MLB Memorial Day Season Recap: National League

Instead of doing another Red Sox weekly recap, I’m going briefly recap what’s been happening around the MLB for each team as we wrap up the first two months of the 2017 season with only four months left to go.

2017 MLB Predictions

June 2 NL East Standings
June 2 NL East Standings

Washington Nationals: The Nats have been running away with this division since Opening Day, and they do not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. They have scored the second most runs in the MLB, and have allowed the 8th fewest. Ryan Zimmerman has not been relevant for this team since the 2013, but guess what; he’s back, and he’s having his best season ever at 32 years old. He is dominated NL pitchers with a .368 AVG, 15 HR’s, and 44 RBI’s. Obviously he is not alone in this lineup as Bryce Harper has slugged 15 homers of his own to go along with is .328 AVG and 43 RBI’s. Daniel Murphy is also racking up hits with his .325 AVG, 9 HR’s, and 36 RBI’s. This lineup is deep and could be just as dangerous as their starting rotation. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and the lefty Gio Gonzalez have been dominate with a combined ERA of 2.83. The one issue for this team is that they do not have a closer. They have 5 different relievers who have recorded a save this year so look for them do solve this issue at the trade deadline.

Similar to the AL West, this division needs to be shutdown.

New York Mets: Ah the Mets; the team that was supposed to compete with the Nationals, but then everyone got hurt. Steven Matz hasn’t seen the mound yet, David Wright left on April 20th with a shoulder injury (retirement looming?), Yoenis Cespedes injured his hamstring on April 27th, Noah Syndergaard hurt his shoulder on May 7th, Jeurys Familia is out with a shoulder injury until August, Matt Harvery is golfing and partying in the Hamptons, and Mr. Met is flipping fans off. Did I get all of that? Michael Conforto is the only one the lineup who wants to play as he is hitting .309 with 13 homers and 34 RBI’s. Jacob deGrom has been inconsistent this year with his 3.97 ERA and I think Harvey’s time as a Met is running out.

Atlanta Braves: As expected, the Braves have been subpar this year as they rank in the bottom half of the MLB in both runs scored and allowed. Freddie Freeman was on the verge of having a monster season after putting up 14 HR’s and 25 RBI’s with his .341 AVG until he fractured his left wrist and should be out for about 10 weeks. However, Matt Kemp is having a great season as well by smashing 10 HR’s and 30 RBI’s to go along with his .345 AVG, but for some reason no one seems to be talking about him. In 50 games thus, the highly regarded #1 pick, Dansby Swanson is only batting .185. Aside from Jaime Garcia and his 3.18 ERA, the rotation does not have much to discuss. This is still a rebuilding team that has a lot of work to do. If the right offer is presented to them, look for Matt Kemp to be on the move at the deadline.

Miami Marlins: There are rumors that the Jeter Bush group is no longer going to purchase the team, so does anyone want this team? They rank in the bottom half of the MLB in both runs scored and allowed. Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Justin Bour are all having productive seasons at the plate as they have combined for 43 HR’s, 113 RBI’s, and a .295 AVG. Also, the speedy Dee Gordon has already swiped 17 bags so far. As for the pitching, there is really nothing to talk about except for the 25 year old from the Dominican, Jose Urena, who has a 3.14 ERA in 5 starts so far.

Philadelphia Phillies: The rebuilding phase continues as this team has scored the 4th fewest runs in the MLB and has allowed the 23rd most. The 26 year old outfielder, Aaron Altherr, is having a career year with his .299 AVG, 8 HR’s, and 28 RBI’s. The veteran reliever Pat Neshek will most certainly be traded to a contending team at the deadline as he has come out of the bullpen 21 times, and has sported a 0.83 WHIp and 0.93 ERA.

June 2 NL Central Standings
June 2 NL Central Standings

Milwaukee Brewers: Now here is one of the best stories in baseball. They offense has been great as they have scored the 6th most runs in the MLB, but the pitching has just been average. This team has been using the long ball to their advantage as they have the 6th most on the MLB, and Eric Thames is leading the Brew Crew with 14 of them. They also have great depth throughout their lineup and bench as 11 players have at least 14 RBI’s or more, but they struggling for batting average as Travis Shaw is leading the team with a .292 AVG. The next highest is .284. If this team wants to keep this up, they need to stop relying so much on HR’s and start to get runs in other ways. Also, due to injuries Ryan Braun has only played in 30 games so far. Neftali Feliz was chased out of his closing duties after picking up 4 losees and the job was given to Corey Knebel; who now has 4 saves and a 1.04 ERA. In my previous article, I said that Ryan Braun would get traded at the deadline, and now I am 50/50 on that prediction.

 St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals have been a weird team to watch so far as they have scored the 24 fewest runs in the MLB, but have allowed the 4th fewest as well. This team is desperately lacking a big bat as nobody in the lineup has more than 9 home runs or 27 RBI’s. Jedd Gyorko is leading the squad with a .321 AVG, but after that there nobody close to touching him. Their starting rotation has been flawless as Carlos Martinez has 80 K’s, a 1.11 WHIP, and a 3.08 ERA. Mike Leake has been terrific too with his 0.94 WHIP and 2.24 ERA, and Lance Lynn also has a sub par 3.00 ERA. If this team can pick up a bat, they can definitely make a run to the postseason, if they fail to do this then I do not see it happening for them this year.

