In-Depth Review: National League’s First Half

Cincinnati Reds v Washington Nationals

By Patrick Brewer, Lead National League Writer

First Half Power Rankings:

It has been a wild first half of the 2015 season. A season filled with rookies, rookies, and more rookies. Baseball has been dominated by youth in 2015 and all the top teams of this season exemplify this youth movement. On top of the youth explosion, parity is at an all time high. Nearly every team still sees themselves as having a chance at the playoffs, and even those that don’t still aren’t too far off. What follows is a ranking of each team in the National League from 1-15 with a recap of each team’s first half and current position, the most outstanding player for each team, the most frustrating player on each team, and the predictions for the rest of the season for each team.

1. St. Louis Cardinals (56-33), 1st Place in the National League Central

Despite a rough couple of weeks where they lost a few players and have struggled to consistently win, the Cardinals are still the best team in the National League. Although the Pittsburgh Pirates have closed a lot of ground in recent weeks and are now only 3.5 games behind the Cardinals, the Cardinals still hold the top position in the National League. The Cardinals have been utterly dominant for most of this season even with their recent struggles. They also hope to get Matt Holliday back off the DL in the first game after the all star break. His return should help them return to top form as a team.

Most Outstanding: Carlos Martinez

This is a hard decision given how great the Cardinals play as a unit but I would have to say Carlos Martinez has been their most outstanding player. In the absence of Adam Wainwright, Martinez has really picked up the slack and has been the emotional ace of this strong pitching staff. He also just won the final vote for the All Star Game and will be making his first all star appearance in Cincinnati on Tuesday.

Most Frustrating: Adam Wainwright

Through no fault of his own, Wainwright is the most disappointing player for the Cardinals this season. His freak injury was expected to be a big hit to the Cardinals playoff aspirations but the Cardinals have persevered and are still the best team in the National League despite this injury. Nevertheless one can only imagine where they would be had Wainwright not experienced such a freak injury. On top of that they definitely could use a pitcher of his caliber in the playoff race and in the playoffs.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

Even with the loss of Adam Wainwright for the season the Cardinals have not lost a beat. Somehow this is a team that just always finds a way to win regardless of the situation they are in. Definitely a well run organization overall. The Cardinals will be given a run for their money this year but it seems likely that they will be able to hold off the Pirates and remain on top of the National League Central with the best record in the national league.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates (53-35), 2nd place in the National League Central (1st Wild Card)

The Pirates may once again be in store for a special season. After making the playoffs in the last few years and falling just short (last year they lost in the wild card game), the Pirates are once again hoping to get back to the playoffs and make a world series run. The Pirates have been on fire as of a late and after back to back walk off wins against the Cardinals last weekend they find themselves only 2.5 games behind the Cardinals going into the break. The Pirates have made up a lot of ground in the division and may be able to finally topple the behemoth that is the Cardinals this season.

Most Outstanding: Andrew McCutchen

McCutchen continues to be the leader of the Pirates organization. He got off to a rather slow start by his standards this year but has been electric since. He capped off a stellar first half with a walk off home run against division rivals St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night and will once again be representing the Pirates in the National League All Star starting lineup.

Most Frustrating: Gregory Polanco

Polanco was supposed to be the next big thing to go along with Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen and make up one of the best young outfields in all of baseball. However this season Polanco has struggled greatly and has had a hard time keeping up with both Marte and McCutchen who are having good and great seasons respectively. The Pirates have been good even with Polanco struggling but will most certainly need him playing at a high level in the second half and perhaps into the playoffs if they hope to make a deep playoff run.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

It seems the Pirates are well positioned for another playoff run. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to catch the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League Central crown but they will definitely give the Cardinals a run for their money. Even if they are unable to catch the Cardinals the Pirates are still very likely to get one of the two wild card spots and are well positioned to make a deep playoff run. This might finally be the Pirates year for a World Series title. 

