Baseball is unpredictable. It’s unlike any other team sport because it can come down to a pitcher’s ability on a certain day, a lineup’s ability to string together hits, or a closer’s ability to save the game. Baseball is beautiful in that it’s the only sport where, realistically, any team can win on a given night. Even the best record in the modern era, the 2001 Seattle Mariners lost 46 games. That being said, there have been teams this year who have stepped up to defy expectations, and those who’ve fallen behind. Let us take a look at who’s impressed, and who’s disappointed so far this season.
The Brew Crew came into this season with most of its fan base unfamiliar with its Opening Day lineup. However, names like Eric Thames and Chase Anderson have become more recognizable nationally, not to mention a second place standing in arguably the toughest division in baseball. The team is hitting a respectable .258 batting average in a league where pitchers are almost a guaranteed out, and an equally solid 4.29 ERA among all pitchers. Whether this unprecedented start will sustain remains to be seen, but the Brewers have impressed this spring.
The Twins came into the season on the heels of an embarrassing 100 loss season, and their youth seemed to be their strength as well as their weakness. However, a month and half into the season, the Twins stand alone in first place of the American League Central, a half game ahead of the reigning AL Champion Cleveland Indians. Miguel Sanó has been one of the best batters in the league, posting a whopping .439 OBP through 33 games, oh, and he also leads the team in BA, HRs, RBIs, OBP and hits; Miguel Antetokounmpo anyone? The starting rotation remains a snag, but the Twins have been able to rely on Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes, and Hector Santiago to produce consistently quality starts.
The reigning champs were supposed to pick up where they left off. Other than the loss of CF Dexter Fowler, C and mentor David Ross, and firearm closer Aroldis Chapman, the Cubs were more or less the same roster, they even added slugger Kyle Schwarber who returned from a torn ACL last season. Why, then, are the Cubs sitting a game below .500 and fourth in the National League Central? Starting pitching has been an issue, with big names like Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, and Kyle Hendricks not putting up the numbers they did this past year. Arrieta claims the team’s best record at 4-3, which is hardly a glowing statistic. If the Cubbies want a chance to defend their title, there needs to be a big switch in starting pitching production.
New York Yankees
The Yankees offense is shaping up to be formidable. Aaron Judge has swept the nation looking like the second coming of Alex Rodriguez, Starlin Castro is batting .338, good for fourth in the AL, and the whole team is batting a ridiculously high .270 average. However, on the other side of the ball, their starting rotation has been touch and go. While Masahiro Tanaka has 5 wins, he also owns a gaudy 5.80 ERA. The Yanks are looking like their once dominant selves, which spells trouble for the rest of the league, but shines bright for the Bronx.