We are two weeks into the baseball season. As is always the case with a small sample size, there are aberrations. Some may confirm our original expectations, while others seem to be outliers based on previous data. As fans, shortened from fanatics, many are basking in the glow of a great start. Others are wallowing in their sorrow, looking to fire the manager and ship off the star players. Let’s take a look at some unexpected results from the first two weeks of the 2018 baseball season surprises.
2018 Baseball Season Surprises
If you were asked who would be leading the majors in strikeouts through two weeks you would probably answer with Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale, or Corey Kluber. The correct answer this year is Patrick Corbin. He has struck out 29 in only 18.1 IP. Whether he winds up leading the league is another story. At this point though, he is 28, in a contract year, and had his first full season as a starter last year since he missed the entire 2014 season.
Shohei Ohtani has been good. Many baseball people were on the fence about him after a disastrous spring. There was even talk of starting him in the minors. Well, the Angels thought differently. He has pitched to a 2.08 ERA and has a K/BB ratio of 18 to 2. Ohtani also hits a bit. He has a 1.242 OPS with 3 HRs and 7 RBI in just 20 PA.
The New York Mets have the best record in the National League at 9-1. Their pitching is healthy so far. Their hitting has been solid. They even went into Washington and swept the defending NL East champs. They are also one of only two bullpens (Astros) to not allow an inherited runner to score this season. Jeurys Familia also just became only the seventh pitcher ever to save 6 games in his teams first 10. He is the first to do it since Sergio Romo in 2013.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are 8-2. Starting out the season in some really cold weather usually douses the bats a bit. Not for these Bucs it hasn’t. The Pirates are slashing .286/.357/.462 so far with five of their regulars hitting over .300.
The Toronto Blue Jays are 8-4. They dropped the first two games of the season but have bounced back the last 10 games. Their starting pitching has been solid with 4 of the 5 starters below a 4.00 ERA and 5 saves from Roberto Osuna who just became the youngest pitcher ever to reach the 100 save mark. The big surprise though is Curtis Granderson. He is a notoriously slow starter. Last year he was hitting an abysmal .128/.174/.221 with 1 HR at the end of April. This year? .379/.471/.621 with a homer.
The Cleveland Indians are actually 6-5. This is incredibly surprising considering their hitting has been atrocious. The team’s slash line is .158/.252/.284. While this is probably fueled by a .174 BABIP, it is somewhat concerning. Francisco Lindor, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jose Ramirez have hit .159, .158, and .132 respectively. While they are still over .500, miraculously, the hitting woes cannot be discounted.
The New York Yankees were supposed to contend for the World Series this year. They are 5-6 at the moment. This doesn’t look good for them as all of their games so far this year have been against divisional opponents. Much has been made of Giancarlo Stanton’s bad start, but Gary Sanchez is even worse. He is 2 for 36 at the plate. In addition to that, the Yankees bullpen was supposed to be among the best in baseball. They have been horrible in pitching to a 5.16 ERA so far.
The Los Angeles Dodgers went to the World Series last year and have been the class of the NL West. They are 4-6. While their pitching has been very good with a 2.47 ERA, their hitting has been very bad. Their OBP is below .300 and they have only 7 HRs and 3 SBs (2 by Chase Utley).