Every year, some MLB teams perform against expectations whether better or worse. 2019 is no different. Some teams are over-performing with others slacking. Here are five MLB teams so far this season that may be playing better than people expected in no specific order:
New York Yankees
The Yankees are in first place in the AL East, which may not seem too surprising on the surface. However, the way in which New York got to this point can come as a shocker to some.
The biggest reason that first place may be surprising is the fact that the Yankees have dealt with numerous injuries throughout the season. Notable names like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and Didi Gregorius have all missed time this season with injuries. At one point, 13 of the Yankees 25-man Opening Day roster was injured. Some guys such as Miguel Andujar and Dellin Betances still haven’t returned to action as of August 8.
With all of these hurt players, how did they manage to stay successful throughout the season? Guys like DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela have provided this team much support for their injured players. In the month of May, Urshela slashed .333/.375/.469 while LeMahieu had a line of .323/.374/.495. These contributors have certainly helped the team get to its 75-39 record at the time of writing.
If you like home runs, then the Twins may be worth watching. This team has been raking all season, and they are currently on pace to smash the single-season home run record. The fact that they play multiple series against the Royals and Tigers is a help to this team, but they are performing well against other teams too.
This team has accompanied its hitting ability with some solid pitching performances as well. An example is Jake Odorizzi, who was named to his first career All-Star game in July. Through 22 starts this year, the 29-year-old has a 3.61 ERA through 114 2/3 innings pitched. Rookie starter Devin Smeltzer has been solid for the Twins. After his first five big league starts, the 23-year-old has a 2.28 ERA with a 0.90 WHIP.
The bullpen has also been performing well this year. Taylor Rodgers has been exceptional this year with 65 strikeouts through 51 1/3 innings pitched, helping him achieve his current 2.10 ERA as of August 8. Veterans like Trevor May and Tyler Duffey have provided some solid innings for Minnesota as well. Lastly, newly acquired Sergio Romo is an addition that can help this team down the stretch.
The A’s continue to produce some productive seasons even with what seems to be a consistently low payroll. At the time of writing, Oakland possesses the 25 lowest total payroll in the MLB meaning only five teams have less payroll than them. This is impressive considering the number of players looking for a contract that the A’s likely can’t fulfill.
The Athletics seem to be adjusting to the modern-day game of baseball, meaning they have a better slugging percentage as opposed to batting average. For example, they rank in the bottom half of the league when it comes to batting average, but were ranked 10 for runs scored as of August 8. They also have the ninth best team ERA as of the same date. This combination sometimes provides teams with a chance to be at least contenders for the postseason.
Feature Image Courtesy of nypost.com