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Major League Baseball: Early Impressions of the 2024 Season

File Link: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Dodger-Stadium-Panorama-052707.jpg License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ User: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Mrmiscellanious~commonswiki
The Dodgers' stadium in Los Angeles.

Staff writer Sara Okada provides insight into the start of the 2024 Major League Baseball season.

For dedicated baseball fans, the Major League Baseball (MLB) holds a special place in the heart. The 2024 season has been ongoing for over a month now, kicking off with an overseas showdown between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers in Seoul, South Korea. The game took place on March 20th and 21st, marking the inaugural MLB event in South Korea.

The Nationals

National League West

Starting strong with a winning score of 5-2 in the opening event against San Diego Padres, the Dodgers, with their MVP Three (designated talent pitcher-hitter Shohei Ohtani, highly regarded first baseman Freddie Freeman and exceptional outfielder Mookie Betts), are demonstrating remarkable sporting prowess this season, with a current winning percentage of .600, and the San Francisco Giants coming in second with a .483.

Despite consecutive losses against the Dodgers, Jung Hoo Lee of the Giants prevented walks and runs several times with his impressive catches. Pitcher Logan Webb of the Giants also achieved a 2.33 Earned Run Average (ERA) and 1.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Despite a loss against the Dodgers, the Padres are follow closely behind with a score of .452, standing at 14 wins and 17 losses. On the other hand, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies are not doing very well with the former having organizational issues and the latter struggling with their pitching.

National League Central

The Chicago Cubs have been performing well, with impressive 8-1 and 9-7 wins against the Dodgers in early April, alongside one 1-4 loss. The Cubs defense, with shortstop Dansby Swanson and second baseman Nico Hoerner, seems to be upholding their strength.

Meanwhile, the St Louis Cardinals are lagging this season mainly due to their offense, which has been scarce. Victor Scott II and Jordan Walker, both of whom were top prospects in MLB, were demoted to Minor League Baseball in the face of a slow start this season.

Currently the Milwaukee Brewers are also going strong, with their winning percentage just above the Cubs at 17 wins and 10 losses. Despite some negative prospects, Christian Yelich has demonstrated an authoritative play with 5 home runs. Christian Yelich, Jackson Chourio and William Contreras are all now carrying the team through its successes.

Spencer Steer of the Cincinnati Reds is also worth mentioning, with some even calling him a new Babe Ruth. Elly De La Cruz of the Reds is also proving to be a valuable offensive asset to the team, with 7 homers and .281/.395/.573 stats.

Last but not least, though the Pittsburgh Pirates have been making improvements over the past year, their offense is still rather weak.

National League East

The Atlanta Braves are crushing it with a winning score of .731, standing at 19 wins and only 7 losses so far. Marcell Ozuna is leading the team with an excellent batting average of .340, achieving a score that is comparable with Shohei Ohtani of the Dodgers. His .340/.416/.670 and 9 home runs certainly reinforce his impressive reputation as “the Big Bear”.

The Washington Nationals currently have a winning percentage of .481 and a score of 13-14, putting them right behind the New York Mets, who are at 14-13. The Nationals seem to be facing challenges going up the MLB podium again this season, not helped by the retirement of pitcher Stephen Strasburg.

The Philadelphia Phillies are following right behind the Braves, achieving a stable winning score of .655 with 19 wins and 10 losses so far. The Miami Marlins are still struggling with their staffing and poor pitching performances. In the National League East, just like the Dodgers in the West, the Braves are showcasing their dominance over their division.

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Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marcell_Ozuna_%2851006249832%29_%28cropped%29.jpg

Author: Jeffrey Hayes
Marcell Ozuna of the Braves leads the team with a batting average of .340.

The American League

American League West

The Seattle Mariners got off to a slow start, but are now performing well with a winning percentage of .536. Key players to watch include Caleb Raleigh, who has earned the team 6 homers so far, and pitcher Bryce Miller, who boasts an Earned Run Average of 2.22.

Following closely behind the Mariners are the Texas Rangers, with key players such as Adolis García winning the team 8 homers, and Josh Jung batting a spectacular average of .412. Despite the absence of pitcher Max Scherzer, whom numerous fans wanted back for this season, the Rangers are performing very well.

The Oakland Athletics also had a slow start to the season, but maintain an overall winning percentage of .414. The Los Angeles Angels, with three-time MVP Mike Trout and rising star Logan O’Hoppe batting an average of .407, have a strong offense. Although ranked lower, their prospects are positive.

Finally, despite their impressive runs in MLB history, the Houston Astros seem to be in peril after an extremely slow start. Bad pitching and injuries are the primary reasons for their underwhelming performance this season.

American League Central

The Cleveland Guardians are showing promise this season with Stephen Vogt steering the team to success. They have however experienced a few lags, including the unavailability of two aces – Shane Bieber and Gavin Williams – due to elbow injuries. The bullpen has been extremely valuable for the Guardians, with their relief pitchers having the best run differential this season.

Following closely are the Kansas City Royals, led by MJ Melendez, who brought the team success in their final three wins against the Chicago White Sox. The Detroit Tigers follow right behind with a winning percentage of .571.

Whilst ranked lower, the Minnesota Twins are well-known for their grand slam home runs after Royce Lewis’ remarkable batting performance last year, and this year is no exception. With recent two- and three-run homers from Carlos Santana, they seem to be performing fairly well. In contrast, the White Sox are performing poorly this season, though they remarkably won against the Tampa Bay Rays last week.

American League East

The New York Yankees are doing well with the addition of the Padres’ outfielder Juan Soto. Soto seems to be fitting in nicely with hits of .324/.443/.581 (195 OPS+) and 7 home runs during his first 28 games. His contributions have already been worth an estimated 1.7 Wins Above Replacement. Moreover, Anthony Volpe’s batting average of .282 with 3 homers, 7 steals and an impressive defense, have contributed to a quick rise in his ranks within the team – we may be looking at the birth of a new star.

The Baltimore Orioles follow closely behind with a winning percentage of .630 and a 17-10 score. The Boston Red Sox are also performing well with great pitching from the bullpen this season. Major commendations go to Craig Breslow for acquiring the right players for the team: outfielders Tyler O’Neill and Ceddanne Rafaela, along with second baseman Vaughn Grissom, have greatly contributed to Red Sox’s success.

In contrast, the Toronto Blue Jays lag seriously behind, even outscored by the Astros – who are currently facing their own problems with 0-8 and 0-10 losses, alongside one meager win of 2-1. Although talented, the Rays have a similar problem in their offense, and are struggling in this season.

License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anthony_Volpe_-_52074997278.jpg

Author: Jeffrey Hyde
Anthony Volpe of the Yankees is performing exceptionally well this season.

Baseball is a highly unpredictable sport with various predictions made for the Spring 2024 season, and audiences will be able to recognize the teams are performing well and those that are falling short. As always, the Dodgers and the Braves seem to be the main notable teams, gathering the attention of many. However, miracles do occur, and every division, team and player has performances and stats worth analyzing.

All information correct as of 30/05/24.

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