Apr 26, 2018
MLB OPENING MONTH REVIEW 2018
With the NBA and NHL playoffs in full swing, it was easy to miss the start of the MLB season. But Spring is here, the weather is warming up, and it's time for America's pastime to start taking over the sports spotlight. We are a little under a month into the MLB season and it's time to take a look at some of the top performers out of the gates and those players who have gotten off to lackluster starts.
Perhaps the hottest player thus far is Didi Gregorious in New York. Didi had the almost impossible task of taking over the shortstop duties in New York after Jeter retired in 2014. While Didi has played great for the Yanks in his past three seasons, he is playing out of his mind to start off the 2018 campaign. He leads all MLB players with 29 RBI, and is second only to Mike Trout with nine bombs thus far. Didi is seeing the ball great, sporting 17 walks to only nine strikeouts. To put that in perspective, Didi walked only 25 times last season and only 19 times in 2016. He likely has some recession coming (all nine of his dingers were hit at Yankee Stadium, a very hitter-friendly park), but keep an eye on him as he continues his career year.
While there is a bit of surprise with Didi's hot start, there is little surprise with this year's top pitchers. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander have been they're usual dominant selves to start this season. Both pitchers are sporting sub-two ERA's and WHIPS under one. The workhorses are one and two in innings pitched, and are both in the top three in K's. These guys are seasoned veterans so greatness has come to be expected from them, but there's a pitcher out in Oakland whose hot start is much more surprising. Sean Manea is sporting a 1.23 ERA and a 0.60 WHIP, and oh yeah, he threw a no-no against the sizzling hot Red Sox. Manea is in his third season with the A's and has shown signs of beings a number one or number two pitcher, but hasn't been able to put it together. However, it seems as though he may have figured some things this offseason. Manea is not going to lead the league in strikeouts, but he knows how to pitch, and that is showing this year.
With the exciting breakout players also come the disappointing starts. Joey Votto, one of the toughest outs over the past decade has not looked himself in his 12th major league season. Votto had a career season last year with 36 home runs and over 100 runs scored and runs batted in. However this year he has struggled at the plate, batting a career-low .256 with only two home runs and five runs scored. Don't expect Votto to play like this all season, but he is 34 years old so he may be on the decline. Another big disappointment comes from the acquisition this offseason. The 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton made the move to Yanks this season and off course brought monster expectations with him. After popping two big shots on opening day he has been a giant disappointment. Since the opening day he only has 3 homeruns, and even worse, he has struck out 34 times, third-most in the bigs. In fact, he has already had two 0-5 with 5 strikeout games this season. That is pretty incredible seeing as there were only five five-strikeout games in the entirety of last season. However, I wouldn't worry about Stanton's slump lasting forever, once he gets time to face these AL pitchers he will be right back up there amongst the top players in baseball.
Continue to enjoy the NBA and NHL playoffs, but don't let that distract you from the exciting 2018 MLB season. Enjoy playing along with Draftboard in our first season Daily Fantasy Baseball.