3. Washington Nationals (48-39), 1st place in the National League East

For many the Nationals were the obvious preseason favorite to both win the National League East and even win the World Series. They have gotten off to a slower start than anticipated due to injuries but have been able to play better in the last few months and have placed themselves back on top in the National League East and look primed to continue their success in a weak division. The Nationals may still be the team to beat in the National League.

Most OutstandingBryce Harper

This is a real tough decision given the stellar years that both Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper are having. However given the strength of the pitching staff in general I would have to lean towards Bryce Harper because of what he has become in the middle of that lineup. He is arguably the most valuable player in the entire league and for that reason is the most outstanding player for the Nationals.

Most FrustratingIan Desmond

Ian Desmond seems to be the most clear choice for the most frustrating player for the Nationals. The Nationals expected a lot from Desmond in a contract year but he has struggled mightily throughout the season. It seems less and less likely that the Nationals will bring Desmond back long term, and with Trea Turner now in their minor league system, it seems he should be ready to take the mantle sooner rather than later.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

It seems like a foregone conclusion that the Washington Nationals will once again win the National League East and make it into the playoffs. With Bryce Harper leading the offense, and Max Scherzer leading what is probably the best all around pitching staff in the league, the Nationals will have no problem taking the division crown and making a lot of noise in the postseason.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (51-39), 1st place in the National League West

The Dodgers are once again the Dodgers. Through the halfway point of the year the Dodgers once again on top of the National League West and hold the best playoff odds of any team in the league. With new President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman leading the charge, the Dodgers aren’t just throwing money at players but wisely spending it. Despite a few freak injuries to a few different players the Dodgers still will likely be headed to October baseball and will hope to finally get back to a World Series. However, they will have plenty of competition this year in the Nationals, Cardinals, and Pirates currently above them.

Most Outstanding: Zack Greinke

For his whole time in Los Angeles, Greinke has been the number two starter behind Clayton Kershaw. However this season Greinke is staking his claim as the most important player on the Dodgers roster and maybe even the best pitcher in the entire National League. If not for the wonderful season being had by Max Scherzer, Greinke could very well be the favorite for the Cy Young, and still will give Scherzer a run for his money for that award.

Most Frustrating: Jimmy Rollins

Of all the Dodgers players, and of all their offseason acquisitions, Jimmy Rollins has clearly been the most frustrating player. Rollins is getting up there in age and is nearing the end of his career but the Dodgers still expected some productivity from him. Up to this point, Rollins is barely hitting over .200 and could soon find himself out of the starting lineup should he continue to struggle and should Corey Seager continue to prove himself in the minor leagues. It will certainly be an interesting scenario to watch.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

Despite the weakness of their starting staff, and the many injuries that the Dodgers have experienced to both the pitching staff and the starting lineup, the Dodgers still find themselves at the top of the National League West. With the struggling San Francisco Giants, and the weakness of the rest of the National League West, the Dodgers find themselves with the highest playoff odds in all of baseball. In terms of predictions for the rest of the season it seems a safe bet that the Dodgers will once again make the playoffs as NL West Champions but will once again find themselves just short of a WS title given their lack of consistent pitching.

5. Chicago Cubs (47-40), 3rd in the National League Central (2nd Wild Card)

The Cubs are really surprising everyone in the NL Central. Despite being a good number of games behind both Pittsburgh and St. Louis, the Cubs have been able to hang in the playoff picture all year and have positioned themselves well for a second half push for one of the two wild card spots. Realistically the Cubs could find themselves behind both the Pirates and Cardinals but there could still be three teams from the NL Central in the Playoffs.

Most Outstanding: Anthony Rizzo

Rizzo has really come into his own in Chicago and has become the superstar in Chicago and the leader of the team. Over the last few years Rizzo has made great strides as an all around player while the Cubs were struggling and now he finds himself the leader of a team that finally has playoff aspirations once again. With all the talk of Kris Bryant and Addison Russell and the other young Cubs phenoms, Anthony Rizzo is the one truly stealing the show. One has to wonder what the ceiling is for Rizzo and what his career will become.

