Week 2 in Major League Baseball was all about the firsts, records, and streaks. That could be who played, how they played, or how long they’ve been playing at the top of their game.
On Wednesday, the Rockies decided they liked the idea of extra base hits to the tune of 12 multi-baggers off of Jake Peavy. That tied a team record.
That also made Peavy the second pitcher since 1970 to give up more than 10 in one outing. Not only did they tie the Rockies’ extra-base hit record, the Rockies also set a team record with 4 triples in the game.
Dan Duquette and the Orioles seem to have a knack for making steals in the off season. This year’s example is Mark Trumbo- the starting RF who came to Baltimore in exchange for a third-string catcher. On Friday, he became the first player to hit 2 HR in an inning since 2013.
What really impressed me this week was the Twins’ and Braves’ grit. They both started 0-9 and managed to sweep the next series to become 3-9.
Before 2016, that had only happened once, and that was back in 1871. They aren’t going to be a great team, but they’re doing their best to be competitive. It’s good to see young players not giving up.
How about the foreign-born players? Sunday’s biggest star from Japan was was Kenta Maeda who has been lights since arriving.
In facing one of the better line ups (the Giants), Maeda did give up his first earned run of the season, but pitched 7 innings and allowed 1 run with 7 strikeouts.
I’ll admit, I didn’t have high expectations for Maeda. I figured he’d be a borderline #2 or #3 starter for the Dodgers.
Right now, he’s making Dodger fans forget that Zack Greinke ever left. It looks like a great signing on their part.
Sunday was the first time that there were 3 pitchers starting who had come from Japan. Two of those pitchers who were teammates in Japan were dueling against each other.
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) and Hisashi Iwakuma (Sea) faced off in New York. They did not disappoint as Iwakuma went 7 innings with 4 ER, and Tanaka went 7 innigs with 2 ER. They both showed great command.
Speaking of the Yankees, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller combined for a rare feat as they each struck out the only 3 batters they faced.
That’s right, they ended the game with 6 consecutive strikeouts. The record for consecutive strikeouts by a pitcher is 10, but we couldn’t find the record using multiple pitchers.
Either way, Betances and Miller have been dominant to this point. It’s scary to think what the Yankees bullpen will look like when they’re able to add Chapman to that mix.
Teams will have to score early, because after the 6th inning, they won’t have much of a chance.
For those that are interested in daily fantasy, pick Nolan Arenado on Sunday. Unfortunately, out of all the splits that you can find about any player, days of the week isn’t accounted for by any site, but I promise, Arenado is golden on Sunday.
On 4/9 Arenado went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. On 4/17 Arenado went 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI, and 2 R. Last year, Arenado hit 42 HR. 11 of his HR came on Sunday.
Speaking of streaks and being able to hit consistently, Bryce Harper continued his power steak in Philadelphia. With his 10th inning homerun, Harper tied Ernie Banks for the most consecutive games with a homerun in Philadelphia.
That record is currently at 6, so we’ll all be watching to see if Harper can continue breaking records at the young age of 23 years old.
Surprise players will be a weekly tradition for this blog. We already mentioned that Mark Trumbo may become one of the best steals of the off season, but let’s take a deeper look.
Trumbo is a career .253 hitter who averages who is known for his ability to hit homeruns and strike out.
Two weeks into the season, Trumbo has a .386 average which is tops in the American League. His 5 HR is tied for most in the AL and his 11 RBI is tied for second.
Right now, he’s looking like a legitimate MVP contender. What’s most impressive is that he has 4 different seasons with at least 120 strikeouts, and he has only struck out 8 times thus far.
All 5 home runs happened this week, so it could just be a hot streak. Either way, Orioles fans will love watching him this year.
Remember our pre-season predictions? Do you remember the name Jeremy Hazelbaker? You shouldn’t because he wasn’t on our list before the season started.
To his credit, he’s only batted .394 with 3 HR, a total of 7 extra base hits, while managing 7 runs and 7 RBI in just 12 games.
