April Summary

By David Weiss

 

Now that April is over, it is time to give a quick review of how each team performed. The rank is a simple calculation of the team’s record. This is done in order to avoid the endless dabate of why teams with bad records are ranked higher. Here we go:

1) Red Sox: Boston had the best start of the season when they began 17-2. The is is the result of excellent pitching, defense and hitting. Expect them to be good all season.

Red Sox sixth slam
The Red Sox tied the record for most grand slams before May.

2) Diamondbacks: They own the best bullpen ERA and WHIP in baseball. Pollock, Peralta and Goldy have lead the offense but Avila, Marte and Owings have not gotten it started yet. Dyson looks like a shell of himself. If these guys can get it going, they could end up cruising to a division title.

3) Astros: They lead the majors in team ERA by a wide margin. The bullpen has been excellent. While Correa and Altuve have gotten off to a great start, the rest of the offense has been good enough. Once they wake up, prepare for take off.

Baltimore Orioles v Houston Astros
Continuing where they left off, the Astros are one of the best teams in baseball.

4) Mets: They got off to the best start in franchise history with a record of 11-1. This was done thanks to fantastic pitching especially from the bullpen. Since then, they have cooled off. The main cause of concern has been the lack of homers and shaky pitching outside of Thor and deGrom.

Mets win
The Mets have been one of the big surpirses of April.

5) Yankees: The Yanks may have the best offense in the game. Even with a bad start from Stanton (the Yankee fans actually booed him), Didi and Judge have been out of sight. Austin and Andujar have been excellent as well. The pitching and defense were shaky early but overall, the Yankees look superb.

6) Cubs: Bryant, Baez and Schwarber have all had an excellent month. The bullpen led by Morrow, Edwards and Duensing just doesn’t give up runs. The weather hasn’t been friendly but once things warm up, they could really go places.

Tied 7) Braves: The word is out. The Braves have really good young players. Albies and Acuna each look like they could get the ROY award. Rookie relievers Carle and Winkler have been lights out. With Freeman having an MVP caliber season and the starters pitching well enough, they could be a real dark horse team.

Braves
The new and improved Braves

Tied 7) Mariners: Their record isn’t as bad as they look. No one in the rotation is pitching well. While they are really good in one run games, Seattle needs to pick up their all-around output to compete for the stretch.

9) Pirates: They have been winning a lot but this strikes me as an aberration. Is Cervelli really going to carry the offense all season? Are they really going to get far with their current bullpen makeup? Probably not to both. I think that their success has been due to their week schedule thus far.

Tied 10) Angels: Remember the horrible spring that Ohtani had? Nope and neither do I. They struggled to close out the month but that was mainly due to a tough schedule against hot teams. Look for them to be in the playoff race all season long.

Ohtani
Ohtani has been a solid pitcher but a great power hitter for the Halos.

Tied 10) Blue Jays: They went 12-3 at one point this month and really looked good. Since then they have been in a rut. If they plan on winning, Diaz, Martin and Morales need to pick up the slack.

Tied 10) Phillies: After a 1-4 start, the Philly fans wanted to fire rookie manager Gabe Kapler. Now he looks like a genius. They then went on a 15-5 run and are one of the big early season surprises. So far everything is clicking and we will see how long this lasts.

13) Brewers: They have had a fine April and many think that they could finally make the playoffs. However, one stat should be a red flag. They dominate the bad teams and lose to the good ones. They are 12-1 against the Reds, Royals, Marlins and Padres. Against the Mets, Cubs and Cardinals they are 5-12.

Corey Knebel injury
Adding insult to injury. Corey Knebel got hurt during a blowout loss to the Cubs.

Tied 14) Cardinals: Ozuna, Fowler and Wong have just not produced yet. If they can turn it around, the Cards will be a really tough team. In the rotation, Martinez is pitching like a guy who wants to win a CY Young award.