Most Frustrating: Jon Lester

Lester was supposed to be the final piece of the puzzle that would push the Cubs that much closer to playoff potential this season. The Cubs find themselves right in the hunt at the All Star break despite a disappointing first half from big free agent signing Jon Lester. So far on the year Lester has a 3.59 ERA and a 3.15 FIP. Neither of these numbers are necessarily bad by themselves but with the contract the Cubs gave him, and the expectations that came with that contract, Lester has not done enough to prove his ace status for the Cubs. He has actually been a bit overshadowed by Jake Arrieta and has provided approximately the same WAR value as Jason Hammel. If the Cubs hope to get to the playoffs, or make some noise in the playoffs, they need more out of Jon Lester.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

The Cubs seemed to have jumped the gun a bit on their potential playoff contention. Many saw the Cubs competing in 2016 but they have found themselves in contention a year earlier than expected. With that being said it seems the Cubs are still a few pieces short of a deep playoff run. Depending on how they handle the trade deadline, and it seems they are willing to make some moves, the Cubs may be able to sneak in the playoffs as second wild card. However I do not think they will do enough this season to make a deep playoff run; but they do have a bright future with the potential for an end to the World Series curse.

6. New York Mets (47-42), 2nd in the National League East

The Mets are another team that is quite similar to the Cubs. Not many considered them to be a serious threat to make a playoff push this season but they have also  found themselves hanging around the wild card race all season. The Mets young pitching staff has been everything that it was expected to be but their struggling offense has held them back in recent months after a hot start to the season.

Most Outstanding: Jacob deGrom

With all the talk about Matt Harvey as the face of the Mets franchise and as the key to the Mets future success, one would almost forget completely about the success of deGrom. Jacob deGrom has been better than Harvey in almost every category and was even selected to the All-Star game over the Dark Knight. Rather than Harvey, it has been deGrom that has led the New York Mets rotation and he could be as good or even better than Matt Harvey in the long-term. Either way with these two young aces and Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, the Mets find themselves with a very bright future indeed.

Most Frustrating: The Whole Offense?

With how bad the Mets offense has been I couldn’t really fairly single out one Mets player as the most frustrating one. As a whole the Mets have been near the bottom five or ten teams in the entire league in almost every major offensive category. Despite the strength of the Mets young pitching staff, they find themselves barely hanging around .500 at the All-Star break and barely in contention. The Mets pitching staff may be the strength of the team but the offense will be what makes or breaks the Mets season.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

It seems clear that the Mets offense will be the one thing holding them back from getting to the playoffs this season. It remains to be seen whether the Mets will pull the trigger and make some sort of move at the deadline to sure up the offense but whether they do or not it seems likely that the Mets will still fall just short of making the playoffs. With the competition from the Giants, Pirates, and Cubs, the Mets are still just short of real playoff contention.

7. San Francisco Giants (46-43), 2nd in the National League West

The Giants seem to be the same Giants that have won three world series titles in the last five years. Not many expected the Giants to compete again this year because of the loss of a few key players but nevertheless the Giants have still hung around in the playoff picture and could find themselves in position for another strong second half push. The Giants have gotten strong contributions from Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, and Nori Aoki even with the loss of Hunter Pence for most of this season up until this point and have held them in the playoff race.

Most Outstanding: Joe Panik/Brandon Crawford

Who would have thought going into this season that both Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford would be having break out seasons and would both be named to their first All-Star games? I couldn’t pick just one of these two as the most outstanding Giants player so far this season given how great both of them have been so far. Both guys are having the best seasons of their young careers and for the Giants the future looks bright up the middle for years to come.

Most Frustrating: Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence has really been the emotional leader of the Giants for the last few seasons and was an instrumental part of their World Series run last year and in years past. His absence with injury for the majority of the season has been frustrating for a franchise who is trying to break the odd year curse and make a run at a fourth world series title in six years. His absence has shown just how important he is to the team and just how critical his health will be in the second half for the Giants.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

If Hunter Pence can return healthy, and the Giants can make a few moves at the deadline to strengthen a few of their weaknesses, the Giants will find themselves in playoff contention for the rest of the season. However it seems that the Giants are just not as good as last year’s team and the improved Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs will be just a bit better than the Giants. The Giants will fall just short of the playoffs and will continue the odd year losing trend.

