With the Major League Baseball (MLB) season already being three months in, a lot has happened. There have been six NO hitters, four of which were thrown in May, and teams that were thought to be mediocre are actually leading their division. Upcoming star players are making a very big push for their team to make the playoffs. But there is still a lot of uncertainty in players getting traded to new teams and the season being so long. It’s still a little too early to call who will win it all, so let’s dive in to see what teams are living up to their expectations and what teams aren’t.
In the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays are leading the charge by having an outstanding record of 36-22 and being 14-2 since May 13. The Rays pitching has been very good recently with young star Tyler Glasnow holding it down with already over 100 strikeouts. But he’s not the only pitcher holding it down as older star, Rich Hill, was recently named AL pitcher of the month and is holding a 3.32 ERA. Following the Rays is the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox are having a very surprising season with hitters like Xander Bogarts, J.D. Martinez, and Alex Verdugo and pitchers Brandon Workman and Matt Barns leading the way in the bullpen. In third, the New York Yankees have had a very up and down season. Their main issue is the injury bug hitting them here and there. Main stars, like outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, have been out since early May. Their pitching staff hasn’t been the best this year, but it is still early and a lot of fans and analysts believe that the Yankees will be buyers as the trade deadline is starting to come up. Following the Yankees is the Toronto Blue Jays; the Blue Jays are starting to get hot with 1st/3rd basemen Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Guerrero is batting .335 and has already hit 17 home runs, which puts him in the top five of home runs this year. Slowing down the Blue Jays is their pitching and losing out on their star-outfielder George Springer due to injury. Coming in last is the Baltimore Orioles; the Orioles have had a rough May where they lost 14 straight games. The Orioles pitching has just not been there this season with the exception of Jhon Means.
AL Central is being led by predicted winner Chicago White Sox. The White Sox have had a very hot start to the season with their pitching being very good and having a young and up-and-coming star player in Yermin Mercedes. Mercedes has been leading all AL rookies in home runs and RBI’s. Following the White Sox are the Cleveland Indians. The Cleveland baseball team has been very interesting this year; earlier this year they traded one of their best players in Francisco Lindor and a lot of people believed that they would start some sort of rebuild. But Cleveland proved us all wrong by now holding a 30-24 record and fighting for a playoff spot. Following the Indians are the Kansas City Royals. The Royals started off this year hot with having a very large lead in the AL Central but they recently came back to Earth and have cooled off recently. But don’t count them out because they have recently won four straight games. The Detroit Tigers are next and have been doing pretty well for still being a team in a rebuild. The Tigers have had a very good player in Robbie Grossman. The Tigers are also coming off a sweep of the New York Yankees. Coming in last has been the Minnesota Twins. The Twins have had a surprisingly slow and bad start to 2021. The Twins offense has been slowly waking up again, but their pitching has been questionable, especially in the bullpen.
In the AL West, the Oakland Athletics are in the lead but only by one game. The Athletics have had a very solid season with their pitching being very solid especially in losing their closer Liam Kendricks this past year due to free agency. Their hitters haven’t been that bad either with being in the top ten in runs per game. Just right behind the Athletics, the Houston Astros are having a pretty good run as of now. But they’re really getting back a starting pitcher in Framer Valdez from the IL (injured list). Their hitters have also been pretty solid especially after losing star outfielder George Springer due to free agency. The Seattle Mariners are behind the Astros but have surprised the league so far this season. The Mariners have one of the best farm systems in the league and the players in them are starting to make it to the big leagues with Jared Kelnic, Taylor Tremmel, and AL rookie of the year last year Kyle Lewis being just some of the future for the Mariners. After the Mariners are the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels are one of the teams that a lot of people had hope for to make it to the playoffs but as of right now they aren’t looking like a playoff team. Recently they lost their star outfielder Mike Trout due to injury but they do have a player that is making history in Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani is breaking records by being the first player to pitch and hit since Babe Ruth did it over a hundred years ago. But the Angels pitching staff has been very bad as of recently and is really starting to cost them some games. A very similar team to the Texas Rangers, the Rangers have been a very similar team to the Mariners in having some young studs starting to make it to the league but ultimately their pitching hasn’t really been there for them.
The New York Mets are currently leading the way for the NL East and their season has been very much up and down. The Mets traded and signed star shortstop Francisco Lindor. Lindor, like most of their team, has been there in games but at other times they haven’t. But there 1-3 starting pitchers are some of the best and carrying their team including pitcher Jacob Degrom. Degrom has a sub 1 ERA and is casually throwing 101 mph fastball. But right behind the Mets is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have also had an up and down season, their hitting has been very good this year but their pitching has been up and down throughout the year. Star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. has also been a tear for them with being tied with three other hitters for the MLB best home run leaders this year. Coming right behind them has been the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have had a pretty solid start to the year even though there in third in their division. The Phillies biggest issue like every team is their pitching. Their starters typically do well while their bullpen doesn’t. But they made some changes to that this offseason with signing closer, Archie Bradly. If their bats stay very hot and their pitching improves, the Phillies could make a strong run for the playoffs this year. Coming in third is the Miami Marlins. The Marlins shocked a lot of people last year by making a pretty strong role in the regular season and making it to the second round in the playoffs. But this year hasn’t been the same, their pitching hasn’t been as strong as it was last year and their bats have been a little quiet. Coming in last is the Washington Nationals. The Nationals started off the year a little rough by losing their star player Juan Soto due to Covid. But that isn’t their only issue. Their bullpen pitching is really carrying them down, but their bats have been very good recently. Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, and more are just some players that are lighting it up for the Nationals.
The NL Central is a very tight race between the top four teams. The Cubs are currently leading the standings behind their offense and their bullpen being pretty solid. These bats are being led by Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Joc Pederson. The only thing that is slowing them down is their starting rotation which hasn’t been doing well. The Brewers who are just a half-a-game back have been really well especially with an outstanding pitching rotation lead by Corbin Burns. The Rotation has an ERA that is in the top 10 for all major league teams. But their bats have been starting to get recently hot again especially with their best player Christian Yelich who did win MVP just three years ago. The St Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds are pretty much very similar teams. The Cardinals and Reds have very strong rotations and offenses but some players just haven’t started to click yet which is setting them back in the division. The Pirates are doing better than most predicted. A lot of people predicted that they would be dead last in the standings, but are actually winning a fair amount of games.
The NL West is like a three-headed dragon when it comes to the competition between the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres. In first right now is the San Francisco Giants, the Giants have been playing great baseball as of late with their pitching being especially well by having a veteran talent in Kevin Guasemen who in his last seven starts has a 0.70 ERA. Their bats have been especially well with their team being in the top five in team average. The Dodgers who are right behind them have been similar to the Yankees in how a lot of their star players have been hurt, but luckily they are coming back from their injuries. Coming in third is the San Diego Padres – the Padres are an interesting team because a lot of their young and coming players have been producing pretty well, whereas the older veteran players (especially in their pitching staff) have been struggling to start off the season. But this doesn’t mean that there completely out of the race. Their team is still only two games out of the playoff spot and is looking to win their first division series for the first time since 1998. The Diamondbacks and Rockies are both just trying to stay above 500 in their record but currently aren’t doing so well. Both of their pitching staff and bats have been shaky and both are looking more into the future than of right now.