Tha Sports Junkies 101

American League Mid-Season Review

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A Look At The American League So Far This Year

As the All-Star break draws near, it is time to take a look at the American League and see how teams stack up.

Texas Rangers

With the best record in the majors, the Texas Rangers have a 4.5 game lead in the AL West. They are fourteen games over .500 at 39-25 and have a +29 run differential. Texas is tied for first in the majors with 43 quality starts but as a team they have a 4.00 ERA. The Rangers are in position to be buyers at the trade deadline as they look to lock up the West.

Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles are tied for the second best record in the AL at 36-26. They are tied atop the AL East with the Boston Red Sox. Hitting has not been a problem for the Orioles as they rank in the top 11 in the majors in: runs, batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage. Pitching has been a different story as they rank in the bottom half of the majors in: ERA, quality starts, WHIP, and BAA. Look for the Orioles to go after a young starting pitcher such as Julio Teheran as the trade deadline approaches.

Boston Red Sox

Tied for the second best record in the AL are the Boston Red Sox. At 36-26, the Red Sox are hungry for a division title and they have the young talent to do it. Players like Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. have the Red Sox primed for a playoff run. Their offense is humming and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. A key weakness for this team would be the number 5 starter. Roenis Elias who will start Friday, will be the third starter to pitch as the fifth starter this year. If the Sox can not find an in house solution for their problem, look for them to shop around for a pitcher.

Cleveland Indians

At 35-28, the Cleveland Indians have a two game lead in the AL Central. The Indians have been riding great pitching to reach were they are now. With the suspension of Marlon Byrd, the Indians could use an extra outfield bat. Carlos Beltran could be an option but not a permeant one due to his age. They have young talent to build around in the form of Francisco Lindor. Expect the Indians to add a bat to their lineup in the coming month, that will help them hold off the defending champs down the stretch.

Seattle Mariners

4.5 games back in the AL West are the Seattle Mariners. They have a 34-29 record with a +55 run differential. With names like Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz in the middle of the lineup, the Mariners are still looking for another power bat. Carlos Gonzalez would make a good addition to a lineup that needs a power outfield bat. Pitching has been solid as their BAA is .241 which is 6th best in the majors. The Mariners will more than likely be buyers at the deadline as they try to catch the Rangers.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays are in an interesting position. They are third in the AL East but are only 2.5 games back. Pitching has been good for the Jays up till this point but the hitting needs a little work. They are 24th in the majors in batting average and middle of the pack in other major hitting categories. With players like: Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Troy Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays have some good hitters that can do some damage. If the Jays were to make a move, it would make sense to add another bat to maybe jump start the offense. Definitely expect to see the Blue Jays in the playoff picture in September.

Kansas City Royals

Chasing the Indians by one game in the AL Central are the Kansas City Royals. They own a 33-30 record with a -20 run differential. This is kind of shocking to Royals fans who thought the team could possibly win back-to-back World Series’. The Royals have been really good at times and really bad at times. They rank in the middle of the pack in almost every stat. One stat that is toward the bottom of the rankings is runs scored. With 238, the Royals rank 27th in the majors. Look for the Royals to be buyers in this years market. The Royals need power outfield bat just like the Mariners. If the Royals can get one or two good bats, expect to see them in the postseason.

Detroit Tigers

1.5 games behind the Royals in the Central are the Detroit Tigers. At 32-31, the Tigers have not gotten off to a good start. Part of their problems have been the poor performance of the pitching staff and bullpen. Their team ERA is 4.32 which is 21st overall in the majors. The offense is doing it’s job but the pitching just has not been there. With the AL Central still close, expect the Tigers to make some moves to push them up the standings. A good starting pitcher would do them good and may even help them reach the playoffs.

Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox started the year out as the best team in the AL. This took a lot of people by surprise because no one thought the White Sox would be competitive this year. Behind strong starting pitching, the Sox were flying high until recently. The pitching fell off and they started losing games. They are now 32-32, 3 games back in the AL Central. Good news for the White Sox is that they are only 3 games back with plenty of baseball left. Tim Anderson has been called up to see if he can right the ship for the Sox. If Chicago can find a way to start pitching again, they could make a push for the division.

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are 6 games back in the AL East. The Yankees are one of the oldest teams in baseball but they have a great bullpen. Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman are in the middle of a lot of trade rumors. With the Yankees on the verge of falling behind even more in the division, expect one or both of them too be moved. Some of the rumors suggest that the Yankees are asking a lot for these two young relievers. It would make sense for the Yankees to throw in the towel and start rebuilding for the future. They already have young big league talent to build around in Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius; which will make the Yankees a fun team to watch in the coming months.

Tampa Bay Rays

6.5 games back in the AL East are the Tampa Bay Rays. With a 30-32 record, the Rays will probably be sellers at the deadline. Only being 6.5 back however they could put together a run post All-Star break. In order to do that, they will need to find themselves a good catcher. Jonathan Lucroy seems to be a good fit. He brings a lot of experience that can help their staff. The Rays will need to eat some of his contract but in the long run it will be worth it. The Rays are right on the fringe of whether or not to be buyers or sellers at the deadline. They will definitely make a move but in which direction is the question.

Houston Astros

Houston Astros fans had high hopes for 2016 after a very successful 2015 for the Astros. Instead, they are 9 games back in the AL West and may be forced to go into sell mode. Dallas Keuchel who won the 2015 AL Cy Young Award has a 5.54 ERA this year. Overall, the whole team has underperformed up till this point in the season. With most of their players still young, don’t expect the Astros to get rid of many at the deadline. They still have a very strong core of players that can be good in the future. Look for the Astros to add a starting pitcher if they make any moves at all.

Oakland Athletics

At 27-36, the Oakland Athletics are 11.5 games back in the AL West. Part of the reason for this bad start is the pitching. With a 4.63 team ERA, the A’s rank 26th in the majors. A bright spot for this team has been the performance of Rich Hill. His 2.25 ERA and 8 wins lead the team. Hill can not carry the team alone. Look for the A’s to add pitching that could help them down the line. The A’s will probably be in sell mode as they are already 11.5 games back. At this point, it’s about restocking and getting ready for next year.

Los Angeles Angels

12 games back in the AL West is the Los Angeles Angels. Really the only bright spot for the Angels this year has been Mike Trout. He is probably going to be an All-Star again this year. At this point, the Angels need to start thinking about trading the slugger. The Angels will get a huge amount of talent in return for Trout if they decide to trade him. This Saturday, the Angels will see Tim Lincecum make a start against the A’s. Lincecum has been doing well after signing with the Angels earlier in the year. It will be interesting to see what they can get out of Lincecum. The Angels need to be in sell mode this year, and Mike Trout needs to find a new club.

Minnesota Twins

With the worst record in the AL at 20-43, the Minnesota Twins are 14.5 games back in the AL Central. The Twins just have not been good this year. They rank 30th in BAA at .288 and 29th in ERA at 5.15. They have not pitched or hit well so far this season. As in years past, expect the Twins to be in sell mode with what little they have to sell. At 20-43, they are in the running for the 1st overall pick in the 2017 draft so this year may not be a total waste for the Twins.