The MLB all-star break begins tomorrow and it leaves time to reflect on the first half of the season so far. Here are the 3 teams that have disappointed me the most this season.
3. Seattle Mariners – 2014 record: 41-48
Analysis: Seattle just missed getting into the playoffs by one game last year, so the 2015 season came with big expectations and they have yet to live up to them especially offensively in the 1st half. Robinson Cano has been not only been a below average player for the amount he is getting paid, but he has also been statistically a below average 2nd basemen in the MLB. Nelson Cruz has been the bright spot for the Mariners so far with a .308 average and 21 home runs, yet everybody else in the Mariners lineup has severely underachieved. Seattle is 29th in the MLB with a .235 batting average and they are 27th in runs, so if they even want to get back to a .500 record then those numbers will have to improve. The good news for Seattle is that they have a good starting rotation led by Felix Hernandez and they are only 7.5 games out in a inconsistent AL West division, so there is at least some hope for them if they get their offense going.
2. Miami Marlins – 2014 record: 38-51
Analysis: Miami looked like a playoff team coming into the season, yet things have just not worked out as well as they’d hoped for whatever reason. Manager Todd Redmond was fired early in the season and injuries have been a big issue so far. Giancarlo Stanton was putting up monster numbers with 27 home runs and 67 RBI’s, but a wrist injury has kept him out of the lineup the past couple of weeks. Christian Yelich has had a miserable year with a .264 average and 20 RBI’s and Casey McGehee hasn’t been nearly what Miami had hoped at 3rd base as he only has a .226 average and 2 home runs. Miami needs some more support offensively for Giancarlo Stanton to get the most out of this miserable season. At least star young pitcher Jose Fernandez is back from tommy john surgery and he looks like his old self already, yet he isn’t enough to bring the Marlins back into contention. The Marlins are 11 games back in the NL East and with the way the Nationals and Mets are pitching right now then it makes it impossible for Miami to get back in the race. My advice to the Marlins players would just to get better and find something out of this extremely difficult season. If players like Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Adeiny Hechavarria continue to improve then it could put the Marlins back into playoff contention for next season.
1. San Diego Padres – 2014 record: 41-49
Analysis: This was a boom-or-bust year for the San Diego Padres and as of halfway through the season it appears to be a major bust season. They brought in all-star players like Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, James Shields, and Craig Kimbrel to make this team an immediate playoff contender, but they have been below .500 even for most of the season. There isn’t one specific thing that the Padres aren’t doing well right now it is just basically everything that isn’t going their way. San Diego is 21st in the majors in ERA at 3.98 and they are 20th in runs scored. Kemp and Upton better start hitting the ball more consistently or else this team won’t improve at all in the 2nd half of the season. The Padres still head into the all-star break 10 games back in the NL West and if there is one team that has the talent to come back from a big hole like this one then it is the Padres. However, San Diego has an inexperienced manager and it will be difficult for all of these players to come together and win games in the 2nd half. I feel really disappointed for this franchise because they went all in on this season with their big acquisitions this past offseason and they don’t have much to look forward to in the future since they traded away a lot of their young prospects. Overall, it has just been a really disappointing season for the Padres organization because of all they put into it.
The Detroit Tigers are already 5 1/2 games out of 1st place in the American league central division, but now with star 1st basemen Miguel Cabrera’s injury the chances of the Tigers even making the playoffs this year are basically slim to none unless they can get somebody to really step up in his place. Cabrera will be out at least 6 weeks because of his calf injury and it is hard to see the Tigers playing well without him. Not only is Cabrera the heart and soul for Detroit, but the major issue is that the Tigers don’t have many internal options to replace him. Alex Avila started on Saturday in Cabrera’s place, but the issue is that Avila is still recovering from an injury himself and there is a question as to whether he will be able to continue playing back-to-back games. Also, Avila’s natural position is catcher and he has only played 3 career games at 1st base, so there is a major question as to whether he will be able to play the position well enough especially since 1st base might be the most crucial position defensively for an MLB team. Either way, the Twins and Royals don’t appear to be going away anytime soon and the Indians appear to be playing much better baseball so it is highly unlikely that the Tigers can compete with those teams especially without Cabrera. I think the best hope for Detroit is to trade for a 1st basemen because there is no way that they can stay in the playoff race with Alex Avila or Austin Romine playing 1st base until the middle of August. This is the worst possible injury that could happen to the Tigers, but they will need to somehow find a way to at least stay in the race until Cabrera comes back.
