Takeaways from the month of June in the MLB
It appears that June, the month of finals and senior portraits, is finally drawing to a close. Let me say, I could not remember June 1st if you put a gun to my head (just a figure of speech here; I remain mum on the gun debate). But what can I remember? Random baseball statistics that, were I of legal age, could settle a lot of bar bets, so let’s use those to write a wonderful piece this afternoon.
I figure we see June off with the takeaways I have from this month as far as it pertains to the Major Leagues of baseball, and if I miss a blatantly obvious one that any simple fan could’ve gotten from Google, then please excuse my oversight. They say what comes to mind first is what you find the most important, so let’s go with it. Oh and p.s (which I guess in this case stands for ‘pre-script’?), these are not ranked in any order.
The Poor Mets
Remember when the Mets got off to an 11-1 start, their best since FOREVER? Yeah well they have managed to go 21-44 since then, good for a winning percentage of .323 (which, if carried out for a full season, would put them with the likes of the Royals and the Orioles). New York fans took their classic approach when Mickey Callaway was hired: at first, boo him into submission. He’s the worst choice ever. Then, praise him indefinitely as he turns out to be quite good at what he does. But as soon as he started to struggle, they were on him like a pack of wild dogs that hadn’t eaten in three days, berating the poor former Indians’ pitching coach with a ferocity than only Philadelphians can match. Anyways back to the team. Their offense, though talented, is too inconsistent, their bullpen is consistent in its blowing of games, and that poor Fab 5 of deGrom, Syndergaard, Harvey, Wheeler and Matz has officially failed to materialize as the staff is starting to break up (albeit much better than Harvey’s slider). But hey, at least Nimmo and Rosario are new enough to not catch the Mets’ Plague yet…
The NL East
The story of the year, really. The Braves sit in the division lead with what is tied for the second best record in the National League, and the Phillies lie only three games behind them. The Nationals are in third! THIRD!!! I still believe Atlanta cannot keep up their torrid pace and the National’s overwhelming talent will eventually kick its butt into gear, but for now let the babies have their bottles. I’ve touched on both of these teams previously, but if you are unsure why the NL East is so jumbled let me quickly explain; the Braves have seen outstanding production from either old or normally useless players (i.e Nick Markakis, Tyler Flowers, Ryan Flaherty) and I could swear every member of their pitching staff, from Julio Teheran to Brandon McCarthy, owns a sub-3.00 ERA. For Philadelphia, their high-profile free-agent signings (such as Jake Arrieta, Carlos Santana and Pat Neshek who I realize is still on the DL) have managed to both provide a veteran presence in the clubhouse and production on the field, as Philly’s young core is taking off (or maybe Gabe Kapler is just actually a good manager). It will certainly be an interesting race...for at least another month.
Good ol’ Scooter Gennett
Can I just give a shoutout to my boy Scooter? He absolutely owned May, hitting .398 with 10 homers, and he hasn’t slowed down that much since. In fact, I would put in a vote for him to make the NL All-Star roster; he has always been a plus defender, he’s hitting .336 with 13 HR and 52 RBI, and his WAR is already 3.1. I used to say that Scooter Gennett was a poor man’s Eric Sogard, but I can now say that Eric Sogard is a poor man’s Scooter Gennett. In fact, most second basemen would be a poor man’s Scooter Gennett. One final note here: since Gennett had his famous four-homer outburst last June 6th, he has hit 33 homers, boasts a slugging percentage of .529 and has a batting average of .312 (“But batting average is a horrible stat to measure how good a hitter is!” you may cry. True, but I think we can all agree anyone who can hit over .300 is a very good hitter). This is all in a span of a little over 600 plate appearances, definitely enough for a full season (the average amount of PA’s for a hitter over a full 162-game season is 492). Scooter Gennett looks like he’s here to stay, ladies and gentlemen.
The Brewers are Definitely for Real
Think back to last year when the Brewers were in almost the same position they sit in today. You probably doubted them, right? Said they had no shot at the NL Central crown? Said their first half was a fluke? Well you would have been right about the first two things, but they carried on to finish the 2017 season at 86-76, missing the Wild Card by just one game. They went this offseason and, among other things, acquired Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain (they also did a nice job of developing their young/newer talent, *cough cough* Jesus Aguilar). Craig Counsell is so young it actually works, and the Brew Crew is ‘tapping’ into the powder ‘keg’ that is their potential. With the Cubs mired in mediocrity (at least by their standards) and the other two early competitors (I’m looking at you, Cardinals and Pirates) falling off somewhat, the Brewers have breathing room atop a historically tight division, and the way they play baseball sure is sustainable enough to last another three months (if you catch my drift).
Ummm...What Happened to Colorado?
Okay so this article is turning into more of a standings review, but whatever. When the Brewers missed the Wild Card by one game last year, they fell right behind the Colorado Rockies, who up until this point have looked almost lifeless (with the exception of the great Nolan Arenado). They’re not even .500, their rotation still won’t develop, and the $80 million they spent on their bullpen sure has come right back to bite them in the butt (with the exception of Adam Ottavino who, mind you, was already under contract for this year). The Bud Black luster seems to have worn off this team rather quickly, and they seem like a drunk jellyfish floating along, hoping not to get eaten but doing nothing to better its life. Weird analogy? I agree. But I will say it is easy to get caught up in such a high-profiel division, one that features the ageless “wonder” of the Giants, the powerhouse Dodgers and the blazing hot Diamondbacks. Don’t count on seeing this team in October (especially because, due to the early start of this season, there will be no regular season games in October unlike many of the past seasons).
J.D Martinez was Worth the Wait
The Red Sox may have had to wait until Feb. 26th to sign Martinez to a 5 yr/$125 million contract, but it was well worth it. So far, Martinez is hitting .329 (good for fifth in the Majors) with 25 HR (first in the Majors) and 64 RBI (first in the Majors). I mean, the guy is a serious contender for the Triple Crown. He has done a wonderful job of filling the gaping void Big Papi left over two years ago, and the Red Sox right now sit in first place in the AL East with the AL’s best record.
Okay that seems to be enough. I think I at least touched on the more important things, but I remain open to shouldering the blame of missing any other key things from June, like Derek Dietrich hitting .379 or Paul Goldschmidt returning to MVP form or Shin-Soo Choo proving he’s for real this season or Blake Snell developing into one of the game’s top pitchers….I could write a 10,000 word article on this stuff but no one wants to read that. You’re welcome. Oh and p.s (which now means post script): I just realized my past two posts have "Takeaways" in their respective titles. Oh well.