1. Los Angeles Dodgers (56-32) Is that best record in the majors a good thing or a bad thing? The last time a team with the best record from the NL won the World Series was the 1995 Braves. The Dodgers receive an obvious A, not only for their overall best record, but also for how they played without their best player.
2. Boston Red Sox (54-34) Another typical year for the Sox. They have been consistently good for the entire decade and find themselves three games up on the Yankees. Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett both have 11 wins – tied for the most in the majors. Boston gets an A.
3. New York Yankees (51-37) The Angels really have the Yankees number. They always seem to be the Yankee kryptonite in the post-season, and just swept them this weekend. As well as the Yankees have played, they are only a B+ for one reason though, not because they can’t beat the Angels, but because they can’t beat the Red Sox. They’re 0-8 against their rivals in the east.
4. Tampa Bay Rays (48-41) The Rays are 23-13 since June 1, which is definitely worthy of an A, but they were only 25-28 before that streak. They receive an A- because of their slow start, but maybe the team needed to lose a little to refocus and feel like they were back in the underdog role they relished taking last year.
5. Los Angeles Angels (49-37) Mike Scioscia is the obvious choice for manager of the year at the all-star break. Imagine having to deal with 3/5 of your rotation injured at the beginning of the season, a pitcher dieing, and now, sweeping the Yankees without your two best offensive options – ridiculous. This is why Arte Moreno has him locked up until 2018! The Halos receive an A+.
6. Philadelphia Phillies (48-38) The Phillies enter the all-star break winners of nine of their last 10. They look like the clear cut favorite to run away with the NL East. The Phillies receive an A because of how well they’ve played with the bulls eye on their backs this season.
7. Texas Rangers (48-39) The Rangers are easily the most surprising team in the AL of 09. They’re only 1.5 games back of the Angels, and it looks like for the first time in recent memory, they have solid pitching. Also, don’t let Josh Hamilton’s starting role in the all-star game fool you, he’s only played 42 games this year, so the offense has been great even without their biggest bat. They get an A.
8. San Francisco Giants (49-39) If any contending team needs to make a deal, it’s the Giants. With that said, it’s got to be nice to have a starting rotation with three Cy Young pitchers, one all-star, and the other guy in the rotation just happened to throw a no-hitter. The Giants get an A+.
9. Detroit Tigers (48-39) The Tigers have rebounded nicely after a very disappointing 08 campaign. They get an A- for playing well in a division where everyone else is seemingly mediocre. The Justin Verlander-Edwin Jackson combo could be lethal in the playoffs to a team like the Yankees in a five game series.
10. St. Louis Cardinals (49-42) The Cardinals get an A for contending just about every season, even when they’re not supposed to. You got to love them going out and getting Mark DeRosa, even if he only played in three games for the team before injuring his wrist.
11. Colorado Rockies (47-41) The Rockies are only two games back in the wild card race. The NL West, which has been referred to as the NL Worst many of times, actually has three of the best teams in the league and nobody saw it coming. The Rockies get an A for making all the right moves so far.
12. Seattle Mariners (46-42) Taking three of four from the Rangers may be what the Mariners need heading into the second half. They’re only four games behind the Angels and right in the thick of things out west. The Mariners receive an A- because they were a team with very little expectations at the beginning of the season and are four games over .500 at the half-way point.
13. Milwaukee Brewers (45-43) The Brewers get a solid B. They’re only two games over .500, but are still in the race for the NL Central crown. Their bats have been impressive, but the pitching staff has got to step their game up in the second half. It may be a good idea to get a pitcher at the trade deadline.
14. Florida Marlins (46-44) They continue to contend with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. They get a B+ for staying in the race every year, but in the end, they really have no chance to keep up with the Phillies.
15. Minnesota Twins (45-44) The Twins get a B for their first half. At some point the weight on Mauer and Morneau’s shoulders may just become to heavy.
16. Chicago White Sox (45-43) It seems like it’s been years and years since the Sox won the World Series. Two games over .500 is good enough at this point in the season, but they’ll have to add a pitcher that they were so publicly denied earlier this season if they want to be taken seriously. They get a B-.
17. Toronto Blue Jays (44-46) The Jays take a free fall down the rankings as they’ve gone 2-8 their last 10 games. They’ve fallen out of the race after playing well earlier in the season. They get a C+ for starting off well, but completely falling apart lately. Roy Halladay, the starting all-star pitcher, may be on his way out.
18. Chicago Cubs (43-43) The Cubs receive an F. The team that led the NL in wins last year is only .500 at the all-star break, and looks downright awful. Some of the reason is the injuries they’ve sustained, but they have turned in uninspired performances all season long under Sweet Lou.
19. Houston Astros (44-44) The Astros have gone 24-15 since June 1 and are as hot as anyone in the NL. They find themselves only 3.5 games out. The Astros get a C for being average in the record and in both hitting and pitching.
20. New York Mets (42-45) The Mets receive an F. They’re easily the most disappointing team in the league. You know it’s bad in the big apple when Met fans are saying stuff like ‘at least our hearts won’t be broken in September this year.’
21. Atlanta Braves (43-45) The Braves receive a C at the middle of the season. They traded away Jeff Francoeur last week, which raised eyebrows and may have signaled they’ve decided to become sellers this season.
22. Cincinnati Reds (42-45) The Reds get a C. They weren’t really expected to contend, and aren’t contending. The one good thing is they play in the NL Central, where everyone seems to still be in the race.
23. Baltimore Orioles (40-48) The Orioles receive a C+ because they seem to be headed in the right direction with tons of young talent emerging, and have also played well in the toughest division in baseball.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates (38-50) The Pirates struggled coming into the all-star break with losses in eight of their last 10 games. They receive a D because they have shown some signs of life, but when you trade away your best player for the second season in a row, you know your own front office doesn’t even take you seriously.
25. Oakland A’s (37-49) The A’s receive an F. They’ve been pretty disappointing considering they acquired the likes of Matt Holliday, Orlando Cabrera, and Jason Giambi so they could contend for the west this season. Look what happened, they’re the only team in the west out of the race, and Matt Holliday is all but gone.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks (38-51) The Diamondbacks have also been very disappointing. Everyone thought their young talent could dominate the NL West for years and years only two years ago, and now they have one of the worst records in baseball. They get an F.
27. Kansas City Royals (37-51) The Royals receive an F even though they started out semi-well. At least they do have Zack Greinke though, but maybe they’ll have to deal him away if they can get five players for him.
28. San Diego Padres (36-52) The Padres did have a 10 game winning streak at one point this year, but aside from that, they’ve been awful. Adrian Gonzalez hasn’t homered in a while, and it’s mostly because he either gets walked or sees no pitches anymore. They get an F.
29. Cleveland Indians (35-54) This team gets the most uninspired F I can give a team. For a team that was one game away from the World Series two years ago, and most of the pieces still in tact, they look pathetic. This team must have no backbone or heart to plummet this far.
30. Washington Nationals (26-61) The Nats had a fitting end to their first half, with Manny Acta getting the boot. They get an F, which would have been an F- had they not made the trade to get Nyjer Morgan, and Adam Dunn at the beginning of the season. Could you imagine this team without Dunn this year?!
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