Tied 14) Indians: The saying ‘pitching wins games’ applies here. No batter has an OPS above .867, but the pitchers are fantastic. Relievers Cody Allen and Andrew Miller hadn’t given up a single run and until the end of April. Add many excellent starts from Kluber, Carrasco, Bauer along with Clevinger and you have one tough pitching staff.

16) Giants: The big offseason moves haven’t panned out as well as expected. McCutchen and Jackson have been underperforming. Longoria started slow but have since picked it up. Holland and Samardzija have gotten hit hard. Toss in the Mad Bum and Melancon injuries and they don’t look like they will stay the course.

Tied 17) Athletics: When did Jed Lowrie become a beast? Also Manaea has been tremendous even when not throwing a no-hitter. Do they have enough depth to make a run? That seems doubtful.

No hitter
First no-no of 2018.

Tied 17) Rockies: It is hard to get a good read on this team. They seem to win some and then lose some. The way Arizona is playing, they need to get on a hot streak ASAP if they want a shot at the division title.

19) Rays: Why does this look like it will turn into another season in which Tampa just isn’t good enough? They seem to always be the team with  talent… but not enough for the AL East. The one great part of this season so far has been the Joey Wendle trade. This move looks absolutely brilliant.

20) Nationals: They have been one of the big early season disappointments. With Murphy and Eaton out of the lineup, they are just not that scary. The bullpen has been a problem. Once they play at full strength, expect an improvement. However, if Harper were to get injured, the great efforts of the starting rotation won’t be enough.

Murph
Without Murphy, the Nats have been lost.

21) Dodgers: It looks like they are fatigued from playing in November. The Seager and Turner injuries have been devastating. In addition, Jansen hasn’t been himself. However, the rotation has been sharp, so LA shouldn’t give up so quickly.

Blown save dodgers
Jansen has blown two of his five saves chances.

22) Tigers: All things considered, the Tigers are actually not in bad shape as they are second in the AL Central. They have four guys with an OPS of .810 or above. Aside for Zimmermann, the rotation has been solid. If they can beat up on a weak division, they could find themselves in a playoff race.

23) Twins: If the bullpen just wouldn’t blow so many saves, they might actually be a .500 team. Rodney is simply a heart attack closer. With injuries to Lynn, Pineda and Santana the rotation has been shot.

24) Rangers: With Beltre, Andrus and Odor on the shelf at the same time, this team doesn’t really have a chance. Add in the fact that everyone in their division is playing well and you have one really good last place team.

25) Marlins: This team is clearly lacking veteran leadership… and wins. So far predictions that Miami would be in last have been spot on.

Jeter
The Captain of a last place ship

26) Padres: Villanueva is great. This guy is a great story and could be the rookie of the year. The rest of the offense is just bad. The iconic moment of the season (so far) was the dropped pop up by Hosmer that lost them a game. This team leads the majors with a whopping 13 unearned runs. The one bright spot is that they have had a strong bullpen, but without late game leads, they can’t do much.

Hosmer dropped ball
Hosmer overran a pop up causing the Padres to lose an early season game.

 

27) White Sox: There was a game against the Rays in which under 1,000 people came to the park. That has become emblematic of the White Sox start. The players are cold and the fans stopped caring.

White sox empty
If a game is played and no one is in attendance, does it count?

28) Orioles: No one thought they’d be that good, but this horrific start is really unexpected. A 20 loss April is just dreadful. With Machado putting up majestic numbers, could he be traded before the end of the season?

29) Royals: Where would this team be had they not brought Moustakas back? The once fierce Royals offense had been pretty pathetic.

30) Reds: No one likes to say that a season is over before May, but The Reds are the exception. How bad is it? Put it this way. They started off 3-18. That pace would beat the 62 Mets by a lot. Since the current wild card format started, no team has made it to the postseason with less than 85 wins. For the Reds to get just 85 wins, they would need to go 82-59 from that point. In other words, wait till next year.

 

(David Weiss is a lifelong Mets fan. He has lived in Israel since 2008 and runs the Facebook page ‘Jewish Mets Fans’.)

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