First-Half Grades for Every MLB Team

Doug MeadCorrespondent IJune 28, 2013

First-Half Grades for Every MLB Team

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    Now that the 2013 MLB season is near its midway point, it's time to look at each team's performance thus far.

    Surprises and disappointments are expected every season, and this year is no exception. Unanticipated efforts from teams in both leagues have led to unexpected results in terms of standings.

    Here is a report card for every MLB team based on its results thus far. Each team's starting lineup, rotation, bullpen and bench will receive separate marks, along with an overall final grade.

     

    Note: Team statistics courtesy of ESPN.com. Player statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Starting Lineup

    Despite the loss of Justin Upton and Chris Young over the offseason and injuries to key contributors (Aaron Hill, Adam Eaton, Eric Chavez) early in 2013, the Diamondbacks offense has been surprisingly consistent.

    The team is ranked fourth in the National League in both runs scored and batting average and fifth in average with runners in scoring position. While the Diamondbacks are not a team that can produce heavily with the long ball (12th in home runs), they've shown the ability to plate runs without tremendous power output.

    Grade: B+

     

    Rotation

    The Diamondbacks looked to improve upon last season's lackluster performance by the starting rotation—ranked 12th in the National League with a 4.26 ERA—but the changes made during the offseason haven't resulted in a positive uptick thus far.

    Arizona's starters have posted a 4.15 ERA in the first half, virtually the same as last year's full-season mark. Brandon McCarthy has struggled with a 5.00 ERA in 11 starts in his first year in the desert, and ace Ian Kennedy has been largely inconsistent with a 5.21 ERA in 14 starts.

    Patrick Corbin has been one the league's great surprises, however, posting a 9-0 record and 2.19 ERA thus far.

    With McCarthy still on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, Daniel Hudson undergoing a second Tommy John surgery and the struggles of others, general manager Kevin Towers could be compelled to acquire starting pitching as the trade deadline approaches.

    Grade: D+

     

    Bullpen

    While the bullpen has had issues with an injury to closer J.J. Putz and the struggles of Heath Bell in his absence, the unit as a whole has been pretty darn good in the first half.

    Arizona has the third-best bullpen ERA (2.97) in the National League, but it also has the second-most blown saves (14) and has given up 26 home runs in relief.

    The closer situation has certainly been an issue recently for the D-backs, but according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Putz is expected back on Friday.

    Grade: B-

     

    Bench

    The Arizona bench has been terrific. Outfield depth has certainly helped, as manager Kirk Gibson has been able to use Cody Ross, Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra and A.J. Pollock in various combinations. He'll soon have Adam Eaton back as well.

    Wil Nieves has been nothing short of terrific as Miguel Montero's backup behind the plate. He's contributed a lofty .412 average in limited action.

    Arizona is also second in the NL with 14 pinch-hits.

    Grade: A-

     

    Final Overall Grade: B

    While the rotation has had its issues, the Diamondbacks have been able to overcome injury setbacks to lead the NL West. With healthy bodies and slight tweaks to the roster in the coming weeks, they'll be well-positioned to try and hold on to that advantage in the division.

Atlanta Braves

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    Starting Lineup

    "Frustrating" would be the word to describe the Braves offense in the first half. While it has scored 326 runs and ranks fifth in the NL, the team has also been shut out 11 times to lead the majors, and its 704 strikeouts are tops in the NL as well.

    Dismal first halves by B.J. Upton, Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward haven't helped, and Justin Upton is hitting just .209 with three home runs since his torrid start in the month of April.

    Grade: D+

     

    Rotation

    Absolutely one of the strengths for the Braves, the rotation sports the fourth-best ERA (3.43) in the National League, along with the fourth-best WHIP (1.20) and second-most quality starts (50).

    Julio Teheran and Mike Minor have been terrific at the back end, and Kris Medlen has been lights-out throughout the month of June (4-1, 2.14 ERA in five starts).

    Grade: B+

     

    Bullpen

    Not many issues in the bullpen either, as its 2.74 ERA leads the NL. Despite the loss of Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty, the Braves bullpen has rallied together and gotten strong performances from Luis Avilan (1.69 ERA), Jordan Walden (2.45) and David Carpenter (2.16).

    Cory Gearrin and Anthony Varvaro have been solid as well, and closer Craig Kimbrel has once again been dominant.

    Grade: A-

     

    Bench

    It's hard to find issue with the performance of the Braves' reserves. Evan Gattis, Jordan Schafer, Ramiro Pena, Reed Johnson and Gerald Laird have been outstanding.

    Grade: A-

     

    Final Overall Grade: B+

    This would absolutely be a team that deserves an A if not for a wildly inconsistent offense.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Starting Lineup

    Courtesy of the video game-like numbers put up by Chris Davis and helping hands from others, the Baltimore Orioles feature an explosive offense that ranks second in the American League in runs scored.

    Led by Davis' 28 home runs, the O's are first in the league in that category. Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy have chipped in with 15 apiece as well.

    The Orioles are also second in doubles with 169 overall. Thirty-six of those have come from third baseman Manny Machado, who's on pace to shatter Earl Webb's long-standing single-season record of 67 set back in 1931.

    Grade: A-

     

    Rotation

    The rotation has struggled thus far, ranked just 27th in the majors with a 4.83 ERA. The Orioles have employed the minor league shuffle in calling up Kevin Gausman, Zach Britton, Josh Stinson, Jake Arrieta and Jair Jurrjens to help out.

    It's a rotation in need of an upgrade, preferably a veteran arm via the trade market. As currently constituted, it will have trouble advancing in the postseason if the team gets that far.

    Grade: D

     

    Bullpen

    A bullpen that was lights-out last season has seen its share struggles to start the 2013 season. Closer Jim Johnson hit a rough patch, blowing four saves in the span of 12 days in May, but he has righted the ship in June with 10 saves and a 2.25 ERA.

    Tommy Hunter and Darren O'Day have been terrific, but Pedro Strop has struggled all season, now with a 7.17 ERA in 28 appearances.

