For those who have never read my mid-season grades before, I must warn you that I don't use your typical grading scale. I use the Myron Cope grading scale, allow me to explain. The late creator of the Terrible Towel once graded the Pirates back in the '80s, one player at a time. He used 3 grades. If a player was good, he got a rating of MM-HAH! If the player was so-so, or he had no opinion of the player, the rating was EHH. If the player completely stunk, Cope gave him an emphatic FEH! That's the scale we'll use for each team. The teams will be listed alphabetically since this is not rankings. Let's get down to business...
Arizona Diamondbacks (42-43, 3rd NL West): The Snakes have been up and down all season. The defending NL West champs are struggling. It's not terrible, but they're hovering right around the .500 mark. Justin Upton is rumored to be on the trading block, and if he goes, that's the white flag for this season. There's still time to turn things around, but perhaps it'll be better luck next year unless the Dodgers and Giants come back to them...EHH.
Atlanta Braves (46-39 2nd NL East): The Bravos have risen back to the top again, and are tied with the Reds for the Wild Card lead at the break. The Nats are playing lights out ball and that's the only reason the Braves are 2nd in the toughest division in all of baseball. Expect the Braves to keep chugging right along even without Beachy. They'll do everything they can to get one more playoff appearance for Chipper...MM-HAH!
Baltimore Orioles (45-40 2nd AL East): What the hell is this, 1979?! No, that's not a misprint. The O's are tied for the AL Wild Card themselves, but have struggled as of late. Is this team finally coming back to earth, or are they going to continue to defy the odds. Their run differential is still atrocious. Still, consider this, the 2 teams with the longest current losing streaks in baseball would both be in the playoffs if the season ended today, and for that...MM-HAH!
Boston Red Sox (43-43 tied 4th AL East): Bringing up the rear in the insanely competitive AL East are the BoSox...so much for a happy centennial party for Fenway. This team has disappointed all year for how large that payroll is. Injuries have certainly hurt, and Bobby V isn't exactly having a good debut in Boston. If they actually get some players back and healthy, they could contend in the second half, but for now they're lucky to be .500. Because of the expectations...FEH!
Chicago Cubs (33-52 5th NL Central): Theo Epstein said the entire team is for sale. That means a Pirates-style firesale at the deadline. This team will be completely blown apart before July 31st, and Theo will then start from scratch. They're bad, in a 3-way tie for the fewest wins in baseball...FEH!
Chicago White Sox (47-38 1st AL Central): On the South Side it's not the bad part of town this year, it's the good part of town. The "good guys" are leading the AL Central at the break, and it's come behind a new skipper in town, some great pitching, and Adam Dunn hitting at a 40-homer pace again (even though he will still walk away with the strikeout title again). This team will be hard to beat in the 2nd half. The Tigers need to wake up or it'll be the Sox who walk away with the division...MM-HAH!
Cincinnati Reds (47-38 2nd NL Central): This team has it all together. They've been firing on all cylinders, and a 4-5 record against the division leading Pirates is the only thing keeping them from having a huge lead in the division. If they make any moves at the deadline, they'll certainly be buyers, and they'll be in the thick of the race for the division crown until the bitter end...MM-HAH!
Cleveland Indians (44-41 2nd AL Central): They win a few, they lose a few. They're still in range of the division title, but this team has been slightly Jekyll and Hyde. They'll have to put a few good strings together, or they'll just end up finishing as a .500 team. It could get better in the second half or it could get worse. I don't know what to think of this team. Oh I almost forgot to mention, don't expect Asdrubal Cabrera to win a gold glove this year...EHH.
Colorado Rockies (33-52 5th NL West): This team is pretty bad. Tulo is hurt, and that in turn puts and extreme hurtin' on that offense. Jim Tracy's idea of a 4-man rotation is also turning out to be a huge mistake. That rotation desperately needs a 5th pitcher. The Rockies don't show any signs of improvement, and they'll remain as cold as the snow on the mountain tops...FEH!
Detroit Tigers (44-42 3rd AL Central): This team was supposed to run away with the division crown. Instead they've been the most consistently inconsistent team in baseball all season long. They could turn it on at any time, but we're all sitting here waiting for someone to flip the switch. So while Jim Leyland continues to smoke himself into emphysema, we all wonder when that highly-talented roster will start living up to their potential. I'm tempted to give them a FEH, but they do at least have a record over .500, so...EHH.
Continue to page 2 for the next 10 teams.