Weaknesses that could sink MLB’s 10 best teams


A fast look on the standings reveals that it is shaping up as an odd season. The Pink Sox and Yankees each began 28-12, the primary time two groups have gained 28 of their first 40 video games since 2002. Within the Nationwide League, 10 of the 15 groups are over .500. In the meantime, seven groups start the week beneath .400, with the Dodgers sitting proper at that mark. All of it means we have now a number of good groups — not less than, to date.

Even good groups have main flaws, nevertheless, so let us take a look at the highest 10 groups on this week’s Energy Rankings and study their largest issues.

New York Yankees

Largest downside: SP Sonny Grey (6.39 ERA, 46 hits and 24 walks in 38 innings)

Additionally of concern: 3B Miguel Andujar (.282/.296/.458, however 28/Three SO/BB and minus-6 Defensive Runs Saved)

Due to robust begins from Luis Severino and CC Sabathia, the Yankees’ rotation is fourth within the American League in ERA, serving to to cowl for Grey’s abysmal begin. He has been capable of go greater than 5 innings in simply three of eight begins, and the stroll charge is means too excessive. His swing-and-miss charge continues to be consistent with his profession norms, however batters are swinging much less as a result of he is not throwing sufficient strikes.

Andujar has definitely proven the hitting expertise that might make him a long-term answer at third base, however the protection is an issue — he form of slingshots his throws from the aspect, resulting in accuracy points — and the OBP is poor, resulting in a participant who has merely been alternative degree. At a place with expertise probably obtainable through commerce (Manny Machado, Adrian Beltre, Mike Moustakas) and even in-house, if Brandon Drury recovers, the Yankees might improve.

Boston Pink Sox

Largest downside: Pink Sox catchers are hitting .178/.228/.224 for the worst wOBA within the majors (.209).

Additionally of concern: Jackie Bradley Jr. is hitting .171, together with .088 towards lefties.

I am not as apprehensive in regards to the bullpen as everybody else. The pen is second within the majors in FanGraphs WAR and sixth in Win Chance Added. Positive, Dave Dombrowski would possibly look so as to add one other arm in July, but it surely needs to be a really high quality addition — say, a man like Brad Hand — to supply a big improve.

The Pink Sox love the protection Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon present, but it surely additionally means they’re punting a place on offense proper now. Good luck discovering anyone on the commerce market, nevertheless, until you wish to pay a hefty worth for J.T. Realmuto.

Bradley’s underlying stats are literally much like final season, so there’s been some dangerous luck, though the Pink Sox are beginning to sit him towards lefties.

Houston Astros

Largest downside: Who’s the nearer?

Additionally of concern: Jake Marisnick has change into unplayable with a “Holy crap, that actually is happening” stat line of 41 strikeouts and one stroll with a .141 common. Derek Fisher hasn’t hit. Marwin Gonzalez hasn’t hit like 2017. So, they might search for outfield assist.

There are good pitchers within the bullpen: Chris Devenski, Brad Peacock, even Hector Rondon has been strong to date. The large query will stay unknown irrespective of the numbers: Are you able to belief Ken Giles within the postseason? He is off to an attention-grabbing begin: He hasn’t walked anyone, however his strikeout charge is down — partially as a result of he is throwing extra fastballs and fewer wipeout sliders. Does he not belief his slider, the pitch that deserted him final October?

There are potential closers on the market in Hand, Kelvin Herrera and perhaps Zach Britton if he will get wholesome, but it surely’s not clear these guys are any higher than what the Astros have already got. It might result in one other October of A.J. Hinch winging it together with his bullpen.

Los Angeles Angels

Largest downside: The all the time dependable Kole Calhoun is hitting .158/.187/.195.

Additionally of concern: Albert Pujols is not good.

What’s occurred to Calhoun? The protection continues to be excellent, however he is fully misplaced on the plate with 37 strikeouts and simply 5 walks and is getting blown away by fastballs with a .151 common and .330 OPS (after an .800-plus OPS towards fastballs the previous three seasons). That appears like a man taking part in via an damage or anyone who awakened sooner or later and the bat velocity was gone.

The opposite outfield choices are Chris Younger and Jabari Blash, and Younger is hitting .146. Adam Jones is not nice, however he’d possible be obtainable, and the Padres have a glut of mediocre outfielders who would possibly present a small improve at this level.

As for Pujols, I would not anticipate a transfer right here, though it appears Jefry Marte might need to start out getting extra alternatives, even within the video games Shohei Ohtani is the designated hitter.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Largest downside: Their catchers are nearly as dangerous as Boston’s group, hitting .183/.257/.310.

Additionally of concern: Effectively, Paul Goldschmidt is not hitting like a famous person, and so they want him to hit like a famous person given among the different holes within the lineup (each center infielders have sub-.300 OBPs).

