A Preview and Review of Major League Baseball

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A Preview and Review of Major League Baseball

https://flic.kr/p/KUQ6D1

https://flic.kr/p/KUQ6D1

Ian D'Andrea

https://flic.kr/p/KUQ6D1

Ian D'Andrea

Ian D'Andrea

https://flic.kr/p/KUQ6D1

John Orzechowski and Connor Casne-Jones

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The MLB’s first week has concluded and given fans an idea of what to expect from the thirty teams in the league. In this joint effort, Connor Casne-Jones will review the teams in the National League and I will review the teams in the American League.

NL West:

Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks began the season playing the LA Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. Against the Dodgers, the Diamondback pitching fell apart, allowing 8 homers on opening day and allowing 14 in the series. They escaped Los Angeles with a singular win. The Diamondbacks had more luck down south in San Diego. They managed to win two out of three games and pitched better, only allowing 5 home runs.

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies were lucky enough to have a very easy beginning to the season. However, they did not capitalize on their cupcake beginning, splitting the opening series with the Marlins and losing 2 of 3 against the Rays. The Rockies were not in Coors Stadium for any of their first 7 games which explains their hitting blunders, but the team needs to improve their pitching because even a home stadium can’t help a squad that has allowed 3 or more runs in all but 2 games so far this season.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers began the season with a bang, hitting 8 home runs on opening day and winning 7 of their first 9. The Dodgers lost noticeable talent in the off-season but seem to have replaced it with young power. With Clayton Kershaw injured, Dodger stars such as Cody Bellinger will need to continue their excellent hitting.

San Diego Padres: The Padres have decided to end their rebuild and try to win now. They signed Manny Machado to a historic deal worth 300 million, and moved up top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. With all-star caliber players in Eric Hosmer and Hunter Renfroe, the Padres were able to win 4 of their first 7 games against San Francisco and Arizona.

San Francisco Giants: The Giants began the season 2-5. They are a shell of the team that has ruled the NL for years. The team has no pitching, no hitting, and is older than a bad Trump joke.

NL Central:

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs had their playoff hopes smashed last year, losing to the Brewers in game 163 and then losing to the Rockies in the wildcard game. This year looks like it could be just as disappointing. The Cubs won on opening day but then lost the next 5, a poor showing for a talented team.

Cincinnati Reds: The Reds went big in free agency adding Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, and Matt Kemp. With a now star-studded lineup, the Reds hoped to compete in the NL Central. However, they haven’t played well, winning on opening day but still searching for another win. The Reds may not be winning games, but they did win a brawl last night against the Pirates. In other Reds news, Yasiel Puig, hot off his second suspension in less than 10 games, may become a two- sport athlete, as he looks into fighting MMA.

Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers are the undisputed best team in baseball, maybe of all time (I’m a massive Brewers fan). All jokes aside, the Brewers picked up right where they left off last year. The Brewers won both of their first two series, dropping just one of four games against the Cards and sweeping the Reds. Last year’s NL MVP Christian Yelich has been absolutely phenomenal so far this season. He hit 4 home runs in his first 4 games and walked off in his 5th. The Brewers will be disappointed with anything less than a World Series appearance this year.

St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals spent big in free agency, adding perennial all-star Paul Goldschmidt and bolstering the bullpen by adding Andrew Miller. Although the Cardinals left Milwaukee with just one win, they played very well. Their 5-5 record does not reflect the level of talent this team possess. The Cardinals are another dangerous team in the most dangerous division in baseball.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates are rebuilding, and if they aren’t, they should be. Let’s be honest, the Pirates haven’t been good since the departure of Andrew Mccutchen. But ownership has been unwilling to commit to an actual rebuild. The team began this year 1-3 and should hover just below 500 this season.

NL East:

Atlanta Braves: The Braves were a pleasant surprise last year. Due to the emergence of Ronald Acunà Jr, and continued success of Freddie Freeman, they won 90 games last year. This year started poorly, with the team getting swept by the Phillies. However, they swept the Cubs in their very next series. The Braves will need to improve against the Phillies if they want to win the division.

Miami Marlins: The Marlins may be the dumbest professional sporting franchise ever. Just a couple of years ago the Marlins had Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto, and Dee Gordon. 4 all-stars and 2 possible MVPs, but the Marlins traded each and every one of them. The Marlins started the season 2-5, and they may not win again.

New York Mets: The Mets also went all in in free agency this year, adding Robinson Cano and Erwin Diaz. The Mets have arguably the best pitcher in baseball with Jacob Degrom. They could be a playoff team this season. They began the season 5-1, a good start for a good team.

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies have been absolutely phillnominal. Bad puns aside, the Phillies had a talented team last year and added Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, and Andrew Mccutchen. The Phillies won 4 of their first 5, and they more than passed the eye test in their first two series.

AL West:

Houston Astros: Okay, the Astros are 2-5. It’s not panic time. Their (very realistic) World Series hopes aren’t out the window after two blown series against the Rays and Rangers. The Rays are a pretty decent team this year. The Rangers series was embarrassing. But they’ll be alright. Their lineup is one of the best in the league with at least two Cy Young candidates in Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander and two MVP candidates (possibly even three) between Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and George Springer.

