This article contains opinion.
We are only one month into the 2019 regular season, and already, we are witnessing some interesting features on the diamond.
Predictions are being made as to who will make the postseason, historic events are taking place every day and the “Tales from the Injured List” cloud MLB’s season already.
Let’s take a look at what’s happened so far.
IR: A Yankees Drama Series
Remember when we criticized the New York Yankees for, essentially, sweeping the free agent market this past winter? Well, maybe we are witnessing karma at its finest.
As of April 24, the Yankees have 13 main roster players residing on the injured list. A few names of note on this list are Giancarlo Stanton, Dellin Betances, Troy Tulowitzki, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino.
The positive side of this is that these players look to come back at the end of the month and early May to help the Yanks win.
Along with that, the Bronx Bombers are sitting comfortably at second in the American League (AL) East.
So with the depth and rookies being used, New York is still finding ways to win games.
The portion on the injured list look to reclaim dominance once they return and gain their 28th World Series title, writing a fantastic underdog story this season.
Unlikely Teams Top Standings
Did we think that the Seattle Mariners would top the AL West? Or that Minnesota would lead the AL Central? The New York Mets top of the National League (NL) East?
If you said “yes,” you’re lying.
We are witnessing a plethora of teams showing why they should play in October.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have the second best ERA in baseball, sitting at a 2.97 ERA, after a slow offseason had fans expecting the resurrection of the tanks. But the Bucs have had a productive season so far, even having a period of time at No. 1 in the NL Central and fifth in the MLB Power Rankings. They are in the Wild Card hunt, already a half-game ahead of all other contenders.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays are mirroring the success in the AL East, taking advantage of an injury-ridden Yankees club, a Red Sox team that is suffering the worst championship hangover in history and the Orioles and Blue Jays who may not see an above .500 season.
The NL West is under serious competition as the Los Angeles Dodgers are treading water with the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres hot on their tail. Arizona and San Diego sit just behind the Dodgers, which gives each of the three teams more incentive to win each day.
The St. Louis Cardinals are on a power surge in the NL Central as the addition of Paul Goldschmidt continues to bleed success. In a division that looked to be a one-team show with the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cardinals, along with the Pirates, are making the toughest division in baseball more exciting.
Young stars contribute to the success of teams
Austin Meadows is having an MVP-caliber season as he leads the Rays with a .351 batting average and is tied with Brandon Lowe and Yandy Diaz in home runs with six each. Don’t let that overshadow the fact that eight of the starters are hitting more than .270 to begin the season.
Fernando Tatis Jr. has made his presence known with the Padres. As the son of the power-hitting Fernando Tatis Sr., he inherited his father’s baseball talent as he’s hitting .301 with six home runs and 13 RBIs. He has been regarded by analysts as a top candidate for the NL Rookie of the Year.
Peter Alonso has become the Mets’ source of production this season. Being a late addition to the starting lineup, Alonso has claimed the starting spot at first base and has racked up eight home runs and 21 RBIs in his short time in the big leagues.
Cody Bellinger leads the MLB in batting average as a whole. Sitting at .416, Bellinger has become the Dodgers’ spark plug in their order, maybe the reason for leading the NL West.
Cole Tucker may be the Pirates’ platoon shortstop that they were looking for. Making his debut on April 20, Tucker ended the game in grand fashion as he hit a two-run home run to center field for his first Major League hit. He has been hot on the defensive side as well, showcasing a powerful arm and effective speed. We may see Tucker be a top-tier hitter and a main cause for another Buctober.