This is the first blog in our new partnership with Simbull. You can use the promo code: Sportbumz for a sweet deal on the site!
We have reached the real halfway point of the season for many teams around Major League Baseball. It is high time we take a look at the landscape of baseball. The standings are showing there have been quite a few surprises mixed in with some of the teams who are exactly who we thought they are. Let’s look at two teams I am buying and two I am less than confident in for the remainder of the season.
Let’s go with an obvious one first and foremost. I believe the Los Angeles Dodgers are still the team to beat in baseball. Their +119 run differential is the second highest in the game and they really haven’t gotten particularly hot yet. They are fourth in the league, scoring 5.03 runs per game, while allowing the second lowest runs per game at 3.65 per contest. The Dodgers still project to win over 95 games as currently constructed. That will be good enough to get them into the playoffs and likely win the division. That said, I do expect the Dodgers to be aggressive at the trade deadline to shore up the pitching staff. An upgrade at second base is something I would still explore to lock things down. Gavin Lux hasn’t proven to be an everyday player once Corey Seager returns from his hand injury.
The second team I am buying what they are selling is the Chicago White Sox. They possess a +94 run differential, which is fourth in baseball, behind only the Astros, Dodgers, and Giants. In the American League Central there isn’t really a team putting together a season capable of challenging the White Sox. 4.98 runs per game will get it done offensively. 3.87 runs allowed shows them to be credible in the art of run prevention. They project to be about a 90 game winner for the season. That should get them to the postseason, but without making any sort of moves, I question if they will have staying power once they get there. I saw a rumor out there of Trevor Story going to Chicago to play second base for the rest of the season. That is the kind of deal I feel they should explore; acquiring a difference maker for the stretch run. If not that, they will have to look to upgrade at catcher with the loss of Yasmani Grandal for the next month or two. One other wild card in this is still Tony LaRussa. Only the good Lord knows what sort of shenanigans may ensue down the stretch with him.
One club I am skeptical of is the New York Yankees. It seems the baseball world doesn’t want to admit they were wrong about this team. I know they were close to going to the World Series last year, but last season has no bearing on this one. As of today the Yankees are the perfect example of mediocre. They have a +1 run differential for the season. They score 4.20 runs per game and allow 4.20 runs per game. This is befitting of their 44-41 record. Gleyber Torres was supposed to be a stalwart in the lineup, but he has underwhelmed to the tune of .238/.328/.308. He only has 3 home runs and is in the bottom 10% of baseball in average exit velocity. A staff of Gerrit Cole and a bunch of question marks does not a championship caliber rotation make. This was before the illegal substances crackdown which has Cole looking more good than great since the rules were enforced. The Yankees being the Yankees means a move or two will be made before the month is over. The sons of The Boss have been patient, but that can only last so long.
One can call me incredulous when looking at the prospects of the Oakland A’s. The +26 run differential is not the thing dreams are made of. 4.47 runs per game is fairly middling, and made even more noticeable when they are allowing 4.17 runs per game. This means they will have a small margin for error, but this is nothing new for Oakland. They are also rumored to be in the Trevor Story market. As it looks now, the A’s will win in the high 80’s. The way the Astros are looking, winning under 90 games will not be enough to get the A’s where they want to be. For me, they are nothing more than a second wild card team best case scenario. With a wild card being the ceiling for the team, I can see the A’s being an active team moving fungible assets for lottery tickets from other ball clubs.
So here are some teams I have been keeping an eye on and will continue to do so as the season progresses. The clubs like the Orioles, Rockies, and Pirates are bad like most people expected, so the only reason to give clubs like these a gander is for potential trade targets for your team, or if there are fantasy baseball implications. So I say go forth with confidence in the Dodgers and White Sox, but you might want to leave the speculation on Simbull on the Yankees and A’s to someone else. However, the promo code Sportbumz might make it less painful if things go belly up!