The 2022 Major League Baseball season is in full swing, as teams now have two 1/2 weeks of games under their belts. While it is very early in the season, it’s still fun to take a look at the standings and see how each of the teams is doing. No doubt these standings will change, as teams eventually settle into who they are going to be over the long haul. Yet, today we take a first glance at who is up and who is down, relative to the expectations of each team coming out of spring training.
We picked three teams that are definitely exceeding expectations. Two of them are complete surprises at this point. The third team, while expected to do well, has done better than anyone could have imagined.
The A’s are probably more well-known for their record low attendance than their performance on the field. They have already had three home games where the announced attendance was less than 5,000. Yet, the A’s come into action Tuesday with a 9-8 record, just two and a half behind first-place Seattle. Having traded Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, and Chris Bassitt, the A’s were expected to battle with the Rangers for fourth place in the American League West. For now, they are defying the odds and hanging tough.
While the Rockies made a couple of nice moves in the offseason, nobody expects much from them this year. Yet, they stand at 10-6, just two and a half games behind the Dodgers. While free-agent acquisition Kris Bryant has yet to find his power stroke, C.J. Cron has been a beast. He leads the team with 17 RBIs; no other Rockies player has more than nine. On the pitching staff, Chad Kuhl has been a pleasant surprise, with an ERA of 1.10 over three starts. The Rockies should enjoy this start, as the hard times are inevitable.
New York Mets
Yes, we know that the Mets were one of the favorites not only in the N.L. East, but in the entire National League. They acquired some key talent in the offseason, and are poised to make some serious noise in October. Yet, Jacob deGrom has yet to throw a pitch, and the Mets are 13-5! Their starting pitching has been outstanding without him and figures to only get better when he returns. In any case, 13-5 without deGrom is outstanding, and this is one scary team.
Honorable mention to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are playing at .500 in late April. Nobody could see this coming, and, sadly, they will find their way back to the basement as the season progresses. Still, it has been a nice start for the Buccos.
Chicago White Sox
The Sox were the prohibitive favorites in the A.L Central and started well. Tony La Russa’s team ran out to a 6-2 record in their first eight games. However, they have dropped their last eight games and have looked like a little league team in doing so. Yes, they have had some injuries, but there is no excuse for playing the way this team has played. They are falling short in every aspect of the game and could be in danger of total collapse.
The Astros, who have been regular participants in the American League Championship Series, have started off 7-9. While there is no panic in Houston, this is a team that we have just come to expect to see win regularly. Seeing them in fourth place is unusual, even at this early date. The team as a whole is struggling at the plate, and runs have been hard to come by. However, they are too good to struggle for long, and the Astros will be in business soon enough.
The defending World Series champs have gotten off to a 7-10 start, causing fear and panic in Atlanta. Even though Matt Olson’s OPS sits at 1.041, the Braves cannot win without Freddie Freeman, the story goes. While is true that the Mets will have to be reckoned with, there is no reason for Braves fans to panic. Ronald Acuna, Jr. is due back soon, and this team is too good to play this bad for long. Still, they have been a disappointment to this point.
Honorable mention to the Philadelphia Phillies, who have a loaded offense, but still sit at 7-10. The reason they are only honorable mention is that everybody knew that their defense was going to be weak. They are going to score runs, but their defense and bullpen will likely keep them out of serious contention.
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