With just a handful of days left before the trade deadline, the buyers and sellers of the market have come more clearly into focus.
The trends have become ever-important since the All-Star break, when only a few teams weren’t in contention for a playoff berth.
Hot and cold streaks have taken hold, though, and some clubs have fallen off the pace completely while others have strengthened their hold on a playoff position.
A look at some of the hottest teams and players since the break, and some early eulogies for clubs whose seasons have fallen off the pace.
Though they lost their last contest to the Toronto Blue Jays by a 10-4 final, Oakland has been one of baseball’s hottest clubs since the All-Star break. The A’s are 8-2 in their last 10 contests, are 10-2 since the break and have posted a 16-3 July record. Led by outfielders Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes and a pitching staff that ranks fourth in the majors in ERA, fifth in batting average against and third in WHIP, the surprising A’s have moved to within a half-game of the LAA Angels and into a tie for the AL’s second Wild Card berth. Trending: UP
The Reds head into their series against Colorado riding a seven game winning streak and winning eight of their last ten. When former MVP Joey Votto was injured, many thought the Reds would hit a bump in the road, but that has not been the case. The Reds have the best record in the NL for the month of July at 15-6. Votto is expected back the end of August or beginnign of September and it seems as if holding the fort down until he returns will not be an issue. Led by Johnny Cueto, the Reds pitching has been stellar with a 3.28 team ERA in 2012 and league-best bullpen ERA. Trending: UP
Since the month of July began, the Tigers are 15-6 and are now only .5 games behind the first place White Sox. Miguel Cabrera has been on an absolute tear since the All-Star break, hitting .333 with five home runs and 11 rbi. Left fielder Bennan Boesch has three home runs and 12 rbi in that same time span. With the new additions of pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante, the Tigers look to be a serious contender down the stretch of 2012. Trending: UP
The Nationals are 15-7 in the month of July and winners of their last six in a row. The Nats are now leading the NL East by five games over the Atlanta Braves. The Nationals pitching continues to be the best in baseball, as all five of their starters have an ERA under 3.60. In three starts since the ALl-Star break, Jordan Zimmerman has only allowed one earned run, winning two of those starts. Ryan Zimmerman has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball since the break, batting .410 with six home runs and 14 rbi. Trending: UP
Trout is putting together quite a season to remember and since the All-Star break, he has not slowed down. Trout is batting .426 with four home runs, nine rbi and five stolen bases since the break. Do not slow the MVP talk down at all on this kid. Trending: UP
Cutch has kept the hits coming, batting .404 since the break with four home runs and six rbi. With the recent callup of Starling Marte and the hot-hitting Garrett Jones behind McCutchen, the budding superstar should have enough protection in the lineup to keep his numbers trending in the right direction. Trending: UP
In three starts since the break, Price has three wins and allowed only three earned runs. Price has 25 strikeouts in only 21.1 innings pitched since the break. Trending: UP
Cabrera has been quite the player for the Giants in 2012 and his hot start is continuing into the second half of the season. The left fielder is batting .378 with two home runs and seven rbi since returning from the break. Trending: UP
The Astros have the worst record in all of MLB (34-66) and in the entire month of July, their record is 2-20. Houston has sold off their two most marketable players in Carlos Lee and Wandy Rodriguez and now the dog days of August are upon the club. Since the All-Star break, the Astros have the worst ERA in all of baseball (5.85). With a move to the AL West in 2013, things could get uglier in 2013 before they get any better. Trending: DOWN
New York Mets
At the break, the Mets were one of the more surprising teams in the league, sitting at 46-40 and only 4.5 games behind the first place Nationals. Luck has run out in the big apple, as the Mets are 5-15 in the month of July and now sit 11.5 games behind Washington. In his two starts since the All-Star break, Johan Santana has allowed 13 runs over eight innings and is suffering from an ankle injury. Starter R.A. Dickey has not been better, allowing 14 earned runs in his three starts since the break. Trending: DOWN
The Marlins first season in their new stadium has not played out the way the team envisioned it. Omar Infante, Anibal Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez have all been traded and it seems like more trades are on the horizon. The Marlins are now 45-53, 14 games behind the first place Nationals. Trending: DOWN
The brew-crew was due for a down season after being very competitive the last several seasons. Milwaukee is now 44-54, 24 games behind the Reds in the NL Central. Ryan Braun has been his normal self in 2012, batting .314 with 28 home runs and 69 rbi, but he cant help the pitching. Milwaukee ranks 13th in team ERA (4.61). Trending: DOWN
The “freak” had a terrible start to his 2012 season, compiling a 3-10 record to go along with a 6.28 ERA in the first half. In three starts since the break, Lincecum has rebounded a little bit, but has still given up seven earned runs in those three starts. More improvement is needed before Lincecum will start trending in the right direction. Trending: DOWN
Since returning from injury, Crawford has not impressed, batting .219 with 0 home runs and one rbi. Crawford’s name has been mentioned in trade talks and his days in Boston could very well be numbered. Trending: DOWN
Weeks is having a miserable 2012, overall batting .201 with 10 home runs and 34 rbi. The power numbers are there, but the average is way too low and the strikeouts are way too high. Since the break, Weeks has not improved, batting only .217 with 14 strikeouts in only 46 at bats. Trending: DOWN
Beckett could very well be pitching his way out of Boston, as he’s gone 1-2 with a 5.21 ERA in his three starts since the All-Star break. Opposing batters are hitting .312 off Beckett in that time span. Trending: DOWN