8. Arizona Diamondbacks (42-45), 3rd in the National League West

The Diamondbacks have been quite an interesting team to this point on the year. Not many expected anything from the D’backs but they have surprised quite a few this year. The pitching staff is certainly nothing to write home about but the offense, led by Goldschmidt, Pollock, and Tomas, has kept the D’backs near .500 for most of the season. The D’backs are not quite at the point of the contention but this year has definitely been a step up in Arizona.

Most Outstanding: Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt continues to be one of the deadliest hitters in all of the National League and the Arizona Diamondbacks certainly have a player to build around as the face of the franchise. If not for the ridiculous season that Bryce Harper is having, Goldschmidt would be the hands down favorite to win the MVP award in the National League. Both guys are having phenomenal seasons and it should really be an interesting race for the remainder of the season with both players having a great chance at winning it.

Most Frustrating: Josh Collmenter

From opening day starter to late inning reliever, Collmenter is clearly the most frustrating of all the Diamondbacks players. The offense for the Diamondbacks has been one of the best in the National League but the pitching staff is a large reason the Diamondbacks find themselves under .500 and out of contention. Collmenter was supposed to lead the Diamondbacks pitching staff into the future and he was supposed to be the best of a good young core of pitchers. His failures this season epitomizes the failures of the pitching staff as a whole and really the Diamondbacks as a whole on the season. Pitching has been their biggest weakness.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

The Diamondbacks will continue to muddle around .500 for the remainder of the season and will find themselves once again on the outside of the playoffs looking in. The Diamondbacks offense brings hope for the future but the pitching staff has left a lot to be desired. If the Diamondbacks continue to shed salary at the trade deadline they could find themselves in the market for a pitcher or two in free agency and could really make a good run at contention in 2016.

9. Atlanta Braves (42-47), 3rd in the National League East

The Braves had made their intentions clear before the season with the trades of Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, Jason Heyward, among others. However despite their position as a team in the midst of a rebuild the Braves have surprised a lot of people and have somehow remained competitive in the National League East. They find themselves only a few games below .500 at the break and should continue to give playoff contenders a fight as the season progresses.

Most Outstanding: Shelby Miller

Of all the trades shipping out older talent to prepare for the Braves rebuild, the trade sending young star Jason Heyward for Shelby Miller may have been the most criticized trade but may also be the trade paying the most dividends for the Braves. Shelby Miller has staked his claim as the ace of the Braves staff and finds himself in his first All Star Game this season with his stellar first half performance. Miller may find himself the focal point of the Braves rotation for years to come.

Most Frustrating: Mike Foltynewicz

Prior to this season it was obvious that the Braves were in complete rebuild mode following another disappointing finish last season. One guy that was supposed to be a big part of the Braves future starting rotation was Mike Foltynewicz. He has been anything but good for the Braves and has really been the largest disappointment for the young pitching staff. Foltynewicz is obviously still young, and has a bright future in front of him, but he has been the most frustrating Braves player of the first half.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

Given their position as a team clearly in rebuilding mode the Braves have actually performed a lot better than many had thought they would. With that being said, the Braves have no false hope of playoff contention and will most certainly find themselves in the same position at the end of the season that they are in now: 3rd place in the National League East. It is entirely possible that the Braves find themselves at .500 by the end of the season but it is more likely that they finish just a few games below that.

10. San Diego Padres (41-49), 4th in the National League West

No team in the National League had as busy as an offseason as the San Diego Padres. No team made as many splashes as the Padres. With those moves in mind, no team has had to deal with as much disappointment as the Padres. Almost none of the Padres big moves have worked out and the Padres find themselves barely above last place in the NL West and behind the Arizona D’backs, sitting in fourth place in the division. The Padres have definitely been a huge disappointment for both fans and players alike.

