The Quarter Season Report

We are essentially 1/4 of the way through the 2012 MLB season. As close to 1/4 of the way that you can be when the divisidator (yeah, I made that word up because math is hard) is 162. Needless to say there’s been some surprises (hello Dodgers and Orioles) and some massive disappointments (Yankees and Red Sox tied for last? Maybe the world really is ending in 2012!).

Here’s my quarter season report (records and stats as of 5/22/12):

Texas Rangers (27-18)

Biggest Surprise – Joe Nathan’s 11 saves in 12 opportunities and 2.41 ERA

Biggest Disappointment – Mike Napoli’s .233 average (but does it really matter in this lineup?)

Season Outlook – Running away with the West. Josh Hamilton is on pace for about 70 homers and 200 RBI. I’ll spot him 44 and 130.

Oakland A’s (22-23)

Biggest Surprise – Their record. I predicted this team to lose 100 games in 2012. Hey, there’s still team.

Biggest Disappointment – Kurt Suzuki’s offensive numbers. Hitting .221 with 13 RBI at this point is, ironically, offensive.

Season Outlook – Josh Reddick has surprised people with his production, and the young staff looks real good. I’m thinking 75 wins would be an incredible success for the A’s.

Seattle Mariners (21-25)

Biggest Surprise – Kyle Seager’s .270/5/26 line thus far. Who? Good question.

Biggest Disappointment – Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero. Neither are doing awful. But M’s fans are expecting bigger things.

Season Outlook – I know the standings say differently, but I have a feeling the Mariners will be the surprise AL West team we’re all talking about in September. Not the A’s.

Los Angeles Angels (20-25)

Biggest Surprise – How about a tie between the young guns, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout. The M.T.’s are the future in Anaheim.

Biggest Disappointment – The grounds crew. The rally monkey. None of the above. Albert Pujols, obviously. But he’s coming around, finally.

Season Outlook – Believe it or not, this team is only 7 games out of first. With that pitching and the inevitable Pujols rebound, they may sneak up on you by the all-star break.

Cleveland Indians (25-18)

Biggest Surprise – Derek Lowe’s 6-2 record and 2.15 ERA. I know it won’t last, but that doesn’t mean it’s not surprising…

Biggest Disappointment – I personally am disappointed by Casey Kotchman’s dismal numbers (.220/3/15). I expected that to be a bigger signing.

Season Outlook – The Bullpen Mafia is all too real, and an offense led by Asdrubal Cabrera will be right in the thick of things for a Wild Card spot. I still think Detroit takes the Central.

Chicago White Sox (22-22)

Biggest Surprise – Adam Dunn is back! The whole package! So far, 14 homers, 33 RBI and a terrible batting average.

Biggest Disappointment – The Phil Humber hangover. A perfect game…well played, sir. And then straight awfulness.

Season Outlook – It’s a fluke people. Sorry. The Sox story is real cute, but if they finish better than 4th (and that’s generous), I’ll eat a tomato. What? I hate tomatoes.

Detroit Tigers (20-23)

Biggest Surprise – Drew Smyly’s 2.89 ERA. If this guy is real, that trio of Verlander, Smyly and Fister is pretty terrifying.

Biggest Disappointment – With apologies to Brennan Boesch’s weak numbers, it’s got to be releasing Brandon Inge, only to see him go to Oakland and hit two grand slams in his first few games as an Athletic.

Season Outlook – Still the favorites. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are just getting started. They are both going to hit their strides, and send the rest of the division running for their lives.

Kansas City Royals (17-26)

Biggest Surprise – Jonathan Broxton’s 8 saves and 2.16 ERA. I figured the former Dodger would melt down again, but he’s holding his own. Mad props, big boy!

Biggest Disappointment – Eric Hosmer. Helloooooo sophomore slump. Hitting .191 is not quite what the Royals expected from their stellar young first baseman at this point.