It looks like Hazelbaker will be striking out quite a bit, but you have to expect that from a rookie. What’s more, all the other stats make that acceptable.
The Cardinals would gladly accept the strikeouts if he keeps his pace of 40 HR with 94 runs and RBI. His pace also has him finishing with 27 SB.
Jeanmar Gonzalez has been in the league since he was 22 years old, and has never been an incredible pitcher. However, he has been improving over the past few years.
Including this year, his ERA has dropped every year since 2012. Right now, on a team that most expected to lose close to 100 games (we projected 58-104) Gonzalez already had 4 saves and 1 win.
He’s showing good control with the ability to strike batters out consistently. Gonzalez is making the Phillies look like geniuses after trading Giles.
One of the biggest surprises at pitcher thus far is Jordan Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s strikeout numbers have been dropping each and his WHIP balloon to 1.2 last year in the NL East who is known for striking out, I figured a move to the AL Central wouldn’t be terribly helpful. Zimmerman has quietly started 2-0 without allowing a run in his first 13 innings.
Somehow, he’s looking like an early-season ace despite walking 3.5 BB/9 with only 4.8 K/9.
Our final surprise player is one that has already been mentioned- Kenta Maeda. He’s the Japanese pitcher that the Dodgers took a chance on. Some had hope that he’d be an ace, but most thought he’d be a middle of the pack starter.
He was far from a consensus top signing. He’s made 3 appearnaces thus far and has allowed 1 run in 7 innings.
He’s shown solid control with 4 walks compared to 15 strikeouts. He’s finished each game cleanly and hasn’t had to be relieved in the middle of an inning.
Maeda has shown the potential to be a true ace and make all Dodger fans forget about the guy who left for Arizona. It’ll be an interesting season to see how batters adjust to Maeda.
The biggest surprise of the season thus far comes out of Philadelphia. The Phillies’ young rotation has been incredible. Vincent Velasquez is the real deal.
He’s only the second pitcher Phillies pitcher with 16 strikeouts or more in a shutout since 1900. He’s started the season 2-0 with a complete game, and 0 runs in his first 15 innings.
Jerad Eickhoof hasn’t been quite lights out, but he’s still been very solid. He’s 1-1 with 2 ER in 15 innings. He’s showing great command with 1.5 BB/9 and 9 K/9.
Sadly, Aaron Nola hasn’t started as well, but I think he’ll come around. The Phillies saw how the Mets built their organization and are trying to use the same philosophy.
Let’s take a look at the surprise teams thus far this season. The Orioles had an incredible start at 7-0. They’ve fallen from the graces a bit, but 8-3 is still a good beginning when you consider they’ve gone 4-1 in their own division.
Pitching has been a big surprise, but you should expect to continue seeing a lot of runs being scored in games that Baltimore plays.
Many people expected Tampa Bay to play better than they have. At 5-7, the pitching staff has been a big disappointment. The Rays have allowed at least 5 runs in 5 of the first 12 games that they’ve played. While we didn’t expect much from the offense, no one expected them to be 29th in runs scored. They’ll have to improve on both sides of the ball if they want to turn things around.
Many people projected the Astros to win their division. They’re pitching just hasn’t been there. Last year, the Astros finished with a 3.57 ERA; this year they’ve got a 4.86 ERA.
The offense also finished 6th last year, and is currently ranked 14th. It may be a slow start, but they’ll have to put in some work to make a significant change.
Colorado was another team that was projected to lose 100 games and is significantly out-performing expectations thus far.
Let’s be honest, a lot of that has to do with Trevor Story’s historic start. Along with that start, Colorado has the #4 offense in baseball. They do have the worst pitching in baseball though.
To be fair, if someone told me those stats at the end of the year, I’d believe it. Colorado’s ERA is more than .6 worse than the Braves who they’re closest to.
But, I have no doubt that they’ll continue mashing the ball, especially in home games.
So, that’s our weekly wrap up. It was an interesting week, especially if you’re a stat nerd. What do you think will be the most surprising thing that happens next week?