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Five NL Overreactions after Opening Day

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The best part of Opening Day (and the full weekend in baseball) is the general population’s tendency to overreact. Some overreactions stick more than others (with all due respect to Yermin Mercedes). Others are the first steps toward a new superstar in baseball. Let’s take a look at five NL overreactions after Opening Day. Who can keep up their hot streaks? Who will rebound from a slow start?

The Milwaukee Brewers’ Staff Stinks

Our first NL overreaction comes from a trendy pennant winner.

Through three starts, Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, and Brandon Woodruff have an ERA+ of 159 when added together. Last season, Woodruff and Burnes eclipsed that total, and Peralta was just seven points shy. In 12.2 total innings, the trio has allowed 13 hits, 13 earned runs, a pair of home runs, and 10 walks. They have an adequate 12 strikeouts, but Peralta is doing much of the heavy lifting with a 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings figure. The whole staff is struggling to this point with a strikeout to walk ratio of just 1.65 so far. Last season, the staff had a collective 3.1 strikeout to walk ratio.

The Brewers have a team ERA of 6.12, somehow an improvement on what the trio of starters has managed so far (9.24). To compound the hilarity, the Brewers pulled this stunt against the Chicago Cubs. The combo of Nico Hoerner and Seiya Suzuki had three career home runs before taking the Brewers deep twice.

Joey Votto is Broken

Our next NL overreaction could be on his way to Cooperstown.

Votto is slashing .214/.353/.214 to this point, but that is not the issue. The issue is that he has two infield pop-outs in four games. Votto has 8,145 MLB plate appearances. He has popped out to the first baseman three times. He has popped out to the pitcher once. However within 28 innings in the 2022 season, Votto had already had pop-outs to Max Fried (his first career pop-out to the pitcher) and Matt Olson. For context, Votto has one pop-out to either position in his 4,013 plate appearance at Great American Ballpark. He now has two pop-outs in 74 plate appearances at Truist Park.

To rub it in the faces of Brewers fans, Hoerner’s home run (his fourth in 389 plate appearances) is now statically less likely to happen based on past events than Votto is to hit a pop-out to a pitcher or catcher at Truist Park. Pointless? Definitely not!

Spencer Strider is Atlanta’s Real Future Ace

Strider already is on the All-MLB Facial Hair team, but he may soon join the All-MLB team for his pitching prowess. Strider faced six Cincinnati Reds in the Braves’ opening series. He struck five of them out — his first five career strikeouts. That comes in at a stunning 83.3% strikeout rate, pacing for 22.5 per nine innings. His season FIP is a laughable -1.94. He was consistently pumping 99 miles per hour past a helpless Reds’ offense. The Braves might have a World Series-winning staff and have four pitchers who have been named to an All-MLB team, but Strider has the stuff to be the filthiest of the bunch.

Across four levels last season, Strider struck out a preposterous 14.6 batters per nine. These were his first 94 professional innings, and he baffled hitters to the tune of 153 strikeouts. The future is bright.

Carlos Rodon Will Win NL Cy Young

Rodon only went five innings in his first start with the San Francisco Giants. He allowed three hits, two walks, and one run. However, he struck out 12 batters, the most in the Majors so far. He has a FIP of -0.54, the best among qualified pitchers. He also leads the Majors in home runs allowed per nine (0.0) and strikeouts per nine (21.6). With a 60% strikeout rate, he is poised to take a full evolution as the ace of the Giants’ staff. He allowed an expected batting average of .088 with an expected slugging against of .125.

Rodon generated 24 swings and misses in a breathtaking start. For context, Jesus on Earth (also known as Jacob deGrom) had 29 total in a 15-strikeout, complete-game shutout last season. Rodon was on pace for 43.2 swings and misses over nine innings.

Nolan Arenado is Baseball’s Best Third Baseman Again

In just 13 plate appearances across three games, Arenado leads the Majors with three doubles, seven RBI, and 15 total bases. He leads the NL in home runs, slugging, and OPS. The six-time All-Star has a four-for-four game sandwiched between a pair of one-for-four games, but the production is still tremendous. He has multiple RBI in each game played so far. Perhaps the best part is that none of the RBI have been cheap — he has not come to the plate with a man on third base. Arenado drove himself in twice, and he has driven in five of 10 base runners to this point.

Arenado is the 148th player to have a game where he went four-for-four with at least three doubles. The feat was most recently done by Kevin Newman who mashed four doubles in an August 2021 game. Mookie Betts hit three doubles and a home run in a game last season, and Paul DeJong, one of Arenado’s teammates, matched that in 2017.

What did we get right and what did we miss? Let us know your favorite NL overreactions in the comments!

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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Ryan Potts is an avid football and baseball fan. He covers the NFL and Major League Baseball, focusing on the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Braves.