The 2018 Major League Baseball has been full of surprises so far. With each team about a third of the way through their 162 game schedule, this article will review each team and how their season is going.
Starting in the American League East division, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are battling for first place. This division has been the easiest to predict as only the Yankees and Red Sox are doing well.
The Yankees are 38-18 after starting off with an unimpressive 9-9 record. Young rookies like Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andújar, as well as great pitching by the likes of Luis Severino and Aroldis Chapman, have helped them save their season.
Sophomore Kevin Banegas says, “The Yankees have been really fun to watch since they started winning. Everybody seems to be playing well, with their hitting and pitching wise.”
After starting off the season with a blistering 17-2 start, the Red Sox have slowed down and have even given up first place of the division to the Yankees.
The Red Sox have gotten contributions from everywhere, such as great pitching from their star pitcher Chris Sale, and great hitting contributions all around. Their star free agent pickup, J.D. Martinez, is in a two-way tie for first place in the MLB with 19 home runs, and his teammate, Mookie Betts, is right behind him with 17. He also leads the MLB in runs batted in (RBI).
The only real surprise about this division is the Tampa Bay Rays, who are 28-30. That is not too outstanding of a record, but it is astonishing seeing as how over the offseason they traded away their best player, Evan Longoria.
The Rays did not start the season too well, as they began with a meager 4-13 record, which is what was expected of them. However, they turned it around after that, winning eight in a row. Their success is because of their consistency and depth. The depth they possess is so important because it seems like any player can have a big night, and they do not need to rely on one or a few guys every single night to help them win.
The Toronto Blue Jays are in fourth place with a 26-33 record. They were predicted by many to finish in third place, with the Baltimore Orioles and Rays expected to battle for last, but the Blue Jays have not been getting the pitching or hitting they need.
The Blue Jays have a lot of home run hitters, as they are tied for sixth in all of the MLB in that stat, but nothing else. Their pitching staff is one of the worst in baseball and besides home runs, their hitting is not impressive either.
Their lackluster hitting starts with their star, Josh Donaldson, who possesses a .234 batting average, meaning he gets a hit 23.4 percent of the time he is up. The MLB average is around .255, and he is an above average player. It is not just him, though, as every player who has played more than 37 out of the team’s 59 games, besides one, has a batting average that is lower than .258.
The final team in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles, are 17-41. They are right below the Chicago White Sox for the fewest amount of wins in the MLB. This team has been all-around bad with their best stat being home runs, and they only rank 14th out of 30 teams.
The next division is the American League Central. The Cleveland Indians have first place in the weak division, even though they have been struggling for most of the year. They have a 30-28 record, which is good, but is not what was expected of them. Just two years ago, this team was one game away from winning the World Series.
After losing key hitters on their team in the offseason, like Jay Bruce and Carlos Santana, their hitting has actually stayed pretty consistent. Their pitching seems to be the problem, as their starters are relied on to do most of the work.
Out of all 30 teams, Cleveland’s starters have pitched the second most innings, meaning they avoid the relievers as long as possible, which is fair since statistically they have the worst bullpen in baseball. Their bullpen has a 6.13 ERA, meaning they allow 6.13 runs over 9 innings, which is not good. The average ERA for a bullpen, or relievers, is 4.04, two whole runs less.
The second place team, the Detroit Tigers, have a 29-32 record. There is not a whole lot to say about this team; they have an average record with average pitching and hitting.
The Minnesota Twins are in third place, with a 25-30 record, which is surprising because many thought they would be good and make the playoffs, which they still can. The Twins’ main concern seems to be that everyone took a step back and started playing worse. Their pitching stats and batting stats are at or below MLB average.
The Kansas City Royals are in fourth place with a 21-39 record. The Royals were expected to do bad after losing more key players in free agency, like they have been doing over the past few years, and they have lived up to that. Their hitting has not been too bad, but their pitching staff is one of if not the worst in baseball. They have the worst team ERA in baseball with a disgusting 5.26 ERA.
The last place team of the division is the Chicago White Sox, who again are tied with the Orioles for the least amount of wins in baseball with an embarrassing 18-38 record. This team was expected to do bad since they have a lot of young players. However, the young players have actually been playing pretty well as their hitting, which is where most of them are, has been around the middle of the pack. Pitching is their problem as they own the second worst team ERA in baseball with a 5.13.
The final American League division, the AL West, has four teams with a winning record, and all four are battling to make the playoffs.
The Seattle Mariners are in first place with a 37-22 record. Right now, it seems like they and the Astros are fighting for first place. Their success is due to being good at everything, as they are top 15 in the MLB for every major statistical category, except for home runs where they are 17th.
Their hitting might slow down, though, as their star second basemen, Robinson Cano, has been suspended 80 games for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED) use. However, with other star hitters like Nelson Cruz, Mitch Haniger, Dee Gordon, and Kyle Seager, they should be fine.
In second place, the reigning champion Houston Astros have a 37-24 record. They have started off the season with great hitting and even better pitching. They have the best pitching in baseball, as they are first in almost all possible pitching categories like ERA, strikeouts, hits allowed, etc. Their pitching staff is led by a resurgent Justin Verlander, who has a 1.11 ERA, which is by far the best in baseball, with second place having a 1.52.
The Los Angeles Angels are in third place with a 33-28 record. They are like the Mariners in the way that they seem to be good, but not great at everything. They are top 15 for most categories, which is why they are behind the Mariners.
Led by star hitter Mike Trout and the Japanese rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani, the Angels have been hitting really well. Trout is in a first place tie for home runs with 19. Ohtani has been making headlines since he is the first ever player who pitches and hits, and he has been great at both. Also, long-time star Albert Pujols got his 3000th hit this year, which is a major accomplishment.
Sophomore Steve George says, “I like watching the Angels because they have the best hitter in baseball, Mike Trout. Also, that new rookie [Ohtani] is really fun to watch. One day, he’ll hit a home run and the next he will pitch a great game.”
The Oakland Athletics, or A’s, are in fourth place with a 31-29 record. This is a surprise seeing as how they have flown under the radar and are not really great at hitting or pitching, at least statistically. The only major headlines they had this year is when pitcher Sean Manaea threw a no-hitter, the first of the year.
Finally, in last place are the Texas Rangers who are 24-36. This was expected at the beginning of the year as they possess bad pitching and really bad hitting. The only major stat in baseball they have been good at is home runs, where they are only in 10th.
Who do you think will win the World Series? What players do you expect to have a good end to the season?
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