The Hot Corner- Midseason Report Card 2010: American League

The Hot Corner – Midseason Report

by: Guest Columnist Patrick McKenna and Ryan McKenna

The dog days of summer days are finally upon us: school is finally out, the beautiful beach weather is here, and the boys of summer are in full swing.  The first half of the 2010 MLB season has brought us many great storylines including perfect games, no-hitters, some surprising teams, and the emergence of some great players.  With the All-Star game marking the mid-way point of this 2010 MLB season, we take a look back at the first half of the season and evaluate each team to this point.  In this second part of this three part series, we evaluate each team in the American League.

Tune in tomorrow, July 14th for our report cards for the National League!

AL East

New York Yankees Patrick Ryan
1st Place 56-32 0 GB
Grade: A+ A+
Team MVP: Robinson Cano Robinson Cano
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: I guess money can buy you wins, as the most expensive team in the majors has the best record in the game.  The Yankees pitching staff has been great and their offense has been led by standout Robinson Cano.  Keys to the second half are AJ Burnett needing to pick up his pitching, and Mark Teixeira needs to rediscover his swing at the plate, which shouldn’t be a problem as he is known to pick up his play in the second half.
Prediction: 1st 1st

Tampa Bay Rays Patrick Ryan
2nd Place 54-34 2.0 GB
Grade: A- B
Team MVP: David Price David Price
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: The Rays started out fast at the beginning of the season but have recently hit some road bumps.  They have struggled lately and it will be interesting to see how they react after the recent confrontation between BJ Upton and Evan Longoria.  They are led by Longoria and Carl Crawford on offense and their pitching staff has been solid.  Look for them to continue to stay close to the Yankees down the stretch.
Prediction: 3rd 3rd

Boston Red Sox Patrick Ryan
3rd Place 51-37 5.0 GB
Grade: B B+
Team MVP: Adrian Beltre Jon Lester
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: It’s very amazing that the Red Sox are still in contention in the competitive AL East considering all the injuries they have.  Their DL looks like an All Star Roster Lineup.  If not for Lester, Clay Buchholz, and replacements Daniel Nava, Darnell MacDonald, the Red Sox would be much closer to the Orioles record right now.  Look for the Red Sox to make a strong late season push when Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Victor Martinez, and Josh Beckett return.
Prediction: 2nd 2nd

Toronto Blue Jays Patrick Ryan
4th Place 44-45 12.5 GB
Grade: B B
Team MVP: Jose Bautista Starting Rotation
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: After their hot start the Jays have gone back to the play most expected out of them.  They will continue to struggle to score runs and their young inexperienced rotation will have its share of ups and downs.  To compete, they will need the hot play of Wells, Bautista, Gonzalez, and Buck to continue, while Lind and Hill need to re-emerge and start hitting the ball.  The Jays bullpen also needs to become more consistent.
Prediction: 4th 4th

Baltimore Orioles Patrick Ryan
5th Place 29-59 27.0 GB
Grade: D+ F
Team MVP: Nick Markakis Jason Berken
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: The Orioles just plain suck.  Hopes were high at the beginning at the season with highly touted prospects Matt Wieters and Brian Matusz but even those two cannot turn things around yet for Orioles.  Keys to the second half: try not to be as bad as the Pittsburgh Pirates and hope there is a stud early in next year’s draft because the Orioles will be picking then.
Prediction: 5th 5th

AL Central

Chicago White Sox Patrick Ryan
1st Place 49-38 0 GB
Grade: A- A
Team MVP: Paul Konerko Carlos Quentin
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: “You can put it on the boooaaarrrddd…YES!!!” The White Sox had a great first half due to solid pitching and the re-emergence of Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin.  They will have to overcome the loss of Jake Peavy as he is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Prediction: 3rd 2nd

