Rounding the Bases: Capturing the first two weeks of the 2016 MLB season
This is the first of a new series debuting here at TBOH, where I will be taking a look at some recent highlights around MLB. With the first two weeks of the Major League Baseball season now in the books, it’s time to take my first quick look around the league for the best players, teams and biggest stories.
Best Team: Washington Nationals
While it’s still WAY too early to suggest superlatives, the Nationals had baseball’s best record at 9-2 after the first two weeks, and have been the most well-rounded club in the game to date. The Nats’ pitching staff leads the league with a 2.06 ERA, an .818 winning percentage, and just 74 hits allowed. Their arms have done the job on the mound, but the bats have carried their weight. The Nationals own a .256 team batting average and .328 OBP, both 10th best in the National League while their .758 OPS ranks eighth.
Honorable Mention: Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs
After starting the season 7-0, the Orioles dropped three of four games at the end of the first two weeks to fall to 8-3. It was still good for first place in the AL East. Offensively, the O’s bats were arguably the best in baseball through the first two weeks as they rank first in Slugging percentage, OPS, home runs, and have averaged 5.45 runs per game. They also boast a somewhat surprising top-10 pitching staff, but offense has been their bread and butter.
Only one team has scored more runs than the 8-3 Chicago Cubs. Despite losing slugger Kyle Schwarber for the year, the Cubs’ offense hasn’t missed a beat. Through two weeks they were 2nd in the NL with 5.92 runs scored per game, and led the league in walks with 63 free passes. They also have pitched very well, with the Cubbies staff leading the league in WHIP (0.929), second behind the Nationals in ERA with a 2.42 mark. A big reason for their success on the mound has been reigning Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, who is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA.
MLB STANDINGS (through games of Monday, April 18th)
AL East Division
AL Central Division
AL West Division
NL East Division
NL Central Division
NL West Division
Crazy early MVP candidates
More from That Balls Outta Here
- Prospect Andrew Baker could help Phillies bullpen in 2023
- Bryce Harper’s absence should lead to Phillies lineup tinkering
- Phillies rumors: Club targets Seth Lugo for possible bullpen role
- Pirates’ bizarre Vince Velasquez hype video will make Phillies fans laugh
- Acquiring Brandon Marsh gave the Phillies flexibility
NL: Bryce Harper
Harper has picked up right where he left off in 2015. Last year’s MVP has had a torrid start to the 2016 season, posting an early slash line of .359/.458/.897 to go along with six home runs and 15 RBI over those first two weeks. If Harper continues at that pace, he will crush his 2015 numbers and seal yet another MVP trophy. Of course, it’s still crazy early.
AL: Mark Trumbo
The newly acquired outfielder did not disappoint through the first two weeks, leading the AL in slugging percentage (.750) and batting average (.386) while also tying for first in home runs with five and sitting second with 11 RBI. Trumbo hitting in the middle of the Orioles’ lineup has been a big reason for their offensive success.
Crazy early Cy Young candidate
NL: Jake Arrieta
While the Phillies’ own Vincent Velasquez has been lights out in his first two starts of 2016, last year’s NL Cy Young winner has been every bit as good as he was last season through his first three starts. His three wins are tied for first in the NL, and his 22 innings pitched is tied for first. His 1.23 ERA is nothing to sneeze at either. Arrieta is on course to contend for a second straight Cy Young Award. But let’s remember that it’s still April, crazy early.
AL: Chris Sale
After finishing among the top five in AL Cy Young voting the last three seasons, Sale looks like he’ll be in contention again in 2016, barring any physical setbacks. The left-hander leads the AL with three wins, and leads the league in innings-pitched with 23. His 23 strikeouts are second behind David Price and he’s already thrown the only complete game and shutout in the AL.
Biggest Surprise: Trevor Story
What a start to the season it has been for the Colorado Rockies rookie shortstop, who homered in each of the first four games of his MLB career. He began the season by hitting two home runs on Opening Day, and by hitting seven homers overall through his first six games. While the 23-year old also led the Majors with 22 strikeouts after those two weeks, his hot start took the league by surprise, and has helped solidify the left side of the Rockies’ infield along with star 3rd baseman Nolan Arenado.