Baseball’s bizarre, man.
Up is down, black is white, left is correct early within the 2021 MLB season. Of these groups, only three of them are over .500: the Yankees, Braves, Twins, Giants, Royals and Mariners — they usually’re not those you are in all probability pondering.
We’re nonetheless over a month away from the customary Memorial Day mile marker to see what groups will really be, and thus far the standard suspects are unusually suspect. The Nationals, Cubs, Yankees and Braves have all gotten off to inauspicious begins, main to a easy query: Just what the hell is occurring on the market?
Early-season baseball is all the time goofy. Nothing issues till it issues. Just embrace it.
Don’t overthink it. Don’t struggle it. And most significantly, do not @ us.
SN’s debut 2021 MLB Power Rankings are right here:
One of the few non-surprises on the listing. The Dodgers are nonetheless essentially the most full crew in baseball they usually’ve been enjoying like like a crew out to show their 2020 ring wasn’t one of many Mickey Mouse selection.
Their first collection with the Padres was, hopefully, a wholesome preview of what is to are available in 2021: a knockdown, drag-out struggle between two of the NL’s greatest.
Unsurprisingly, the Padres have been pitching effectively, and their first collection assembly with the Dodgers proved that this yr goes to maintain a enjoyable struggle between the upstart Dads and the stalwart Dodgers.
While the Padres went with out Fernando Tatis Jr. for a brief spell early on, the celebrity shortstop goes to play by way of a shoulder harm the remainder of the season. Hopefully his arm stays hooked up — and the Padres keep hooked up on the hip with the Dodgers within the division.
3. Red Sox
Break up the Red Sox? Not but.
Buoyed by Herculean offensive efforts from each JD Martinez and Rafael Devers, the Sawx are overcoming beginning pitching deficiencies in Alex Cora’s return season on the helm. Nathan Eovaldi has appeared stable because the No. 1 whereas they await the return of Chris Sale later within the yr. Is it sustainable? Who is aware of? But it is labored thus far.
You’ll bear in mind two seasons in the past, when the Reds had the most effective pitching staffs in baseball, however one of many weakest offenses. Thanks to the Nicholas Castellanos and Mike Moustakas signings final season, that is modified. The Reds are off to one in every of MLB’s greatest offensive begins this yr, averaging greater than six runs per recreation.
5. White Sox
Carlos Rodon was one errant slider away from perfection, however hey, throwing a no hitter remains to be fairly good.
They might not lead the division in the meanwhile, however the White Sox are primed for an enormous leap as soon as their veteran lineup begins hitting. When that occurs, the Twins will probably be in for a superb struggle for the AL Central. The Royals are the GameStop inventory of the division.
Corbin Burnes, anybody?
Burnes has been otherworldly thus far this season for Milwaukee — his first true go of it as a starter for the Brewers — and their religion in him has been greater than rewarded. Through three begins coming into April 18, Burnes has allowed a single run over 18 1/3 innings. That’ll play.
The Crew can have to navigate the Christian Yelich harm within the instant, however count on them to be locked in a enjoyable NL Central battle this yr.
Jacob deGrom is, as soon as once more, that dude. DeGrom’s April 17 start vs. the Rockies was one other brush with historical past: deGrom got here up one strikeout shy of tying the MLB document for consecutive strikeouts in a recreation. He fanned the whole Rockies order in a row, and made it look simple.
Slow offensive begins for Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and others may be attributed to an uneven schedule that is been wrought with postponements.
The Rays will want extra from their rotation if they need an actual shot on the division this yr, however the best way they’ve beat up on the Yankees (5-1) thus far is an encouraging start for one in every of their chief rivals en route to a division crown.
The Rays are going to have to Rays tougher than they’ve ever Rays’d earlier than, contemplating that Charlie Morton and Blake Snell aren’t strolling by way of that door to save them. But the long-awaited arrival of Brent Honeywell may assist ease the blow if he offers Tampa Bay extra of what he did in his first start.
