NL Update (June 30)

June 30, National League Update

Washington (52-30): Washington is finishing up their best month of the season (18-8) and sit in front in the NL East. After a slow start to the season, Ed Palmer has been a force in June hitting .387/.471/.667 with 6 home runs. Palmer’s 1.138 OPS leads all NL players in the month of June. After a six game stretch with the Marlins and Phillies, they close the first half with 7 games against Atlanta and 2 with Seattle. As July hits, do the Nationals hunt for a lefty to add to a solely right-handed rotation? Could that factor open the door for prospect Reid Detmers to see the bigs?

Atlanta (49-32):The Braves are 17 games above .500, yet it doesn’t get an insider to know frustrations are building and no one is potentially safe. Three extra-inning defeats over the last week have only exacerbated the pressure things. Alec Bohm has not added any power to the lineup since coming over from Pittsburgh, something that needs to change. The resurgence of Taylor Sparks has been needed, but he can’t do it all alone. With Sparks, Kolby Allard, Walker Buehler all approaching their final year of arbitration, does Atlanta pull another Armando Cabanas and trade a key centerpiece to the organization?\

Philadelphia (38-43): If only the Phillies could pitch…a team that sits in the upper half of most offensive categories in the NL, the Phillies rank near or at the bottom in most pitching categories. Outside of Pedro Magana and the late inning duo of Flemer and O’Day, it’s a lot of hope and pray. That same approach has taken over in the head of Charlie Harper, who after a good rookie season, has looked lost at the dish all season. The Phillies have interesting choices ahead to make with free-agency looming for Anthony Hale. Hale, John O”Day, and Pedro Magana all could have interest and moving them could bring sizable hauls back.

New York Mets (36-45): The 8-21 month of May looks like a thing of the past, but something that will have lasting effects on the season. A bright spot this month has been the moments Mackenzie Gore has had against the Angels and Astros, going 13 1/3 IP allowing just 7 hits and 2 earned runs. The great mystery has been the control issues of Alberto Vega whose 35 walks in 87 IP match his walk total from last season’s 177 innings. With a bevy of contracts sitting above 15,000,000, do teams call for veteran help?

Miami Marlins (32-49): Like the Mets, the Marlins have brushed off a disastrous May (5-22) wtih a respectable June (13-14). July could bring plenty of fireworks to South Beach. Without a large budget and with Cam Gallagher and Corey Seager staring at free-agency, the Marlins seem like a team that cannot sit and wait for the qualifying offer. That said, who pays the premium for a free-agent to be catcher who is hitting .224 or a shortstop hitting .228? Does a team bank on the hope that a change of scenery is enough to get these bats going? Do the Marlins make a swing at bringing one of the bats back by opening up money by trading Lance McCullers?

St. Louis Cardinals (49-33): Dropping a pair of one-run games to the Marlins to close the month was not how St. Louis planned things, but they do head to July in first place. Logan Gilbert has continued to be masterful on the mound, making up for the struggles of Kevin Comer who has posted an ERA of 6.00 over the last month. The team has turned to young arms in the pen in Kumar Rocker and Steven Gingrey to bolster the NL’s best bullpen ERA. Two questions surround this team: 1) with Craig Cooper sidelined for the year, can they improve their inconsistencies in the rotation? and 2) Ranked 8th in the NL in runs scored and 10th in both slugging percentage and OPS, do they have enough offense? This is especially alarming to some when taking a look at premium offensive positions such as first and right-field.

Cincinnati Reds (38-42): A 10-16 month of June has dropped the Reds 10 games behind the Cardinals. The Reds continue to have the NL’s best ERA amongst starting pitchers and the 2nd best team ERA in the NL as a whole. Rafael Castillo continues to hit homers and shortstop Fernando Leguizamo has shown tremendous improvements Having now moved Phillippe Aumont to Toronto, where might the Reds turn before July 31? Can the youngsters give some hope for a late-season charge at the third WC spot?

Milwaukee Brewers (38-44): After winning 93 games last season, the magic has not been present for the Brewers this season. A team that is 7 games above .500 at home, but 13 games under on the road. After a brilliant rookie campaign, Durbin Feltman has had his share of ups and down closing games this season. His struggles have been shared by a bullpen that ranks 14th in the NL. Pedro Cuevas has worked out early season problems and been much better in June, that must provide some optimism moving forward. With Anthony Meo’s name on the block, do teams come calling for one of the lone bright spots from the Brewer bullpen?