    Grade: C

     

    Bench

    The bench for Baltimore has been productive. Chris Dickerson has been a nice addition, with a .264 average, four home runs and 11 RBI. Danny Valencia, picked up during the offseason from the Boston Red Sox, has also provided a nice lift over the past two months, with a .259 average and four home runs.

    The combination of Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla at second base hasn't been fruitful, however. The two have combined for a .217 average in place of Brian Roberts.

    Grade: B-

     

    Final Overall Grade: B-

    The offense has largely carried the Orioles thus far. General manager Dan Duquette will have to think about upgrades in the rotation and bullpen if his team wants to have a chance in the competitive AL East.

Boston Red Sox

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    Starting Lineup

    The revamped Red Sox lead the American League in runs scored, so the pieces brought in by general manager Ben Cherington over the offseason have been successful thus far.

    Mike Napoli has chipped in with 53 RBI and has been healthy all season—a great sign given the drama that surrounded his signing this winter and the discovery of a hip condition.

    Shane Victorino has been a spark plug for the club, both defensively and at the plate. He chipped in another three hits on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies, raising his average to .297. And David Ortiz has collected 57 RBI in just 62 games as well.

    Grade: A-

     

    Rotation

    The Red Sox rotation started strong but has seen its share of struggles over the past few weeks, especially from southpaw Jon Lester. He's posted a 4-4 record and 5.43 ERA since an undefeated month of April.

    John Lackey has looked strong since returning from Tommy John surgery, and Clay Buchholz was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball before suffering a neck injury.

    Despite the struggles of Lester and the injury to Buchholz, the Sox have still managed the third-best rotation ERA (3.79) in the American League.

    Grade: B

     

    Bullpen

    The most obvious problem for the Red Sox has been the closer's role. Koji Uehara got the save in the Red Sox's 5-3 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday. But prior to Uehara, that role was a complete mess.

    As a result, Boston is second-to-last in the league in save percentage (58.0), and it's likely that Cherington will be prioritizing bullpen help in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline.

    Grade: D

     

    Bench

    The Red Sox have gotten great contributions from Mike Carp (.313, 8 HR, 25 RBI), and David Ross was lauded for his handling of the pitching staff before concussion symptoms sent him to the DL.

    Jonny Gomes hasn't been quite as productive in a limited role, with five homers and 18 RBI, and he has lost playing time to the hot Daniel Nava.

    For the most part, the Red Sox bench has been an effective unit throughout the first half.

    Grade: B-

     

    Final Overall Grade: B+

    Sitting at the top of the AL East for much of the first half is a huge turnaround for Boston, considering the woes of the past two seasons.

    Still, Cherington has work to do with roster upgrades in order to hold off the hard-changing Blue Jays. With every team at or above .500, the changes Cherington makes could prove to be the difference.

Chicago Cubs

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    Starting Lineup

    The Cubs are in the middle of the pack in the National League, ranking eighth overall in runs scored. Their issue has been plating runners in scoring position. In that regard, the Cubs have largely failed, now second-to-last in the NL with a .225 average and eighth in plating baserunners in scoring position.

    Starlin Castro has been a complete mystery at the plate. Since the Cubs tinkered with his mechanics and approach, he's hitting just .234 with a .268 on-base percentage. He needs to find his swing once again for the Cubs to have a legitimate one-two punch at the top of the batting order.

    Grade: C-

     

    Rotation

    Aside from Edwin Jackson, the Cubs rotation has been a pleasant surprise. In fact, the rotation ERA of 3.81 would drop to 3.40 without Jackson, good enough for fourth in the National League.

    Carlos Villanueva provided better than adequate support while Matt Garza was on the mend, and Travis Wood has been spectacular as the lone southpaw with a 2.85 ERA.

    Grade: B

     

    Bullpen

    Kevin Gregg and James Russell have been outstanding in serving as the closer/setup combination. However, the rest of the bullpen has largely struggled, leaving the Cubs with the second-worst relief ERA (4.19) in the National League.

    Grade: D+

     

    Bench

    Ryan Sweeney and Dioner Navarro have been outstanding in reserve roles for the Cubs, but Scott Hairston is hitting just .160 and hasn't given Chicago anything close to what it expected when it signed him to a two-year deal.

    Cody Ransom has also performed well in a backup role since being selected off the waiver wire in late April.

    Grade: B-

     

    Final Overall Grade: C

    Considering the Cubs are in rebuild mode, they've gotten solid performances from several players. But it's simply not enough to make them competitive at this point.

Chicago White Sox

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    Starting Lineup

    As a unit, the White Sox's starting lineup has underachieved and underperformed. It ranks last in the American League in a variety of statistical categories, including runs scored, OBP and OPS.

    For the pitching staff, there simply isn't much of an expectation that the offense can give it the proper support.

    Grade: D-

     

    Rotation

    The rotation has actually been steady, ranking fourth in the American League with a 3.83 ERA. It's overcome the loss of Gavin Floyd and an injury to Jake Peavy to at least keep the White Sox within striking distance.

    As expected, the White Sox are last in the AL in run support per start, so the rotation has been tasked with putting out quality efforts each time out. For the most part, it's succeeded.

    Grade: B

     

    Bullpen

    White Sox relievers have largely given a solid effort as well—they're ranked seventh in the AL with a 3.64 ERA and third with a 75 percent save percentage.

    Jesse Crain has been outstanding with a 0.52 ERA in 36 appearances, and Addison Reed has settled nicely into the closer role with 21 saves.

    Grade: B-

     

    Bench

    The bench hasn't been much help in helping to bolster the offense. Dewayne Wise leads the way with a .234 average.

    Grade: C-

     

    Final Overall Grade: C-

    The offense drags the overall grade down in a major way. The White Sox are looking at a long and miserable summer with the current cast of characters offensively.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Starting Lineup

    The Reds have scored the third-most runs in the National League despite just a .248 team average. Much of that success comes from their acquisition of Shin-Soo Choo.

