This week I will post my recap of the first third of the major league baseball season (all stats as of the morning of June 12th).
1st place teams (and keys to 1st place so far):
AL East: Rays 39-22 (22-8 road record)
AL Central: Twins 36-25 (17-9 in division)
AL West: Rangers 33-28 (23-11 home record)
NL East: Braves: 35-27 (24-17 vs. right-handed starting pitchers)
NL Central: Reds 35-27 (22-14 in division)
NL West: Padres 36-25 (13-9 in one-run games) and Dodgers 36-25 (15-6 in one-run games)
Wild Cards (and keys to wild card so far):
AL: Yankees 38-23 (20-7 home record)
NL: Padres 36-25 (see division) and Dodgers 36-25 (see division)
The Rays got off to a hot start this year, going 17-7 in the month of April, but have somewhat cooled off since then, going 22-15 in May and June so far. Tampa has had great hitting and pitching so far, with the 3rd most runs in the AL, and the least amount of runs against in the AL.
The Yankees are just one game back, but still own the second best record in all of baseball. They have also gotten contributions from both the hitting and the pitching staff, scoring the 2nd most runs in the AL, and allowing the 3rd fewest.
The Red Sox struggled through April, with an 11-13 record, but have picked it up since then, and are now nine games over .500.
The Blue Jays have hit the most home runs in all of baseball, and have gotten homers from surprising people (Jose Batista has 18, Alex Gonzalez has 13, John Buck has 9, Edwin Encarnacion has 8, and so on). They are just 5.5 games out of first place, and have the same record at home (17-14) as on the road.
The Orioles are in last place, already 22 games out, with a 17-44 record, and a .279 winning percentage. No other team is even 15 games out of first place, no other team has less than 23 wins, and no other team has a winning percentage below .375, so the Orioles are the worst team in baseball by far at this point of the season.
Minnesota has a 4.5 game lead over the Tigers for first place in the AL Central. They have done exactly what you’re supposed to do so far this year, go .500 on the road (15-15), and win two out of three at home (21-10). They have scored the most runs in their division (290), and given up the least (235).
The Tigers are two games over .500, but that is because of what they have done at home, as they are 18-10 in Detroit, but a terrible 13-19 on the road. Detroit has pretty much split even between the Central and the West, going 24-25 against those two divisions, but has played well against Eastern division teams, going 5-2.
Chicago is 27-33, and shouldn’t even be that good, since they have been outscored by 29 runs on the year, and don’t even have a winning record at home (15-18). The Sox are only two games up on Kansas City, who is 26-36 on the year.
The Royals have actually been better on the road (14-18), than at home (12-18). They have been respectable against the Central and the East, just three games under .500 against those two divisions, but are 3-10 against the AL West. They have also had problems against lefties, with a 3-9 record when the opposition’s starter is a southpaw.
At 24-36, the Indians are terrible, being outscored by 50 runs so far, and without a winning record in any of these categories: vs. the East, vs. the Central, vs. the West, home, road, vs. RHP, vs. LHP, or in one-run games. You simply just can’t win like that.
The Rangers are in first place, but only lead the Angels by half a game. Despite the Rangers’ 10-17 record on the road this year, Texas is still five games over .500, due to their 23-11 record at home. Part of the reason for that is the fact that the Rangers hit so much better at home, and Vlad signifies that, hitting .381 at home, but only .272 on the road. The Rangers have also been very successful in their own division, with a 13-5 record against Western division teams.
The Angels have made up a lot of ground on the Rangers ever since Kendry Morales went down with an injury. Despite their winning record, the Angels have been outscored by their opponents, and have allowed the 3rd most runs in the American League.
The A’s are only one game over .500, despite being in first place for much of the year. They have been able to withstand the run differential of -12 for the year, by their 11-4 record in one-run games. They have a record of 11-18 on the road.
If there’s one stat to show how bad the Mariners have been this year, it’s this: the Mariners have the same winning percentage as the Pirates. The Mariners are 23-38, 10 games out of the worst division in baseball. Seattle is a horrendous 7-21 against teams in the West, and an awful 8-21 on the road. Those are not great keys to success.
The Braves have been able to rebound from their 10-14 record in April, and their last place positioning into the month May, and are now 8 games over .500. The Braves have been terrific at home, going 19-6, which makes the 16-21 road record not so big of a deal.