Chicago Cubs (33-47): Justin Jabs is 80 for 80 with lineups, but that’s where performance in Chicago ends. The Cubs have pieces, but not enough. Ed Harris has been good, Yordan Alvarez and Eloy Jimenez have had moments. Ryan Copeland and Alex Ramirez have been reliable on the mound. But 12th in runs scored, 13th in runs allowed in the NL and you have a team that will miss the playoffs for the seventh straight season. If the Cubs were to retain 30 to 40 percent of Ryan Copeland’s salary for this season and next, how much trade value would the veteran lefty hold?

Pittsburgh Pirates (31-50): It’s been a busy first month for the new regime in Pittsburgh. We’ve already seen Alec Bohm, Jared Stevens, Tristan Beck, and Garrett Schlecht shipped out. Jonathan India has been a steadying addition, Miguel Leon continues to hit, and CJ Abrams has slotted in as the team’s second best prospect, so their has been a return. While things have been busy already, the next month few weeks appear to be so, especially with regards to Chris Scalise, one of the top players seemingly likely to be moved over the next month.

Los Angeles Dodgers (47-33): The Dodgers Javier Garcia is one of five NL players to boast an OPS above 1.000 in June on his way to an NL best 24 RBI’s and 20 walks. The Dodgers trio of Garcia, Curt Franklin, and Juan Soto rank 2, 3, and 4 in the NL in runs scored on the season. While the usually consistent and reliable duo of Parker Markel and Jarred Cosart have been bumpy, the bullpen has picked things up. With Jerry MacDonal’s bat being a key piece behind the plate, does it open the Dodgers up to being able to move prospect Luis Campusano?

Arizona D-Backs (46-35): Arizona has taken the opposite path of LA to get where they are. Zona was lights out in May (19-9), but a mere .500 in April and June (26-26). While their starters and bullpen ERA each rank 6th in the NL, that adds up to a 9th best NL team ERA. They sit dead last in the NL in hits allowed, opponent batting average, and BABIP, while also in the bottom half in walks allowed. These issues were seen last night in Ohtani’s poor outing against the Padres. The offense remains as potent as ever, but how far can it take this team? Do they turn to Ethan Hankins who after a poor showing in the bigs has again been solid at AAA?

Colorado Rockies (44-37): Remember the Alex Bregman trade? Yeah, it still looks bad for Colorado, but they’ve overcome that and currently sit in a playoff spot, despite going 11-15 in June. Krishawn Holley has been brilliant finishing games off, having not allowed an earned run in his last 23 appearances. Alonso Martinez who came over in 2020 as part of the Nate Pearson trade (WOW…to that one!) has blossomed into a RBI machine (63, 2nd in the NL). The bottom third of the batting order is a bit of a blackhole with a lack of production in center and right field. For longterm success this season, the Rockies need more out of both Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer.

San Diego Padres (43-39): Stalking the top three NL West teams are the sneaky San Diego Padres. 18-9 in June, the Padres have erased what was a 11-17 record at the end of April. The team has ridden the young arms of Daulton Jefferies and Michael Matuella while having seen flashes from Shane McClanahan and Gilbert Zepeda. With Joe Henson and Chris Chiozza each positing All-Star caliber seasons at the back of the bullpen, the Padres can be tough. Middle innings will continue to be paramount for this team, but the recent addition of Yosuke Ichikawa could go a long way in solving that issue. Will the front-office continue eto give Bryson Stott ample playing time at third, or will there be a short leash if production does now improve?

San Francisco Giants (30-50): Things are going as expected in the Bay after the busy off-season of changes. Lots of eyes are on Lucio Cruzado, a player almost certainly going to be moved before the deadline. The veteran continues to be a steadying presence in a rotation. To confuse fans and opponents, the Giants added Dave Groves via waivers to pair with Dale Graves in the bullpen, good luck with that. 23 year-old Camm Martin has shown consistent on-field improvement over the last month, a bright spot for the team.

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