lacks an ace, though. If the Orioles are serious, they need to trade for someone in July. Either that or call up Dylan Bundy.
14. San Francisco Giants (33-31)
The defending champions better get things going if they hope to play for another World Series this season. Playing just above .500 might not even get the Giants into the playoffs. Buster Posey has played like an MVP, but without Pablo Sandoval, he’ll need to pick up a bit of the slack. The starting rotation needs a boost, too.
15. Washington Nationals (32-32)
The Nationals desperately need Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg to get healthy. The offense has been inconsistent without Harper in the heart of the lineup, and Strasburg hasn’t been good all year in actuality. Jordan Zimmerman is single-handedly keeping this team alive. Washington doesn’t look like the team it did in 2012.
16. Cleveland Indians (32-33)
If Ubaldo Jimenez doesn’t get things together very soon, he may be looking for a new job very soon. He can’t continue to walk batter after batter because, as he’s found out, those batters tend to score very often. The offseason additions haven’t been bad, but I don’t think Cleveland has enough talent to make it into the postseason.
17. San Diego Padres (32-34)
Will this finally be the year where the Padres trade Chase Headley? I think San Diego would feel a lot more comfortable now that they know Everth Cabrera is starting to emerge into a star. The shortstop deserves to be an All-Star this year, and with Headley’s contract set to expire after the year, maybe San Diego could get a few top prospects in return for the third baseman.
18. Philadelphia Phillies (31-35)
The Phillies need to do something about this average team. They’re run as a playoff contender appears to be over, as those who have carried the team in year’s past are either injured or just not productive anymore. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Philadelphia deal a couple of guys near the trade deadline.
Cliff Lee is pitching very well thus far and will certainly have a lot of trade value. Philadelphia would get at least a couple of top prospects back in return for a guy that might end up winning 20 games this season. I doubt the Phillies would deal Cole Hamels, who can’t seem to figure things out this year, though.
But it’s clear that the Phillies need to start rebuilding for the future. Domonic Brown is finally hitting, and they could build the team around him and Hamels. Trying to squeeze out the last fit of juice from guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay isn’t going to get them very far.
19. Minnesota Twins (29-33)
The problem in Minnesota is that the Twins just aren’t a very complete team. They have a couple of guys that are good, some that are playing better than expected and a lot that are playing poorly. It’s only a matter of time before Joe Mauer gets so tired of losing and demands a trade. Then, all hell will break loose in Minnesota.
20. Kansas City Royals (30-33)
None of the Royals are really pitching well this year, even though they traded their top prospect over the offseason in order to fix that problem. The offense has been hot and cold, as well. Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain can hit all they want, but Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur are seriously bringing them down.
21. Toronto Blue Jays (28-36)
It doesn’t appear that the Blue Jays are going to be World Series Champions this season. Things could go their way in the second half of the year, but there doesn’t seem to be much hope. The roster full of All-Stars has failed to impress on the field and only impresses on paper. There’s always next year for the guys north of the border.
22. Seattle Mariners (29-38)
The Mariners look desperate. I know this because if they weren’t desperate, they wouldn’t be calling up a new top prospect every week. But hey, if that’s the route they want to go, so be it. Seattle is hoping that its future is ready to play at a high level right this instant. We’ll have to wait and see if it works out or blows up in the front office’s face.
23. Chicago White Sox (28-35)
Someone should let Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn know that they’ve dropped the ball this year, and the White Sox are well out of the race because of it. Dunn is hitting below .200 and is striking out more than 30 percent of the time. Konerko is barely above the Mendoza line and only has six home runs. What’s going on, guys?
24. Los Angeles Dodgers (28-37)
Los Angeles hasn’t played like a playoff team this season, but I think the Dodgers have what it takes to start making a run toward the top of the division very soon. Clayton Kershaw has been outstanding on the mound, but the offense needs to step it up.
Matt Kemp has gone from one of the best players in baseball to one of the worst in the matter of a few months. He’s battled injuries this year, but he is still just hitting .251/.305/.335 with a pair of home runs and 17 RBI when he’s been on the field. A few other Dodger regulars have failed to produce when needed too.
The Dodgers have three very good starting pitchers atop their rotation: Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Those three could get Los Angeles into the playoffs, but they need run support. The bullpen also needs to be a bit better. The Dodgers can’t afford to blow late-game leads. That’ll keep them in the division cellar.
25. Los Angeles Angels (28-38)
It astounds me that the Angels have been nonexistent this season. They have so much talent, but for some reason, they haven’t found a way to put everything together. Josh Hamilton has been a massive disappointment after signing a monster deal during the offseason. He’s only hitting .217/.274/.390, which is unacceptable.
26. Milwaukee Brewers (27-38)
The Brewers have been surprisingly bad this year, despite having two players who should contend for the MVP at the end of the year. Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura have both been sensational. Gomez is hitting .326/.366/.594 with 11 home runs and 36 RBI, while Segura is hitting .339/.374/.545 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI. Both should be All-Stars.
27. Chicago Cubs (25-38)
Chicago has gotten solid production from a couple of its players, but the rest have played so poorly that the Cubs are far from contention. Starlin Castro, for example, is hitting just .238/.276/.333 with three home runs and 22 RBI through 63 games. That’s unacceptable and certainly part of the problem.
28. New York Mets (24-37)
The Mets would be much higher on this list if they hadn’t lost eight games to the Marlins this year. I have no idea why New York can’t figure Miami out, but that is a major problem. Matt Harvey has been fun to watch each time he takes the mound, but the Mets are still very far away from being a competitive team.
29. Houston Astros (23-44)
The highlight of the Astros’ season this year was drafting Mark Appel with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. There haven’t been many other things that have gone well in Houston this year. There isn’t an offensive leader, and there isn’t a starter in the rotation that is even a No. 2 on any other team.
30. Miami Marlins (19-46)
The Marlins are so bad that it isn’t even funny. Miami doesn’t have much major league talent on its roster and is relying on top prospects that may or may not be ready to face top-notch opponents. Needless to say, things haven’t gone well, but the Marlins are rebuilding so this poor play is expected.