MLB standouts in the opening week of baseball

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The Detroit Tigers starting rotation remains one of the best. Miguel Cabrera is still the game’s top hitter. Kansas City’s bullpen is still great. The Royals offense looks improved, too.

So what did stand out? What was actually surprising? Glad you asked.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt got off to the start most envisioned, but with Mark Trumbo banged up and Aaron Hill coming up with just one extra base hit, there’s concern that there again won’t be enough punch. Second-year CF Ender Inciarte has a hit in five of six games. 

Atlanta Braves: What the whole team did was surprising. 5-1? On the heels of dealing closer Craig Kimbrel in a season-opening buzz-kill? Andrelton Simmons is hitting? Alberto Callaspo batting .538? Charmed life. For now.

Baltimore Orioles: Alejandro DeAza was a curious choice to bat lead-off since he swings at most everything and strikes out so much. We’ll see how long it lasts, but he’s got two homers.

Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz is batting .130 and struck out nine times in 23 at-bats. He’s already beaten the Yankees once though. Fortunately, Xander Bogaerts and Hanley Ramirez have picked up the slack.

Chicago Cubs: The core of the bullpen, from closer Hector Rondon to setup men Pedro Strop, Jason Motte, Neil Ramirez and Phil Coke, has given up two earned runs in 16.2 innings.

Chicago White Sox: David Robertson looks unhittable. Well, he did give up one hit in his three innings of work, but the former Yankees closer has required no adjustment period. 

Cincinnati Reds: Young pitchers Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias stole the show. One had six starts with the Marlins last year and the Cuban was making his major league debut, but both looked extremely poised with electric stuff. 

Cleveland Indians: Losing Yan Gomes for at least six weeks definitely hurts, but young backup catcher Roberto Perez homered in his first game of the season.

Colorado Rockies: D.J. LeMahieu and Corey Dickerson are off to ridiculous starts, hitting safely in all six games and batting a combined 22-for-49 (.449) in setting the table atop the lineup.

Detroit Tigers: SS Jose Iglesias closed the opening week batting .526, ahead of Cabrera (.520), Anthony Gose (.450) and Ian Kinsler (.440), making up the top-four batting average leaders in the AL. 

Houston Astros: Evan Gattis and Chris Carter opened a combined 1-for-19, striking out 20 times in 39 attempts. Somehow, the Astros escaped the week 3-3. 

Kansas City Royals: The Royals managed to remain perfect despite getting only one hit in 13 at-bats from leader Alex Gordon, who has struck out in every game. 

LA Angels: Starters Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago combined 22 earned runs in 35 innings.

LA Dodgers: Adrian Gonzalez came out smoking, but Yasiel Puig started so slowly that a 2-for-10 stint in Arizona actually raised his average to .136

Miami Marlins: Seeing Florida native Dee Gordon respond so well to his new surroundings was a plus. The new leadoff guy hit safely in five of six and scored four times in the team’s only win, a 10-9 thriller over Tampa Bay.

Milwaukee Brewers: Jimmy Nelson stopped the bleeding after four consecutive Brewers losses, shutting out the Pirates with nine Ks. It’s a big year for him after last year’s early struggles.

Minnesota Twins: It’s surprising that this passes for a major league team and their loyal fan base is OK with it.

NY Mets: Matt Harvey pitched six innings of scoreless ball, striking out nine. Like Metallica once put it, and nothing else matters.

NY Yankees: Alex Rodriguez wasn’t booed mercilessly and ended Week 1 batting .300 with a homer and a team-high six RBI, not to mention a start at first base. 

Oakland Athletics: Mark Canha, a gem of a find that’s only going to inflate Billy Beane’s inflated legacy further, hit safely in all five games, batting .360.

Philadelphia Phillies: Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are a combined 5-for-39 and have yet to leave the yard. Surprising? Maybe not. Depressing? If you’re a Phillies fan, undoubtedly.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Rookie Arquimedes Caminero and Rob Scahill have joined Antonio Bastardo and closer Marc Melancon in combining for 8.2 innings of scoreless relief.

San Diego Padres: Kimbrel picked right up where he left off in Atlanta, pitching scoreless innings in all four outings and racking up two saves.

San Francisco Giants: Madison Bumgarner allowed 10 hits in one game! He’ll be alright. It actually happened to him three times last season.

Seattle Mariners: James Paxton and Hisashi Iwakuma were virtually unhittable last season but were each roughed up by the Angels. All those who backed the Mariners to reach the World Series, me included, need that to be an aberration.

St. Louis Cardinals: Plenty to be excited about, but Michael Wacha looking so sharp against a formidable Reds lineup was a great start following last year’s sophomore slump, especially since he looked healthy.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays are going to have their ups and downs given their youth movement, but had to breathe a sigh of relief seeing young starters Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi get off to excellent starts.

Texas Rangers: Derek Holland going on the 60-day DL was a rough blow, but pitching project Nick Martinez looks like he’s made further strides, shutting out Oakland on the road over seven innings in his 2015 debut.

Toronto Blue Jays: That pitching staff looks rough. The starters appear shaky and the bullpen looks like a bust. They’ll score runs, but the Jays certainly do appear to be a team to ride for overs

Washington Nationals: Michael A. Taylor leads the team with 10 strikeouts, but could become a special player and a catalyst if he shortens his swing. 

Tony Mejia is a national sports writer and senior contributor at VegasInsider.com. He’s also the owner and operator of Antony Dinero, the most successful documented volume handicapper in the industry. View his analysis daily at VegasInsider.com. Contact Tony at [email protected].

About the Author
Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia has been a national writer for nearly two decades and has covered NBA and college basketball as a columnist, analyst, handicapper, and bracketologist for CBS Sports, Pro Basketball News, and numerous other sites.

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