Let's look at some headlines from the season's first month, shall we?
The A's are moving to Vegas by 2027.
It was wild that it finally happened. All the hurdles of the city were cleared: environmental, site, the land, everything that needed to be done was approved, and all that was needed was the A's saying yes. Manfred has supported Fisher, the owner, and said that he would support the team moving sooner to Vegas and sharing the AAA site with the Aviators. The team blames the city; the city blames the team, and the fans are upset because they haven't seen a winning, competitive team in ages in Oakland, and they have been being outsold consistently by MiLB teams for the last couple of seasons. When an MLB team through April 25th has four wins and is on pace to win about 29-35 games, that's a statement in itself; on top of that, the fans still in Oakland are planning a boycott in June to show their support for the team. Do we need to see the issues here? Top that with an Opossum being loose in the stadium and having to clear a broadcast booth. I'm sorry, but the city and the ownership are all to blame here. I'm an Oakland native, and it pains me and many I care about that the A's are leaving.
The Rays are off to a historically Hot Start.
The Rays have been the hottest team in baseball, with a bottom-five payroll and a top 5: manager, coaching, player development, and system that has proven to sustain a winner. It's interesting to see the Oakland move official, as the Rays have also been in the mix for a new stadium deal and possibly a move. With Nashville and Salt Lake City as the leaders for expansion, the MLB could look a lot different in 5 years.
Can the Pirates sustain the hot start under a recently extended manager Derek Shelton?
While the Pirates are off to a 1st place start in the NL Central, with the Brewers on their heels. The Buccos are 16-7 as of April 25th and did lose SS O'Neil Cruz to a broken ankle on a controversial play. Still, the club has seen OF/DH Andrew McCutchen comes back to vintage form, and the Pirates are due for some regression, but if they can keep it together, they have a legit shot in the NL Central. I am interested to see how May shakes out for the Bucs.
Ohtani has been SHOVING, and if the winning doesn't start, then a trade could be imminent.
What more needs to be said about Ohtani? He is doing everything he can to win games for the Angels. He is pitching to a sub 0.50ERA, is amongst every top-5 pitching stat, and is being Ohtani at the plate. Yes, as of April 25th, the Angels are 11-12 and in a tie for 3rd place in the AL West, which will only get more challenging as the Astros/Mariners find their form. The offense for the Angels has been alright. However, injuries are starting to catch up to the club; Ohtani is leading in every counting stat for a pitcher, except saves. It's known that Ohtani wants to win, and the Angels are saying they won't trade him, but you only get to trade a generational talent for the top 2-4 prospects of another team once, maybe twice. The Angels need to do what's suitable for the club.
Angels promoted 2022 draft pick SS Zach Neto after only 44G in the Minors.
Yes, you read that right; the first member of the 2022 draft class has made his MLB debut. The best leg kick in the game, Neto is a humble dude and very good with the glove up with the middle. If this move doesn't single a slight panic for the Angels, then I don't know what does. The Angels are on a 3rd string catcher, a rookie SS, and a group of players that doesn't look as good as they thought they would be. Neto is off to a solid start as of April 25th, slashing .235/.350/.324 with a 0.4WAR. The move to me shows A) Neto is seen as a can't-miss talent, which I have seen with my eyes; he's got it. B) The Angels feel their development at the MiLB level needs to improve, and they must have him up on the MLB club to get the most out of him. C) The season might already be seen as a loss.
SP Hunter Greene, SP Pablo Lopez, OF Bryan Reynolds, OF Ian Happ, and INF Jake Cronenworth all inked extension
The money has continued flowing into the season, with Greene inking a 6yr/53MM, which might only be the first extension for the Reds as they look to lock up Lodolo and Ashcraft. After acquiring him for INF Arrarez, Lopez and the Twins inked a 4yr/73.5MM extension to stay with the club through 2027. OF Bryan Reynolds inked an 8yr/106.75MM deal with a 6-team no-trade clause, and he got about 25MM of the 50MM his representation said they were apart in the negotiations. OF Ian Happ and the Cubs agreed to a 3yr/61MM that keeps Happ around through 2026; the deal also has an entire no-trade clause. Lastly, Cronenworth got inked to an extension with the Padres 7yr/80MM deal that starts in 2024; he will be a key INF piece for the Padres through 2030.
Bryce Harper is moving to 1B upon his return this month, as he is tracking to be the fastest player ever back from a TJ Surgery.
Harper is tracking to return faster than any other player, to have had TJ surgery to repair a UCL injury. Harper will likely take over at 1B for the Phillies as Hoskins is out for the season with an ACL injury, and Hall is also dealing with an injury. He will also be DH'ing naturally. The Phillies might have a losing record. However, they have had a top-5 MLB offense, and the team is due for positive regression.
Mookie Betts is playing SS now?
What can't Mookie do? He's great at every sport, and while playing SS for the Dodgers recently, he looked natural and ready and drew a start at the SS spot for the following day. The Dodgers are in an odd spot as they let Trea, Justin Turner, and Bellinger, among others, go to FA, and now they have been sporting young prospects out in games. James Outman has been looking good, and Michael Busch is also getting called up to join Outman, Miguel Vargas, and Michael Grove as some of the next wave of homegrown talent for the Dodgers. I like the move for the Dodgers to allow Mookie to play SS, 2B, RF, and CF and to be flexible for the team to allow for further development of those mentioned above to get PT in their most natural spots.
Whos in the lead?- BA, HR, SB, W, ERA, K?
As of April 25th, when this was written, you couldn't tell I knew. The following were leading their stat categories
BA- Mia Luis Arrarez- .444
HR- LAD Max Muncy- 11, NYM Pete Alonso 10
RBI- TEX Adolis Garcia- 29, HOU Yordon Alveraz 28
Hits- ATL Ronald Acuna- 34, CHC Nico Hoerner/PHI Bryson Stott 33
SB- ATL Ronal Acuna- 12
ERA- MIN Sonny Gray- 0.62
Saves- PIT David Bednar/ TOR Jordan Romano/ SD Josh Hader- 8
K- ATL Spencer Strider- 49
World Series Prediction, update?
I made my World Series prediction on the Baseball 2gether Podcast, but I am still in on a Seattle Mariners v Atlanta Braves world series.