April Showers Bring Great MLB Seasons

The first month of the 2023 season has been crazy, we’ve had a team break a record already, a player break a franchise record, and a few disappointing starts to the year. What’s been true for years though is how exciting the MLB is and this year is proving no different.


The Rays Historic Start

The Tampa Bay Rays started their season going 13-0 which tied the 1982 Braves and the 1987 Brewers which is the best undefeated start to a season in the modern era. They are still the best team in the league just ahead of teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, and Atlanta Braves. Although they have had a really good start this could be attributed to playing teams like the Oakland Athletics, Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, and Boston Red Sox who are all considered “bad” teams. Even still they are 19-3 at the time of writing and are undefeated at home so that’s something to be proud of.


World Series Hangovers

The Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies played each other in the 2022 World Series where the Astros would top the Phillies in six games. After this victory, the Astros fan base was excited for the 2023 season, but the Astros haven’t been too hot to start it off. They started the year splitting a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox, losing a 3 game series to the Tigers and the Texas Rangers. They only had series wins over the Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays until they swept the Braves in a three-game series which is most likely lifting the team’s spirits.


Now for the Phillies, they started the year getting swept in a three-game series to the Rangers, then losing a three-game series to the New York Yankees. They then would beat the Reds in a three-game series, but then would play them again in a four-game series which they split, and then would go on to beat the White Sox in a three-game series and the Colorado Rockies in a four-game series. Although the Phillies are still under 500 they still have many things to be optimistic about.


It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

The Phillies have started the year without their best player, Bryce Harper, and their starting first baseman, Rhys Hoskins, due to injury, which is a big reason why they have gotten off to a cold start. But other players on the team have picked up the slack that has been left behind, most notably a little group on the team named the Phillies Daycare. This little group consists of third baseman Alec Bohm, second baseman Bryson Stott and center fielder Brandon Marsh.


Stott has already broken a Phillies record and he now has the longest hit streak for a Phillie to start the year with 17 games. Although that streak has been broken up he is still hitting for a .340 batting average and a .834 OPS which is the combined on-base percentage and the slugging percentage of a player. Marsh was always seen as a great fielder, but now he is being seen for his great bat as he is, at the time of writing, leading the league in OPS with 1.213 and is fourth in the league in batting average. Bohm is leading the team in RBIs and has filled in at first base whenever the team needs it and has made some amazing plays over there.


But it hasn’t only been the daycare carrying the team, Nick Castellanos has had an amazing comeback season so far after his very disappointing 2022, Kyle Schwarber is still hitting bombs, and JT Realmuto is throwing people out from the plate. Also, Harper has made record time recovering from his Tommy John surgery and is back as of May 2nd when he was projected to be back around the all-star break in July.


Other Disappointing and Shocking Starts

The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a very shocking start thanks to star left fielder Byran Reynolds and also first baseman Carlos Santana who, despite being 37 years old, is tied for second on the team for RBIs with 12. What’s also surprising about this start is that they’re doing it without other young good players like Oneil Cruz and Ji-man Choi. 


The LA Dodgers have had a weird start to the year going 12-11 at the time of writing as they only won one series before facing the Mets and that was against the Rockies in a two-game series. A lot of people were expecting the Dodgers’ regular success to just continue into 2023 because they didn’t change too much in the off-season with two notable changes being the losses of Trea Turner and Cody Bellinger. 


Speaking of Cody Bellinger, he has had a resurgence in his career after signing with the Chicago Cubs where he is hitting for a .300 batting average and has 15 RBIs already when in the past few years after winning the MVP in 2019, he has been very disappointing. His success is a big reason why the Cubs have started so well when they were expected to be at the bottom of the league. 


Another NL West team that has disappointed so far is the Padres who are 12-13 at the time of writing this. You know there’s a problem with the team when a 37-year-old Matt Carpenter, who has only played 19 games is leading the team in RBIs with 13 when you have stars like Juan Soto and Manny Machado who both have under 10 RBIs and have played at least 24 games. The pitching hasn’t done this team any favors either with three out of the five pitchers in the starting rotation having an ERA over five runs.


Another team that is struggling with their pitching is the Baltimore Orioles who have a combined ERA of 4.29, but despite this, the Orioles are having one of the best starts to the season going 15-8. The reason for this success is their offense is making up for their poor pitching, especially shortstop Jorge Mateo who has a 1.049 OPS and .351 batting average, first baseman Ryan Mountcastle with 20 RBIs, and center fielder Cedric Mullins with 19 RBIs.


World Series Predictions at the End of April

The Rays are looking unstoppable right now, which definitely has the chance to change in a month, but right now I believe they will win the American League and not many teams can stand up to them, kind of like the Astros last year. For the National League, it gets a little harder because the best team right now in the National League are the Pirates who I believe will end up falling off soon and they’ll be figured out. It seems like it will be the Braves who will represent the National League this year in the world series as they have looked amazing too. No matter who wins, it will be a very interesting season of baseball.