    The Reds lead the NL among leadoff hitters in both OBP (.424) and OPS (.893). Choo's 11 home runs from the top spot in the order also ranks first. Moving Brandon Phillips into the cleanup hole has helped as well, as the Reds lag only behind the Colorado Rockies in home runs and RBI from the No. 4 spot in the order.

    Grade: B+

     

    Rotation

    The rotation for the Reds has been stellar, ranked third in the National League with a 3.36 ERA. Not one starter has an ERA above 4.00, and Tony Cingrani filled in admirably for the injured Johnny Cueto before being moved to the bullpen.

    Grade: B+

     

    Bullpen

    After posting an NL-best 2.65 bullpen ERA last year, the Reds relievers haven't been nearly as sharp in 2013. The bullpen's current 3.89 ERA is ranked just 11th in the NL.

    The problem has been walks—Aroldis Chapman, J.J. Hoover and Sam LeCure all feature BB/9 rates at 4.0 or higher. Giving out too many free passes can be a recipe for disaster in the later innings.

    Grade: C-

     

    Bench

    Overall, the bench hasn't been as productive as the Reds would like. What's lacking is a powerful right-handed bat—something general manager Walt Jocketty should address as the trade deadline draws near.

    Grade: C-

     

    Final Overall Grade: B-

    The St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates are working hard to make the NL Central a two-team race to the finish. The Reds will need to make some tweaks to the roster in order to stop that from happening.

Cleveland Indians

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    Starting Lineup

    Offseason acquisitions have helped the Indians offense, which scored the second-fewest runs in the American League last season. The team now ranks seventh and has improved its ability to come through with runners in scoring position.

    Grade: B-

     

    Rotation

    Cleveland starters were much maligned at the start of the season and were generally expected to be a weak link for the Indians. While they haven't completely shined, they also haven't been terrible—they're in the middle of the pack in the American League with a 4.35 ERA.

    Justin Masterson and Zach McAllister feature ERAs under 4.00, but the main culprit has been stretching out starts. Indians starters average under six innings per start, putting more pressure on the bullpen more times than not.

    Grade: C

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen was largely considered to be an area of strength for the Tribe, but the numbers simply don't bear out that fact thus far in 2013.

    The Indians rank 11th in the AL with a 4.03 ERA and are dead last with a 54 percent save percentage. If the Indians are inclined to be buyers at the trade deadline, general manager Chris Antonetti should have quality relief help at or near the top of his shopping list.

    Grade: D

     

    Bench

    The Indians can't complain about the efforts of their reserve players thus far. Mike Aviles has been terrific in a supporting role in the infield, and Yan Gomes has been a pleasant surprise behind the plate. Even Jason Giambi has chipped in with six homers and 21 RBI at 42 years of age. 

    Grade: B+

     

    Final Overall Grade: C+

    The Indians are playing just well enough to keep things interesting in the AL Central. With a couple of key acquisitions before the trade deadline, especially for the starting rotation, they could have the Detroit Tigers squirming for much of the second half.

Colorado Rockies

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    Starting Lineup

    Surprise, surprise—the Rockies have one of the best offenses in the National League.

    Colorado ranks either first or second in virtually every major offensive statistic. The team has also vastly improved its performance on the road. It ranked last in the NL in runs scored away from home last season, but this year, it's seventh in that department.

    Grade: A-

     

    Rotation

    The Rockies rotation started strong but has faltered in recent weeks, dropping to 12th in the NL with a 4.51 ERA.

    No question, the Rockies are thrilled with the efforts of Tyler Chatwood, who is now 4-1 with a 2.13 ERA in nine starts.

    Grade: C-

     

    Bullpen

    The Rockies are in the middle of the pack in the NL with a 3.61 ERA, led by Rex Brothers with an otherworldly 0.27 ERA in 36 appearances.

    Per Jason Mastrodonato of MLB.com, closer Rafael Betancourt is expected back from the disabled list in his return from a groin strain. Manager Walt Weiss can then move Brothers back to a setup role, easing the pressure on the rest of the bullpen.

    Grade: B-

     

    Bench

    The bench has been average for the Rockies. DJ LeMahieu has been stellar, posting a .287 average, one home run and nine RBI. Backup catcher Yorvit Torrealba has also been solid in relief of Wilin Rosario, with a .292 average and nine RBI.

    But Tyler Colvin, who was terrific last year with a .290 average, 18 home runs and 72 RBI, started the season in Triple-A after a disappointing spring training performance. He's struggled since his call-up in early June, hitting just .159 in 15 games.

    Grade: C

     

    Final Overall Grade: C+

    If the Rockies can find some rotation beyond the recently added Roy Oswalt, they could make some hay in the NL West. But with the rotation as presently constituted, along with the injury to superstar Troy Tulowitzki, they're likely destined to finish in the middle of the pack in the NL West.

Detroit Tigers

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    Starting Lineup

    The Tigers sit in first place in the American League in batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.350) and hits (772). They also rank third in runs scored (385) and second in OPS (.770).

    Their success with runners in scoring position has them ranked second in runs scored and third in batting average as well.

    Grade: A

     

    Rotation

    The Tigers rotation is first in the AL with a 3.71 ERA, despite the uncharacteristically slow start by Justin Verlander (3.90 ERA in 16 starts).

    Max Scherzer is undefeated at 12-0, and Jose Alvarez has been solid in supplying relief for the injured Anibal Sanchez.

    Grade: B+

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen has been troublesome this season. Issues at the closer role and set responsibilities for the rest of the relief corps has led to a 4.07 ERA and only a 64 percent save percentage.

    According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Tigers might be willing to give up a big bat—either Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia—to find an effective closer. But it's likely that general manager Dave Dombrowski will be looking for other bullpen arms as well.

    Grade: D

     

    Bench

    Brayan Pena has been outstanding in relief of the injured Alex Avila, hitting .304 with two home runs and 14 RBI. Matt Tuiasosopo was stellar as well, hitting .338 with three homers and 17 RBI before landing on the disabled list with a rib cage strain.

