SI.com Fantasy Minors College Baseball Baseball

 

AL East: New York | Boston | Baltimore | Toronto | Tampa Bay
  NEW YORK YANKEES (55-32)
   .281 BA (1st in AL), 3.95 ERA (3rd in AL)

Alfonso Soriano
The Good: The Bronx Bombers are back. The Yanks have smashed a baseball-best 135 homers at the break, scored the most runs, have the most total bases, have the best slugging percentage in the league (.476) and the best on-base percentage (.359). They are led by first baseman Jason Giambi (22 homers), sophomore second baseman Alfonso Soriano (20) and a come-to-life Robin Ventura (19). Mussina, Wells, Pettitte and the rest of the pitchers hold up their end, too.

The Bad: Their outfield play has been spotty (except Bernie Williams in center, .312 with 11 homers and 45 RBIs), which is why The Boss bought Raul Mondesi from the Blue Jays. And with the big swings come big misses. They strike out more than anyone in baseball (almost eight a game) and lead the league in grounding out into double plays (87 in 87 games).

What's Next: Another postseason trip, no doubt, and very likely an AL East pennant -- or more. Lefty Andy Pettitte's health may be a question and Roger Clemens has been ouchy -- but now they have Jeff Weaver. The rich, as they say ... well, you know what they say. Sigh.  


  BOSTON RED SOX (52-33)
   .279 BA (2nd in AL), 3.64 ERA (1st in AL)

Derek Lowe
The Good: Derek Lowe has gone from bum to brilliant (12-4, 2.36 ERA), the staff has the best ERA in the AL, Johnny Damon can play in the first half (.308) -- Shea Hillenbrand??!! -- and Nomar Garciaparra (.312) is all the way back.

The Bad: Manny Ramirez is just now coming back, and slowly. There are those nagging concerns over Pedro Martinez's health. Some other recent pitching injuries (Rich Garces) will have the Sox shopping for depth in July. The Yankees keep throwing on the firewood. It's getting hot.

What's Next: A fight for a wild-card berth if they can't overtake the Yanks. With Lowe, Martinez and John Burkett, they should be able to stay close. If one of them goes down ... well, blame it on the Curse.  


  BALTIMORE ORIOLES (42-43)
   .255 BA (10th in AL), 4.15 ERA (6th in AL)

Rodrigo Lopez
The Good: The O's have been much closer to .500 than anyone would have guessed because of starter Rodrigo Lopez (8-3, 3.04 ERA) and closer Jorge Julio (17 saves) and a staff that has the sixth-best ERA in the AL. If only they could hit some more.

The Bad: No regular is hitting over .300. Veterans like Marty Cordova (.277, 40 RBIs), Mike Bordick (.239, 21 RBIs) and righty Scott Erickson (3-8, 4.41) have been disappointing. Peter Angelos is still in charge. The Expos might be moving next door next year. OK. We'll stop now.

What's Next: Young teams like this often collapse in the second half. Manager Mike Hargrove has done an admirable job so far, but this team doesn't have near enough to compete in this division.  


  TORONTO BLUE JAYS (34-52)
   .246 BA (12th in AL), 5.02 ERA (11th in AL)

Carols Delgado
The Good: Eric Hinske (.273, 14 HRs, 46 RBIs) may be AL Rookie of the Year. There is talent (Carlos Delgado, Shannon Stewart, Roy Halladay). But with the "For Trade" sign out, no telling who'll be left. At least they know where they'll be in '03.

The Bad: The Jays dumped skipper Buck Martinez after a 20-33 start, but placeholder Carlos Tosca is sub-.500, too. Jose Cruz Jr. is having a tough year (.227), pitcher Luke Prokopec is injured ... well, at least Mondesi, his salary and his attitude are gone.

What's Next: This could be a completely different team next season, new manager and all. The farm system looks decent, and with some good trades, they could contend faster than expected. But, oh no. Not this year.  


  TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS (28-57)
   .245 BA (13th in AL), 5.07 ERA (13th in AL)

Randy Winn
The Good: Randy Winn (.310, 7 homers, 42 RBIs) is a star on a team bereft of them. There is hope because of guys like pitcher Joe Kennedy (5-7, 4.33 ERA in 17 starts) and a farm system stocked with high picks that could blossom. But, for now, they're overmatched.

The Bad: Greg Vaughn (.163, 8 HRs, 29 RBIs) has all but retired, becoming an albatross on a team that has the lowest slugging percentage (.378) and on-base percentage (.306) in the AL. Oh, the pitching's rotten, too. Including a 5.56 ERA among relievers.

What's Next: Contraction isn't likely. So Central Florida is stuck with a team strapped for cash and proven talent while trapped in a nightmarish lease at the Trop. This year's hopeless. The next few aren't far behind.  


  Note: All stats through Sunday. All photos AP, except Randy Winn (Al Bello/Getty Images).

 


 
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