MLB mid-season report: Bryce Harper and Dallas Keuchel are hot while Matt Kemp is not

The 2015 MLB season resumes on Friday with most clubs having played about 90 games. Paul Oberjuerge breaks down which players were hot in the first half of the season and who were not.
Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, right, watches his solo home run in front of Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph and home plate umpire Paul Nauert in the sixth inning of an interleague baseball game, Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, right, watches his solo home run in front of Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph and home plate umpire Paul Nauert in the sixth inning of an interleague baseball game, Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The 2015 MLB season resumes on Friday, after a four-day break for the All-Star Game, with most clubs having played about 90 games.

They still have 70-plus to play, but we have enough data now to form broad opinions about most of the 30 teams.

Here is a breakdown of which players were hot in the first half of the season and who was not:

Surprise stars of the first half

Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

Greatness was expected and now it is here: 26 home runs, 62 runs batted in (RBI), .464 on-base ratio. He is still only 22.

Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros

He was supposed to be a back-of-the-rotation pitcher. Instead, he is 11-4 with an earned-run average of 2.23.

Stephen Vogt, Oakland Athletics

He failed to stick in the majors until he was 28 but has been one of the game’s most valuable catchers, with 14 home runs and 56 RBI.

Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants

We knew he could play shortstop; we did not know he could hit like this: 12 home runs, 52 RBI, 42 runs.

Mark Teixeira, NY Yankees

The injury-prone first baseman was fading into irrelevance at age 35, but he has 22 home runs and an American League-best 62 RBI.

Surprise duds of the first half

Matt Kemp, San Diego Padres

The cornerstone of the club’s rebuild is on pace for 14 home runs and has a wretched .291 on-base ratio. Also a subpar outfielder.

Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners

In theory, the game’s top second baseman. In practice, a player in decline at age 32. He has six homers, 30 RBI and a .290 on-base rate.

Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

Former ace is 5-5 with a 5.16 earned-run average, and injuries do not entirely explain his decline.

Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs

The wait for stardom continues. With eight homers and 28 runs, he is a steady drag on the club’s offence.

Jimmy Rollins, Los Angeles Dodgers

The former MVP is 36, but the Dodgers expected more than eight homers and a .213 batting average from their shortstop.

poberjuerge@thenational.ae

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Published: July 16, 2015 04:00 AM

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