As we pass the first month milestone of an exciting 2018 season, let’s take a look at some teams with notable starts. (Please keep in mind “achieving” in this case means teams are playing to pre-season expectations)
Boston Red Sox: 18-5
The Red Sox have gotten off to a blistering start to begin the season. So hot in fact it’s the best record the Red Sox had ever had to start a season— ever. Fantastic starts by last years underperformers Ramirez, Betts, Bogaerts, Porcello, and Price have catapulted the Red Sox to an early four game lead in the AL East.
Source: Patrick McDermott/USA Today Sports
Los Angeles Angels: 16-9
The sleeping giant of the Astros have finally woken up and the Angels have finally given up the AL West lead. Of course, keeping up with the Astros was impressive, and what was once a mediocre team a year ago is finally looking like they are taking serious steps to secure a wildcard. The Angels need to finish the season just above .500 for a comfy grip on a playoff berth.
Los Angeles Dodgers: 11-12
What an unfortunate start to a season the Dodgers have had. Starting with Justin Turner’s broken wrist the last few days of Spring Training, the Dodgers seemingly haven’t recovered. The whole Dodger lineup is seemingly lost without “Red” as highlighted by Corey Seager’s .200/.279/.255 line, Puig’s .222/.283/.296 line, and Joc Pederson’s .154/.241/.231 line to begin the year. In a recent article of ours that took place before the season began, SMR predicted the Dodgers to win 99 games. None of us could’ve predicted such a poor start of the season for the Dodgers, as they currently sit last place in the NL West behind two teams that lost 91 and 98 games only a season ago. Good news for them is they are starting to look a lot better. Let’s not forget last year they started the season 10-12 before winning 103 games and making it to game 7 of the World Series.
The Nationals are having a Dodgers-like start to the season. That is, another case of an underachieving should-be 90+ win team. Good and bad news, Bryce Harper is having himself a year sporting a ludacris 28% walk rate, and smashing 8 long balls in 23 games to start the season, the bad news being his impending free agency next season. I don’t expect the Nationals to be down in dumps all season long, but the bullpen is something they need to take more seriously, as they have the 22nd worst bullpen in the game by fWAR and the 6th highest in ERA. 5 of the top 7 best bullpens in baseball were in the postseason last year, so they are obviously important and will need a hard reset or retooling if they plan on going far into the playoffs.
New York Mets: 15-7
Ready to put a nightmare 2017 behind them, the Mets have taken the first step into the re-entry of “can this team win a division” talks. The Mets have been the cream of the crop so far in the NL East even with an average offense. Baseball Reference has them at 12-11 with their runs scored vs runs allowed, which is more in line with what I believed the Mets would be like. With the Phillies hot on their tail (0.5 games behind) and the Nationals underperforming how long can they persist?
New York Yankees: 14-9
As much as I dislike the Yankees, it was a bit off putting to see the Yankees at the .500 mark with the Red Sox off too such a hot start. They’ve turned it around recently, winning 8 of their last ten…so I take that last part back. The Yankees seem to have a formidable lineup with Judge, Sanchez, and Stanton locked down for a long time. I still think the Yankees will need to add a rotation piece to compete with teams like the Red Sox and the Astros. With their current .609 win percentage, I’d consider them:
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