    Infielder Ramon Santiago has been used sparingly, hitting just .157 in limited action.

    Grade: B

     

    Final Overall Grade: B

    The Tigers should be well out in front in the AL Central, but bullpen woes have kept them from pulling away. If Dombrowski is successful in finding a closer and complementary bullpen arm, they'll have a chance to run away with a division title.

Houston Astros

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    Starting Lineup

    The Astros starting lineup hasn't been the disaster that many thought it would be at the start of the season. Houston has outscored four other teams in the American League, including the mighty New York Yankees.

    Grade: C-

     

    Rotation

    A 4.76 ERA from the rotation isn't stellar, nor is the fact that Houston starters average just 5.5 innings per start.

    Bud Norris is the team leader with a 3.60 ERA, and he could be on the move as the trade deadline approaches. He would love to stay in Houston, but as he said to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, he knows it's out of his hands.

    "I want to go out there and keep pitching for the last month [prior to the Deadline] and see what happens," Norris said. "If the Trade Deadline is here and I'm still in an Astros uniform, I'll be happy with that. I understand something could happen, but at the end of the day, my focus right now is still in Houston, and that's where it's going to stay."

    Grade: D+

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen has largely struggled as well, last in the AL with a 4.71 ERA. Houston relievers have allowed a .274 BAA, a full 30 points above the league average.

    Grade: D-

     

    Bench

    It's been a carousel for the Astros bench, as a number of players have made the shuffle from Triple-A to the majors and back. The most consistent bench bat has been backup catcher Carlos Corporan, who is hitting .290 with five home runs and 11 RBI.

    Grade: C

     

    Final Overall Grade: C-

    The 30-49 record certainly looks abysmal, but the Astros have a 20-19 record since May 15. First-year manager Bo Porter has kept his young charges engaged over the past six weeks.

Kansas City Royals

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    Starting Lineup

    The Royals are ranked third-from-last in runs scored in the American League, and they've really struggled at home, averaging just over 3.5 runs per game at Kauffman Stadium.

    The youngsters that Kansas City were counting on this season—Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas—struggled mightily out of the gates. The Royals are also dead-last in all of baseball with just 43 home runs.

    Grade: C-

     

    Rotation

    The rotation has been excellent, ranked second in the AL with a 3.75 ERA. An overall lack of run support hasn't helped the cause at all.

    Grade: B

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen has done its job as well, ranking third in the AL with a 2.89 ERA. It's allowed just a .224 BAA, second in the AL and 16 points below league average.

    Grade: B+

     

    Bench

    Excellent overall production from the bench, with David Lough, Miguel Tejada and Jarrod Dyson leading the way. Backup George Kottaras has struggled at the plate, hitting just .143.

    Grade: B-

     

    Final Overall Grade: C

    The inability of the starting lineup to generate more offense is the biggest problem facing the Royals. George Brett will do what he can to make a difference, but it may too little, too late.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Starting Lineup

    On the surface, the Angels offense doesn't look terrible. The team is ranked fifth in runs scored and fourth in batting average. But considering the expectations placed on it at the beginning of the season, it's been a massive disappointment.

    Josh Hamilton, the $120 million man, is hitting an abysmal .215 with a .647 OPS. Albert Pujols is hitting just .256 with a .772 OPS, far below his career marks.

    Mike Trout can't be blamed, now hitting .316 with 13 home runs, 51 RBI and a .937 OPS. But for an offense that was expected to be explosive, it could only be characterized as more of a dud at this point.

    Grade: D

     

    Rotation

    High expectations weren't placed on the Angels rotation at the start of the season, and it's thus far done nothing to exceed the lowered standards.

    Angels starters rank 11th in the American League with a 4.52 ERA. The team is also now without the services of both Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson, both on the disabled list for what could be extended periods.

    Grade: D

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen hasn't been much of a relief, pardon the pun. Its 4.00 ERA ranks just 10th in the AL. Losing Sean Burnett hurt, and Kevin Jepsen missed over a month as well.

    General manager Jerry Dipoto will definitely be on the lookout for bullpen arms if the Angels are inclined to buy at the trade deadline.

    Grade: D+

     

    Bench

    J.B. Shuck has been excellent in filling in for Peter Bourjos and making spot starts, hitting .303 with 19 RBI. Backup catcher Hank Conger has been solid as well with a .253 average and four home runs.

    Utility infielders Brendan Harris and Luis Jimenez have provided capable infield backup when called upon, with Jimenez sent back down to Triple-A last month.

    Grade: B-

     

    Final Overall Grade: D

    The bottom line for the Angels is that no one expected them to be in their current position in the standings, actually closer to last place than first in the AL West.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Starting Lineup

    There's no question that injuries have played a large part in the struggles of the Dodgers offense. The team is currently ranked 13th in the National League in runs scored. The offense has surged of late with the returns of Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp.

    Carl Crawford should be returning within the next few weeks, and it will be up to manager Don Mattingly to find the best outfield mix now that Yasiel Puig is in the fold as well.

    Grade: D+

     

    Rotation

    The rotation has seen extensive time missed by Zack Greinke, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Josh Beckett. But Stephen Fife has provided a solid effort with a 2.85 ERA in six starts, and Hyun-jin Ryu has looked more than comfortable in his first season.

    Clayton Kershaw has been his usual stellar self with a 2.08 ERA, but a lack of run support has resulted in just six wins. Considering all the injuries, the rotation ERA of 3.52 is excellent.

    Grade: B

     

    Bullpen

    Certainly another area of concern for the Dodgers is their bullpen. Brandon League was recently demoted from the closer's role, and the overall ERA from the relief corps is 13th in the NL at 4.13.

    Grade: D

     

    Bench

    Considering how much it's been used because of injuries, the bench has performed admirably. Neither Skip Schumaker nor Nick Punto will supply much power, but both have given the Dodgers solid efforts. Their versatility in the field has been a huge help for Mattingly.

