Each MLB Team's Biggest Early Season Overreaction so Far

Zachary Petersel@@ZPeterselFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2012

Each MLB Team's Biggest Early Season Overreaction so Far

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    Early in the season, there are always overreactions that come along with surprises and disappointments.

    Some of the reactions listed are generated from shattered preseason expectations, while others developed as recently as a couple of days ago, such as Bobby Valentine's comments regarding Kevin Youkilis.

    For every team, the title of the page represents what people have worried about, and in the text, I prove why each thing has been an overreaction.


Arizona Diamondbacks: Josh Collmenter Should Get the Boot

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    With a 12.86 ERA and 2.00 WHIP, Josh Collmenter has not gotten off to the start he was looking for, but that does not mean he should be replaced.

    Even with Trevor Bauer absolutely mowing down minor leaguers right now, Collmenter still has value as a starting pitcher.

    In 24 starts last season, he had a 3.38 ERA and 3.80 FIP, so despite his slow start to this season, he should be given some more time.

Atlanta Braves: Slow Start

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    When the Braves started 0-4, fans and media started wondering if the team had not recovered from their September collapse. 

    Turns out that was all for naught. 

    Heading into Tuesday night's action, the Braves have since won five of six games and their starters have really turned things around. After not recording an out in the sixth inning in any of the team's first seven games, they have pitched much better in the last three, as the Braves have rounded into the form we expected coming into the season.

Baltimore Orioles: Mark Reynolds' Playing Time

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    From 2008-2011, Mark Reynolds has been one of the best power hitters in all of baseball.

    Not only did he average a 1.7 WAR over that time span, but he had the fifth-most homers in baseball during that time span, the most of any third baseman

    Will he struggle defensively? Yes, but he has worked hard to get better, and it is not like his replacement, Wilson Betemit, will be winning a Gold Glove any time soon.

    What the Orioles have in Mark Reynolds is consistency, something they lack in a great deal of other places, but they continue to move him around. After only starting at 3B in six of Baltimore's 10 games to start the year, they should just leave him alone and let him hit. 

Boston Red Sox: Bobby Valentine Comments

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    There has been a lot of drama surrounding the comments Bobby Valentine made about Kevin Youkilis.

    Frankly, I do not understand what the fascination is. This is not new behavior for Bobby.

    While he was the manager for the Mets, he did the same thing early on with the Mets star players at the time, Bernard Gilkey and Todd Hundley. 

    I don't even think what he said about Youkilis was all that horrible. The Boston media deserves a lot of credit for getting his comments so much press, even drawing remarks from Dustin Pedroia to stir the pot even more. 

Chicago Cubs: Bullpen Woes

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    The Cubs bullpen has not been good, but to call it the worst in the league is too much too soon.

    Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood have not gotten off to the starts they would have liked, but they both remain two of the better relievers in all of baseball and will turn it around.

Chicago White Sox: Robin Ventura the Genius

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    So let me get this straight, the main reason for the White Sox turning around from a sub-.500 team last season into a great team is mainly because of Ventura’s "calming" presence in the dugout?

    I think not.

    While I believe it helps not having to deal with Ozzie Guillen and the drama he brought to the field every day, the real reason the White Sox are playing better this season is a combination of youth and experience from the players.

    Alejandro De Aza, Addison Reed, Hector Santiago have all injected the team with some talented youth, while veterans such as Matt Thornton, Adam Dunn and Jake Peavy have had bounce-back seasons to start the year.

    Managers can only do so much, so let’s see what the people in the South Side think of Ventura after they lose a few games. 

Cincinnati Reds: Slow Start

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    The Reds and their fans came into 2012 with aspirations of a division title.

    After acquiring Mat Latos in the offseason, not to mention the contract extensions given to Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, the Reds should not let a 4-6 start change their thought process. 

    They still have a very strong lineup and deep starting rotation. Aroldis Chapman has been the best reliever in baseball with 15 strikeouts against zero walks in eight innings coming into Tuesday's action, and the Reds will work their way back towards the top of the NL soon enough.

Cleveland Indians: Chris Perez Should Be Removed as Closer

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    Chris Perez is a man of rough starts this year.

    In spring training, Perez was sidelined with an oblique injury, and in his first appearance of the season, he gave up three runs to blow the save for the Tribe.

    However, on both occasions, he recovered and has since pitched three scoreless innings, recording two saves.

    Perez has had two great seasons closing games for the Indians and has by far the best stuff in their pen. He should not only be their closer for this season, but for the foreseeable future as well.

Colorado Rockies: Jim Tracy Reaction

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    "The most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball."

    That was a quote from Rockies manager Jim Tracy regarding Ubaldo Jimenez hitting Troy Tulowitzki with a pitch in spring training and charging at him afterwards. 

    I agree that it was an unprofessional thing to do, but the most gutless act in 35 years of baseball? I think both Don Zimmer and Mike Piazza would have something to say about that.

Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera Will Be Awful at 3rd Base

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    All the scouts and experts said Miguel Cabrera would be terrible defensively now that he had to play the field everyday. 

    It was hard to disagree with them considering how bad he was the last time he played third base defensively on a regular basis. In 2007, as the Marlins' everyday third baseman, he had a -11 Total Zone rating.

    Add at least 20 pounds to that player, and the 2012 version of Cabrera was going to rank as one of the worse third basemen to every take the field. 

    However, not only has Cabrera held his own, but at this point in the season, he has a positive defensive rating and looks like he will be able to hold his own at the hot corner.

Houston Astros: Team May Break Mets' Record of 120 Losses

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    No, the Astros are still not a great team, but after people were predicting they may break the Mets' single-season record of 120 losses, they have showed they are more than capable of winning 60 games. 

    J.D. Martinez is proving his .342 career batting average in the minor leagues was no fluke, and Jose Altuve has the look of an above-average major league second baseman. In addition, the pitching staff with Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and J.A. Happ should not be as weak as originally projected.

    The Astros could surprise some people.

Kansas City Royals: Jonathan Broxton Will Not Succeed as Closer

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    Jonathan Broxton is not the same pitcher he once was when he could dominate people as a Dodger, but that does not mean he cannot still be an effective reliever.

    Fangraphs.com points out his velocity has returned to where it once was. Broxton had an excellent spring (1.13 ERA and 12.4 K/9), so in spite of his terrible outing against the Athletics last week, he looks like he could turn into a great value signing for the Royals. 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Kendry Morales' Great Spring

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    Kendry Morales had a great spring training.

    He hit .367 with two homers and a .600 SLG, but outside of one swing in the regular season, none of those promising results have translated when the games have counted.

    The Angels can only hope that his 3-for-4, home run, four-RBI game on Monday is a sign of things to look forward to rather than an aberration in a season where he struggles.  

Los Angeles Dodgers Can Win NL West

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    9-1 is still 9-1, but even with Matt Kemp winning the MVP, the Dodgers will not be able to win the NL West. 

    They have a better team than most gave them credit for, and with Andre Ethier looking like the All-Star he should be, the lineup should be solid enough to compete.

    In addition, the starting rotation is deep enough that they should not completely fall back to the bottom of the league where they finished last season.

    Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks are going to be too much to handle, and they should win the division for the second straight season.

Miami Marlins: Park Dimensions Need to Be Changed

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    One of the main stories in baseball recently is how pitcher-friendly the new Marlins stadium is, and they are already talking about changing the dimensions.

    At this point, it does not look fair, but who knows how the stadium will play when the weather changes in summer and the roof is open.

    Wrigley Field is an awful hitter's park in April when it is cold, but when the winds start blowing out, it is one of the better hitter's parks in the league.

    Let’s see what happens over the course of a full season before we start changing dimensions of a stadium less than a month old. 

Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Hart Knee Injury

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    After losing Prince Fielder to free agency, the Brewers need a healthy Corey Hart to compete with the Cardinals in the NL Central this year. 

    As of March 26, his health and opening day status was in question after undergoing knee surgery.

    However, less than a week later, Hart was ready for opening day, and he has been the Brewers' best hitter since, leading the team in runs, homers, RBI and an incredible .857 SLG. 

Minnesota Twins: Josh Willingham as an MVP Candidate

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    Josh Willingham has never gotten the appreciation he deserves, so maybe I am continuing an unwarranted trend with this, but here goes. 

    The way Willingham has been hitting this season (.375, 5 homers, 9 RBI, 9 runs), he would most definitely earn his way into consideration for the MVP award. I just do not believe he can sustain this type of production. 

    His highest batting average of .277 came in his first full season in 2006. Last season, he set career highs in homers and RBI with 29 and 98, respectively, so maybe he is simply a late-bloomer, but playing in the pitcher's park that is Target Field, this type of production will not last.

New York Mets: Losing Reyes and Beltran Will Kill Mets

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    Entering the season, nobody gave the Mets a chance.

    Just about every "expert" predicted them to finish in last place of the NL East, but some people are starting to change their minds. Even Dan Uggla chimed in and complimented the Mets, saying they were a "good, solid club."

    Granted, I am a little biased being a Mets fan, but I do not think this is a fluke. While David Wright will not hit .517 all season, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Jason Bay will not hit .125, .171 or .200 the rest way either. 

    The Mets have gotten outstanding pitching thus far this season, and if that continues, they will continue to surprise more and more people. 

New York Yankees: Mark Teixeira's Struggles

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    Mark Teixeira has never been a good hitter coming out of the gate. 

    His batting average for his career is .281, but in the month of April, it drops down to .239. This season, people have started suggesting that Teixeira stop hitting from the left side of the plate because his average against righties has dropped every year since 2008. 

    The Yankees first baseman has said he is not going to alter his approach, and that should pay off down the line.