Season Outlook – When Jonathan Sanchez returns from injury and Hosmer figures his crap out, this team is going to contend. Mark my words!

Minnesota Twins (15-28)

Biggest Surprise – Josh Willingham. Well not to me. I knew that would be a money signing. But you’ve gotta love Willy’s .283/8/27 line to this point.

Biggest Disappointment – Francisco Liriano. He is 0-5 with an 8.04 ERA. We knew he was inconsistent, but…wow.

Season Outlook – Bleak. Sorry, Twins fans. The magic has run out. They’ve got some pieces to build on, plus super stars in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau (low batting average be damned). Just get some pitching, please!

Baltimore Orioles (28-17)

Biggest Surprise – The Baltimore Orioles are 28-17 and in 1st place in the A.L. East. That’s what.

Biggest Disappointment – Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz are severely underachieving. Luckily, Wei Chen and Jason Hammel are picking up the slack. So far.

Season Outlook – See above. If Arrieta and Matusz pick it up, this team actually has a shot with that loaded offense. But the pitching still might not be strong enough to contend in this division.

Tampa Bay Rays (27-18)

Biggest Surprise – Fernando Rodney is 14 for 14 in saves and has a sub-0.50 ERA. Holy guacamole.

Biggest Disappointment – Matt Moore, what in the world is your deal, buddy? A 1-4 record with a 5.07 ERA is not what people envisioned. So much for dark horse for AL Cy Young!

Season Outlook – This team is real! Watch out. Like the Dodgers in the National League, the Rays continue to win without their superstar. The reign of the Yankees and Red Sox might actually be over.

Toronto Blue Jays (24-21)

Biggest Surprise – It’s a straight-up tie. Edwin Encarnacion and his 14 home runs, tied with Kyle Drabek’s impressive start to the season.

Biggest Disappointment – The closer carousel. Sergio Santos went down with an injury, Francisco Cordero won and lost the job in about ten minutes flat, and now Casey Janssen is trying his hand in the 9th.

Season Outlook – There’s something about this team. They are still one piece away from legitimacy for me. If the O’s keep their pace up, Toronto is in danger of being the best last-place team in MLB history.

New York Yankees (23-21)

Biggest Surprise – Andy Pettitte is back in the pinstripes and he looks damn good doing it! Can he keep this up all season?

Biggest Disappointment – Poor Mo Rivera, tearing his ACL shagging fly balls in batting practice, ending his season. We can only hope the legend returns for 2013.

Season Outlook – They are still the Yankees. This is still one of the most ferocious offenses in all of baseball, and I fully expect Hiroki Kuroda to recover and help take this team to the playoffs.

Boston Red Sox (22-22)

Biggest Surprise – Will Middlebrooks is a fresh face in the bigs, but nobody expected such an immediate impact from the youngster. He’s here to stay!

Biggest Disappointment – Without a doubt, Clay Buchholz, who I expected to have a fantastic season in leading the BoSox back to glory.

Season Outlook – Much worse than I expected. If this team is going to make a playoff run, something MUST be done about the pitching staff.

Los Angeles Dodgers (30-13)

Biggest Surprise – A.J. Ellis’ ridiculous breakout season. He is hitting .327 with a .449 on-base percentage, and flawlessly handling the second best pitching staff in all of baseball.

Biggest Disappointment – Javy Guerra, a.k.a. the Guerracuda. That nickname backfired, as the day after I bestowed it upon him on Twitter, he took a line drive off the face, lost the closer’s role, and his ERA ballooned.

Season Outlook – I am one very happy fan. My boys in blue are the best team in baseball, and continue to be so with Matt Kemp on the DL for the past week and a half. They are the favorites in the West, and all of the National League. AND I LOVE IT.

San Francisco Giants (23-21)

Biggest Surprise – Until recently., Barry Zito. But I’m going to have to go with Melky Cabrera overall. He’s been above and beyond what the Giants ever expected when they signed him this winter, hitting .356.

