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MLB Mid-Season Review: 6 Underachieving Teams

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Continuing with our MLB Mid Season Review, it’s time to look at the underachievers. This season’s poor performing teams is a long list that was a challenge to narrow down. The first half of the 2023 MLB season has been interesting, but some teams have caught the Chefs’ eyes as complete flops. Here are 6 of the most disappointing teams in our MLB Mid-Season Review.

We have looked at their preseason win total according to CBS Sports, their current record coming into Monday and their updated projected win total. Let’s dive in!

Honorable Mention: Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays

New York Mets

Preseason Win Total: 91.5

Current Record: 38-46

Current Trajectory: 75 wins

pete alonso new york mets

Photo Credit: GettyImages

Anyone that knows me knows the Mets would be at the top of my list. The Mets have been the epitome of disappointment as this $360 million payroll has barely been over .500 all season. You can blame early injuries if you want, but this team had what it needed to succeed and just didn’t.

The Mets pitching has been inconsistent with an awful bullpen that has been retooled the last 3 consecutive seasons. They are 23rd in the league in ERA at 4.50, 19th in opponents batting average at .249 and 23rd in WHIP at 1.47. The additions of the massive salaries of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander have done nothing to help this pitching staff.

But it’s the hitting and fielding that really has let this team down. The Mets are a disappointing 21st in team batting average at .240, 18th in OPS at .719 and 19th in OBP at .317. The can’t get runners on base and without the long ball, they can’t generate runs. While they are 15th in fielding percentage at .986 and 16th in errors with 42, it’s how they look as they are making errors. They look like a little league team in the field and it’s hard to watch. The simple plays are easily botched and they just give teams extra outs to play with.

Owner Steve Cohen said they aren’t instantly sellers at the deadline, but it’s hard to imagine them not selling. But they have 11 players on the 40-man roster making more than $10 million this season, not easily tradable assets. I would think only Scherzer and/or Verlander would save money and return assets. Pretty sad line of thinking for a "World Series or Bust" team.

San Diego Padres

Preseason Win Total: 93.5

Current Record: 39-46

Current Trajectory: 80 wins

juan soto san deigo padres

Photo Credit: GettyImages

The only reason the Padres aren’t at the top of this list is because the Mets are actually worse. The Padres handed out their share of money this offseason and looked to build on their impressive postseason run last season. But this team that added high-priced hitters is doing nothing of the sort.

Of all the National League teams, only Atlanta has allowed fewer runs this season than the Padres. The Padres are 7th in the league in ERA at 3.82, 6th in the league in WHIP at 1.25 and opponents bat only .238 (5th in the league).

It's the star-studded lineup that has let the Padres down this season. The best lineup on paper that touts Juan Soto, Xander Bogaerts, Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. has a team batting average of .234, good for 23rd in the league. Soto and Tatis Jr have been as good as advertised, but both Bogaerts and Machado have been scuffling all season. These two are agreed to deals worth a combined $630 million this offseason but are hitting .259 and .245 respectively. And the Padres don't have any bats after their four superstars.

San Diego needs to start stringing together some wins to make up a lot of ground. And that’s just to get into the wild-card conversation. The pitching can keep them close, but losing all 7 of their extra inning games this season shows they have little hope to make things interesting.

Cleveland Guardians

Preseason Win Total: 86.5

Current Record: 41-43

Current Trajectory: 79 wins

jose ramirez cleveland guardians

Photo Credit: GettyImages

The Guardians are in the worst division in baseball, which makes their failures this season even more annoying. This was a surprise 92 win playoff team last year with young talent, but the Guardians haven't had a winning record since they were 10-9. The pitching and hitting has been sporadic all season as they are mediocre in an awful division that sub .500 is running away with the division.

The offense has finally woken up as they had a team slugging percentage of only .350 at the end of May. But star José Ramírez and Josh Naylor heated up in June and the Guardian actually caught up to the Twins as the Twins really struggled in June.

The team might get a spark from rookie catcher Bo Naylor as the organization’s top prospect got called on June 18. If he is as good as advertised, Cleveland should be able to make a push toward running away with the AL Central with 78 wins (shaking my head).

Seattle Mariners

Preseason Win Total: 87.5

Current Record: 41-42

Current Trajectory: 81 wins

kolten wong seatlle mariners

Photo Credit: GettyImages

This is another team that the Chefs had high expectations for after their impressive 2022 campaign. The Mariners had the young talent and added pitching in the offseason to improve their team. The pitching has been lights out this season, but the hitting has struggled to keep up.

The Mariners are 9th in the league in ERA at 3.91 and opponents bat only .231 (good for 6th in the league). And even losing Robbie Ray after his first start of the season hasn’t slowed this pitching staff down. Seattle's pitching has been impressive all season

It’s the hitting struggles that has this team below .500 after they were projected to win 87 games. Star CF Julio Rodriguez has been one of the major head scratchers as he’s hitting .249 with 13 HRs and 46 RBIs. The M's are 8-15 in one-run games and 4-8 in extra-inning games this year. You would think the magic is gone from these ball clubs.

The Mariners have the pitching to stay in this thing. But a critical road trip against San Francisco, Houston, Minnesota and Arizona in July will make or break this team. If they can’t string together some wins, it'll probably be time to start thinking about them as sellers at the trade deadline.

St. Louis Cardinals

Preseason Win Total: 88.5

Current Record: 35-50

Current Trajectory: 71 wins

jack flaherty st. louis cardinals

Photo Credit: GettyImages

Last season the Cardinals got off to a slow start to the season, but they turned things around to make the playoffs. This season they also got off to a slow start, but in late May the Cards looked like they turned the corner. After a 10-24 start, they went 14-6, and were climbing the division. But the Cards then went 9-17 and ended June at the bottom of the division.

While the Cards are middle of the pack in team batting average (13th in the league) and OPS (8th in the league), they sometimes struggle to score runs. And when they do score runs, it’s the pitching that gives it right back. They are 24th in team ERA at 4.45 and opponents bat .273 against them (28th in the league). The pitching staff has tradable talent but the bullpen is a disaster.

The Cardinals have quite a few pitchers hitting free agency next month, which are some tradable assets for a team looking to upgrade. If they unload their pitchers, they could also look to trade their big contract hitters like Paul Goldschmidt and/or Tyler O'Neill, both of whom will hit free agency after next season. Lots of questions for this team that rarely finds themselves in this position.

Chicago White Sox

Preseason Win Total: 82.5

Current Record: 37-49

Current Trajectory: 69 wins

michael kopech chicago white sox

Photo Credit: GettyImages

The good news is the White Sox are playing in the worst division in baseball. But bad news is they still are underachieving as they are projected to only win 69 wins. This was a.500 ball club last season with aspirations to take a step forward, but they have taken 2 steps backwards.

The White Sox are sporting a team batting average of .231 (22nd in the league), a .696 OPS (25th in the league), average 4.21 runs per game (21st in the league). The offense has little pop after Andrew Benintendi and Luis Robert Jr as SS Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada have struggled all season. The pitching staff has struggled also as they are 254th in team ERA at 4.55 and WHIP of 1.36 (22nd in the league).

The AL Central is so bad that it’s doing everything it can to keep Chicago in the mix. They are 12 games below .500, but the White Sox are only 6.5 games back of first place. But a betting man seeing this struggling team headed for a fire sale. The Sox have too many expiring contracts that they could easily move at the trade deadline.

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