Friday, May 5, 2017

First Month Surprises

            The first month of the MLB season is in the books with some fanfare. From the Orioles-Red Sox to Aaron Judge and Eric Thames, the MLB season is producing some noteworthy storylines. Who's doing well and who's letting you down?

Pleasant Surprise: New York Yankees: Aided by Aaron Judge's hot start (13 homers, 27 RBIs), the Baby Bombers are sitting pretty in first place in a loaded AL East. They have a 12-3 home record, which is the best in the majors. Their 148 runs are the most in the American League so far, giving Yankees fans reason to believe that their time for contention is coming sooner than you think. What's more, they've done this without the likes of Gary Sanchez.
Pleasant Surprise: Arizona Diamondbacks: Mainstays like Paul Goldschmidt are what make teams like Arizona great. But the overall pitching of the D-Backs has been spectacular. Only behind division rival Los Angeles in overall ERA (3.76), Arizona has gotten nice help from the likes of Patrick Corbin (2.29 ERA, 30 SO, 11 BB), Robbie Ray (3.47 ERA, 49 SO, 12.14 K/9), and a rejuvenated Zach Greinke (3.19 ERA, 40 SO).
Disappointment: The Cubs' Rotation: You'd think that the Cubs wouldn't have a World Series hangover considering how they have no weaknesses on paper. However, it seems their rotation has suffered just that. The Cubbies are tied for 24th in rotation ERA (4.68). Opponents are also batting .270 against Cubs starters and the Cubs are 28th in opponent's OPS (.800). Can Chicago turn their rotation around in time or will a repeat be out of the question?
Disappointment: Toronto Blue Jays: Like the Cubs, Toronto's been plagued by bad starting pitching (26th in opponent's OPS at .778, 25th in rotation WHIP with 1.40). However, that hasn't been the only problem. The Jays have only scored 107 runs so far, only ahead of Kansas City and Oakland and tied with Boston in the American League. It seems that not only is Edwin Encarnacion's presence is missed in the lineup, but Jose Bautista (.196, two homers, nine RBIs, .622 OPS, .294 SLUG) is not playing up to the contract standards he set last offseason. Look for Toronto to be a popular team for trade pieces if this persists.

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