Biggest surprises and disappointments through April
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Now that we’re a month into the season, we’re getting a better idea of how the league is going to stack up this year. There are still teams/players that over overachieving or underachieving at this point. Let’s take a look at those and whether we think it’s a trend that will continue all season.
Biggest surprise team
Baltimore Orioles. Through 22 games the Orioles are 14-8, tied for the second-best record in the American League with its counterpart in the East, the Tampa Bay Rays. Some will say they’ve played a weak schedule in April, and that is true, but they won those games and teams that want to contend need to win the games they’re supposed to.
They were swept by the Yankees early on and lost two of three from the Angels, but each game was competitive. They also swept the Minnesota Twins and the Toronto Blue Jays. They are 14th in the major leagues in hitting, but it is their pitching that has helped them contend posting a 3.06 ERA, which is good enough for seventh in the league.
The Orioles are a huge surprise to me because they were picked to be one of the worst teams in the American League, and after a month, they still remain atop a very tough AL East. I don’t believe this trend will continue, and we’ll find out very early in May just how good they are as they play the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Rays.
Honorable mention: Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets
Biggest disappointment team
I think this one is fairly easy. After all the hype about offseason acquisitions, the Los Angeles Angels have been horrific. They are currently 7-15, in last place in the American League West and nine games behind the Texas Rangers.
Albert Pujols has yet to adjust to American League pitching and remains homerless through 22 games. They are 25th in the league in hitting at .235 and have only managed to score 76 runs, which is just over three runs a game.
The pitching staff has been decent, but not what everyone expected coming into the season. They’re 16th in the league with a 4.01 ERA and have a .251 batting average against. Their biggest problem has been the bullpen, which has blown six games. The bullpen sports an ERA of 5.26 in 49.2 innings.
I don’t believe this team will struggle much longer. They still have 18 games against the Mariners and 15 against the Athletics. The bullpen is an issue, and until that gets straightened out, they’ll have to rely heavily on their starting pitchers, which shouldn’t be a problem. I think we all believe Pujols will figure it out soon, and when he does, the rest of the lineup will become that much better. However, the Rangers look extremely good early on, and a shot at the division could be slipping away if things don’t get turned around soon.
Honorable mention: Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Miami Marlins and Detroit Tigers
Biggest surprise hitter
The 21-year-old Jose Altuve is off to a torrid start to the season hitting .373 through 83 at-bats, while batting second in a pesky Houston Astros lineup. The speedster has seven doubles, three triples, four stolen bases and crossed home plate 15 times. He’s fifth in the league in hits and 16th in runs scored.
The young second baseman is leading an Astros lineup that was picked by many to be the worst team in baseball. While the team is living up to expectations, currently 8-14, Altuve has been one of the lone bright spots for a team that is looking to rebuild with young talent.
I believe Altuve is the real deal and will continue to have good numbers all season. In 221 at-bats with the big club last year, he hit .276. He only walked five times all of last season, while striking out 29 times. This year, he’s already walked seven times and only struck out 14 times. During his five seasons in the minors, which never included an at-bat at triple-A, Altuve hit .327. I think we’ve found a new young superstar in this league.
Biggest disappointment hitter
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