    Jerry Hairston Jr. has provided solid relief as well when given the opportunity, hitting .258 with a homer and 10 RBI.

    Grade: B-

     

    Final Overall Grade: C-

    Much like their counterparts just 30 miles east, much was expected from the Dodgers with their $200 million-plus payroll. Yet they find themselves 5.5 games out of first place in the NL West.

    Good health and better team chemistry in the second half, along with trade-deadline deals, could find the Dodgers competing for a playoff spot in late September.

Miami Marlins

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    Starting Lineup

    As expected, the Marlins are at or near the bottom in nearly every major offensive category. A rebuilding effort has left them with a team that includes few veterans and a whole lot of youngsters hoping to prove their worth in the majors.

    A long disabled list stint by both Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton didn't help, as the Marlins struggled to plate runs.

    Grade: F

     

    Rotation

    While they have a terrible 15-34 record, the Marlins starting rotation hasn't been awful. Their 4.05 ERA is 10th in the NL. Youngsters Jose Fernandez and Jacob Turner have been excellent, and Ricky Nolasco has been solid all season, despite receiving the third-worst run support in the league.

    Grade: C

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen also hasn't stunk. Marlins relievers have posted a 3.71 ERA, good for ninth in the NL. As a unit, the bullpen has only blown six saves, the fewest in the senior circuit.

    Grade: B-

     

    Bench

    In all, the Marlins have used 23 position players—certainly a high number at this point in the season. Ed Lucas, making his big league debut at the ripe old age of 31, has been a nice surprise, posting a .313 average since being called up on May 30.

    Grade: C+

     

    Final Overall Grade: D

    They have the worst record in baseball, but manager Mike Redmond has done a credible job in making sure the Marlins don't end up with the worst record in modern-day MLB history.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Starting Lineup

    The Brewers offense was expected to be good once again in 2013, but injuries to Corey Hart, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez have the team in the middle of the pack in the National League in runs scored.

    Both Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura have played like All-Stars in leading the offense, while Jonathan Lucroy is showing his worth as an offensive-minded catcher as well.

    Grade: C

     

    Rotation

    The area thought to be a weakness for the Brewers has turned out to be just that. Milwaukee's rotation ERA of 5.00 is second-to-last in all of baseball. It's also logged fewer innings than any rotation in the National League, putting pressure on an overused bullpen.

    Grade: F

     

    Bullpen

    The offseason acquisitions of Burke Badenhop, Tom Gorzelanny and Mike Gonzalez helped stabilize the bullpen for the Brewers. Francisco Rodriguez has been outstanding as well since returning to Milwaukee, posting a 0.55 ERA with six saves.

    The bullpen ERA of 2.89 is good for second in the National League.

    Grade: A

     

    Bench

    Manager Ron Roenicke can't count on much help from a bench that's been largely anemic.

    Grade: D-

     

    Final Overall Grade: D+

    Already 13 games under .500, the Brewers will likely be spending the rest of the summer playing for next season.

Minnesota Twins

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    Starting Lineup

    The Twins offense has been inconsistent for the most part, now 10th in the American League in runs scored.

    Joe Mauer is having his normal terrific season, hitting .332 with eight home runs and 26 RBI. Justin Morneau has chipped in with 43 RBI, but he's hit just three home runs.

    With Morneau's inability to go deep and Josh Willingham experiencing a down year thus far, the Twins don't have the firepower to put up big innings on a consistent basis.

    Grade: C

     

    Rotation

    Twins general manager Terry Ryan brought in some great arms for the future in Alex Meyer and Trevor May in the trades involving Ben Revere and Denard Span. But those arms aren't helping now—the pitchers acquired for the here and now simply haven't panned out.

    Mike Pelfrey is sporting a 6.11 ERA in 14 starts, while Vance Worley was sent to the minors after posting a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts. The Twins rotation ERA of 5.16 is the worst in the American League.

    Grade: D-

     

    Bullpen

    Conversely, the bullpen has been outstanding. Its 2.86 ERA is tops in the AL, and not one relief arm has an ERA above 4.00. Considering the bullpen has logged the third-most innings in the league, that's impressive.

    Grade: A

     

    Bench

    Manager Ron Gardenhire is a bit challenged in the infield off the bench, as Jamey Carroll and Eduardo Escobar have hit a combined .216. Outfielders Clete Thomas and Oswaldo Arcia have been stellar, chipping in with a combined seven home runs and 27 RBI.

    Grade: C+

     

    Final Overall Grade: C

    The Twins have done a good job in staying just five games under the .500 mark with an awful starting rotation.

New York Mets

18 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    "Offensively challenged" describes the Mets offense. It's what was expected at the start of the season, and the team has done little to convince anyone otherwise.

    David Wright has produced All-Star numbers, hitting .305 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI. And outfielder Marlon Byrd has been a nice addition, chipping in with 12 home runs and 38 RBI with a .260 average. But the Mets' .229 average is the low mark in the National League, and they're just 12th in runs scored.

    Grade: D+

     

    Rotation

    For the most part, the Mets rotation has hung steady for much of the season. Its 3.88 ERA is eighth in the NL, and it's created an absolute star in Matt Harvey.

    Zack Wheeler is a star in the making as well, and with the Mets likely out of the playoff chase, they'll give Wheeler every opportunity to shine at the major league level.

    Grade: B-

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen, much like last season, has been a letdown. Mets relievers have posted a 4.12 ERA, good for just 12th in the league. Bobby Parnell has settled in well as the closer with 14 saves and a 2.38 ERA.

    Scott Rice started out strong but has clearly been overused, now with a 4.65 ERA in 42 appearances. Miserable performances by Josh Edgin and Robert Carson served to inflate the bullpen ERA as well.

    Grade: D+

     

    Bench

    The bench has been a revolving door of players for much of the season as manager Terry Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson have worked to find players who can contribute..

