The first few weeks of the MLB season are in the books, with a few surprises. Some have been good, some have been bad. Which teams have staying power and which teams don't?
Pittsburgh Pirates: Surprise! The Pirates are first place in the NL Central with a 10-4 record. This comes as a surprise after the Pirates traded Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole in the off-season. Pittsburgh is second in MLB in runs scored (79) and have had timely hitting. Gregory Polanco (five homers, 15 RBIs), Francisco Cervilli (.380 OBP, .915 OPS, 10 RBIs), and Corey Dickerson (.347 BA, .385 OBP, .976 OPS, 10 RBIs) have been pleasant surprises for the Pirates and Jameson Taillon is starting to come into his own as an ace. Can They Sustain Their Run? Not likely. Eventually, it'll be the Cubs, Brewers, or Cardinals that pry the top spot from Pittsburgh. However, the Pirates will have some nice trade chips to gather prospects.
Chicago Cubs: Speaking of the Cubs, the Cubs haven't done too well to start off. Kris Bryant (.352 BA, .493 OBP, 1.104 OPS) looks like Kris Bryant, but the rest of the lineup is cold (.235 team BA, .320 OBP). The rotation looks a little shaky as well, with starters like Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana, and Tyler Chatwood off to rough starts. Splitting with the woeful Miami Marlins to start off the season was an indicator of a rocky start. Can They Turn It Around? If Pittsburgh eventually fall out of favor, the NL Central will be open. The Cubs will be in a dogfight with the Brewers and Cardinals, so they'll need their rotation to find their command.
Seattle Mariners: Thanks to a fiery hot Robinson Cano (.405 BA, .560 OBP, 1.074 OPS) and the emergence of Mitch Haniger (.310 BA, four homers, 15 RBIs, .423 OBP, 1.042 OPS), the Mariners are sitting at 8-4 and are riding a four-game winning streak. The lineup has gotten consistent contact; they've only struck out 82 times, fewest in MLB. Edwin Diaz (six saves, 0.00 ERA, 0.29, only one hit and walk allowed) has been a lights-out closer, too. Can They Sustain Their Run? A lot will depend on if Felix Hernandez can find his command. He looked stellar on Opening Day against Cleveland, but he'll need to reinvent himself as a pitcher. In fact, if the Mariners are to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001, they'll need another rotation arm. Maybe they can pick up a pitcher like Jeremy Hellickson or John Lackey or trade for a pitcher since pitchers like Marco Gonzales won't cut it.
Washington Nationals: What's strange about the Nationals being 7-8 is that Bryce Harper (six homers, 13 RBIs, .456 OBP) and Max Scherzer (1.33 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 38 SO) have been spectacular to start. In fact, no starter has an ERA over four to start the season with the exception of A.J. Cole (ERA of 12). The bullpen has been an issue for the Nats to start. Can They Turn It Around? The NL East suddenly looks competitive, with the upstart Mets and emerging Braves and Phillies taking the next step. The Nationals should take control of the NL East or at least get a wild card spot. However, time may be running out on the Nationals' run. Could Bryce Harper be traded if the Nationals fall out of contention is another question to consider.
Los Angeles Angels: Shohei Ohtani has proven to be every bit of valuable for the Angels. At the plate, he's been clutch. On the mound, he's been unstoppable. As for the Angels' lineup as a whole, they are the top offense in all of baseball (98 runs) and have hit the most home runs in baseball so far (23 homers). Can They Sustain Their Run? Absolutely, especially if Ohtani continues his tear. In fact, the Angels can take the AL West with two of the best baseball players in the league right now.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Up the freeway, the other Southern California team is struggling early. Corey Seager (.196 BA, .255 Slugging %, .268 OBP), Yasiel Puig (.220 BA, .300 Slugging %, .286 OBP), and the lineup has struggled to generate anything. Can They Turn It Around? There's a vast amount of talent on the team, so it's to be expected that the ship's righted. After all, the NL West looks down this year.
New York Mets: The team with the best record in the National League belongs to... the New York Mets. New York is off to its best start since 1985. The Mets are second in team ERA (2.78), fourth in opponent's batting average (.215), and have allowed the fifth-fewest walks (39). Can They Sustain Their Run? With the way the bullpen's pitching and the return of Noah Syndergaard, the Mets are suddenly the favorites in the NL East. The least they can do is nab one of the wild cards at this point should the Nationals make their comeback.
New York Yankees: Sitting at 7-7 would be somewhat of a boon for most teams. Not the Yankees. With Giancarlo Stanton struggling to find his rhythm and questionable fielding (second-most errors in baseball with 14), the Yankees seem out of sorts at the moment. Can They Turn It Around? Luckily for the Yankees, there's plenty of young talent to go around. It'll just take some time for it to gel together. Catching the Red Sox may be tougher than it seems (especially since their bats haven't woken up yet), but Stanton should get back on track and the Yankees should turn it around.
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