Expect a slew of injuries to eventually slow down the Yankees.
The MLB season may be just a few weeks old, but teams are already making major statements as to how the rest of the season will play out—or so one would think.
While a hot start can bode well for the rest of the year, it is tough to keep pace through the 162-game slog that is the baseball season. Scintillating play in April doesn't always translate into wins in the dog days of August.
While all of these teams bust out of the gate, don't expect them to keep pace for the rest of the year. Whether they are in a tough division like the Colorado Rockies or just catching some lucky breaks like the Royals, these teams are bound to slow down at some point.
That's not to say all of these teams, especially those with World Series aspirations like the Oakland A's, will totally flame out. Just don't expect the march to the postseason to be that easy.
All statistics via ESPN.
Outfielders Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez have propelled the Rockies to the top of the NL West.
In one of the biggest surprises of the young season, the NL West—the division headlined by the mega-budget Los Angeles Dodgers and the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants—just so happens to be led by the upstart Colorado Rockies.
With a 13-4 record and a plus-29 run differential, the Rockies have certainly looked sharp in the opening weeks of the season, especially at home where they are 8-0.
The team has been exceptionally strong at the plate, leading the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Colorado is also second in the league in runs.
Led by outfielders Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez, and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies have been nearly unstoppable at the plate, hitting 27 home runs.
The pitching hasn’t looked too shabby either, yielding just 11 long balls and sporting a 3.80 ERA—pretty good for the thin air at Coors Field.
But in a division with two California titans, it is hard to imagine that the Giants and Dodgers—both with exceptional pitching staffs—won’t both pull it together and slow down the Colorado offensive machine.
Clay Buchholz headlines a strong Red Sox pitching corps.
With a 12-4 record, the Red Sox sport the best winning percentage in the American League and sit atop of the AL East standings heading into Sunday, April 21.
While it certainly bodes well that the Sox sport the second-best run differential in baseball—their mark of plus-34 sits just behind the Atlanta Braves’ plus-35—don’t expect Boston’s hot start to hold up.
The Red Sox have benefited from exceptional starting pitching that may bolster the team through the season, but cannot produce at the same rate they are going for an entire year.
The team boasts a sharp 2.71 ERA, led by Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester. Buchholz has a 4-0 record with a 0.90 ERA in 30.0 innings pitched, while Lester has been not far behind with a 1.73 ERA in 26.0 innings.
In the cutthroat AL East, it will be tough for that pitching to hold up. While the Sox should improve upon their abysmal 2012 campaign, when they went 69-93, don’t expect the team to follow through on their hot start.
The A's currently lead the AL West.
The A’s have picked up where they left off after last year’s surprising 94-68 record and AL West title, as Oakland leads the division with a 12-6 record.
With a solid plus-27 run differential and a dangerous offense, the A’s have looked nearly unstoppable in the early goings of the season.
The team ranks second in the league in runs with 99 while Oakland is ninth, third and fifth in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, respectively.
However, with the always-dangerous Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the division, continuing its hot start will be far from a cakewalk for Oakland.
After a disappointing 2012 campaign, when they went 89-73, the Angels added outfielder Josh Hamilton to an already stellar lineup featuring Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. The Rangers, of course, have made the playoffs three straight years.
While they may contend for a second straight division title, don’t expect the rest of the AL West to let Oakland off easy—the A’s will eventually slow down.
Despite a hoard of injuries, the Yankees are second in the AL East.
Despite being ravaged by injuries, the Yankees continue to chug along. New York boasts a 10-6 record and sits in second in the AL East, just behind the Red Sox.
The New York offense in particular has been hit hard with a who’s-who of recent All-Stars out with significant injuries.
First baseman Mark Teixeira and outfielder Curtis Granderson are eyeing returns in May after respective wrist and forearm injuries, according to the New York Daily News.
Shortstop and captain Derek Jeter fractured his left ankle for the second time in six months and is out until after the All-Star break as well, reports AOL.
Despite all the injuries, manager Joe Girardi has steered the team to a strong start, bolstered by a balanced offense. The Yankees rank in the top-10 in the majors in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
However, with so many key players missing for extended stretches, it is hard to imagine the Yankees not encountering some bumps along the road during the season. With the sleeping-giant Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays in the division, expect New York to cool off from its torrid start.
The upstart Royals currently lead the AL Central.
Kansas City leads the AL Central with an 8-7 record and is 6-4 in its last 10 games, but don’t expect the Royals to keep up their hot pace.
While Kansas City does have the fifth-best batting average in the league with a .267 mark, the team is otherwise performing over its head.
The Royals have scored just 59 runs—24th in the league—and are 18th and 20th in the MLB in on-base and slugging percentage, respectively.
With that type of performance—not to mention having the defending the American League champions Detroit Tigers in the division—it is hard to imagine Kansas City leading the AL Central for much longer.