Most Outstanding: Justin Upton

One of many offseason acquisitions for the disappointing San Diego Padres, Justin Upton has clearly been the most outstanding player for a team that has been largely mediocre through 90 games this season. Upton has still shown himself to be a prolific power hitter and is on his way to large contract in the offseason, and because of this and the teams’ struggles this year, likely on his way out of San Diego by the trade deadline.

Most Frustrating: Matt Kemp

Another one of the Padres offseason acquisitions is perhaps the most frustrating player in the National League. That would be Padres right fielder Matt Kemp. Kemp was traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the San Diego Padres in the offseason in return for Yasmani Grandal. Kemp was supposed to be the leader of a team that was supposed to attempt to finally make another playoff run. However Kemp has been one of the worst players in the entire National League and has actually provided negative value to the Padres both offensively and defensively.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

The Padres will likely once again find themselves either just at .500 or just below .500 by the end of the season and will be lucky if they can stay above the Arizona Diamondbacks for third place in the NL West. Going into the season the Padres had playoff aspirations and now they find themselves nearing the trade deadline as likely sellers with a team too mediocre for playoff contention this season. With that being said the Padres can still position themselves well for the future if they handle this trade deadline properly. Despite the lack of success on the field this season, all eyes will still be on San Diego come late July and into next season.

11. Cincinnati Reds (39-47), 4th in the National League Central

The Reds went into this season with some false hope that they could try to compete this year one last time before there would be a need to rebuild the roster. With early season injuries to Homer Bailey and Zack Cozart, as well as struggles team-wide, the Reds have found those hopes for one last run almost completely dashed. Following the All Star Game in Cincy, the Reds should start trading off some important pieces and beginning their rebuild. They will most likely be sellers at the deadline and will once again hope to avoid last place in their division.

Most Outstanding: Todd Frazier

For a Reds team that has struggled to accomplish anything of note this season, Todd Frazier has really been a revelation for them. Not only is Frazier having a monster season for the Reds but he also found himself not only the starting third baseman for the hometown All-Star game in Cincinnati but also found himself in the home run derby and the winner of the derby. Given the Reds impending rebuild, Frazier may find himself out-of-town sooner rather than later. With that being said, his breakout this season will make him a hot commodity on the trade market should the Reds decide to pull the trigger on a trade.

Most Frustrating: Mike Leake

Given his impending free agency, and the faith the Reds put in him for their playoff hopes this year, Mike Leake has been a major disappointment. He will most likely find himself traded at the deadline and has done a lot to harm the potential return the Reds will get given his poor season up to this point. After a few good seasons in a row, Leake has regressed a bit this season. Both his ERA and FIP have been above 4.00 this year and he has just seemed shaky at the top of the Reds rotation behind Cueto.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

The Reds may have been delusional about their possible playoff chances this season but they most certainly will realize this mistake and enter seller mode in the next few weeks. With the likely trades of Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto and possibly others, the Reds will find themselves once again competing for fourth place. Given the struggles of the Brewers this year it isn’t too much of a prediction to say the Reds will finish in fourth place in the National League Central this year and will once again begin another full rebuild.

12. Milwaukee Brewers (38-52), 5th in the National League Central

Coming into this season the Brewers were in a similar situation to the Reds. They considered themselves to be a good team that could compete for a playoff spot if everything went right. The problem for the Brewers, as with the Reds, is that nothing has really gone right for them. They fired their coach early in the season and, despite a nice streak right before the All-Star break, still find themselves at the bottom of the NL Central and only ahead of the Phillies in the loss column in the National League standings.

Most Outstanding: Adam Lind

Adam Lind has made himself into the best offensive weapon for the Brewers this season. Despite having Ryan Braun on the team, Lind has surpassed Braun and has found himself in the team lead in both WAR and wRC+ ahead of both Braun and Carlos Gomez. On top of that Lind has found himself near the top of the Brewers in every single offensive category. Given the Brewers struggles this year and obvious seller status, Lind may be the most tradable piece on the Brewers roster and the first to go in the coming weeks.

