The MLB is always a tricky thing to predict. The season is so long and injuries can be so devastating that any team really has a shot to make an impact on the season. That said, some things seem certain even in baseball. This year though seems to be a bit on the unpredictable side. Neither league looks the way it was supposed to in April, and it looks like we might not see the faces we were expecting in October. So, let’s look at the three biggest stories through the first half of this MLB season. These stories have shaped the direction of baseball this year, and we’ll have to see how they develop after the all-star break and heading closer to the fall classic.
1. Cubs Not Retaining?
If you told anyone last November that the Chicago Cubs would be trailing to the Brewers in the NL Central on the first day of July, you may have got slapped. But here we are. The Cubs have been really perplexed by the batting average slump of several players, especially Kyle Schwarber, contributing to a team average of .238 with only one player batting at the .300 level. The Cubs pitching has also become somewhat of a one-tick pony with Jake Arrieta being the only true standout in the starting rotation and Wade Davis being a one-man band in the bullpen. The Cubs aren’t out of anything by any means with the season so long and their division so weak in total, but they are really showing some weak points we never saw last season. If the Cubs can make the cut for the playoffs, then we know they have the talent to give it a shot, but they need to make sure they don’t take it all for granted if they want to repeat. I mean, what’s another 100 year drought?
2. Just How Many Homers Can They Hit?
2017 may be the year of the long ball. As of this article, the month of July saw 1070 home-runs, making it the most ever hit in a single month in the MLB. July was also the first month two NL teams (Dodgers and Mets) have hit over 50 home-runs as squads. The record for most home-runs hit in a season as a league stands at 5693 and the MLB this season is currently on a pace to break 6000. It seems that everyone is hitting the ball far, and doing it a lot. From May 30 to June 26, every day featured at least one game with multiple home-runs. This streak is the longest in MLB history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. There are 45 current players with at least fifteen home-runs, and fourteen players are currently projected to hit at least forty home-runs according to ESPN Statistics. These numbers are astronomical, and it’s kind of refreshing to see power-ball make such a huge resurgence after the steroid era has finally faded for the most part. Hey, more home-runs? More fun in my opinion.
3. The Judge Rules in Favor of A Return to the Top for the Yanks
Aaron Judge is the league leader in home-runs right now, and his stellar rookie season is just one reason why the Yankees may be on the verge of another run at greatness. The Yanks have ten players who have played over fifty games so far and are batting over .260 according to ESPN Stats. The youth movement in New York is great for the Yankees, but is a sour reminder to the rest of the league what we’ve always know: the Yankees will never stink. No matter how much I want the Yankees to experience what it’s like to not even dream of playoffs for multiple years in a row, it just never happens. The Yanks will always spend enough money to stay competitive until the next Jeter, Rivera, or Judge comes through to push them over the top. Even if this season is a little too soon for the Yanks to once again sit on the thrown, I don’t think we will have to wait too long before every season goes back to the same old story: Who can stop the Yankees?
What do you think is the biggest story of the first half of this MLB season? Let us know in the discussion section.