With the April games wrapping up tonight, let’s take a look back at the first month of the season and reminisce on what we’ve seen so far as well as some of the surprises of the early season!
The Division Leaders
- AL East- Boston Red Sox (2.0 G ahead of the Yankees)
- AL Central – Cleveland Indians (3.0 G ahead of the Tigers)
- AL West – Houston Astros (2.0 G ahead of the Mariners)
- NL East – New York Mets (1.5 G ahead of the Phillies/Braves)
- NL Central – Pittsburgh Pirates (.5 G ahead of the Cubs)
- NL West – Arizona Diamondbacks (5.0 G ahead of the Rockies)
As we take a look at the division leaders after the first month of the season, the AL is pretty much right where we expected with the Yankees being the only team I could see in first place over the Red Sox. Then we take a look at the crazy NL standings and just about nothing is right.
Let’s start off with the first place New York Mets who came out of the gates firing on all cylinders. They have slowed a bit over the past several weeks but still hold first place in the standings and have the NL East favorite Washington Nationals 6 games behind them. The back end of the rotation can use some work with Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Jason Vargas all sputtering out of the gate. However, when you have Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom leading the way you can pretty much guarantee no longer than a four game slide for this team.
Now this we definitely did not see coming and it may not be much to see with the Cubs breathing down the Pirates neck sitting only .5 games back but the Pirates have completely stunned the NL Central to this point jumping out to a 17-11 record. The Pirates have been led by newcomer Corey Dickerson, along with breakout candidate Gregory Polanco and the veteran presence of Francisco Cervelli. Combine that with the surprise 1-2 punch of Trevor Williams and Ivan Nova and this Pirates team looks like it could cause a ruckus and shake things up in the standings for the entirety of the season.
The Diamondbacks had some hype heading into the season but were still viewed as the little brother to the big bad Los Angeles Dodgers. However, things haven’t started out great for the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks have played some flawless ball up to this point, trailing only the Red Sox as far as record goes. They have been led by the resurgence of Patrick Corbin on the mound (4-0, 2.25 ERA) and A.J. Pollock at the plate (.276, 6 HR, 21 RBI). With the loss of Corey Seager to the Dodgers, it looks like the favorite in the west may be shifting to Arizona. Just remember folks, there is still a ton of baseball to be played.
- American League – Didi Gregorius
- Gregorius has silenced all critics after the start he is having in April. He is hitting .337 with a league leading 10 HR and 30 RBI. Combine that with the fact that he is hitting 3rd for the the top scoring offense in the league and you have a player primed for a breakout year. With protection all throughout the Yankee lineup, it is hard to see Gregorius slowing down at all yet you still have expect some regression. If he keeps up this sort of production all year, the only man capable of catching him in terms of MVP would be the man, the myth, the legend…Mike Trout.
- National League – Javier Baez
- This was a tough one to decide on but Baez took the cake here after storming out of the gates with 7 HR and 26 RBI in April to go along with his stellar defensive play. The best part of this was to begin the season the Cubs didn’t quite know where they were going to stick Baez. Now all of a sudden they have to figure out how to move others around to get Baez into the lineup everyday. There is still plenty of baseball left to play and some big names will start making noise but for the month of April, you have to go with Baez as the best in the NL.