Most Frustrating: Jonathan Lucroy

Lucroy really broke out for the Brewers over the last couple of seasons but has really had a very frustrating season for the Brew Crew. He has produced only 0.5 WAR and has a wRC+ of 74 which is well off of his career highs. It may the Brewers struggles that have hindered his performance or the various injuries that have plagued him but either way Lucroy has not been the same player since injury last year. There was some talk of trading Lucroy if the Brewers did sell and he may still find himself on the block even with his frustrating season.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

For the remainder of the season the Brewers will continue to be mediocre but, depending on what trades are made by both the Reds and Brewers at the deadline, could still find themselves in competition for fourth place in the NL Central. The Brewers will likely be entering a rebuild in the coming season and will once again find themselves near the bottom half of the league in the years to come.

13. Colorado Rockies (39-49), 5th in the National League West

The Rockies were another team that didn’t have too many expectations for this season and haven’t really done much to exceed those. The Rockies really might be the most boring team in the entire National League, even with an electrifying player like Nolan Arenado on the team. The Rockies once again find themselves at the bottom of the NL West and just haven’t been good in any tangible way.

Most Outstanding: Nolan Arenado

Arenado has been a revelation for the Rockies this season. He has quickly vaulted himself into superstardom with his breakout this season and is quickly becoming the new face of the Rockies franchise. Arenado is on pace for around a 5 WAR season and has made his first All-Star appearance this year. He will most certainly be a superstar for the Rockies for years to come.

Most Frustrating: Carlos Gonzalez

Oh how far Carlos Gonzalez has fallen. The Rockies are probably kicking themselves for not trading Gonzalez when his value was at its height a few years back. With that being said, Gonzalez has actually been a lot better in more recent months after getting off to a slow start in April and May. With that being said, Gonzalez is still a far cry from the player he was a few years back and the Rockies may find it hard or even near impossible to trade him this year given his large remaining contract.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

The Rockies once again aren’t going anywhere in the National League West and will most likely find themselves either in last or fourth place in their division. The Rockies definitely have some good parts to build around for the future but are still quite a few pieces short of being in contention anytime soon.

14. Miami Marlins (38-51), 4th in the National League East

The Marlins were a team that many expected to make a playoff run and perhaps even make a World Series run. These predictions couldn’t have been more wrong. The Marlins seem to be the same old Marlins and have struggled to be relevant so far this season. Injuries have plagued their season and the injury to Giancarlo Stanton a few weeks ago was really the final nail in the coffin that was the Marlins high expectations going into opening day.

Most Outstanding: Dee Gordon

There has been no one on the Marlins as consistent and as instrumental to the Marlin’s limited success this season as Dee Gordon. He has been at the top or near the top of the Major Leagues in average for almost the entire season and has had the best year of his career after being traded to the Marlins from the Dodgers last offseason. Early on many thought Gordon was having a bit of a fluky season but his maintenance of his great numbers demonstrates that he is perhaps a new player and his success is here to stay.

Most Frustrating: Christian Yelich/Marcell Ozuna

These two guys were supposed to join with Giancarlo Stanton and make up the best young outfield in all of baseball. This hasn’t been the case given the struggles of both Yelich and Ozuna so far this season. Neither has been bad but they both have failed to live up to preseason expectations while Stanton has had another monster season even with his recent injury. In the long-term the Marlins need both of these guys to live up to their potentials if the Marlins hope to compete again.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

The Marlins will likely be deadline sellers and will likely finish the season once again in fourth place in the National League East above the mediocre Phillies. With Stanton still injured and Gordon joining him on the disabled list the Marlins will not be contenders this season and will most likely need to sell off some impending free agents and some other pieces. The Marlins do however have the young talent, in Ozuna, Yelich, Gordon, Stanton, etc., as well as the payroll flexibility, in order to have the potential to field a competitive team again in the near future.

15. Philadelphia Phillies (29-62), 5th in the National League East

What to say about the Phillies. They are just awful. Terrible. Pathetic. The organization has quickly gone from being a perennial playoff contender and a powerhouse in the National League to one of the most laughable organizations in not only all of baseball but all of the four major sports. The Phillies are just really bad and a lot of blame can most certainly be placed on General Manager Ruben Amaro and his awful management of his roster and the Phillies future. The Phillies are in need of a rebuild and are still sitting on their hands waiting for something to happen.