    Grade: D

     

    Final Overall Grade: D+

    At 11 games under .500, the Mets are probably about where they were projected to be, on their way to a possible 90-loss season.

New York Yankees

19 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    The Yankees rank second-to-last in the American League with a .238 average and are 12th in runs scored, and yet they're six games above .500.

    The players brought in to replace the offense lost with injuries to Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Kevin Youkilis were just enough to keep the Yankees better than competitive.

    However, they've scuffled in June, hitting just .218 with 80 runs scored in 24 games.

    Grade: D

     

    Rotation

    This year has been about pitching rather than big bats, and the rotation has done its part, posting a 3.92 ERA, which is good for fifth in the league.

    Hiroki Kuroda has led the charge with a 2.77 ERA in 16 starts, showing that the Yankees absolutely did the right thing in bringing him back for one more year.

    Grade: B-

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen has held together as well, posting a 3.42 ERA for the sixth-best mark in the AL. Legendary closer Mariano Rivera is putting a shiny red ribbon on his illustrious career, posting a 1.55 ERA with 26 saves.

    David Robertson has once again shined in the setup role with a 2.59 ERA, but Joba Chamberlain could be pitching his way out of New York, posting a 6.38 ERA in 19 appearances.

    Grade: B

     

    Bench

    Considering the rash of injuries suffered by the Yankees, it's understandable that they've already used 23 position players this season.

    Ben Francisco, Chris Nelson and Reid Brignac all made brief stops before moving on.

    Considering the Yankees at times fielded lineups that looked like a Triple-A game, the reserves have allowed the team to keep within striking distance of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

    Grade: B+

     

    Final Overall Grade: B-

    Give credit where credit's due: This Yankees team has no business being above .500. It's a credit to Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi that the Yankees are in a position to compete for a playoff spot in spite of the devastating injuries.

Oakland Athletics

20 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    The Oakland Athletics offense has been solid, producing the fourth-most runs in the American League. And the team has done it despite hitting just .249.

    The lineup has performed well in the clutch as well, placing fourth in the league in plating baserunners in scoring position.

    Grade: B

     

    Rotation

    The rotation hasn't been quite as strong as last year, posting a 4.05 ERA. It's been led by 40-year-old Bartolo Colon with a 10-2 record and 2.93 ERA.

    Grade: B-

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen has been a force, posting a 3.13 ERA. Grant Balfour has converted all 18 of his save opportunities and posted a 2.03 ERA. The whole unit has shined in support as well.

    Grade: B+

     

    Bench

    The bench has also been solid for the A's. Chris Young is only hitting .188, but his seven home runs and 27 RBI have been welcomed. Nate Freiman has been stellar as well, posting a .277 batting average with 17 RBI.

    Grade: C+

     

    Final Overall Grade: B

    At 12 games over .500 and only a half-game back of first place in the AL West, the A's are proving that last year was no fluke.

Philadelphia Phillies

21 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    A once-potent offense has suddenly become mediocre, and the Phillies now find themselves in need of more than just a jolt. They're now 11th in the National League in runs scored. An offense once predicated on power is now 12th in the league with a .677 OPS as well.

    It's obvious at this point that the Phillies are in need of a vast overhaul offensively, and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will have his hands full as he attempts to find long-term solutions.

    Grade: D

     

    Rotation

    For the past few years, the rotation relied on its big three of Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. Other back-end rotation members chipped in capably as well.

    This year, only Lee has staked a claim to an outstanding season, posting a 9-2 record and 2.51 ERA. Halladay is lost for most of the season, and Hamels is struggling through the worst season of his career (2-11, 4.58 ERA).

    The Phillies are ninth in the league with a 4.05 ERA from their starters. With an offense that has more often than not been lacking in run support, they're not likely to surge in the second half.

    Grade: C-

     

    Bullpen

    In a word, the bullpen has been abysmal. Its 4.59 ERA is last in the league, and its .269 BAA is also at the bottom.

    Setup man Mike Adams could be lost for the season, and Michael Stutes and Jeremy Horst are also down for the count.

    Manager Charlie Manuel will have to rely on a bevy of young arms to keep his bullpen going for much of the rest of the summer.

    Grade: F

     

    Bench

    The core bench group of John Mayberry, Kevin Frandsen and Laynce Nix has for the most part been solid in the first half.

    The struggling Freddy Galvis was sent back down to the minors, and the light-hitting Humberto Quintero is now the primary backup catcher, with Eric Kratz sidelined by a knee injury.

    Grade: B-

     

    Final Overall Grade: D+

    At four games under .500, the Phillies aren't yet ready to admit defeat. But it's clear the current roster simply isn't good enough to give hope for a second-half turnaround.

Pittsburgh Pirates

22 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    The Pirates offense isn't overly explosive and hits below league average, but it's been enough thus far to aid in giving the Bucs the best record in the majors.

    Starling Marte is coming into his own in his first full year in the majors. Andrew McCutchen got off to an uncharacteristically slow start but is now hitting .287 with eight home runs and 38 RBI. Pedro Alvarez is on pace to shatter personal bests in home runs and RBI, now with 19 and 51, respectively.

    Grade: C

     

    Rotation

    For Pittsburgh, this year has been all about pitching, and the rotation has certainly helped in that regard.

    Pirates starters are second in the National League with a 3.32 ERA. They're tops in the league with a .230 BAA and have allowed the second-fewest home runs (38).

    Grade: A-

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen has been outstanding as well. Its 3.06 ERA is fourth-best in the league and as a unit, it's converted 79 percent of save opportunities, good for first overall.

    The late-inning combination of Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli has been dominant all season as well.

    The big worry is that the Pirates bullpen leads the league with 276.2 IP, so overuse could be an issue in the second half. General manager Neal Huntington will likely look for additional arms to help out.

    Grade: A-

     

    Bench

    The bench for Pittsburgh has been just average. Gaby Sanchez primarily plays when southpaws are pitching, currently hitting .245 with seven homers. Jordy Mercer is now the team's primary shortstop, with Clint Barmes continuing to hover near the Mendoza line.