Biggest Disappointment – Well obviously, that would be Tim Lincecum. His 2-4 record and 6.04 ERA should absolutely terrify the Giants. Maybe it’s a good thing he didn’t sign long-term yet.

Season Outlook – I just can’t imagine Melky staying this hot, nor Timmy this bad. But, I think 87 wins or so is the ceiling for the 2012 Giants, unless they make a deadline move.

Arizona Diamondbacks (19-25)

Biggest Surprise – Wade Miley’s 5-1 record with 2.14 ERA thrust him into the early lead for the NL Rookie of the Year award.

Biggest Disappointment – Justin Upton has yet to show up yet. His power numbers are decent but underwhelming, and a .253 average ain’t gonna cut it, kid. They really need him to step up.

Season Outlook – The D’Backs are in big trouble. The offense can still score at will, but the pitching staff has been proved to be a 2011 fluke. Hate to say I told you so! Wait. No I don’t.

Colorado Rockies (16-27)

Biggest Surprise – Jamie Moyer, the 49-year-old wonder, who became the oldest winning pitcher in the history of baseball. Congrats, Jamie!

Biggest Disappointment – It’s no surprise, but the starting rotation is disgustingly bad. My goodness. Moyer gets a Senior Citizen’s free pass, but the rest of the guys are struggling.

Season Outlook – It’s hard for me to count the Rockies out at any point, considering their penchant for historic comebacks. But this rotation is really, really bad. Donezo. Toast. Peace.

San Diego Padres (16-29)

Biggest Surprise – Anthony Bass! Three Up, Three Down’s first professional player to appear as a guest has come storming out of the Padres’ bullpen to the tune of a 2.89 ERA and 51 K’s in 10 games.

Biggest Disappointment – Clayton Richard’s 2-5 record and 4.63 ERA. This guy was supposed to be an anchor in the up-and-coming rotation. Not so much.

Season Outlook – Just awful. The only thing they might be able to accomplish is beating the Rockies.

St. Louis Cardinals (25-19)

Biggest Surprise – Carlos Beltran, a.k.a. Albert Pujols’ replacement. While Beltran is looking like…well, Pujols…over in St. Louis, Pujols is flirting with the Mendoza line in Anaheim.

Biggest Disappointment – Adam Wainwright’s rough start. He pitched a gem in his last start against the Padres, but for the most part he’s looked like a shell of his former self.

Season Outlook – Definitely a serious playoff contender, though I believe the Reds will win the Central. If Waino keeps getting his swag back and Chris Carpenter comes back strong, it’ll be a tight race.

Cincinnati Reds (24-19)

Biggest Surprise – Okay, we knew Aroldis Chapman was talented, but what the hell has gotten into that left arm of his? He’s now the closer in Cincy and throwing triple digits while posting a 0.00 ERA.

Biggest Disappointment – Drew Stubbs’ slow start. The Reds have tons of offense, but you’ve gotta expect better than .244/5/13 through his first 42 games.

Season Outlook – With Mat Latos getting his groove on, the Reds are my favorites to win the NL Central. Time will tell!

Houston Astros (21-23)

Biggest Surprise – The fact that they are this good so early! You’ve got to love the young offense with Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez, Jed Lowrie and others.

Biggest Disappointment – J.A. Happ. Again. He’s got a constantly-ballooning ERA, and just hasn’t been the guy they expected since picking him up.

Season Outlook – They are still a 5th-place team, but I think the ‘Stros are better than I originally gave them credit for. Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and the young offense could be better than most expect.

Pittsburgh Pirates (20-24)

Biggest Surprise – Erik Bedard, without a doubt. His 2-5 record does not reflect the way he’s been pitching in 2012. These adjectives do: shocking, impressive and filthy.

Biggest Disappointment – Pedro Alvarez. AGAIN. This kid has all the talent in the world, but just can’t put it together. His power numbers are up this season, but he can’t hit in the clutch and he’s hitting a paltry .203.

