MLB

MLB Mid-Season Check In — Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

A rundown of the players and teams who are making an impact, and not so much, on this MLB season

June 19, 2024

As we approach the halfway point of the 2024 MLB season, let’s look at which players, teams and playoff races have been gaining steam over the past month or so, and which ones have been fading. Baseball is a game of streaks and slumps. Here’s who’s hot and who’s not (as of Tuesday):

Hot: Aaron Judge and the Yankees

Judge’s slow start has faded into a distant memory, as the 2022 AL MVP leads MLB in home runs (14), RBI (34) and runs (29) over the last 30 days. His .895 slugging percentage and 1.356 OPS during that span are also the highest in the league among players with at least 20 at-bats.

With the Yankee captain leading by example, New York has gone 24-9 in its last 33 games, giving the Yankees the best record in MLB at 50-24. That success has come without reigning AL Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole, who has been out with an elbow injury but is expected to make his season debut Wednesday.

Not: William Contreras

Contreras has struggled to a .583 OPS in the last 30 days and has just one home run since May 24. After hitting .345 in March/April, Milwaukee’s catcher dropped to a still excellent .301 in May but has plummeted to .232 so far in June.

The Brewers have created a little separation in the bunched-up NL playoff race at 42-30, but that cushion may not last long if Contreras remains a black hole in their batting order’s two-hole.

Hot: The Orioles and the AL East Race

Despite their recent success, the Yankees aren’t running away with the AL East because the Orioles have been just as hot. Baltimore is 18-6 in its last 24 games and 47-24 overall, 1.5 games back in the standings and tied in the loss column. Anthony Santander has been a key figure in Baltimore’s success, as his 10 home runs in the last 30 days are second-most behind Judge’s 14.

Not: Atlanta Braves

The Braves still sit comfortably atop the NL Wild Card race at 39-31 overall, but they have lost significant ground in the NL East with a 13-18 record since May 15. Atlanta is eight games back of the 48-24 Phillies, while the Nationals and Mets are starting to creep up in the rear-view mirror.

Each of those two teams has gone 8-2 in its last 10 games to get within 4.5 and 5.5 games of the Braves, respectively.

Hot: Seattle Mariners

Seattle is coming off a three-game sweep of the Rangers, which extended the Mariners’ lead atop the AL West to 9.0 games, which is the largest margin for any MLB division leader.

The Mariners have gone 7-1 in their last eight games and 16-5 in their last 21 to get to 43-31 overall. This hot streak has Seattle in excellent position to end a 22-year division championship drought, which is the fourth-longest active streak in MLB behind the Pirates, Rockies and Marlins at 31 apiece.

Not: The Rest of the AL West

Every AL West team other than the Mariners is under .500 this season, and that trend has held true over the past month as well, with the rest of the teams in the division ranging from 13-14 (Astros) to 7-20 (Athletics) over that span.

The Rangers (10-16) have wasted a spectacular month from reigning World Series MVP Corey Seager, as his 1.129 OPS over the last 30 days trails only Yankees teammates Judge and Juan Soto (1.134) among players with at least 45 at-bats.

On the other end of the spectrum for the reigning World Series champs has been Adolis Garcia, who has put up a pitiful .444 OPS in the past month.

Hot: The NL Wild Card Race

Fans who prefer drama over quality will likely love the NL Wild Card race. Four teams currently sit above the fray (Phillies, Dodgers, Brewers and Braves) and two look completely out of it (Rockies and Marlins), but the middle of the pack is exceptionally bunched up in the National League in 2024, with the remaining nine teams all sitting between 35 and 39 losses while battling for two playoff spots.

Considering the Diamondbacks just reached the World Series last year after an 84-win regular season, the teams in the mushy middle will be motivated to scratch and claw for the chance to put together their own postseason Cinderella run.

Not: Florida’s Teams

The Panthers are a game away from clinching the first Stanley Cup in franchise history, so it isn’t all bad for a state whose fanbases have been spoiled with multi-sport success in recent years, but the on-field product of Florida’s baseball teams certainly isn’t matching the temperature at the games right now.

The Marlins are 2-12 in their last 14 games and have an NL-worst 23-49 record after making the playoffs last year, while the Rays have gone 9-16 in their last 25 games to fall to last in the AL East at 34-38. Tampa Bay is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha Yodashkin has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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