The first week of the 2018 MLB season has come and gone which means that fans are already planning their favorite team’s World Series parade route or have already packed it in before their team’s second run through the starting rotation. While the first week is a decent indicator of how the rest of the season will play out, fans will often jump to conclusions that will be forgotten about by May. However, it is the first week, and the perfect time to be outlandish, so we will discuss five takeaways that may, or may not stick within the coming months.
1. The Astros are Legit World Series Contenders Again
The Houston Astros, fresh off their first World Series title, came into the season with expectations no less than repeat of last year. Through seven games, the champs boast six wins while leading the AL in batting average and runs scored. Their staff ERA ranks third in the AL which includes new acquisition Gerrit Cole, who pitched an absolute gem in his first start for Houston. This team is just as, if not more dangerous, than last year’s team and based off of the first week have to be favorites to retain their title.
2. The Red Sox will not Hand Over the AL East
Make no mistake, the Yankees had a fantastic offseason and offer one of the best rosters in baseball. It is for that reason that the majority of analysts expected this young Bronx Bombers team to take the AL East crown right back from their division foes. However, the Red Sox have shown that they are no push over either. Their clear advantage over the Yankees in terms of talent is starting pitching, and that talent has not let them down thus far as the Boston staff jumped out to an early lead in terms of ERA in the American League. This is an ERA 1.50 points lower than New York. Do not be surprised if the Red Sox end up claiming this division by game 162.
3. The Dodgers are not the Best Team in Los Angeles
Okay, this one is a prime example of overreacting to the first week; however, it’s not an outrageous enough idea to shy away from. The Dodgers have struggled coming out of the gate with a team average of .202, second to last in the NL. This average won’t stay that low, and neither will the Dodgers’ winning percentage given that their staff is just too good not to keep them in games. However, the reigning NL champs may not but as untouchable as people might have originally thought. That being said, the Los Angeles Angels are riding high right now. Out to a quick 5 wins in 7 games, the Halos and the Shohei Ohtani show look like a team that is built to contend and be really good. If Mike Trout has another Mike Trout year, the playoffs are a very realistic expectation for this team.
4. Bryce Harper wants a BIG Contract
It is not a secret that Bryce Harper has the intent to at least test the free agent waters, nor is it a secret that he is going to command big money. Harper will only be 26 years of age next winter which means that his next deal could be double digits in years, and the right fielder will want to max out the amount of cash he is able to pull in. This season will be a huge showcase for Harper, and four homers in seven games is not a bad way to start your campaign. I expect Harper to be at the forefront of the MVP conversation come the end of his contract year.
5. Gabermetrics will be a ‘Process’
New Phillies manager Gabe Kapler came into the team with the promise of introducing fresh ideas into the game of baseball. These ideas have included pulling opening day starter Aaron Nola after 68 pitches and shifting defensively to the point of self-destruction. Philly fans have had their patience tested before, but the Eagles took home their first Super Bowl this year and “The Process” has the 76ers headed back to the playoffs. Their patience will be tested one more time as Kapler will have the opportunity to turn this franchise around, but it may be a long wait for this city to endure.