Season Outlook – I still think the Pirates are a .500 team for the first time in decades (literally), but they are going to have to get a fresh bat and arm at the trading deadline.

Milwaukee Brewers (18-26)

Biggest Surprise – Jonathan Lucroy’s all-star worthy season. The Brewers look like geniuses for signing him long-term. So far, he’s hitting .349 and driven in 29 RBI.

Biggest Disappointment – Yovani Gallardo’s 2-4 record and ERA well over 4.00. He’s always had a rep for being inconsistent, but this is something even worse than usual.

Season Outlook – I don’t think the Brewers are THIS bad, but clearly missing Prince Fielder hurts. Aramis Ramirez just isn’t filling the gap, and the aforementioned “ace” needs to step it up.

Chicago Cubs (15-29)

Biggest Surprise – Bryan LaHair’s out-of-nowhere offensive surge. Unfortunately for LaHair and his ridiculous numbers, he’ll either be moved or changing positions as soon as the Cubbies call up Anthony Rizzo.

Biggest Disappointment – Is there such thing as disappointment for Cubs fans anymore? Or are they just numb to it now?

Season Outlook – The same as usual. Battling to stay out of the cellar. I like some of the young talent on this team, but it’s going to take a few years to become totally relevant again.

Washington Nationals (26-18)

Biggest Surprise – Bryce Harper’s immediate impact upon being called up. This guy is clearly here to stay. His sweet swing is going to trump his attitude problems eventually.

Biggest Disappointment – Injuries. Mike Morse, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman have all already missed time. Imagine how scary this team is when they all return to full strength.

Season Outlook – I remember just a couple short months ago when I picked this team to win the division and people thought I was nuts. Well, look at me now, Mom! They are a sure-fire favorite to make the playoffs this season.

Atlanta Braves (26-19)

Biggest Surprise – Brandon Beachy’s National League-leading ERA. We knew he had skillz, but damn. The kid is a legitimate top of the rotation guy! As if the Braves needed any more of those.

Biggest Disappointment – Jair Jurrjens. One of my favorite fantasy sleepers over recent years has been J.J., but he really struggled this year, so the Braves sent him down.

Season Outlook – I picked them to finish 4th, and they still might. But similar to the Blue Jays, they would be one of the best 4th-place teams ever. They are certainly favorites to at least take a Wild Card spot in Chipper’s farewell season.

Miami Marlins (24-20)

Biggest Surprise – Omar Infante’s all-star numbers. They knew they’d have offense with Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton, but they couldn’t have expected such an impressive start from Infante.

Biggest Disappointment – I would have said Josh Johnson a few weeks ago, but he’s stepped it up big time. I’ll go with Gaby Sanchez’s recent demotion to AAA after a horrid start.

Season Outlook – Deceptively good. Carlos Zambrano and Mark Buehrle are both pitching well, and the offense is just downright scary. They could sneak in and steal the division.

New York Mets (24-20)

Biggest Surprise – Frank Francisco’s 12 out of 14 saves. His ERA is awful, but we all thought signing him for a closer’s role was a joke. Look who’s laughing now!

Biggest Disappointment – Andres Torres hitting .187 as Angel Pagan’s replacement, while Pagan flourishes in San Francisco. These kinds of moves are why the Mets can’t be good.

Season Outlook – They are certainly a better team than I thought, but how long can guys with unpronounceable names like Kirk Nieuwenhuis (good luck) carry them as David Wright’s sidekick? Not much longer.

Philadelphia Phillies (22-23)

Biggest Surprise – Carlos Ruiz, absolutely. He’s been pacing all National League catchers with offensive numbers and should definitely earn a berth to the All-Star game.

Biggest Disappointment – That the high-payroll Philadelphia Phillies are in last place. The pitching has been fine, but the offense needs a spark, and quick.

Season Outlook – If Ryan Howard and Chase Utley can provide the aforementioned spark, they could make a late run. If not, they are destined to flounder in the bottom of the standings.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

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