Given the pitching woes, the Angels really feel destined to end round .500 this yr, however the offense, anchored by Shohei Ohtani and a few man named Trout, has been persistently good to nice this yr.
The largest query: Will they have the option to bop sufficient to overcome a rotation that’ll (in all probability) come again down to Earth? Stay tuned.
10. Blue Jays
Here’s a shock. Both Hyu-jin Ryu and Steven Matz have pitched to sub-2.00 ERAs early within the season. The lineup will get a lift quickly when George Springer makes his debut for the Jays.
Toronto goes to throw a wrench into AL East projections so long as the Jays hold getting respectable beginning pitching paired with an excellent lineup. Also, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has exploded early on.
Middle of the pack
Minnesota’s wishy-washy start is not something to be overly involved about. Byron Buxton is somebody for opposing pitchers to be involved about. Their bullpen is regarding.
From A to Z: Philadelphia has gotten good things out of Aaron Nola, Zach Eflin and Zack Wheeler thus far this yr, and their bullpen appears OK. If they start scoring extra runs, they will be problematic within the NL East. Expect that to occur.
Houston will nonetheless have the option to slug with the very best of them, however the beginning pitching behind Zack Greinke is suspect and can in all probability keep that means this yr.
The Tribe goes to pair elite beginning pitching with backside of the barrel offense this yr. That should not change, though they’ve gotten off to an honest start.
If nothing else, KC followers may have the option to hold a banner for these first two weeks. They in all probability will not stick on the prime of the AL Central, however they’ve gotten very encouraging offensive begins from Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield.
Not rather a lot goes proper for the Yankees thus far, with their offense and beginning pitching the most important of the concerns. If that is not sufficient, everybody within the rotation not named Gerrit Cole goes to have to step up.
Ronald Acuña Jr. is appointment viewing proper now. Unfortunately for the Braves, he is simply about the only thing offensively price watching in the meanwhile. Oh, additionally Pablo Sandoval, who remains to be round. Expect the Braves to make an enormous soar in energy rankings the following time round.
Nolan Arenado seems an increasing number of snug in a Redbirds uniform, even when the sight remains to be bizarre for everybody else.
Holy pitching, San Francisco. The Giants’ rotation is the story for why they’re sort of respectable early on, regardless of not having performed a who’s who slate of opponents thus far.
A lineup that options Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez and Willson Contreras cannot be that unhealthy, can it? The reply is sure. And to make issues worse, they’re one of many worst groups in baseball with males on base. Hard to imagine that offense will sputter in the long term.
The Nationals are hitting, however they are not scoring. They’re the most effective groups within the NL in common, however one of many worst in runs per recreation at 3.54. Also, Patrick Corbin has gotten bombed.
The A’s simply really feel like they’re coming into one in every of their eh durations. (An eh-ra, if you’ll.) While the AL West may supply a chance for the A’s to do some injury, count on robust fights from the Astros and Angels all season.
The Rangers have performed six video games wherein they’ve scored 5 runs or extra. They have 9 video games wherein they’ve scored fewer than 5 runs, together with three shutouts. Not precisely what you’d count on from a Rangers offense.
Through 15 video games, the Mariners are 9-6. They received off to a 13-2 start in 2019, and we all know how that ended.
If Jazz Chisholm is not your favourite participant but, he will probably be quickly. Miami will probably be entertaining to watch this yr because it continues to construct for the long run.
Akil Baddoo: Good. Detroit Tigers: Bad. Matthew Boyd: Also good. Boyd has, thus far, rebounded properly after a down 2020.
While Baltimore may show to be pesky within the AL East, its rotation after John Means is questionable, at greatest.
Is it time to start pondering about purchaser’s regret for Madison Bumgarner? Coming off an eh 2020 season, MadBum has been flat-out unhealthy thus far in 2021.
The Rockies are off to one of many worst begins in baseball, thanks partially to having to play the Dodgers early on. It will not get significantly better for the Rox this yr.
Ke’Bryan Hayes is injured, which means there’s not a lot to get excited about in Pirates baseball this yr. Sorry, yinzers.