Around the League: Week one thoughts

Anyone else still riding the high of getting to watch meaningful baseball every day? It’s been exhilarating for me. I’ve missed having excuses to text good friends who were exiled across the country after college (seemingly my only friends who love baseball) and engage in dialogue with my buddy who recently moved here from Barcelona about our country’s respective pastimes (yes I’m becoming a Barcelona fan, sue me). The first baseball game he ever watched was game 5 of the 2017 world series. He came to me the next day at work and said, “I think I can get into baseball.” He’s since been brought back to earth, but at any rate, it’s so fun to teach someone about the beauty and intricacy of the great game.

I’ve mentioned trying to do this “around the league” column weekly. I’ve also mentioned that I’m a full-time teacher and graduate student among other things, so time is hard to come by. So some weeks you’ll get thought-out articles, some weeks you’ll get bullet-point lists. This is one of those weeks. Sorry. Let’s dive in!

  • I’m still not sure if I’m worried about the Yankees’ offense yet. Concerning their stars: Judge looks really good and even mixing in a little bit of small ball, Stanton is striking out a lot but hitting bombs, Sanchez is trash (.348 OPS through 23 ABs), and Didi Gregorius is their best offensive player. Not “has been”–is. He’s hitting .364 at the time of this writing with a 1.371 OPS (an absurd 269 OPS+). He will not sustain this at all, but I really think the media, and perhaps many of us, forgot how good he can be. If all of those guys can slick at the same time, they’ll be really, really good. But that’s a big if, as I don’t buy Sanchez being all that great.
  • What’s up with the Cubs, Indians, and Dodgers? None of those teams look like the teams they’re supposed to be at all right now. They’re 22nd, 21st, and 19th in runs scored, respectively (20th, 27th, and 29th in OPS). I know it’s early, but all of those teams, especially the Dodgers (even without their best player, Justin Turner), should be mashing. They’re just not.
  • On the opposite side of the token, the Braves are weirdly leading the league in runs. On one hand, this shows you how unreliable small sample sizes are, but on the other, it shows you that their young talent is real. Our old friend Preston Tucker has an OPS of 1.264, which is awesome. It’s cool to see guys go somewhere they’ll fit and succeed. Also places an emphasis on how stacked the Astros are.
  • Speaking of former Astros, Pirates fans might not be stoked about their situation just yet. Grand-slam aside, Colin Moran has looked unready, Joe Musgrove is on the DL with a shoulder injury, and Feliz has allowed 4 runs in his 2 innings pitches. I cannot emphasize enough how useless most stats really are at this point in the year, but at any rate there’s not much going on with that end of the trade, and Pirates fans are perpetually angry as it is.
  • I sort of hope the Mets are as good as they look right now. They’re second in team ERA, first in team WHIP, and tied with the Astros for 2nd in K’s. Them being this good is good for baseball, as it makes the NL east, likely one of baseball’s least competitive divisions, a lot more entertaining–especially if the Braves are the real deal (they’re not).
  • Cardinals picking up Holland as their closer on opening day was sneaky smart, in my opinion. I remember a lot of Astros fans mentioning wanting him. The NL Central is shaping up to potentially be the most interesting division.
  • Ohtani has hit two homers and has a win as a pitcher dear why oh why dear God please save us all, etc. etc.

That’s about all I got for now. Time to hit the books. Some questions for discussion:

What are your thoughts on the season so far?

What has been your favorite non-Astros moment?

What has been your favorite Astros moment?

Who have you shared the gospel of baseball with lately, and what was that like?