The Early Season Most Disappointing Major League Teams

This report is based on the MLB teams’ performance as of the close of play on Sunday, May 1, 2016.

I begin this report by giving my award for the most disappointing early season team to the Houston Astros. As of this writing, the Astros’ record stands at 8-17 with a winning percentage of 0.320 and a run differential of -32. For the AL their winning percentage is the second worst and their run differential is the worst. In my blog of April 3, 2016 the Astros was my pick as well as the pick of 21 of 31 ESPN reporters to win the AL West. Their failure can be attributed mainly to their failure on the mound.  Their team ERA of 4.80 and WHIP of 1.43 rank them last in the AL in both categories. Dallas Keuchel, the reigning Cy Young Award winner currently has an ERA of 4.41 with a record of 2-3. Even though their closer Luke Gregerson has converted all five of his save opportunities with a 1.80 ERA, the bullpen as a whole has been mediocre at best, allowing 13 home runs and pitching to an ERA approaching 4.50. Their team batting average of .230 ranks them 13th out of the 15 AL teams. Also, the Astros are not hitting with men in scoring position. Runner-up for the award for most disappointing early season team goes to my New York Yankees. After watching them being swept by their arch rival Red Sox, what else can I say. Before the season began the thought was if the starting pitchers could stay healthy with the three-headed monster of Betances, Miller, and Chapman to close the games, the Yankees might even contend for the AL East title. Well the good news is they are staying healthy; the bad news is they have forgotten how to pitch. The team ERA of 4.79 ranks them as the 14th worst ERA in the AL, .01 better than the Astros. The five starters Tanaka (2.87 ERA), Eovaldi (5.46 ERA), Pineda (6.33 ERA), Sabathia (5.06 ERA), and Severino (6.86 ERA) have a combined ERA of 5.17. The closer Miller has been lights out giving up 0 earned runs in 10 innings with 16 SO, 0 BB and 5 for 5 in save opportunities. Betances until his last few outings has been outstanding in his role as setup man with 24 SO in 11.2 innings. But the failure of the starters has provided very few opportunities for Miller and Betances to do their jobs. The hitting has failed also. Out of the 15 AL teams, the Yankee team (BA, OBP, SLG, OPS) currently rank (11, 12, 15, 14) in these four categories. Some individual batting failures include Chase Headley, their starting third baseman, who has 10 hits, all being singles, in 64 AB giving him a .156 BA. Ellsbury and Gardner, one and two in the batting order, are both batting under .250. For the first 10 games Castro, Beltran and McCann supplied the necessary hitting to keep the Yankees at the .500 level. But all three have recently cooled off and except for A-Rod (3 HR in last 4 games) no other Yankee has picked up the slack. As a diehard Yankee fan it is becoming very difficult to watch the Yankee pitchers get two strikes on a batter without being able to finish the job and watching the Yankee hitters fail to get hits with runners in scoring position. Combining poor starting pitching with poor clutch hitting leads to the Yankee’s current team record of 8 -15 with a PCT of 0.348, the third worst percentage in the AL. If George Steinbrenner was alive, he would not tolerate his Yankees getting out-pitched, out-hit and out-shined by their crosstown rival New York Mets.

The good news for both the Yankees and Astros is the season consists of 162 games and less than 26 games have been played so far by each team. Both the Yankees and Astros are only 6 games behind their division leading Red Sox and Rangers. Since no team is expected to run away with their divisions, a nice winning streak can move either team quickly from their current last place to the top of their division.

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