Oakland Athletics: Yoenis Cespedes Is the Next Big Thing

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    After starting the season off with a couple of mammoth home runs, Yoenis Cespedes drew rave reviews.

    However, since hitting three home runs in his first four games, Cespedes has gone 3-20 with eight strikeouts. He definitely has some great potential for the future, but his recent stint is what we are likely to see moving forward. 

Philadelphia Phillies: Roy Halladay's Bad Spring Will Play a Role in 2012

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    Is 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA good enough for you?

    People need to learn to ignore spring training stats for veterans. Many people were worried about Halladay's poor results this spring; Doc never seemed concerned.

    After producing even better numbers than normal, it is obvious now nobody else should have been concerned either. 

Pittsburgh Pirates: 2012 Will Be Another Terrible Year

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    Despite only scoring 19 runs in their first 10 games, the Pirates will still be an average or above-average team in 2012 that will still be in the race come August/September.

    The offense obviously has not clicked yet, but with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Casey McGehee and Neil Walker, they are not the same inept lineup they have been in the past.

    It just may take a little more time. 

San Diego Padres: Worst Hitting Team in Baseball

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    Let's face it, the Padres are not very good. 

    But the worst hitting team in baseball? I cannot agree with that. 

    Right now, the Padres have eight hitters with 30-plus at-bats, and the highest average among them is .258.

    However, with Cameron Maybin, Chase Headley, Nick Hundley, Yonder Alonso and Will Venable, the Padres have a nice gluttony of young talent that should turn things around even though they play in the pitcher's paradise that is Petco Park.

San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum Is Toast

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    Despite starting 2012 with three of the worst starts of his career, the era of Tim Lincecum is not over and will not be over any time soon. 

    Even though his stuff has declined over the past few seasons, look at his fastball velocity and contact rates here. He was still outstanding last season in spite of that.

    Lincecum still had a 3.17 FIP, good for 18th-best in all of baseball, with 220 strikeouts against just 86 walks.

    He is going to be fine. Don't just take my word for it; learn from history

Seattle Mariners: Jesus Montero's Struggles

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    After being acquired in the offseason, Jesus Montero was supposed to inject some much needed pop into the Mariners lineup.

    In his first eight games, Montero was held without an extra-bast hit, but young players deserve patience, and Montero showed why with his first homer and double in game nine.

    This kid has special power, and as long as Mariners fans let him develop, he will become an outstanding player.

St Louis Cardinals: No Pujols = No Offense

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    Remember when the Cardinals offense was supposed to struggle without Albert Pujols?

    So much for that.

    Not only do the Cardinals lead the National League in runs scored, but they have two of the top candidates to win the MVP award (Matt Kemp not withstanding).

    David Freese has parlayed his MVP season into a terrific start to 2012, and Carlos Beltran is proving his bounce-back year in 2011 was no fluke. These two have turned what looked like a questionable offense heading into the season, a juggernaut just two weeks in.

    So let me ask again, Albert Pujols who?

Tampa Bay Rays: 5-5 Start, Hitting Woes

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    On Monday, James Shields showed why the Rays are going to be very good in 2012.

    They have a front-of-the-rotation starter pitching every day.

    Even when the Rays do not hit, and they have not this season coming into Monday with the sixth fewest runs in baseball, their pitching will be able to carry them.

Texas Rangers: Yu Darvish Struggles

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    Instead of looking at the glass half-empty, when recapping Yu Darvish's two starts, I am going to look at the glass half-full.

    In start No. 1, Darvish got crushed in the first inning, giving up four runs on four hits and three walks to a weak-hitting Mariners team. 

    Did he fold? No.

    Darvish held on to pitch 4.2 more innings, only allowing four more base-runners, and was able to secure the win in his first start. 

    Start No. 2 was a similar story.

    Although he did not have his best stuff, giving up 13 base-runners in 5.2 innings, Darvish limited the Twins to only one earned run, as he left the game with the lead yet again.

    It has not been pretty, but Darvish has shown an incredible confidence in himself through these first two starts, and things should only get better moving forward. 

Toronto Blue Jays: Brett Lawrie's Spring Training

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    Brett Lawrie had an unbelievable spring training. 

    Some of his numbers included a .524 batting average, .810 slugging percentage, five steals and only two strikeouts.

    People such as Jayson Stark were projecting greatness.

    There is little doubt that Lawrie is going to be a good player, but for such lofty expectations to be placed on a 22-year-old with just 150 at-bats coming into the season is a little ridiculous. 

Washington Nationals: 9-3 Start

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    The Nationals starting rotation has the potential to be outstanding, but their lineup gives me the heebe-geebes.

    Ian Desmond as a lead-off hitter who’s main goal isn’t trying to get on base? Adam LaRoche as the cleanup hitter a year after shoulder surgery?

    Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth are the only two big threats in their lineup, and they only have three 30-plus home run seasons as a team. 

    The Nats are going to be good, but I do not believe they can continue to play at this level.