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Is there a shift in power around MLB?

New faces at the top of the standings around MLB

The 2017 Major League Baseball season is nearing mid-June. Around this time it’s safe to look at who’s maybe shocked and disappointed their fan base. Who’s overachieving and who’s making Vegas odds-makers pull their hair out? Let’s take a look around MLB at the 2017 “contenders/pretenders” so far.

Yanks, Astros ruling the roost in the AL.

Aaron Judge is a beast. Let’s get that out of the way right now. He’s leading in all three Triple Crown categories through 60 games for New York. But don’t let his success cause you to think he’s the sole reason the Yankees (37-23) are in first place in the East, four games up on Boston. The All-Star Game in Miami might be full of Yanks. Starlin Castro, Matt Holliday, Aaron Hicks – to name just a few others contributing to the AL’s top offense. Oh, and they can pitch, too. The Yankees have the best team ERA in the league at 3.60. A 36-year old CC Sabathia (7-2, 3.66) is proving he’s not quite done, yet, while 23-year old Luis Severino (5-2, 2.75) is proving he could be the future at the top of this New York rotation.

Would you believe it if I told you for all that’s been said about New York, the Houston Astros (44-20) just might be a better team? They sit atop not just the AL West, 12 games up on the Angels, but they own the best record in baseball. George Springer continues to lead a potent offense that leads the AL in hitting (.277) and tied with the Rays for second most home runs in the AL (99). Like New York, Houston can pitch a bit. Their 3.71 team ERA is just behind the Yankees for second in the AL. Lance McCullers Jr (6-1, 2.58) and Dallas Keuchel (9-0, 1.67) are probably the best 1-2 in any baseball rotation right now.

The Twins are in first place in the Central. However, they’re just 1.5 games ahead of last year’s AL Champion Indians. The key to this surprise team’s success? Going 20-9 on the road will help.

In the hunt.

Boston, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore are all above .500 behind New York in the East. The O’s have lost four straight and have some serious issues on their pitching staff. The Rays finally have an offense to go along with a solid rotation. That bullpen, however, could be their undoing. Gotta believe the Red Sox stick around and snag a Wild Card. There’s a lot of baseball left and we’ve seen some crazy things happen in this division late in the season in years past.

The Indians are the reigning AL Champs. They’re about as mediocre as it gets in 2017, however. They don’t score many runs and they’re an average team at the plate. If they are going to take back the Central, it’s going to be in the hands of their pitching staff that’s among the best in the league.

The Blue Jays were left for dead a month ago. Now they’re back around .500 and gaining ground. The division may not be a reality but a wild card birth? Don’t count ’em out. The Angels are another team at .500 that could make a push for a wild card. Life without Mike Trout will make that feat much harder, though.

The Nats and the Rockies are running away with things in the NL.

You read that correct. The Colorado Rockies (41-24) have the best record in the National League. Who’s leading this powerhouse offense? It’s not who you’d think. Mark Reynolds, in his second year with Colorado, is hitting .314 and on pace to have his best season since his days in Baltimore. Make no mistake, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado are doing just fine, too. The key for them will be if that rotation can carry some of the weight. They’ve been helped by plenty of run support.

The Nationals were supposed to be good. Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman might be the best 1-2 punch in any lineup in baseball. Throw in their .272/.338/.463 team slash line and that’s as dominant an offense as it gets. Max Scherzer (7-4, 2.36) and Gio Gonzalez (5-1, 2.91) could duke it out in the Cy Young race if they aren’t careful.

The Brewers (33-31) are a first place team. With just 4.5 games separating the first place “Brew Crew” and the last place Pirates – every team in this division have to be considered contenders – for now.

Yikes.

The Dodgers are just a game and a half back of the Rockies. The Diamondbacks just two back. The West will be a fun division to watch the rest of the way.

In the hunt.

The National League is rough. Looking at the wild card picture even this early you see the Cubs on the outside looking in at 6.5 games back. With how tight the awful Central is we may have to just wait and see who emerges out of that bunch. As it looks right now, the Cardinals or yes, even the Reds may be that team.

Gators Dockside
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