Detroit Tigers Patrick Ryan
2nd Place 48-38 0.5 GB
Grade: B+ B
Team MVP: Miguel Cabrera Miguel Cabrera
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: The Tigers have had pleasant surprises from offseason acquisitions Austin Jackson and Brandon Bosch.  Miguel Cabrera is having another monster year and the pitching staff has been solid.  If the Tigers are going to make a second half push, they will need young Rick Porcello to help Justin Verlander in the rotation.
Prediction: 2nd 3rd
Minnesota Twins Patrick Ryan
3rd Place 46-42 3.5 GB
Grade: B B-
Team MVP: Justin Morneau Orlando Hudson
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: The Twins have been solid so far this year.  Hopefully the recent concussion to Justin Morneau will have no long lasting effects and Joe Mauer will be able to pick it up a bit in the second half.  The Twins always seem to make a second half push and to do so will be looking to acquire a starting pitcher at the trade deadline.
Prediction: 1st 1st
Kansas City Royals Patrick Ryan
4th Place 39-49 10.5 GB
Grade: C D
Team MVP: Jose Guillen Joakim Soria
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: The Royals have struggled out of the gate this year in the competitive AL Central.  Reigning Cy Young winner Zack Greinke has not been able to find his groove and young Alex Gordon might soon be able to be labelled a ‘bust’ if he can’t turn it around.  The Royals will continue to flounder in the bottom their division, most likely fighting with the Indians for bottom spot.
Prediction: 4th 5th
Cleveland Indians Patrick Ryan
5th Place 34-54 15.5 GB
Grade: D D-
Team MVP: Shin-Soo Choo Shin-Soo Choo
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: The Indians didn’t have high expectations at the start of the season, and that’s probably a good thing.  The young movement is on in Cleveland especially after trading away 1B Russell Branyan a few weeks ago. Look for many young faces getting the chance to prove they can play in the big leagues especially Trevor Crowe, Jason Donald and Andy Marte.
Prediction: 5th 4th

AL West

Texas Rangers Patrick Ryan
1st Place 50-38 0 GB
Grade: A A+
Team MVP: Josh Hamilton Vladimir Guerrero
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: For a team where both starting catchers to start the year were sent down to the minor leagues on the same day, the Rangers are still fairing very well so far, holding the AL West lead at the All-Star Break.  Guerrero and Hamilton have led their powerful offense so far, and that will need to continue down the stretch for the Rangers to finally make the postseason.  The acquisition of Cliff Lee is great on the pitching front for the Rangers and he should be able to dominate down the stretch.
Prediction: 1st 1st
Los Angeles Angels Patrick Ryan
2nd Place 47-44 4.5 GB
Grade: B C+
Team MVP: Torri Hunter Torri Hunter
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: The Angels are definitely missing speedy leadoff man Chone Figgins, who was a catalyst for their offense and great defensively.  The Angels have hopefully learnt their lesson from earlier in the year as they won’t be having big celebrations at home plate, as that resulted in 1B Kendry Morales suffering a broken leg.  If the Angels have any chance in overtaking the Rangers, they will need their pitching staff to step it up.
Prediction: 2nd 2nd
Oakland Athletics Patrick Ryan
3rd Place 43-46 7.5 GB
Grade: C+ C+
Team MVP: Trevor Cahill Kurt Suzuki
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: Once again the A’s suffer because of their low budget but still manage to be fairly competitive.  Their offensive stats are absolutely terrible and ace Ben Sheets has been unimpressive so far.  The A’s should continue to dwindle around mediocrity for the rest of the season.
Prediction: 3rd 3rd
Seattle Mariners Patrick Ryan
4th Place 35-53 15.0 GB
Grade: F F
Team MVP: Felix Hernandez Ichiro Suzuki
Analysis/Keys to the 2nd Half: What a mess!  The M’s are looking at another early draft position after a first half that no one would have predicted.  Even The Hot Corner host Ryan McKenna had them pegged to finish first.  The trade of Cliff Lee has pretty much signalled that they have given up on this season.
Prediction: 4th 4th