The 2022 Major League Baseball season is creeping up on its halfway mark, so it’s fair to say that we know a lot more about all 30 teams now than we did back on Opening Day. Enough to fill books, even.
But since nobody has time for that, let’s keep things simple and describe the current state of each team in just one sentence.
The idea here was to try to sum up where each team is for somebody who hasn’t paid attention to baseball all year. If that’s you, hopefully you’ll find it instructive. If that’s not you, well, maybe you’ll get something else out of this exercise.
We’ll go division by division, starting in the American League East and ending in the National League West.
American League East
1. New York Yankees: 52-20
It’s no fun to get no-hit, but the Yankees still have substantial bragging rights with their league-best plus-141 run differential and the best record by any team through 72 games since the 2001 Seattle Mariners.
2. Boston Red Sox: 41-31
The frustration of the Red Sox’s slow start (11-20 through May 11) has long since faded, as their starting pitching (3.40 ERA) and offense (129 wRC+) have paced the club to a 30-11 record dating back to May 13.
3. Toronto Blue Jays: 40-31
Kudos to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the rest of Toronto’s offense for finally coming around with a league-best 145 wRC+ in June, but Hyun Jin Ryu’s Tommy John surgery was a big blow to a pitching staff that’s been dicey outside of aces Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah and closer Jordan Romano.
4. Tampa Bay Rays: 39-32
Though 16 different players have hit home runs for the Rays, unspectacular returns from supposed boppers like Wander Franco, Brandon Lowe and Randy Arozarena explain why runs have been hard to come by and, more broadly, why this team isn’t matching the 100-win pace of the 2021 Rays.
5. Baltimore Orioles: 34-39
The Orioles are obviously still bad, but their leap to watchably bad is most noticeable when their late-inning trio of Jorge Lopez, Dillon Tate and Felix Bautista (combined ERA: 1.42) goes to work.
American League Central
1. Minnesota Twins: 40-33
Rocco Baldelli is doing the single most delicate dance in baseball right now with his management of Byron Buxton, who’s staying on the periphery of the AL MVP race with 19 home runs in 53 games even as he battles persistent knee issues.
2. Cleveland Guardians: 36-31
The Guardians have easily the best contact-hitting offense and one of the most reliable bullpens despite also having the league’s third-lowest payroll, so somebody should get on the horn with Michael Lewis and see if he’s interested in a sequel to Moneyball.