By: Charles Booth
The first month of the season is about to come to a close, and I wanted to look at the surprise teams in the MLB: one in the AL one in the NL. The NL team is a no brainer because it is the resurgent Milwaukee Brewers who have baseball’s best record. The AL team was more of a tossup, but I decided to go with the Minnesota Twins because who would expect them to be near .500 – let alone being one game over and one game behind the Detroit tigers for first place in the AL Central? I think the Brewers will contend for the NL Central title, and they will definitely be able to secure a wild card spot if everything holds up. The Twins will probably regress towards .500 unless the pitching holds up. I want to take some time to look into these two teams and how they’re doing it.
By: Zach Poole
When the Cincinnati Reds finally decided to call up outfielder Billy Hamilton, fans around the country were anxious to see the fastest man in professional baseball play the game. So far, he has been used as nothing more than a pinch runner as the Reds try to secure a playoff spot. The question is, can the Reds afford to use up one of the 25 roster spots on a guy they only fully trust to run the bases?
- Atlanta Braves: Atlanta has the 3rd best team ERA in the majors right now at 3.07. In addition, the Braves have the 4th best Slugging percentage right now in the majors with much help from Justin Upton who leads the majors in home runs. Although they’re coming off a small 3 game skid, make no mistake about it, these guys are the real deal.
- Texas Rangers: The Rangers have a league best 2.92 ERA as a team, and are making a very strong case for 1st in the rankings at this point in the season. Darvish is 4-1 with a 1.65 ERA over 34 innings of work.
- Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox are riding a 4 game win streak into the #3 spot in the power rankings. They have the 2nd best team slugging percent in the MLB at .440, and Clay Buchholz is 5-0 with a 1.19 ERA over 37 innings of work. The only thing pinning them behind the Rangers is the the team ERA at 9th best in the majors at 3.49.
- Kansas City Royals: The Royals have the MLB’s best ERA pitching 2.96 as a team. They aren’t doing anything flashy, but they’re driving in runs and riding a 3 game win streak with some pretty solid pitching to boot.
- Baltimore Orioles: The O’s are slugging .427 and driving in runs with 116 RBI’s. They also have a league 6th best team batting average of .266, with 4 of their regulars hitting .297 or higher.