Most Outstanding: Jonathan Papelbon

I don’t really think there is much to say about who has been the most outstanding Phillies player. Despite most likely being traded soon, Jonathan Papelbon would have to be my pick given him being the only All-Star for the Phillies. Cole Hamels seemed like the likely choice but he has struggled this season amid never-ending trade rumors.

Most Frustrating: Ruben Amaro Jr.

Everyone? The Phillies have really been terrible in every aspect of the game and have a lot of frustrating players. For me the most frustrating thing about the Phillies this year in Ruben Amaro Jr. and how he has both handled the Phillies upcoming rebuild and how he has handled the Phillies in general. He has pretty much run the team into the ground and is still holding on to players that have not been useful for the Phillies in a number of years.

Prediction for Rest of Season:

The Phillies will continue to be terrible for the remainder of the season and will have no trouble finishing in last place in the National League East as well as last place in the entire Major Leagues with easily more than 100 losses.


First Half Awards

First Half Most Valuable Player: Bryce Harper, Right Field, Washington Nationals

Bryce Harper has clearly been the best player in the league with a slash line of .339/.464/.704 and an OPS of 1.168. On top of that Harper has hit 26 home runs and has driven in 61 runs in 81 games this season. Given these numbers he is on pace for over 50 home runs and over 120 runs driven in. Harper has clearly made his status as a superstar known and will most likely be the MVP at the end of the season. The only guy who could threaten Harper’s victory would be Paul Goldschmidt who is having another great season in Arizona.

First Half Cy Young: Max Scherzer, Starting Pitcher, Washington Nationals

Up to this point in the season, another Nationals player is the favorite for Cy Young as well. Max Scherzer currently leads the league in FIP (2.20) as well as WHIP (.780) and has the highest strikeout to walk ratio of 10.71. The only way Scherzer can lose the Cy Young is if he struggles in the second half and is outperformed by someone such as Zack Greinke who currently has the lowest ERA of any starter in baseball.

First Half Least Valuable Player: Matt Kemp, Right Field, San Diego Padres

The Padres took on a huge risk when trading for Matt Kemp and up to this point it hasn’t worked out the way they had hoped. He is still owed a large sum of money over the next few years and his numbers are not where they need to be with that kind of contract. So far on the season Kemp has a slash line of .250/.291/.382 with only eight home runs. In terms of WAR Kemp has been a detriment to the team and has been one of the worst players in the league (-0.4). Kemp has clearly been the most disappointing first half player and would need quite a turnaround to avoid the least valuable player honors.

First Half Comeback Player of the Year: A.J. Burnett, Starting Pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates

Of all the players considered for NL Comeback Player of the year, A.J. Burnett has to be the most feel good story of any player. Burnett reinvigorated his floundering career with the Pirates in 2012 and 2013 before leaving for the Phillies in 2014. To say that his season with the Phillies was a disaster is actually a bit of an understatement. He had a terrible year following his departure from Pittsburgh and decided to return to the Pirates following his year with the Phillies. Burnett has so far had a fantastic season with the Pirates, perhaps the best of his career. He was named to his first All-Star game in what is now going to be his final season.

First Half Rookie of the Year: Joc Pederson, Center Fielder, Los Angeles Dodgers

This was a tough vote given the ascension of Kris Bryant but it seems that Pederson has done enough to take home Rookie of the Year honors. Despite having a low batting average, Pederson still has a higher wRC+ than Kris Bryant, more home runs, and has provided better overall defensive value. Pederson is currently on pace for just over 5.0 WAR while Kris Bryant is projected to finish around 5.5. While Bryant may be providing more value according to WAR Pederson holds the edge in the ROY voting. It will definitely be a close race for those two as the season progresses. 

You can find Patrick on Twitter @PatrickBrewer93 or join in the discussion @CTBPod, in the comment section below or on our Facebook Page

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s