layer movement was only consigned to the National League. The junior circuit has had its share of guys looking to have fresh starts, either by their own choice, or their former clubs deciding they had seen enough.
American League East: Toronto has been thinking this is the year the Blue Jays take a step forward. They are still waiting for George Springer to make his season debut. Marcus Semien has started .205/.279./.436 while moving to second base; not great. Steven Matz has been a bit of a surprise with a 1.46 ERA over his first two spins through the rotation. One could label Matt Harvey as Lazarus with the way he has professionally risen from the dead. His 5.59 ERA is not good, but they haven’t ripped the jersey from his back in Baltimore just yet. Michael Wacha and Rich Hill came into the day sporting identical 7.20 ERA’s. Safe to assume the Rays didn’t have that in mind when they were brought to Tampa. Franchy Cordero might be fun to watch in Boston. .353/.353/.471 is a solid start as I expect the power to come, but the lack of walks, and a 41% strikeout rate are concerning. Corey Kluber didn’t have a great first two starts in pinstripes. A 5.68 ERA, with some definite command issues leave a lot to be desired.
American League Central: In Cleveland, Franmil Reyes is solid so far with a slash line of .296/.321./.778. The power is definitely real, but the trick will be keeping the contact rates high enough for it to show up in games. If he can maintain his 25% strikeout percentage, then he might be in for a strong season. Andres Gimenez (.176/.222/.353) and Amed Rosario (.267/.313/.267) are not making the Francisco Lindor deal look any better. Michael A. Taylor might be putting it together in Kansas City. .391/.417/.696 is a solid foundation for when his .412 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) cools off because the numbers are supported by a 16.7% strikeout rate, which would be his best rate by far. Akil Badoo continues to live his best life in Detroit. If he can stay near his slash line of .313/.353/.813 then this Rule 5 pick will not be returning to his parent club. Jose Urena is a tough watch. One cannot be nearly 50/50 when it comes to throwing strikes, while adding a 71.4% hard hit rate (Balls with an exit velocity over 95 mph off of the bat) and expect to be a functional major league pitcher. Andrelton Simmons is giving Minnesota what they are hoping for .435/.567/.565 isn’t sustainable, but as long as he continues to play passable defense at shortstop (His Gold Glove days are done, trust me), then the Twins can absorb the loss of Royce Lewis this season. While Yermin Mercedes (.556/.571/.889) has garnered all of the attention, the huge difference maker for the White Sox is Lance Lynn. As he is prone to say, mass equals gas, the big fella has a 0.00 ERA over 13 ⅔ innings in Chicago.
American League West: The Angels are a mixed bag for sure. Max Stassi has overachieved to the tune of .357/.471/.571. The former Astro (He was on the 2017 team) hasn’t hit this well since his days as a prep star in Northern California. Alex Cobb ( 4.50 ERA) and Jose Quintana (16.20 ERA) have not been the veteran additions the Angels will need if they expect to surprise in the division. There has yet to be a Pedro Baez sighting in Houston. Ryne Stanek has been solid out of the pen. A 1.50 ERA, with 12.00 K/9 over his first five appearances will ingratiate a reliever to the new fans every time. Elvis Andrus (.114/.135/.171) and Mitch Moreland (.167/.222/.167) have not given Oakland the solidity the lineup needs to keep the A’s magic going. They will have to show there is something left in their prospective tanks in order for the club to stay in the race this season, or to have any trade value at the deadline. Chris Flexen might be an intriguing find for the Mariners. The former Mets starter returns after a decent year in Korea. He has a 0.00 ERA after his first start, but looked like he has made some changes in his approach. The Jame Paxton homecoming did not last long as he had to leave his start after 24 pitches and now looks headed for Tommy John surgery. Nate Lowe (.250/.273/.563) has shown flashes as he looks to show what he can do in his everyday role for the Rangers. Dane Dunning was solid in his first start, allowing one run over five innings, as Texas hopes to show they were not fleeced in the Lance Lynn deal.
We might look back in a few months and wonder what some of the clubs were thinking with their player acquisitions. The clubs are not all stupid, so they players will likely find their former levels of production, but the drama is found in who exceeds or falls short of the mark.