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Section 2

Grades for All 30 MLB teams


May 20, 2018 EST


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We are only a few weeks into the MLB Season but certain teams are getting good grades and others are failing. Take a look at the latest grades and highlights from all the MLB teams so far this season.

Arizona Diamondbacks: A

They lost J.D. Martinez to free agency, they’ve got injury concerns, but they’re tied with the Red Sox for the largest division lead in baseball.

Atlanta Braves: A

The Braves have played one of the toughest schedules in baseball to date, but they’re three games above .500 at this writing. You can argue that the rebuilding process isn’t quite finished yet, but Atlanta can indeed contend in 2018.

Baltimore Orioles: F

Most didn’t expect the Orioles to contend in 2018, but playing .261 ball was perhaps not expected. Don’t be surprised if pending free agent Manny Machado is traded before July 31.

Boston Red Sox: A+

Obviously, the Sox were expected to be in the mix for a third straight AL East title, but they’ve exceeded even those expectations in the early going. At this writing, they’ve got the best record and best run differential in all of baseball. Absolute unit.

Chicago Cubs: C+

Yes, the Cubs will be fine, but right now they’re in fourth place in the NL Central and only one game above .500. Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish have been particularly disappointing in the early going.

Chicago White Sox: D

No, the Sox weren’t expected to contend in 2018, but they were expected to show improvement as they emerge from a deep teardown. This checkpoint, though, shows them on pace for 119 losses. A lack of control up and down the rotation has been one of many early concerns.

Cincinnati Reds: F

💩 (That is the poop emoji, in case you were wondering.)

Cleveland Indians: B-

The Tribe endured some fits and starts, but a recent win streak means they’re now playing .600 ball. That said, the schedule to date has been pretty easy, and the Indians’ run differential of plus-15 isn’t in the top third of the AL.

Colorado Rockies: C-

They’re a .500 team at the moment, and they’re coming off a playoff berth in 2017. They’ve also been out-scored by 30 runs this season, which suggests they’re perhaps fortunate to be a .500 team.

Detroit Tigers: B

Given that the Tigers, who were expected to be among MLB’s worst this season, are in third place and just two games below .500, you might expect a higher grade. However, they’ve played a total of 12 games against the Royals, White Sox, and Orioles.

Houston Astros: B+

They’re in first place, and they’re on pace to increase last year’s win total. What keeps them from an A is that the Angels are even with them in the loss column, and expectations are raised because of the full season of Justin Verlander and the Gerrit Cole acquisition. Hey, the standards are high when you own the belt and the title.

Kansas City Royals: C-

Hey, they’re better than the Reds. The Royals were sure to be bad after significant free agent losses, and they are indeed bad — a bit worse than expected thus far.

Los Angeles Angels: A+

Coming into the season, the rare prognosticator tabbed the Angels for a wild-card spot, based on Mike Trout plus surrounding roster improvements. Thus far, they’ve exceeded even those rosy expectations. As noted above, they’re mere percentage points behind the Astros in the AL West, and they’re on pace for a franchise-record 106 wins.

Los Angeles Dodgers: D+

Harsh marks for a team that’s over .500? Maybe. Bear in mind, though, that the Dodgers barged to 104 wins and the pennant last season. At the moment, though, they’re closer to last place than they are to first place.

Miami Marlins: C

On the one hand, the Marlins are complete and utter detritus. On the other hand, we all knew they would be complete and utter detritus. That is, they’re doing great at being terrible.

Milwaukee Brewers: B+

After a surprise run at contention last season, the Brewers were one of the most active teams of the winter. That means it’s playoffs or bust for Milwaukee. So far, they’re getting it done.

Minnesota Twins: D

They made the Wild Card Game last season and fortified the rotation this past offseason. So an 8-9 record and a minus-15 run differential isn’t acceptable in that context.

New York Mets: A

A number of us pegged the Mets as having bounceback potential after 92-loss campaign in 2017. However, Mickey Callaway’s club has done that and then some thus far. At the moment, they’ve got a narrow lead in the NL East.

New York Yankee: B-

The Yankees are starting to emerge from their early-season doldrums, as they’ve nudged their winning percentage up to .571. That said, most expected the Yanks — after an ALCS run last season and then the addition of Giancarlo Stanton — to win the AL East. They may still yet do that, but right now they lag the rival Red Sox by five games.

Oakland Athletics: A

An above-.500 A’s team? These days that’s an A grade. Matt Chapman’s played like an All-Star, and Sean Manaea’s already notched a no-hitter. Fringe contender? Probably not but possibly.

Philadelphia Phillies: A+

Maybe the early-season punchline winds up being NL Manager of the year? At present, Gabe Kapler’s club is on pace to improve upon their 2017 record by 42 wins (!). Yep, that’ll get you the highest possible grade.

Pittsburgh Pirates: A-

Sure, some of the shine has come off the Buccos after that 11-4 start (they’re coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Phils), but after the departures via trade of Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole a winning record is a notable thing.

San Diego Padres: C-

The Padres are presently in last place, which feels about right. Given the winter addition of Eric Hosmer and the excellent young talent base, though, more forward momentum may have been expected.

San Francisco Giants: C-

Sure, the Giants have rotation injuries to blame for their middling start, but the trade acquisitions of Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, and Austin Jackson are showing some troubling early trends.

Seattle Mariners: C+

The M’s are above .500, and they have a roster that has the potential to contend. The decision to option Guillermo Heredia in favor of keeping Ichiro on the 25-man, however, is a deeply puzzling one. They’re also lugging around a run differential of minus-18.

St. Louis Cardinals: B+

They’re narrowly atop the NL Central standings at the moment, which is obviously a notable early achievement. However, their 7-0 mark against the unspeakable Reds is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

Tampa Bay Rays: C-

After a puzzling, half-committed teardown this past winter, the Rays were bound to be bad. Are they worse than we thought? Opinions will vary, but perhaps a bit. It’s the Rays, whatever.

Texas Rangers: F

The Rangers have a recent history that includes mostly regular contention, but they’re continuing the downward trajectory that started in 2017. At this early checkpoint, Texas has twice as many losses as wins, and they’ve been out-scored by 40 runs. They’ve also given the most runs in the AL.

Toronto Blue Jays: A

They’ve been without Josh Donaldson for a chunk of the season, but they’re still 13-8 and ahead of the Yankees in the AL East standings. Surprisingly, they’re in this position despite some struggles from the rotation, which figures to be a team strength over the long haul.

Washington Nationals: F

Sure, they’ll play up, especially once Daniel Murphy returns from injury. Right now, though, they’re in fourth place and playing at a .435 clip. That’s a bad early look for a club that ran off a decorated manager who won 192 games in two seasons.

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