Arizona’s catching downside is exacerbated much more as a result of the D-backs carry three catchers, which means Alex Avila and John Ryan Murphy are sometimes used as pinch hitters.

Getting Jake Lamb again will assist the offense, however the secret’s Goldschmidt, who’s battling a .211/.337/.374 line. You blame the brand new humidor, however that hasn’t affected A.J. Pollock.

His downside has been a number of swing-and-misses — however the pattern line there is not good:

2016: 22.9 p.c miss charge

2017: 26.5 p.c miss charge

2018: 31.1 p.c miss charge


St. Louis Cardinals

Largest downside: Dexter Fowler, Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong are all hitting beneath .200, and Marcell Ozuna has a lackluster .658 OPS. I suppose that is 4 issues.

Additionally of concern: It is the Cardinals, which implies the bullpen is all the time of concern.

The man to be least involved about is Ozuna, who continues to be displaying robust exit velocities and displaying indicators of popping out his droop. He was hitting too many floor balls early and pulling too many pitches, and the stroll charge is not good (however the chase charges and miss charges are the identical as 2017). He ought to get going quickly.

Fowler and Carpenter are tougher to determine. They’re at that scary age when decline can occur. Fowler has his typical robust plate self-discipline, however his swing-and-miss charge is up 5 p.c from 2017, and he has hit a number of popups. Carpenter’s miss charge is means up, from 19.5 p.c to 28.2 p.c. Possibly he has taken the entire plate-discipline factor too far and is discovering himself in too many pitcher’s counts.

The excellent news is these guys ought to enhance, however the Cardinals even have choices: Jedd Gyorko within the infield and Harrison Bader within the outfield. In addition they have the depth to make a splashy transfer for a Machado.

Chicago Cubs

Largest downside: Yu Darvish is Zero-Three in six begins with a 6.00 ERA (he has additionally been on the disabled checklist with a virus, which sounds suspiciously like a “Let’s give him a 10-day break” virus).

Additionally of concern: Jason Heyward … this simply in … nonetheless cannot hit.

Of the 10 groups listed right here, the Cubs are most likely the crew least prone to make a giant transfer, barring some form of main damage. Anthony Rizzo has recovered from a poor April with a sizzling Could, and Addison Russell has only one residence run. Darvish might be superb. In my fantasy state of affairs, they flip Russell for Machado and go all-in for 2018. Hey, flags fly eternally.

Washington Nationals

Largest downside: Bullpen depth. Nearer Sean Doolittle is ok, however the pen is 20th within the majors in ERA.

Additionally of concern: With Adam Eaton on the 60-day DL, they’ve began six completely different left fielders.

Washington is one contender clearly in want of aid assist, and the Nationals might be tied to each obtainable reliever. It will likely be attention-grabbing to see what they ultimately do within the outfield. Michael Taylor is a plus defender however hasn’t hit, and Matt Adams has hit, however you do not actually need him in left area. Possibly Eaton will get wholesome, or perhaps high prospect Victor Robles, who injured his elbow on a diving catch in Triple-A in April, is able to contribute later within the season.

Philadelphia Phillies

Largest downside: Nearer Hector Neris has three blown saves (and three losses) and a 5.17 ERA.

Additionally of concern: The precise fielders are hitting .166/.287/.290.

Neris has racked up strikeouts the previous couple of seasons, however he additionally has had residence run points that are not solely attributable to Residents Financial institution Park. With a deep farm system, the Phillies have the assets to make a deal in the event that they keep within the race.

Aaron Altherr had a strong 2017, his stroll charge is up and his Statcast numbers counsel he is underperforming his anticipated manufacturing. He must be superb.

Atlanta Braves

Largest downside: Third base. Braves third basemen have really hit properly, however bringing in Jose Bautista reveals the crew wasn’t shopping for Ryan Flaherty‘s robust begin.

Additionally of concern: Bullpen depth.

Bautista is extra of a shot at the hours of darkness than a probable answer, given his poor efficiency on the plate with the Blue Jays in 2017 — not to mention his capacity to play the place frequently for the primary time in years. Given the potential glut of third basemen on the commerce market, is there a extra excellent match for Machado to land for 3 months? The Braves have pitching depth within the minors to make that transfer.

The bullpen has really been surprisingly first rate to date, rating ninth in ERA with some good outcomes from Arodys Vizcaino (a bit of wild, however a 1.93 ERA), Dan Winkler (1.02 ERA, robust peripherals) and Shane Carle (Zero.75 ERA). This group has allowed simply 9 residence runs in 150 innings, however including a top quality reliever or two would assist stability among the inevitable regression. The Braves must watch out about not pushing too early, however that is wanting like a crew that may contend all season.

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