We’re two months into the regular season of baseball and there’ve been some major surprises and some predictable outcomes. In this article I’ll go over both and give my predictions for awards and the postseason, plus some surprises and predictable outcomes.
As of this writing there have been 6 no-hitters in the MLB this season. If pitchers keep this up they are on track to break the all time most no-hitters in a season record of 12, in 1884! All 6 of the no-hitters were exciting but my favorite was the John Means no walks, no hits no-hitter. You may be wondering, wouldn’t that make it a perfect game? It would be except for the fact that for the first time in history a pitcher lost a perfect game on a dropped third strike. Sam Haggerty raced to first and was safe on the dropped third strike curveball which ended up costing Means the perfect game. I think it was amazing that there was still something that could be done for the first time in a game that’s over 150 years old! If pitchers keep up this domination there’s no saying how many no-hitters there could be this season.
Adolis García: Maybe the biggest surprise was breakout player Adolis García. He shocked everyone by hitting 16 Home Runs so far and now is in a tie for first place among all players for most home runs this season. With a .397 wOBA he’s the absolute definition of on fire, but will it last? I say not. He has 46 hits, 42 of which are singles and home runs. He can produce but it isn’t spread out as much as you would hope from a player that can put up a .397 wOBA. I think he can keep up the power but that won’t matter too much if he can’t put up any extra base hits minus home runs.
Shohei Ohtani: This falls in the category of predicted but still surprising, so I’m putting it in surprising. Shohei Ohtani is producing exactly what everyone thought he could do, and then he’s taking it to another level. He is in the top 6% of the league in wOBA and is tied for second place in home runs. This is crazy enough as it is, the man is putting up insane numbers every night. But that isn’t the whole story. He is also an extremely good pitcher. With an xSLG that ranks in the 93rd percentile of all pitchers, he is a beast on the mound. He has a whiff percentage (the percentage of times the batter has whiffed on his pitch) of 37.4%, which ranks in the 95th percentile. This is more than what we expected of him and he is a top candidate for MVP.
These are only three surprises out of many but now I’m going to move onto some predictable outcomes so far.
Padres: They scared me there for the first bit of the season but now look unbeatable, literally. They went 9-0 for 9 games the past week and it was just fun to watch. Fernando Tatis Jr. gave me a mini panic attack when he was injured for a bit. But now he looks better than ever. Again, literally, he’s set to have his best season yet. The Padres are on top of their division and have a 1.5 game lead on the Dodgers. This is what I expected last season to look like, but hey, I’m happy with having a Dodgers v. Padres race for the West showdown this year. The Padres look ready to put up a fight for the division.
Mets: Currently the Mets hold first place in the NL East. Not surprising considering their offseason, but their offseason acquisitions are not playing out to be the cornerstones of the franchise. Francisco Lindor and James McCann are not playing their best baseball, really it’s the worst we’ve seen from both of them. The rest of the team is stepping up and playing good baseball. Currently the Mets are the only team above .500 in their division, and if they can keep up the steady victories they can pull out the division win.
These are the two teams talked most about in the preseason and they have both lived up to the expectations. Expect to see both in the Postseason this year.
NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr. He has played the best baseball of his career, and if he can keep it up he will win this award. Ranking in the top 5% of the league in multiple stat areas he is the clear frontrunner for this award.
AL MVP: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The legend. This player ranks in the top 10% of the league in 11 different areas. He ranks in the top 1% of the league in 3 areas. If he keeps this up the award is his after 80 games. The only people that have a chance to win this besides him are Ohtani and Gincarlo Stanton but neither of them can compete with Guerrero’s stats.
NL Cy Young: DeGrom? Yeah, he’s going to win it again. He has the fourth lowest xwOBA. The only other person that can beat him is Corbin Burnes, but Burnes is starting to decline and DeGrom is extremely consistent. It’s his award (again literally he’s won twice in the past three years) if he can keep up the great pitching.
AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole. It’s his. He’s been the most consistent pitcher in the AL, and just broke Corbin Burnes record of strikeouts without a walk. If he keeps it up there is no doubt that he will win this award.
AL ROY: Adolis García. Like I said above he’s on absolute fire. If, and it’s a major if, he can keep this up, it’s his.
NL ROY: Keegan Thompson. He has allowed only one run in 14 innings pitched. That is better than most pitchers in the league. I have absolute faith that he will continue this and win this award by a long shot.
It will be a normal 10 team postseason this year instead of the 16 team postseason last year.
Wild Card Round
NL – Cardinals @ Dodgers – Winner: Dodgers
AL- Red Sox @ Yankees – Winner: Yankees
Dodgers vs Padres: This is the series that everyone in the baseball community wants. The showdown between the best. It’s funny to think that down the stretch they will be fighting each other for the division win only to play each other in the first round. I think that the Padres have enough to win this series and advance to the next round.
Cubs vs Mets: This series won’t be close at all. The Cubs will win it and advance to the NL Championship round backed by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. The Mets can’t put up a fight against the Cubs bats but do win one game against them. The night that Jacob DeGrom pitched.
Yankees vs Rays: The AL East showdown. Rays vs Yankees: the series that goes to seven games. It all comes down to the bottom of the ninth, the Rays are down by one and there’s runners on first and second. Austin Meadows is up to bat and, bang! He walks it off and sends the Rays to the AL Championship!
Athletics vs White Sox: This will be an interesting series. Two teams that didn’t think that they would be here two years ago yet here they are. I think that the White Sox will pull this out backed by a good middle of the lineup batting squad. The Athletics just can’t win in the playoffs.
League Championship Round
NL: Cubs vs Padres: The Padres have an easy road to the World Series, beat the Chicago Cubs. It’s a blowout five game win for the Padres who just destroyed the Cubs pitching. Tatis is putting on a show and is making a name for himself as a candidate for the World Series MVP.
AL: White Sox vs Rays: The Rays just can’t compete with the White Sox and the White Sox cruise to a six game win. It all came down to not allowing any runs, as no game had more than five runs scored.
The World Series
Padres vs White Sox: This is one heck of a world series. It goes to seven games, with each team trading wins. The final game of the season is in San Diego, where the home team wins the World Series on a shutout by Yu Darvish and the Padres bullpen! Tatis wins the World Series MVP and the celebration starts in San Diego as we see the beginning of a new dynasty.