The Mets have been able to take advantage of the Phillies’ offensive struggles (more like incompetence), and are now in 2nd place, just 1.5 games out of first place. They are 24-10 at home, but really need to pick it up on the road, with just a 9-18 record outside of Citi Field. The Mets also have another thing to celebrate, besides only being 1.5 games back: they only have 7 current injuries (that’s probably an all-time low for them).
The Phillies are in 3rd place, 1 game behind the Mets, which is mostly because they haven’t even scored as many runs as the Nationals. They have been very successful against right-handed pitchers, though, with a 26-19 record against righties.
The Marlins have been a disappointment, but are just 4.5 games back despite their losing record. The Marlins have been shut down against right-handers, going 17-23 in that category, including one perfect game by Roy Halladay.
Washington, at 30-32, is only 5 games behind the Braves, and is in last place. That is a pretty close division. They have been much better at home (18-12) than on the road (12-20). They have been outscored by 18 runs so far this year.
The Reds are up half a game on the Cardinals in the NL Central, mostly due to how solid they are all-around. They are 21-14 at home, 14-13 on the road, have winning records against both righties and lefties, and are 13-11 in one-run games. They have scored the most runs in the National League so far with 313.
At 34-27, the Cardinals are in second place, but if they could improve on the road, they wouldn’t be. Away from Busch Stadium, they have a losing record (15-17). They also need to improve in one-run games, as they are just 10-12 in those situations.
The Cubs are a full 7.5 games out of first place with a 27-34 record, which is only so bad because of intra-divisional games (13-20 vs. the NL Central), and because of righties (17-26 vs. RHP), but neither of those is going away, so they can wait ‘till next year again.
The Brewers are only a game worse than the Cubs, but the pitching has been much worse, as only the Pirates and the Diamondbacks have given up more runs than them in all of baseball, and that’s not very good company. Even though only two NL teams have outscored them this year, over the course of the season so far, the Brewers have given up 45 more runs than they have scored, which can explain their 26-35 record.
The Astros are terrible. They can’t even win at home (14-20), and they don’t make up for that on the road (11-17), they can’t hit righties (19-30), and they have a losing record against lefties, too. Those aren’t even the worst stats. The worst one is the stat that mentions how they’ve been outscored by 81 runs so far.
As bad as the Astros are, the Pirates are even worse. They haven’t even scored 200 runs this year, and everyone else (besides the Astros, Orioles, and Mariners) has scored at least 250. They haven’t even pitched well, giving up the 4th most runs in the National League. They have been outscored by 100 runs. I’m looking forward to them coming to Arlington.
The Padres are tied with the Dodgers for the NL West lead at 36-25. Part of the reason they’ve been able to do that is because they have a winning record against all three divisions, both home and away, vs. RHP and LHP, and in one-run games. Their pitching has been spectacular, giving up only 198 runs, best in major league baseball.
The Dodgers have been able to work their way up to a tie with the Padres because of how good they’ve been in their division, and how good they’ve been at home. In NL West play, the Dodgers are 18-5, and at home they are 23-11. They are also very good in close games, with a 15-6 record when the game is decided by one run.
The Giants, although they’ve had the second best pitching in all of baseball, are 2.5 games out of the division lead. They have had problems winning against the teams in their division, which can come back to bite you later in the year, with an 8-14 record against the Dodgers, Padres, Rockies, and Diamondbacks.
The Rockies are 5 games out of first place, and just one game over .500. Their pitching has been fine, and their hitting has been, too, as they are right in the middle of the pack in both runs scored and runs allowed, but you can’t be like that in both categories, because then your record will be just what theirs is, in the middle of the pack.
The Diamondbacks have given up the most runs in major league baseball by far, giving up 363 runs in just 62 games. That is an average of 5.85 runs a game. When your pitching is that bad, it doesn’t matter if you’ve scored the 4th most runs in the NL, which is what the D-Backs are finding out.
The Rangers had the draft this past week, and their two first-rounders were OF Jake Skole and C Kellin Deglan. Jake was drafted out of high school, and Deglan was drafted out of a Canadian secondary school. I am worried that the Rangers drafted them for signability reasons and drafted them too high.
Come back next week for my June All-Stars.