Five Positive Early Season Surprises


The 2015 Regular Season started like every other: with a lot of questions. Would the new pace of play rules be effective? Would Masahiro Tanaka stay healthy? How would Jon Lester play on the Cubs? Now through two weeks of the MLB season, we have seen a decrease in game length, but many of our other questions remain unanswered. Nonetheless, a few teams and players have had exceptional starts to their seasons. Here are my top five:

Shane Greene:

Last season, Shane Greene went 5-4 with a 3.78 ERA for the Yankees. During the offseason, he was sent to the Tigers in a three-way trade that sent Didi Gregorius to the Yankees. This season, Greene has posted a 3-0 record with a 0.39 ERA through three starts. Although early, Greene has shown remarkable command of his mid-90s fastball and breaking pitches. Pitching for a hot offensive team in the Detroit Tigers, Greene should continue to have success in Detroit. Therefore, watch the second-year Greene in the coming weeks as he could become one of the premier pitchers in baseball.

Alex Rodriguez:

Once a 30-homer 100-RBI guy for thirteen straight seasons, Arod has seen a sharp decline in numbers over the last few seasons. Coming of multiple hip surgeries and a 211-game suspension, expectations for Arod were low entering the season. Chase Headley was guaranteed a spot as the everyday third basemen, and Garrett Jones was signed to provide relief at DH. Nonetheless, Arod has accepted his new role and has stepped up. Through 12 games, Arod is hitting .316 with four homers and eleven RBIs. The one stat that stands out is his nine walks. In 2012, he walked only 51 times in 122 games. Thus, it is evident he is seeing the ball much better, and therefore, it would not surprise me to see him hit at a decent clip moving forward.

Adrian Gonzalez:

Adrian has been a solid performer throughout his career. He has had nine straight fifteen-homer, 99-RBI seasons. In addition, Gonzalez has been able to maintain a .294 career batting average. Therefore, his five home runs and fourteen RBIs should not come as a surprise. What does, however, is Gonzalez’s .469 batting average and .527 on base percentage. Gonzalez is tearing it up on the offensive end and cannot be stopped. Although his numbers will naturally decline as .469 is near impossible to keep up, a batting average of .330 would be very solid and seems to be a possibility for Gonzalez this season.

New York Mets:

Take a guess at the first team to ten wins this season. The Dodgers? Nationals? Angels? The answer is none of the above, in fact it was the Mets. After countless years of struggle, the Mets seem to be back. Their farm system is loading with pitching and the talent is starting to show. Their pitching staff has posted a 3.00 ERA thus far, and the team’s .251 batting average has been enough to keep them ahead. Even with Zach Wheeler out for the season, the Mets should continue to compete if they stay healthy. With prospects Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard on the rise as well, the Mets should have solid pitching from innings one through nine come mid-June. If their offense can keep it up, the Mets could potentially make a run come October.

Kansas City Royals:

After making somewhat of a surprise playoff run last season, the Royals are on a mission to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Starting off 9-3, the Royals have been a powerhouse on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Royals are hitting an astonishing .313 as a team while averaging over five runs a game. On the flip side, Royals pitching has posted a solid 3.31 ERA. However, what’s most impressive is that their bullpen has only allowed three runs thus far. With solid team chemistry, offense, and defense, look for the Royals to compete once again for the entirety of the regular season.

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