The 2023 Major League Baseball season has meandered its way to the midpoint, which means that every team is at or near the 81-game mark of the season. That also means there's half a regular-season schedule left to keep it up or figure it out, depending upon each team's current straits.
Speaking of which, the halfway point of the season is a fitting occasion for grades, and that's what we're here to do. Each team will be assigned one of those traditional letter grades based on the extent to which they've exceed, met, or fallen short of reasonable expectations coming into the season. Since those expectations are the driver, it's not as simple as grading each team's record in a vacuum. A team with a winning record can still be an objective disappointment thus far, just as a below.-500 squad can qualify for the honor roll. You know how this works.
Now, teams of MLB, assume the position.
| Grade: A+. The upstart D-Backs lead what's a pretty tough NL West right now. While the club was expected to take a step forward this season, bettering the Dodgers and Padres was very much not expected. Don't forget this club lost 110 games in 2021. Corbin Carroll is putting together a deeply impressive rookie campaign. |
| Grade: A. The Braves are running away with the NL East and are line to hoist that particular flag for a sixth straight year. If recent trends hold, Atlanta will soon have the best record in all of baseball.|
| Grade: A. The O's looked primed to slip back to earth after their surprise run at contention in 2022, but there have been no such signs of that thus far in 2023. Right now, Baltimore is in line to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.|
| Grade: C+. Yes, they're in last place in the division. However, they're on pace to improve upon last year's record, and thus far only the Yankees have played a tougher schedule in 2023.|
| Grade: C+. The Cubs are below .500, yes. However, if you look at run differential and even deeper indicators, you can argue that the Cubs have been the fundamentally strongest team in the NL Central. As well, they've played the toughest schedule of any NL Central team thus far. Don't be shocked if they rise to first place at some point in the second half.|
| Grade: D+. That the White Sox are not presently buried in the divisional standings is a reflection of the wholly uninspiring nature of the AL Central. Since an awful first month of the season, the Sox have been a .500-ish team.|
| Grade: A. The NL Central is a weak division, but it's still fairly shocking to see the Reds in first place this late in the year. The rotation remains a big question mark, especially from a health standpoint, but the arrival of Elly De La Cruz and the return of Joey Votto help matters.|
| Grade: C-. The Guards continue to have one of the best front offices in the game today, but is ownership's continued refusal to spend finally catching up to them? Broadly speaking, Cleveland can't hit the ball hard, which leads to the lack of offensive production.|
| Grade: C-. Little was expected of Baseball's Weirdest Team and little has been provided. A second-straight last-place finish and a second-straight 90-loss season seems inevitable. At this writing, only the A's have a worse run differential this season.|
| Grade: C+. The Tigers are still in the early stages of a post-Al Avila re-rebuild, which means little was expected this season. That said, they're in third place and something of a quasi-threat in the AL Central.|
| Grade: C. The reigning world champs were not so long ago renowned for their pitching depth, but injuries and departures have flipped that particular script. There's stil plenty of time for them to find something close to their expected level, but their current reality is second place.|
| Grade: D. It's not exactly surprising that the Royals are bad, but no team should be in proximity of Oakland's record this season. The rebuild in KC is not going especially well so far.|
| Grade: B+. The '23 Halos are certainly no juggernaut, but by the franchise's recent standards ths season has been fairly successful thus far. Famous for squandering the peak years of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the Angels right now are in line for their first winning season since 2015 and in the mix for their first postseason berth since 2014. That's progress.|
| Grade: C. The Dodgers are a modern juggernaut, and it wouldn't be the list bit surprising if they find their way to the top of the NL West yet again. For now, though, they're barely on pace to top 90 wins and are stuck in wild-card status. For this franchise, that's a disappointment.|
| Grade: A. The Marlins have heavily outplayed their run differential, and that raises concerns that regression is coming. To date, though, they've had a standout 2023. That's especially the case considering the Fish weren't expected to be relevant coming into the year.|
| Grade: B-. You can ding the Brewers because they're lugging around a negative run differential, but you can elevate them because they're tied for first place – albeit in the NL Central – and are above .500. Verdict: Whatever.|
| Grade: C-. Sure, they're a first-place team, but, well, it's the 2023 AL Central, which could shape up to be perhaps the worst division in the history of such things. The Twins in terms of roster investment are trying, at least by the standards of their division, but their efforts have not yielded the desired results.|
| Grade: F. Coming off a 100-win season in 2022 and now boasting the largest payroll in MLB history, the Mets find themselves in line for a losing season. The 2023 season has provided us with a number of conspicuously disappointing teams, but right now the Mets "tower" above all.|
| Grade: C. On the one hand, the Yankees are in playoff position (albeit barely) and have played the toughest schedule to date in all of MLB. On the other hand, they're way back in the AL East race and hovering near fourth place. This flawed lineup badly needs Aaron Judge back.|
| Grade: C-. While ownership and the top-line execs get a resounding F for their cynical and lie-fueled operations, the roster they destroyed is faring about as expected, which is to say the team is terrible. They've lifted themselves out of the "worst team in history" pace they were on for some time, and now the A's are merely miserable.|
| Grade: C-. The reigning NL champs were expected to be in the thick of the NL East race, especially after inking Trea Turner. However, things haven't played out that way. The Phils have clawed their way back above .500, but they still have a negative run differential and are out of playoff position.|
| Grade: C+. Overall, it's looking like a bog-standard recent Pirates season, but perhaps giving it a stronger whiff of disappointment is that the Corsairs were a robust 20-9 coming out of April. They've since found their level in a disappointing way.|
| Grade: F. There's still time for the Padres to reverse course and make the postseason again, but thus far 2023 has not gone swimmingly. In light of the Padres' heavy (and laudable) roster investments in recent years – including the splash signing of Xander Bogaerts this past winter – a losing record this late in the season is a massive disappointment.|
| Grade: A. The Giants are not an exciting team as such things go, but at the midpoint they have been a good team. Contrary to expectations, the Giants are neck-and-neck with the Dodgers in the NL West standings, well ahead of the Padres, and in playoff position.|
| Grade: D. Fresh off their first postseason appearance since 2001, the M's no doubt hoped to contend once again. However, GM Jerry Dipoto didn't do enough this past winter to address the team's offensive holes, and right now they're below .500.|
Grade: F. Coming off a 93-win season and a division title in 2022, the Cardinals were heavily favored to prevail in the NL Central once again. Instead, they find themselves in last place and thus far unable to undo the damage done from their 10-24 start to the season. They're at risk of enduring a losing season for the first time since 2007.
Grade: A. Some of the shine has come off since the Rays' tremendous start to the season, and that's in part because of a crippling run of pitching injuries. Even so, the Rays stand atop the brutal AL East and for the moment have the best record in MLB.
| Grade: A+. While there are some signs of offensive regression going on, the current reality is that the Rangers right now lead their division and boast the best run differential in all of baseball.|
| Grade: B-. The Jays in playoff position at this writing in the competitive AL wild-card derby, but more was expected of them this season. Alek Manoah's disastrous 2023 thus far has played a leading role in those relative struggles. There's still a great deal of roster talent in place, so the Jays figure to be playoff threats all year.|
| Grade: C. There's not a great deal to say here. As a consequence of their teardown, the Nationals were expected to be a bad team, and indeed they are a bad team. Call it a minor source of uplift that the Nats are not presently the worst team in the National League.|