Free Agent signing Nelson Cruz has been everything that the Mariners could have asked for as he has had a .326 batting average with 18 home runs, but the problem is that nobody else for the Mariners is helping out at all. The main reason that the Mariners are underachieving in my opinion is mainly because they rely too much on Robinson Cano and he is having an awful season. Cano only has a .238 batting average with 2 home runs and 19 RBI’s in 58 games this season which is not nearly enough production out of any starter in the MLB especially for a guy who is making $24 million just in 2015. The defense has still been there for Cano as he only has 2 errors, but offensively the Mariners need him to play at a superstar level if they want to make the playoffs because Nelson Cruz can’t carry the offense by himself. I don’t see any team running away with the AL West division, so even though the Mariners are 27-33 they still have the pitching so that if Cano and the rest of the offense starts to score more runs then they could compete for a wild card spot. Either way, Cano isn’t living up to his 1-year/$240 million contract that he signed before the 2014 season, although I have confidence that he will get better as the year goes along.
Josh Hamilton became a superstar player with the Texas Rangers from 2008-2012 which led the Angels to sign him to a 5-year/$125 million contract prior to the 2013 season. However, Hamilton struggled to stay on the field because of injuries and a drug relapse earlier this year basically was the last straw for the Angels as they ended up dealing him back to Texas on April 27th. Now, Hamilton is starting to return to his superstar type of play with the Rangers as he already has 2 home runs and 5 RBI’s in 7 games for the team. The Rangers really needed more consistent offensive players and Hamilton is proving that he can still be the player that he was just a few years ago with Texas. As long as he keeps making contact with the ball and if he can stay on the field then this trade could be one of the best trades in recent memory.
C.C. Sabathia was basically perfect through the first two innings as he didn’t allow a run, but things changed dramatically for him and the Yankees in the 3rd inning on Saturday as the Rangers were able to get 6 runs off of Sabathia and 10 runs total in the inning for a 10-0 lead. Esmil Rogers came in to try to halt the offense of Texas, although Rogers ended up being even worse than Sabathia in his 3 innings of relief work as he allowed 7 runs. However, it wasn’t just the pitching that was awful for the Yankees on Saturday as they were only able to manage 7 hits and 4 runs with 2 of those coming in the 9th inning. Overall, New York just didn’t play a good game and they have lost 9 of their past 10 games to fall to 22-21 on the season. New York has really missed Jacoby Ellsbury the past few games as he has been on the 15-day DL, but he has been the heart of the Yankees offense this season. New York will just look to avoid a sweep against the Rangers tomorrow night, but Texas is looking to make their way back to the .500 mark as they have a 20-23 record after today’s victory.
Cubs 3rd basemen Kris Bryant didn’t have a very good debut against the Padres on April 24th as he went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts, but since then he has come up big for the Chicago Cubs offensively and defensively. Bryant is hitting .360 with 7 RBI’s so far this season as he has led the Cubs to a 3-4 record. What has surprised me is that he has yet to hit a home run so far at the MLB level because that is what he is known for and he led all minor league players with 43 last season. He is proving how well-rounded of a player that he is and I don’t know if the young Cubs team is ready to compete right now, but they certainly could use Bryant’s offensive abilities this season. There is a lot of pressure on Bryant since he has been so successful at every level and he is regarded as the number 1 prospect in the MLB, but the way he has handled it in his first week has been admirable. He is well on his way to winning the rookie of the year award, although I’m sure that doesn’t matter as much as getting the Cubs back into the playoffs this season.
It has been a miserable start to the season for the Milwaukee Brewers as they own the MLB’s worst record at 2-10 after losing 5-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. The pitching certainly hasn’t been good at all for Milwaukee, but that is really the least of their problems right now as the Brewers are struggling to score runs. I think the main problem is that they have been lacking production out of two of their best offensive players from last year with Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun. Lucroy has played in 11 games so far this season and he is only hitting .167 with 2 RBI’s. Those are not the kind of numbers that you would expect out of a guy that is hitting at the top of the lineup. Meanwhile, Ryan Braun we consider to be one of the best power hitters in the MLB today, but he has yet to hit a home run this season and he is only .237 in the middle of the lineup for Milwaukee. The problem is that Braun has struggled to make contact and he is striking out way too much, but he needs to start hitting the ball better if Milwaukee wants to get out of this major offensive slump. Jean Segura has been the best hitter for the Brewers so far with a .318 average and 1 home run, but he can’t be relied upon to consistently drive in runs. Carlos Gomez got off to a good start for Milwaukee with 6 RBI’s, although he is currently on the 15-day DL. The most concerning thing is that the team has only hit 3 home runs in the first 12 games and that is what the Brewers offense lived off of last season. Overall, Milwaukee needs Lucroy and Braun the most to step up and deliver the power hitting that they did last season, although it will be difficult for the Brewers to dig themselves out of the early 2-10 record.