Free Agent signing Nelson Cruz has been everything that the Mariners could have asked for as he has had a .326 batting average with 18 home runs, but the problem is that nobody else for the Mariners is helping out at all. The main reason that the Mariners are underachieving in my opinion is mainly because they rely too much on Robinson Cano and he is having an awful season. Cano only has a .238 batting average with 2 home runs and 19 RBI’s in 58 games this season which is not nearly enough production out of any starter in the MLB especially for a guy who is making $24 million just in 2015. The defense has still been there for Cano as he only has 2 errors, but offensively the Mariners need him to play at a superstar level if they want to make the playoffs because Nelson Cruz can’t carry the offense by himself. I don’t see any team running away with the AL West division, so even though the Mariners are 27-33 they still have the pitching so that if Cano and the rest of the offense starts to score more runs then they could compete for a wild card spot. Either way, Cano isn’t living up to his 1-year/$240 million contract that he signed before the 2014 season, although I have confidence that he will get better as the year goes along.
Josh Hamilton became a superstar player with the Texas Rangers from 2008-2012 which led the Angels to sign him to a 5-year/$125 million contract prior to the 2013 season. However, Hamilton struggled to stay on the field because of injuries and a drug relapse earlier this year basically was the last straw for the Angels as they ended up dealing him back to Texas on April 27th. Now, Hamilton is starting to return to his superstar type of play with the Rangers as he already has 2 home runs and 5 RBI’s in 7 games for the team. The Rangers really needed more consistent offensive players and Hamilton is proving that he can still be the player that he was just a few years ago with Texas. As long as he keeps making contact with the ball and if he can stay on the field then this trade could be one of the best trades in recent memory.
C.C. Sabathia was basically perfect through the first two innings as he didn’t allow a run, but things changed dramatically for him and the Yankees in the 3rd inning on Saturday as the Rangers were able to get 6 runs off of Sabathia and 10 runs total in the inning for a 10-0 lead. Esmil Rogers came in to try to halt the offense of Texas, although Rogers ended up being even worse than Sabathia in his 3 innings of relief work as he allowed 7 runs. However, it wasn’t just the pitching that was awful for the Yankees on Saturday as they were only able to manage 7 hits and 4 runs with 2 of those coming in the 9th inning. Overall, New York just didn’t play a good game and they have lost 9 of their past 10 games to fall to 22-21 on the season. New York has really missed Jacoby Ellsbury the past few games as he has been on the 15-day DL, but he has been the heart of the Yankees offense this season. New York will just look to avoid a sweep against the Rangers tomorrow night, but Texas is looking to make their way back to the .500 mark as they have a 20-23 record after today’s victory.
Cubs 3rd basemen Kris Bryant didn’t have a very good debut against the Padres on April 24th as he went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts, but since then he has come up big for the Chicago Cubs offensively and defensively. Bryant is hitting .360 with 7 RBI’s so far this season as he has led the Cubs to a 3-4 record. What has surprised me is that he has yet to hit a home run so far at the MLB level because that is what he is known for and he led all minor league players with 43 last season. He is proving how well-rounded of a player that he is and I don’t know if the young Cubs team is ready to compete right now, but they certainly could use Bryant’s offensive abilities this season. There is a lot of pressure on Bryant since he has been so successful at every level and he is regarded as the number 1 prospect in the MLB, but the way he has handled it in his first week has been admirable. He is well on his way to winning the rookie of the year award, although I’m sure that doesn’t matter as much as getting the Cubs back into the playoffs this season.
It has been a miserable start to the season for the Milwaukee Brewers as they own the MLB’s worst record at 2-10 after losing 5-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. The pitching certainly hasn’t been good at all for Milwaukee, but that is really the least of their problems right now as the Brewers are struggling to score runs. I think the main problem is that they have been lacking production out of two of their best offensive players from last year with Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun. Lucroy has played in 11 games so far this season and he is only hitting .167 with 2 RBI’s. Those are not the kind of numbers that you would expect out of a guy that is hitting at the top of the lineup. Meanwhile, Ryan Braun we consider to be one of the best power hitters in the MLB today, but he has yet to hit a home run this season and he is only .237 in the middle of the lineup for Milwaukee. The problem is that Braun has struggled to make contact and he is striking out way too much, but he needs to start hitting the ball better if Milwaukee wants to get out of this major offensive slump. Jean Segura has been the best hitter for the Brewers so far with a .318 average and 1 home run, but he can’t be relied upon to consistently drive in runs. Carlos Gomez got off to a good start for Milwaukee with 6 RBI’s, although he is currently on the 15-day DL. The most concerning thing is that the team has only hit 3 home runs in the first 12 games and that is what the Brewers offense lived off of last season. Overall, Milwaukee needs Lucroy and Braun the most to step up and deliver the power hitting that they did last season, although it will be difficult for the Brewers to dig themselves out of the early 2-10 record.
There was a lot of buzz about outfielder Steven Souza when he was coming up in the Washington Nationals farm system. However, his time has finally come to make an impact at the major league level and he will have to do so with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015. The Rays basically traded away their entire offense this offseason by dealing Wil Myers, Yunel Escobar, Matt Joyce, and Ben Zobrist. The problem for Tampa Bay is that they didn’t get any proven MLB players in those trades and they didn’t even receive any top prospects either. Tampa Bay’s lineup was terrible last season and I have no reason to believe that it will be any better this season because they lost so many pieces on offense and they didn’t replace those guys. Sure, the Rays still have Evan Longoria to lead their team and he is one of the best players at his position in the MLB. However, they have no protection for him as James Loney is going to presumably be the cleanup hitter for the Rays in 2015. The big question mark for Tampa Bay will be if Steven Souza can live up to the expectations that he had when he was in the minor leagues. Souza has the power to be a very good hitter in the MLB and his defense should come along as he gets adjusted to the right field position, but he has to make an immediate impact for Tampa Bay this season. He certainly didn’t look that impressive in 23 at bats for Washington last season, although he should hit better once he gets accustomed to major league pitching. Souza was the main reason that the Rays were able to trade Wil Myers to San Diego this offseason and if Souza can’t hit well in 2015 then it will certainly be a rough season for Tampa Bay.