Grading Each MLB Team’s Performance In The 2021 Regular Season

Story posted October 8, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Nolan Wick

Another amazing baseball regular season filled with many surprises and disappointments alike is in the books. Let’s grade how each team did this season.

Arizona Diamondbacks: F

The Diamondbacks were atrocious this season, finishing last in the National League and with their second worst win percentage in franchise history.

Atlanta Braves: A-

Despite a slow start with many injuries, the Braves had a nice turnaround to their season. The National League East was very competitive, so Atlanta deserves a lot of credit.

Baltimore Orioles: D-

The Orioles were unsurprisingly awful again, and finished with the worst record in the American League. However, John Means’ no-hitter and Cedric Mullins’ All Star Game appearance provides a glimmer of hope.

Boston Red Sox: A

Making the playoffs in a division as tough as the American League East always deserves an “A.” Boston seems to be just fine without Mookie Betts and with Chris Sale’s injury woes.

Chicago Cubs: F

Let’s have a quick moment of silence for the Cubs.

It’s hard to know whether or not trading Rizzo, Bryant and Baez was necessary, but clearly it’s a new era of baseball in north Chicago. The Cubs should have been way more competitive and  a World Series contender.

Chicago White Sox: A+

The White Sox lived up to expectations and look like a legitimate World Series contender. José Abreu and company are certainly winning the battle for Chicago supremacy.

Cincinnati Reds: B-

Cincinnati barely missed the playoffs this year despite probably having the talent to do so, thanks to standout performances from Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez.

Cleveland Indians: C

Cleveland should have finished above .500 given its weak division competition and its pitching staff, which did not perform badly. That being said, though, it’s hard to win when management has publicly said it will not pay star players.

Colorado Rockies: D-

The Rockies were bad, but they didn’t finish nearly as badly as they started. A rebuilding team like Colorado will lose lots of games, but at least the process is moving along.

Detroit Tigers: B

Hey Detroit, guess what! The rebuild is almost over!

All those years of losing and tanking for draft picks seems to be paying off, as that core of prospects sure looks promising.

Houston Astros: A+

Unfortunately for most baseball fans, the Astros are once again American League West champions.

Houston had a successful season despite competition for the division crown, the aftermath of the cheating scandal and playing its first full season without Gerrit Cole and George Springer, and with Justin Verlander out for the year.

Kansas City Royals: D

Kansas City unsurprisingly had a losing season as it continues to rebuild. However, Salvador Perez’s monstrous season is something for the fans and the organization to be happy about.

Los Angeles Angels: F

Potential MVP winner Shohei Ohtani was recently asked how he felt about playing for the Angels, to which he responded, “I love the team...but more than that, I want to win.”

Despite Ohtani having Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and a proven manager in Joe Maddon in Anaheim, the Angels did everything except win, with a losing record and fourth place finish in the division.

Los Angeles Dodgers: A-

Sure, the Dodgers had heavy competition in the National League West and made the playoffs, but they should have won the division given their talent.

Miami Marlins: F

After making the playoffs in 2020, the Marlins reverted to their losing ways. If they were ever going to turn the corner and establish themselves as a competitive team, this was probably the year to do it.

Milwaukee Brewers: A+

The Brew Crew have so much to be proud of this season. Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes deserve to be recognized as two of baseball’s best pitchers.

Minnesota Twins: F

Wow, that was really disappointing, Minnesota!

The Twins had all the talent to compete for the division or at least maintain a winning record. Maybe 2021 was a down year, but management needs to assess the state of the team.

New York Yankees: B

Despite trading for Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo in July, the Yankees were inconsistent throughout the second half of the season. It’s surprising, yet impressive that they made the playoffs given those woes.

New York Mets: F

Per usual, the Mets looked like they could be good but accomplished nothing. The Mets should have made the playoffs, as they had players such as Jacob deGrom, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso and more.

Oakland Athletics: B-

The A’s should have made the playoffs. A disappointing season, but Oakland will likely be back next year.

Philadelphia Phillies: D-

Philadelphia missed the playoffs yet again, and it now holds the second-longest playoff drought in baseball. For a team in a major market to do that is unacceptable.

However, it showed it has talent with MVP candidate Bryce Harper and a solid pitching staff. The Phillies have the tools in place to contend as soon as next year. Both Joe Girardi and Dave Dombrowski are good at their jobs, and the roster looks solid.

Pittsburgh Pirates: D

Another losing season in Pittsburgh and things don’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

San Diego Padres: F

The Friars were baseball’s most disappointing team in 2021.

Pegged by many as a preseason World Series favorite, San Diego was stacked with talent from top to bottom and somehow missed the playoffs, which is completely unacceptable.

San Francisco Giants: A+

The Giants were the biggest surprise of the season, as nobody had any idea San Francisco was going to be this good. Manager Gabe Kapler knows what he’s doing despite a rough stint in Philadelphia.

Seattle Mariners: A+

Another big surprise, the Mariners took a big step forward and won 90 games, narrowly missing the playoffs. Seattle has very much to be happy about, and it may finally end the longest playoff drought in the MLB within the next few years.

St. Louis Cardinals: B+

The Cardinals just set the second-longest win streak in league history, winning 17 straight games at the end of the season. St. Louis had to be a competitive team with Nolan Arenado arriving in Missouri.

Tampa Bay Rays: A+

No Blake Snell and Willy Adames, no problem. The defending American League champions finished with the best record in the American League despite trading their ace and a key part of their infield.

Texas Rangers: D

The Rangers are so irrelevant, sometimes it’s hard to remember they even exist.

Now without Joey Gallo, things remain bleak as Texas continues a long rebuild, but at least that shiny new ballpark is nice.

Toronto Blue Jays: C+

It’s disappointing that the Blue Jays didn’t make the playoffs given the talent on the roster.

However, watching MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. play as well as he did was fun and is a sign of things to come up north.

Washington Nationals: F

The Washington Nationals were the definition of failure, heartbreak, and disappointment. Where to even begin?

First, this team should have easily been World Series contenders, and it’s a shame the way things played out. Patrick Corbin, Victor Robles and Brad Hand were awful and had unacceptable performances this year.

The fire sale that included trading Trea Turner and Max Scherzer was the right thing to do, as hard as it was for fans to say goodbye to them.

 

Nolan Wick is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email nhw5046@psu.edu.