    Grade: C

     

    Final Overall Grade: A-

    With their best record since 1992, the Pirates seem to be well on their way to finally ending their 20-year streak of consecutive losing seasons, even with their history of second-half swoons. 

San Diego Padres

23 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    The Padres offense has been surprisingly good, now in sixth place in the National League in runs scored.

    Bringing in the fences at Petco Park has helped, as San Diego has hit 36 home runs at home thus far. The team totaled 47 homers at home for all of last season.

    And the Padres have done it despite slugger Chase Headley hitting just .224 with six home runs.

    Grade: B

     

    Rotation

    It hasn't been the starting rotation that's been the guiding force for the Padres this season, as it ranks second-to-last in the league with a 4.58 ERA.

    At just under .500, the Padres are in the thick of things in the NL West. But general manager Josh Byrnes will absolutely need to beef up his starting core if the Padres hope to continue competing in the second half.

    Grade: D-

     

    Bullpen

    The Padres' 3.26 bullpen ERA is sixth in the league, and the team is fifth with a 70 percent save conversion rate.

    Padres relievers have had issues keeping the ball in the park, however. They pace the National League with 34 home runs allowed.

    Grade: C+

     

    Bench

    The bench has done a lot to help the Padres surge into second place in the NL West. Kyle Blanks has been outstanding in playing both corner outfield positions and first base, contributing a .280 average with eight home runs and 31 RBI.

    Alexi Amarista and Logan Forsythe have also been solid in reserve.

    Grade: B

     

    Final Overall Grade: B-

    Very few picked the Padres to go anywhere this season, especially after an inactive winter. Yet here they are, just 3.5 games off the pace set by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.

San Francisco Giants

24 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    The Giants are in the middle of the pack offensively, about where they were last year to end the season. Buster Posey is putting up another All-Star season with a .314 average, 10 home runs and 45 RBI.

    Marco Scutaro is following up a spectacular second half last year by hitting a nifty .323 thus far, and Hunter Pence has contributed 12 home runs and 40 RBI.

    Grade: B-

     

    Rotation

    A rotation that was among the best in the National League for years has been horrible thus far, ranked 13th in the league with a 4.55 ERA.

    Starting stalwarts Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum both have ERAs above 4.50, and Barry Zito has been simply awful on the road with an 0-4 record and 11.28 ERA in five starts.

    Grade: D-

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen for the most part has been solid, fifth in the league with a 3.14 ERA. Sergio Romo has collected 18 saves with a 2.40 ERA in his first full year as closer, and lefty specialist Javy Lopez has been stellar with a 1.47 ERA. He's held lefties to a .174 BAA thus far.

    Grade: B

     

    Bench

    The bench has been solid thus far. Gregor Blanco is hitting .296 with 26 RBI and will likely be the full-time center fielder in the absence of Angel Pagan. Juan Perez has electrified everyone with outstanding defense, and Joaquin Arias has filled in admirably, posting a .276 average.

    Grade: B+

     

    Final Overall Grade: C-

    The failure of the rotation leads to the disappointing first-half grade for the Giants. General manager Brian Sabean will be active in the next few weeks as he attempts to find solutions.

Seattle Mariners

25 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    For all of the changes made by the Mariners in revamping an impotent offense, the results simply haven't led to a drastic change.

    Ranked last in the American League in runs scored for four consecutive years, this year's offense has managed to make its way out of the cellar, but just six runs separate it from the last-place Chicago White Sox.

    Grade: D-

     

    Rotation

    Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma have been stellar at the top of the rotation, but the overall ERA of 3.98 from starters is seventh in the league.

    Free-agent acquisition Joe Saunders has been a disappointment, posting a 5-8 record and 4.98 record in 16 starts. Aaron Harang hasn't been much help either, with a 3-7 record and 5.29 ERA in 12 starts.

    The Mariners are still waiting for youngsters Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker to develop. They'll likely pin their hopes on their debuts late this season or in 2014, but it won't be nearly enough to boost them into playoff contention.

    Grade: C

     

    Bullpen

    Without question a major weakness for the Mariners, the bullpen has been a massive disappointment. Its 4.51 ERA is second-to-last in the league, and only Oliver Perez has stood out, posting a sterling 0.98 ERA in 30 appearances.

    Grade: D-

     

    Bench

    The bench hasn't been altogether productive thus far. Outfielder Jason Bay is hitting just .215 with eight home runs. Endy Chavez has been solid with a .275 average, but middle infield help overall has been abysmal.

    Grade: C-

     

    Final Overall Grade: D+

    At 11 games under .500 the Mariners seem destined for a 90-loss season and possibly a mini fire sale at the trade deadline.

St. Louis Cardinals

26 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    The Cardinals offense is led by catcher Yadier Molina and his league-leading .357 average, six home runs and 44 RBI. His 26 doubles are also tops in the National League.

    Overall, the Cardinals offense leads the NL in runs scored, team batting average and OBP. While not the sluggers they once were, the Cardinals simply find ways to get on base and get runners home. Their .337 average with runners in scoring position is by far the best in the majors.

    Grade: A

     

    Rotation

    The team's rotation has been magnificent all year, tops in the league with a 3.06 ERA. Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook all have ERAs under 3.52, and youngsters like Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons and Joe Kelly are capable of filling in when called upon.

    Grade: A

     

    Bullpen

    A bullpen that was a mess at the beginning of the season is coming around. It's now 10th in the NL with a 3.73 ERA. Closer Edward Mujica has been terrific, posting a 2.20 ERA with 21 saves.

    Grade: C

     

    Bench

    Not much to complain about from the bench. As a unit, the bench is hitting a collective .246, and Daniel Descalso and Matt Adams can be used at any point with confidence by manager Mike Matheny.

    Grade: B

     

    Final Overall Grade: A-

    Tied with their division rivals—the Pittsburgh Pirates—for the best record in baseball, the Cardinals appear poised to fight once again for a World Series title.

