Ten Takeaways from Week 1
10. The Astros will strikeout, and they will strikeout a lot.
A lot of talk was made about the new-look Astros lineup during the offseason, but boy do they strike out. They strike out at an incredible rate — in just 12 games, Houston has struck out 114 times. That’s just und ten strikeouts a game. This should be an improved team, but they need to cut down on strikeouts.
9. Mookie Betts is for real.
Betts had a phenomenal spring training for the Red Sox and has not skipped a beat since the season has gotten under way. Betts is batting just .191 through the first 11 games but has shown he can go get it in centerfield by making dazzling play after dazzling play. Betts has also shown impressive power for a guy of small stature. I think he’s going to have a great season and will be a mainstay in center field for the Red Sox.
8. The Mets look like a contender
The Mets have looked really impressive this season. I think they could give the Nationals a run for their money in the East. Jacob deGrom looks like he is not a one year wonder and Matt Harvey has not been fazed after coming back from Tommy John surgery. David Wright, Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer have carried the offense so far, and if those guys can keep playing up to their potential, the Mets have the pitching to contend.
7. Age does not slow down Miguel Cabrera.
Miguel Cabrera is 32-years-old this season, and some would think that his production would start to drop, but Cabrera’s play says otherwise. Cabrera won the American League Player of the Week this past week and is off to a torrid start. During the first seven games he is hitting .426 with two home runs and 10 RBIs. He looks like he is poised for another monster MVP-like season.
6. Jon Lester is not worth his contract.
The Cubs probably hoped for a better start to the season for Jon Lester when they gave him a six-year $155 million contract in the offseason. Lester has had three starts and has yet to get past the sixth inning. He owns an ERA of 6.89 and has been hit around in all three starts. In just 15.2 innings, Lester has given up 24 hits. So far, he has not looked like the ace the Cubs hoped for.
5. J.D. Martinez might be the best Martinez on the Tigers.
What a difference a year makes. This time last season Martinez was just released from the Astros and on the Tigers Triple-A team. Now he is in the middle of one of the premier lineups in baseball. Martinez is off to hot start with five homers and 10 RBIs. The other Martinez, Victor, is bound to see a drop off in production in his age 36 season, so I think J.D. will have the better year. J.D. was good last season, but this will be the season he really breaks out.
4. The San Diego Padres are for real
They might be only 9-5, but the Padres have looked much improved. Their two big offseason additions Matt Kemp and Justin Upton are both off to a great start hitting well over .300. Their top three pitchers Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and James Shields are all as good as advertised. This team will compete for the division crown with the Dodgers, especially since trading for Craig Kimbrel to shore up the bullpen.
3. The White Sox and Marlins, the two “winners” of the offseason, have not looked great, but there is hope for both.
The White Sox got off to a horrendous 0-4 start, but bounced back to go 5-3. Overall they have not looked great, but there is some hope. Chris Sale just came off the DL and was great in his first two starts. Jeff Samardzija bounced back in his second and third starts after a terrible opening day start. David Robertson has looked great at closer. The bats will come around as the weather warms up. They really need to get Adam Eaton going as he is the table setter for this lineup. The only area where I see to be a continuous weak spot is catcher. Tyler Flowers might be the worst catcher in baseball. This team should be just fine, it just needs to give it some time.
The difference between the White Sox and Marlins is the Marlins don’t have anyone like Chris Sale on their roster right now. Until Jose Fernandez comes back from Tommy John surgery, the Marlins starting pitching will continue to be a weak spot. I have cause for concern with Mat Latos looking terrible to begin the season and Henderson Alvarez having just being placed on the DL. Besides Dee Gordon, the Marlins lineup as a whole has been pretty underwhelming to begin the season. That might be a good thing though, because when this lineup gets turned around the Marlins will be a better team.
2. The Nationals desperately need Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Denard Span to come back.
The Nationals lineup has been decimated by injury to begin the season. Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Denard Span all started the season on the DL. Rendon was probably the Nats best offensive player last season, and they are missing him badly. There is no timetable set for his return, which is not a good sign for Nats fans. They need Span to come back and be the leadoff man he was last season. Werth recently was activated from the DL but has yet to produce. They have wasted some pretty good pitching performances to start the season because of their lack of offensive production.
1. The Kansas City Royals are the best team in baseball.
My AL Central prediction could prove to be way off if the Royals play like this all season. They have picked up right where they left off last season as they got off to an undefeated start and have played nearly flawless baseball. They play defense better than anyone else and have the best bullpen in the league. I do want to see if their starting rotation can keep up their great start even without a true ace on their staff. Lorenzo Cain has been spectacular in centerfield and could be on his way to a breakout season. They might not have any superstars on their roster, but this is the best team in baseball.
Week 2 MLB Power Rankings
1. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have continued their hot start into the second week of the season by improving their record to 11-2. They are getting great pitching from David Price and Shane Greene, and their lineup is proving to be one of the best in baseball. They lead the league in run differential with a differential of +33.
2. Kansas City Royals
The Royals took a pretty big blow this week by losing right fielder Alex Rios and closer Greg Holland to injury. Even with the loss of Holland, the Royals still boast the best bullpen in the game. The loss of Rios should hurt more, as he was hitting well above .300 and was one of their leading run producers.
3. New York Mets
The hottest team in baseball might be the New York Mets. The Mets are winners of their last eight games. Matt Harvey has looked quite impressive early on, as has reigning Rookie of the Year winner Jacob deGrom. David Wright was placed on the DL this past week, and the Mets’ offense has not missed a beat. Mets fans have to be pleased with their 10-3 start.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
If the Mets are the hottest team in baseball, then the Dodgers are the second hottest. Los Angeles has won its last seven games. Adrian Gonzalez is the hottest in the league batting well over .500 and leading the league in hits and extra base hits. The scary thing is Clayton Kershaw hasn’t pitched his best ball yet. Once he gets going the Dodgers could find themselves farther up this list.
5. St. Louis Cardinals
There seems to be three certainties in life: death, taxes and the Cardinals fielding a competitive baseball team. This season has shown to be no different. The Cards are winners of their last five. Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter are off to scolding hot starts as they lead the St. Louis offensive charge. So far, Michael Wacha has rebounded from his shoulder injury, and Adam Wainwright has looked like the same ole guy. Expect the Cardinals to be in the top 10 throughout the year.
6. San Diego Padres
7. Atlanta Braves
8. Baltimore Orioles
9. Boston Red Sox
10. Pittsburgh Pirates
11. New York Yankees
12. Colorado Rockies
13. Chicago Cubs
14. Washington Nationals
15. Oakland Athletics
16. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
17. Houston Astros
18. Toronto Blue Jays
19. Arizona Diamondbacks
20. Seattle Mariners
21. Cincinnati Reds
22. Minnesota Twins
23. Chicago White Sox
24. Cleveland Indians
25. Tampa Bay Rays
26. Texas Rangers
27. Philadelphia Phillies
28. San Francisco Giants
29. Miami Marlins
30. Milwaukee Brewers
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