 Chicago Cubs: Another big surprise throughout the league has been how the defending World Series Champs have yet to figure out 2017. The offense and pitching has been just average, and right in the middle of the pack of every other MLB team. They are currently riding a 6 game losing streak and have dipped 2 game below .500. Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber have a combined .190 AVG, but Rizzo does have 12 HR’s and30 RBI’s to help himself out a bit. As expected Kris Bryant has been the heart of this lineup with his .278 AVG, 11 HR’s, and 23 RBI’s. However, some people thought that he would be doing better than this. The core starting rotation that features Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Kendricks, and John Lackey have all somewhat struggled as they have a combined 16-15 record and 4.33 ERA. If this team wants to bounce back, it’s going to take a team effort from both the starting line up and rotation. The newly acquired Wade Davis is having a stellar season with his 10 saves, 0.76 WHIP, and 0.98 ERA.

Cincinnati Reds: The Reds are another team that is in a rebuilding phase, but they just won’t let go of Joey Votto; who would bring a huge haul of prospects back. Right now they are 9th in the MLB in runs scored and have allowed the 3rd most runs in the league. As of May 11th this team was 19-15, but since then they have gone 5-13. Joey Votto, Adam Duvall, and Scott Schebler have a combined 44 HR’s and 117 RBI’s. Zack Cozart is also having a terrific season at shortstop and is cruising with a .347 AVG and the speedy Billy Hamilton has 28 steals to lead the MLB. On the flip side, Bronson Arroyo is still alive, but has a 6.62 ERA. They have also created another Cuban closer in Raisel Iglesias as he has been dominate this year with 9 saves and 0.68 ERA.

Pittsburgh Pirates: This team has been a disspoint so far in 2017 as they have scored the 6th fewest runs in the MLB and the pitching has just been below average. Andrew McCutchen just can not get back into form as he is hitting .223. Gregory Polanco has been dealing with some minor injuries as well and the best power source has been Josh Bell who has 9 HR’s. Ivan Nova is leading the rotation with 9 quality starts and a 2.92 ERA. The trade rumor favorite, Gerrit Cole is having an ok season as well with his 8 quality starts and 3.65 ERA. Jameson Taillon is also making great recovery from his successful testicular cancer surgery and should be making rehab starts soon. Get well bud.

June 2 NL West Standings
June 2 NL West Standings

Colorado Rockies: Another huge surprise in the MLB this year has been the Rockies, and has noted in my predictions article, I kind of saw this one coming. They’ve scored the 3rd most runs in the MLB, and the pitching has been average. For this team, having average pitching is actually very good because they are notorious for having awful pitching. Charlie Blackmon is tossing his name into the MVP category with this .320 AVG, 13 HR’s, and 47 RBI’s. My MVP prediction candidate, Nolan Arenado is have a good season too as he is batting .276 with 13 HR’s and 35 RBI’s, but Mark Reynolds is leading the squad with 14 HR’s. Carlos Gonzalez has been struggling in the 51 games that he has played in. So far he is hitting .239 with only 4 HR’s and 17 RBI’s. As for the hurlers, the 22 year old Venezuelan, Antonio Senzatela, is 7-2 with a 3.49 ERA. Kyle Freeland is leading the rotation with 8 quality starts, and has a 6-3 record with a 3.53 ERA. A big reason for why they are in the position they are in is because of the anchor in the bullpen, Greg Holland. He has been dominating for them with his MLB leading 20 saves and 1.31 ERA. I really hope that this team is not a fluke and that they can continue this success for the rest of the year.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Well, here we go again, but another surprise has the team down in the desert as they have scored the 5th most runs in the MLB and have allowed the 6th fewest. Paul Goldschmidt is on track to have a 20-20 season as he is flashing his offensive skills with a .303 AVG, 12 HR’s, 40 RBI’s, and 12 steals. Jake Lamb has been great at the hot corner as well with his .284 AVG, 14 HR’s, and 45 RBI’s. There have been a lot of great shortstops emerging in the league again, but Chris Owings has been kept under the radar with his .309 AVG, 6 HR’s, 29 RBI’s, and 9 steals. Another unique thing about the D-Backs is that 11 different players have at least 11 RBI’s or more.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Even though they are in 3rd place, the Dodgers have been great this year as they have scored the 6th most runs in the MLB and have allowed the fewest. The recently called up Cody Bellinger is already leading the team with 11 HR’s and is tied for the team lead in RBI’s with Yasiel Puig at 29. The young stud, Corey Seager is slashing .280 with 7 HR’s and 24 RBI’s. They also have 11 different players with at least 11 RBI’s. No that is not a copy and paste from the D-Backs paragraph. As expected, Clayton Kershaw is 7-2 with a 0.95 WHIP and 2.37 ERA. The other lefty, Alex Wood, is 6-0 with a 1.69 ERA. And to wrap up the games, Kenley Jansen has recorded 8 saves, has a K/9 of 15.75, and has an ERA of 1.35.

San Diego Padres: With this rebuilding team, they have scored the 3rd fewest runs, and have allowed the most in the MLB. For hitting, Wil Myers is leading the team with a .265 AVG. Really? .265 is leading the team? He does have 11 HR’s and 30 RBI’s as well. I figure he will be the lone All-Star rep for this team come July. I got nothing else.

San Francisco Giants: And the other candidate for the Bust Of The Year Award goes to the Giants. They have scored the 2nd fewest runs in the MLB and are 21st in runs allowed. Buster Posey is having a terrific season behind the plate as he is hitting .348, and Brandon Belt is leading the team with 10 HR’s and 22 RBI’s. Madison Bumgarner went down with an injury as a result of a dirt biking accident, and Johnny Cueto is not pitching like he should be with his 4.37 ERA. Nobody saw this coming for them this year, and I do not know if there is a way to fix this team this year.

Steve Lambe is a contributing writer for gmbsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @stevelambe13

 

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