Tampa Bay Rays

27 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    Tampa Bay's offense has been steady thus far, ranked sixth in the American League in runs scored. Free-agent acquisition James Loney has been much better than anticipated, hitting .309 with eight home runs and 38 RBI.

    Wil Myers looks now to be a fixture in the lineup after debuting with a .268 average, two home runs and eight RBI in his first 10 games. Even Jose Molina has picked it up, hitting .263 after an abysmal 2012 season during which he hit just .223.

    Grade: B

     

    Rotation

    A rough first half for Cy Young Award winner David Price, followed by a stint on the disabled list, wasn't what the Rays expected to start the 2013 season.

    Overall, the rotation ERA of 4.38 is 10th in the AL. Alex Cobb has been the surprise of the first half, posting a 3.01 ERA to lead the team. Matt Moore started out on fire but has fizzled in June with an 8.39 ERA in five starts.

    Grade: C-

     

    Bullpen

    The Rays bullpen was the best in the league last season with a 2.88 ERA. This season, the bullpen is almost a full run worse with a 3.85 ERA, good for just eighth in the league.

    Closer Fernando Rodney has been rather pedestrian compared to 2012, posting a 4.83 ERA with 16 saves.

    Grade: C

     

    Bench

    The bench overall has been steady but not spectacular. Jose Lobaton has produced a .263 average with four home runs, giving manager Joe Maddon a big lift compared to last year. Ryan Roberts and Sean Rodriguez have combined to hit .236 off the bench.

    Grade: B-

     

    Final Overall Grade: C+

    The Rays are hanging around in a tight and competitive AL East race. However, more consistent efforts from the rotation will absolutely be necessary for the Rays to have any shot at a postseason berth.

Texas Rangers

28 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    For an offense that lost Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli, the Texas Rangers have done a fairly impressive job of managing without them.

    Still, an offense that scored more runs than any team last year ranks just ninth in that department this year. The offense has scuffled in the month of June as well, hitting just .237 and scoring just under 3.5 runs per game.

    Grade: C

     

    Rotation

    A rotation that started out strong has faded to sixth in the AL with a 3.93 ERA. Solid performances from Yu Darvish and Derek Holland have helped, but injuries to Alexi Ogando and Matt Harrison have taken their toll.

    Grade: B-

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen has seen outstanding performances from closer Joe Nathan (1.62 ERA, 26 saves), Tanner Scheppers (1.11 ERA, 38 appearances) and Robbie Ross (1.93 ERA, 36 appearances). Neal Cotts has also been magnificent, posting a 0.44 ERA in 18 appearances.

    Grade: B+

     

    Bench

    Manager Ron Washington has some weapons on his bench. Jeff Baker was hitting .317 with nine home runs before spraining his thumb in mid-June. Young phenom Jurickson Profar has provided a lift as well, with a .268 average.

    Grade: B

     

    Final Overall Grade: B

    The Rangers lead the AL West, but starting pitching depth could be a concern over the final three months of the season.

Toronto Blue Jays

29 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    The Blue Jays got a huge boost this week with the return of Jose Reyes. But according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), they've now lost the services of Melky Cabrera, who's on the disabled list with left knee tendinitis.

    The Jays are in eighth place in runs scored, but they've stepped it up in the month of June, averaging nearly five runs per game.

    With a healthy Reyes and an offense starting to click, the offense could be rounding into form at the perfect time.

    Grade: C+

     

    Rotation

    There's no question that the rotation was a major disappointment for much of the first half. The unit is still ranked second-to-last in the AL with a 4.95 ERA.

    However, no team in the league has pitched better than the Blue Jays in the month of June. Josh Johnson, R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle have helped lead the Jays' resurgence.

    Grade: D 

     

    Bullpen

    For a bullpen that's thrown more innings than any other in the majors, you simply can't ask for a better effort. Its 2.88 ERA is second in the AL, its 1.14 WHIP is first and its .224 BAA is tied for second.

    It's hard to find a more well-rounded bullpen than Toronto's.

    Grade: A

     

    Bench

    After a miserable start to the season, Maicer Izturis has been much better of late, now hitting .235, including a .280 mark with two homers and 10 RBI in June. Rajai Davis has been outstanding as well in a reserve role, with a .304 average and 14 stolen bases.

    Grade: B

     

    Final Overall Grade: C-

    This grade easily would have been a D- or even a failing mark after the first two months of the season. But the recent run of 11 straight wins and spectacular starting pitching in the past four weeks elevated the Jays' grade to a more acceptable one.

Washington Nationals

30 of 30

    Starting Lineup

    In recent weeks, it's been clear the affect that outfielder Bryce Harper, who's been on the DL since June 2, has on the Nationals offense.

    Washington's offense has produced the fewest runs (82) thus far in the month of June in the National League. In addition, the offense is second-to-last in plating baserunners in scoring position for the entire season.

    Grade: D

     

    Rotation

    With a 3.62 ERA, Nationals starters rank sixth in the NL. Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann lead the way, while Gio Gonzalez has posted a 3.31 ERA. Strasburg also leads the National League with the worst run support (2.60) of any pitcher.

    Grade: B

     

    Bullpen

    A vaunted bullpen, led by Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, has been average at best, posting a seventh-best 3.46 ERA in the league. The unit's .253 BAA is seven points above league average, but the bullpen has managed to keep the ball in the park, giving up just 16 home runs—second-fewest in the NL.

    Grade: B-

     

    Bench

    The bench hasn't been effective thus far. Tyler Moore and Chad Tracy have combined for a paltry .151 average, and Roger Bernadina is struggling with a .182 mark. 

    Grade: D

     

    Final Overall Grade: C-

    A 39-39 mark at this point in the season is definitely a disappointment for a team that won 97 games last year. Harper's return and better performances from the offense overall will be needed if the Nationals hope to compete with the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

     

    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.

    Feel free to talk baseball with Doug anytime on Twitter.