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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, July 8, 2016 at 12:21 AM


We've brought out our special marking pens and we're ready to zip through the National League and dole out the 2016 Mid-Season Report Card Grades ... and some of 'em may just surprise you! But first this key reminder as we head into the last weekend of baseball action before we come upon Tuesday's 87th All-Star Game in San Diego:

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners. Plus, the Football Season isn't that far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear on Sunday, August 7th with the annual NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Indianapolis Colts versus the Green Bay Packers - just cannot wait, right?


Grade: A+

CHICAGO (52-32) - Maybe it's crazy to have the NL All-Star starting infield be all members of these Cubs but gotta say 3B Kris Bryant and 1B Anthony Rizzo have legit MVP credentials right now and little has gone wrong for Joe Maddon's crew save for that recent four-game sweep at the hands of the Mets. Some in-the-know folks say the Cubbies have "come back to the pack" a bit, but, hey they're still 20 games north of .500 and still the best story in the senior circuit.


Grade: A

SAN FRANCISCO (54-33) - Gotta admit we thought the every-other-year-win-the-World Series Giants would be slightly improved with the free-agent additions of RHPs Johnny Cueto (13-1) and Jeff Samardzija (8-5) but even Hall of Fame skipper Bruce Bochy has outdone himself so far in 2016.

WASHINGTON (51-35) - Dusty Baker's magical arrival as manager of this once-dysfunctional crew wound up being the biggest off-season move of 'em all and we're still waiting for RF Bryce Harper to "take off" following last year's MVP campaign.

MIAMI (44-41) - Heck, the Marlins have been without star 2B Dee Gordon for weeks now but they haven't missed a beat and now OF Giancarlo Stanton is heating up ... well done, first-year boss Don Mattingly.

Grade: B+

PHILADELPHIA (40-46) - The Phillies won't scare anyone with the league's 14th most productive offense (a minus 82 in runs differential, you'll note) but they win plenty of close games and closer Jeanmar Gomez is 23-of-25 in save opportunities.

Grade: B

LOS ANGELES DODGERS (48-39) - No LHP Clayton Kershaw for these past 10 days (or two starts) and still LA's 7-3 in these games and hanging tough while just six games back of San Fran and right there for a wild card.

COLORADO (38-46) - No question Rockies have exceeded expectations thus far but it bothers us they're 18-20 at home.

Grade: B-

NEW YORK METS (46-38) - Don't mean to be rough on the defending NL champs but the offense has been horrific at times (see first half of 2015) and that glittery starting rotation has hit plenty of rough spots with RHP Matt Harvey now hurtin' again.

Grade: C+

MILWAUKEE (37-47) - There's been plenty of positives for a Brewers crew that has good chance to beat 71.5 wins (their '16 wins projection). Solid job by young manager Craig Counsell even if they hit out of order sometimes!

PITTSBURGH (44-41) - Gotta hand it to the Pirates for not waving the white flag on this '16 season but still Buccos dug deep hole and two weeks ago we would've given them an "F".

Grade: C

SAN DIEGO (37-48) - Fact of matter is Padres entered campaign with wins projection of 74 so they are halfway there and, well, pretty much where folks expected 'em to be at this stage.

ST. LOUIS (43-41) - The Cardinals are a plus 75 in run differential and yet just two games above .500 ... not good. At season's start there were folks waiting for the Redbirds to falter and those guys/gals may be prophets.

Grade: D

ATLANTA (28-57) - Okay, so the Braves have perked up a bit in recent weeks but this has been an unmitigated disaster in the swan song season for Turner Field.

CINCINNATI (32-54) - Firing your pitching coach ain't gonna save this season.

Grade: F
ARIZONA (38-49)
- All the hoopla that preceded this 2016 season and here's the Diamondbacks essentially playing out the string days before the All-Star Game break. True, season-ending injury to CF A.J. Pollock right before season started was a killer but do you believe this staff is 13th in the NL in team ERA (4.77)?

NOTE: Our American League Report Cards are next up in Jim Sez plus we'll get back to our NFL Team-by-Team glances next week.

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