Los Angeles Angels: One win in their first two series isn’t okay for the team with arguably the best baseball player ever in Mike Trout. But it’s nothing new. Since his callup to the Majors in 2011, the Angels made one Divisional series and lost in 2014 to the Royals. This year, they struggled against the A’s and threw away a two- game series against Seattle. They’re a playoff hopeful team, but they’ve got to get it together.

Oakland Athletics: After two series they were at 500 with two losses against the Mariners and three wins against the Angels. But just like Houston, they’ll be okay. They’re the Astro’s stiffest competition in the Western division, with Khris Davis filling out the stat sheet and the starting rotation impressing everyone. In fact, through 30 innings pitched and a full rotation, the five pitchers allowed one home run total.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners are the best team in the AL West. In fact, they’re the best team in the American League. It’s funny how well they’re playing after shipping out Robinson Cano, James Paxton and Edwin Diaz. In their first two series, they went 2-0 against the A’s and 3-1 against the World Series champion Red Sox.

Texas Rangers: On opening day, they suffered a 4-12 loss to the Cubs. Then they bounced back and took the other two games in the series. Same with their second series against Houston. Loss first, then two wins. Now, according to my calculations, if they keep that pattern going, they’ll lose a total of 51 games this season and own the American League. Too bad it won’t happen. Because this team is low key insignificant.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox: They had one win against the Royals and one win against the Indians. White Sox fans have been holding their breath for this young team to be good. They’ll run out of air this year. Everyone was ready for Manny Machado to come to the south side of Chicago and bring life back to the team. But, he didn’t, so they’re stuck with Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada. These aren’t “bad” players, but they’re not Machado. And Machado’s decision is going to show this year. Fans are back to waiting for young minor leaguers like Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech to be good enough to get called up.

Cleveland Indians: the Indians have been the only good team in the division for a couple of years now. But their first series against the Twins might have foreshadowed the fate of the AL Central, going 1-2 against Minnesota. The Twins might be good, but the Indians are still pretty decent. Francisco Lindor is a lot like Mookie Betts, last year’s AL MVP, and Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer are both Cy Young candidates. Following the Twins series, they split a two game homestand against the White Sox. The first couple series might not be an accurate representation of their season.

Detroit Tigers: So, Detroit is playing well. We didn’t expect them to beat up on the Yankees in their second series. And let’s extend this to their third series so we can make them look even better. They swept the Royals, and have won five in a row. They’re 7-3, and as of April 7th, they own the division. Not bad for a team with an aged superstar in Miguel Cabrera who hasn’t gone yard yet this season, a couple halfway decent pitchers, and a bunch of other players straight out of the minors.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals started the season 2-0, and they haven’t won since. Not much to say here. Alex Gordon is a lone bright spot: he’s hitting .442 with 2 bombs, 10 hits, and 9 runs in 32 at bats.

Minnesota Twins: As we discussed in our Cleveland recap, Minnesota is a pretty good team. In fact, they’re in position to take down the Indians as the reigning AL Champs. They won two of their three games against Cleveland and both against Kansas City. Nelson Cruz is hitting .480. Byron Buxton doesn’t do much at the plate, but he claims he can chase down any fly ball in the outfield. And Miguel Sano is coming back from injury soon. Also, Jorge Polanco hit the first cycle of 2019. The Twins look dangerous.

 

AL East

Baltimore Orioles: The worst team in baseball started 4-5 and have lost four straight since. They won two games against the Yankees and Blue Jays each, but haven’t won in a hot minute. Let’s all assume they’ll be awful again and save ourselves the trouble of talking about them, and spare Chris Davis any more humiliation by talking about his record breaking 49 at bat hitless streak that’s leading to the O’s demise.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox sure aren’t playing like they just won the World Series. They’re 2-8. One out of four wins against the Mariners. One out of four wins against the A’s. I don’t see this continuing. Mookie Betts is the second best player in baseball and reigning AL MVP. JD Martinez is a slugger. Chris Sale is a top three pitcher. They’ll turn it around eventually. But for now it’s panic mode.

New York Yankees: They started 2-4 in their first 6. But they’ve won three in a row since. And they’re playing pretty well. Their starting pitching, with names like James Paxton and Luis Severino, might be one of the best in baseball. Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge have started cranking homers like we know they can, with Sanchez sending six out and Judge hitting .431. Giancarlo Stanton has a bicep injury that he’s currently dealing with, but when he returns get ready for the Bronx Bombers to embarrass your favorite pitcher and their pitchers to embarrass your favorite hitter.

Tampa Bay Rays: The best team in the AL East. Three wins against Houston. Two wins against Colorado. Most people outside of Western Florida can’t name five players on the team. There’s Cy Young winner Blake Snell, who picked up where he left off and Charlie Morton, who helped the Astros to a world series two years ago. There’s Kevin Kiermaier, one of those guys you should know before he blows up so you can be cool when everyone knows who his is. There’s Tommy Pham, the next best thing in baseball. This is a pretty solid team, but they’ve got to deal with Boston and New York if they’re going to be successful.

Toronto Blue Jays: Now I challenge you to name five players on the Blue Jays, who are currently sitting at 4-8. Nobody had any high hopes for this team. They’re fullfilling expectations.