Friday, May 6, 2016

First Month of Major League Baseball 2016 Brings Big Surprises

MLB 2016
Well that was an interesting month now wasn't it? The first month of the 2016 MLB season is now in the books, and there is plenty for us to digest. The two biggest surprises in a bad way from April are the starts of the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros. Before the season began these two teams were considered playoff teams according to most. I had the Twins in the ALDS and the Astros, were well, my 2016 World Series champions. But here they are, the Astros sitting at 8-17 entering May and the Twins sitting at 7-18 entering May. Guess what? They play each other this week. At the beginning of the season, this could have been looked at as one of the highlight series of the week. Instead, it is a series between two teams that are nearing the panic button. For the Astros, it is their offense that is failing them. For the Twins, it is their starting pitching and bullpen depth that are failing them. The Twins have already called up their mega pitching prospect Jose Berrios to try to rectify some of the problem.

The two biggest positive surprises are the play of the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. The White Sox currently sit at 18-8 and own baseball's second best record. For the White Sox, Todd Frazier has been everything they could have hoped for and their pitching has been phenomenal, well above anything they could have asked for. Chris Sale has been the best pitcher in the game to begin the season. For the Phillies, they currently sit at 15-10, good for third place on the NL East behind the Mets and Nationals. The Phillies the offense has been good, especially lately, and they have won a lot of close games. Of the two, it is more likely the Phillies fade, but I expect both teams to eventually fade as the season drags along.

Another team that is off to a disappointing start according to most experts is the New York Yankees. Of all of the “contenders” to begin the season, this could have been the candidate to be the most likely to come up short though, due to their age and lack of a rotation. Problem is for the Yankees, they owe a lot of old players a lot money, and it may be time to start thinking about the future for the first time in a long time, especially with the league-wide usage of the shift, making all of those Yankee left handed hitters even less effective.

Does Clayton Kershaw really need to do everything for the Dodgers? He pitched a complete game shutout against the San Diego Padres on Sunday and drove in the game’s only run. Despite his efforts this season, the Dodgers are just 13-13. He is probably asking himself, what else do I have to do? There is a chance, a small chance, that at some point. Kershaw might say enough is enough, and ask for a trade out of Los Angeles.

As we enter May, we also begin to look at possible trade possibilities for the deadline. Two that are really heating up involve two Milwaukee Brewers, left fielder Ryan Braun and catcher Jonathan Lucroy. For Braun, he is being tagged to the Angels. But Arte Moreno, the Angels owner, doesn't want to give up the prospects and pay Braun's salary, so David Sterns may have to choose from one of the two. If I were him, I would choose the salary dump, and wash my hands of Braun so I can move on. Lucroy is being linked to the Rangers. It always has been the Rangers for Lucroy and it always will be. The only question is when does the Brewers catcher head for Arlington?

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