The Major League Baseball season is just over ⅛ of the way complete for most teams. The Red Sox and Astros look like the early favorites, while the Marlins and Reds are off to terrible starts. Let’s look at the early surprises and disappointments so far in the 2018 MLB Season
Boston Red Sox: Everyone thought that the Red Sox would be good in 2018, but a 17-4 start is very surprising. The Red Sox have a run differential of +64 through their first 21 games. Their pitching looks great and their young stars are hitting the ball all over the diamond.
New York Mets: The Mets got off to a red hot start, but have since cooled off quite a bit. New York still has a record of 14-6 through their first 20 games. The Mets finally have all of their young pitchers healthy at the same time.
Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies appear to have turned the corner and are ready to compete this year. Philadelphia is 9-1 at home to start the season and the Phillies are 14-7 overall. Outfielders Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera are both off to a great start and are leading the charge offensively. The Phillies look to be a real challenger in the tough NL East.
Ryan Flaherty: The Atlanta Braves second baseman is off to a terrific start at the plate. Flaherty is hitting a league leading .362 though his first 18 games played. The career .223 hitter has helped his Braves team to a 12-8 start.
Chad Bettis: It’s not very often that you see a Rockies pitcher’s name at the top of the ERA leaderboard, but that’s where Bettis sits. The Colorado starter is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in the early going. The fact that three of Bettis’ starts have been away from Coors Field doesn’t hurt.
Cincinnati Reds: Not much was expected of the Reds this season, but they are off to a dreadful start. The Reds have won just 3 times in their first 21 games, and their bad start got Manager Bryan Price fired. Joey Votto’s best years are getting wasted playing for a team that has no shot of making the playoffs.
Washington Nationals: The Nationals looked poised to make a deep playoff run this season, but they haven’t looked like a contender early on. The Nationals have a -7 run differential through 22 games and sit at just 10-12. Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper are both off to their typical starts, but many other veteran players have started slow. The Nationals trail the Mets by 5 games in the NL East.
Kansas City Royals: The Kansas City Royals are just 5-15 through their first 20 games of the season. The Royals have already suffered through a 9 game losing streak this month. The Royals are just 1-7 in their home ballpark.
Yu Darvish/Jose Quintana: The pair of Cubs’ starting pitchers have been bad to start the 2018 season. Quintana is 2-1 but has a whopping 7.78 ERA through 4 starts. Darvish has yet to pick up a win for the Cubs, and has failed to get out of the 5th inning in 3 of his 4 starts. The Cubs will need these two pitchers to perform better if they want to repeat as NL Central Champs.
Matt Harvey: The Mets were hoping that Harvey would have a bounce back season in 2018, but he got off to a slow start. Harvey was 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA through his first 4 starts and now finds himself in the Mets bullpen.
Giancarlo Stanton: Stanton got off to a quick start for the Yankees, but things went south in a hurry. Stanton has just 1 home run since April 4th. Stanton currently has a batting average of .185 and has struck out 32 times in 81 at bats. Perhaps the pressure of playing in New York is weighing on his mind.