Exposing Every MLB Team's Biggest Weakness Entering May

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIMay 1, 2013

Exposing Every MLB Team's Biggest Weakness Entering May

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    Through the first month of the MLB season, every team has shown some sort of weakness.

    Whether it's the starting staff, the ability to strikeout in double-figures every game or the lack of production from their big boppers, every team is dealing with something as we enter May.

    For teams that want to ensure they stay in the playoff race, these are problems that have to be addressed. For others, who will be in the playoff race no matter what, these are issues that could determine whether they win the division or will be playing for the wild card.

    Any way you look at it, each team has to fix it.

    Here's a look at each team's most glaring weakness heading into May.

AL East

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    Baltimore Orioles: Starter's ERA

    It was the same story last year for the Orioles. The starting rotation isn't exactly a good bunch, but the team continually finds ways to win.

    As a group, the Orioles starters have a combined ERA of 4.55. Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta all have ERAs above 4.60 and WHIPs above 1.500.

    Boston Red Sox: Left-handed relief

    When it comes to having the specialty left-handed reliever, the Red Sox are lacking in that area.

    Andrew Miller is the only one in the bullpen who is a southpaw and he currently has a 4.76 ERA in 5.2 innings.

    The fact that he's only pitched in 5.2 innings thus far has to tell you something. The Red Sox don't have as much confidence in his abilities as they do the others.

    New York Yankees: Injuries

    Every time you turn around, it seems like another Yankee is going down with an injury. This team continually gets hit by the injury bug and it's a wonder if they'll even be in contention when the players start returning.

    There is currently $98 million in salary that is on the DL. That's more than 16 teams' total payrolls this year.

    Tampa Bay Rays: Hitting

    When six of your starters are hitting .230 or below, there's a major problem.

    However, it should be expected from the Rays as some of their better homegrown talent has started to move on to greener pastures.

    That's the price you pay when you regularly rank at the bottom of the league in payroll.

    Toronto Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey

    The Blue Jays have multiple weaknesses after having a stellar offseason, but I'm going to pick on Dickey.

    I could mention all the starters since they have a combined ERA of 5.26. But for all the talk about Dickey duplicating his Cy Young effort from a year ago, he's disappointed this entire year.

    After all, he's had three pretty good years (ERA-wise) with the knuckleball. He's supposed to be even better this year.

AL Central

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    Chicago White Sox: Top of the Order

    The White Sox have shown a lot of power this year but have failed to get things going at the top of the order.

    The leadoff spot is hitting .225, while the No. 2 spot is hitting .212. And the beginning of the game is even worse as players leading off the game are batting .087.

    Cleveland Indians: Back end of the rotation

    The Indians once again have problems with the starting rotation.

    And once again Ubaldo Jimenez is at the center of it all. Jimenez currently carries an ERA of 7.13, which isn't even the worst of the starters. Brett Myers carries a 8.02 ERA, while Scott Kazmir's ERA is at 8.64.

    Detroit Tigers: Bullpen

    The Tigers called up Jose Valverde, which will greatly improve the bullpen, but he is still a wild card. Currently, manager Jim Leyland knows there are only four guys he can confidently call upon out of the bullpen.

    If Valverde pitches like the Valverde of old, then this will solidify the bullpen. However, if he fails to do so, the Tigers may have to look elsewhere by the trading deadline.

    Kansas City Royals: Faces of the Franchise

    For all the talk of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer being the faces of the franchise, they're disappointing once again.

    Hosmer is batting .250 with only eight RBI, while Moustakas is batting .191 with one home run and five RBI.

    It's nice the Royals believe in these players so much, but they've continually disappointed.

    Minnesota Twins: Starting Rotation

    Kevin Correia is the lone exception in the rotation for the Twins as he's 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA. However, outside of Correia, the Twins rotation is horrible.

    Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley both have ERAs over 7.20, while Scott Diamond and Liam Hendriks are over 4.30.

    The Twins aren't going anywhere with this kind of starting pitching.

AL West

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    Houston Astros: Take Your Pick

    When looking at the Astros, there are a lot of weaknesses in both the hitting and pitching departments.

    The Astros are leading the league in strikeouts with 267, while the rotation has a combined ERA of 6.08.

    Any way you look at it, it's going to be a long season for the Astros.

    Los Angeles Angels: Starting Rotation

    The starting rotation has been a struggle for the Angels all year, even when Jered Weaver wasn't on the disabled list.

    The Angels rank 28th in ERA with a 5.32 mark and opponents' batting average (.293).

    While they made a splash in the offensive department with the Josh Hamilton signing, the Angels lost three rotation members from last year, which has clearly shown it's hurting the team.

    Oakland Athletics: Starting Rotation

    What was a big strength in last year's playoff run has turned into a weakness for the A's. The starting rotation has three players with ERAs north of 4.60.

    Two of those—Jarrod Parker and Brett Anderson—are both 1-4 on the year and are struggling with their pitches.

    The A's need for one or both of them to get things going to improve the team's chances of overtaking Texas.

    Seattle Mariners: Catcher

    It would be easy to put Brendan Ryan here, but he's never been much of an offensive force.

    Jesus Montero, on the other hand, has failed to show his power and consistency at the plate this year. He's currently batting .205 with two home runs and seven RBI.

    The Mariners got him from New York thinking he would be an offensive sparkplug. However, he's been anything but that this year.

    Texas Rangers: Left Side of the Infield

    This is another case where you could easily put another player in here, but Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus are supposed to be two of the better hitters on the team.

    However, they've been anything but that this year. Beltre is batting .222, although he does have five home runs and 11 RBI. Andrus is batting .250 with nine RBI and five stolen bases.

    The only qualm with Andrus is his batting average since he's at the top of the order. However, Beltre has to have better production for the Rangers to be successful.

NL East

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    Atlanta Braves: Strikeouts

    With the current lineup the Braves have, strikeouts are the main issue that has to be fixed. The Braves have one of the best records in the league, but are also second in the league in strikeouts with 246.

    Atlanta has a lot of power hitters, but they have to stop making sub-par pitchers look like all stars in terms of strikeout numbers. As of Wednesday, the Braves have struck out at least 10 times in six-straight games.

    That's not exactly a recipe for success.

    Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton on the DL

    The Marlins don't have much on their roster, but Giancarlo Stanton is the one good thing. If anything, he's the biggest draw for fans to come see at games.

    Now he's on the disabled list for the next month, which leaves a glaring weakness in the middle of the lineup.

    New York Mets: Ike Davis

    The Mets are facing the same problems with Davis. He has a lot of power, but he's also missing a lot of balls at the plate.

    Batting .165, Davis is not getting good wood on the ball most of the time. He did hit 32 home runs last year, but his average was still low and is something New York needs to have better if they're going to have success.

    Philadelphia Phillies: Leadoff

    When the Phillies traded for Ben Revere, they thought their leadoff problems would be solved. However, it's turned into a major weakness this year.

    Revere has a .234 on-base percentage and only has five stolen bases, which is a product of his on-base percentage.

    Philadelphia has moved him lower in the order, but they need his speed at the top of the order.

    Washington Nationals: Top of the rotation

    The Nationals need better pitching from Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.

    Neither are living up to their performances from a year ago, struggling most of the way. Even more troubling is that Strasburg has never gone more than seven innings in his big-league career.

NL Central

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    Chicago Cubs: Batting with RISP

    The Cubs are struggling getting things going when they have runners on base. Currently batting .165 with RISP, the Cubs are among the worst in the league in that category.

    The Cubs have also failed to put themselves in a good position to score multiple runs in an inning.

    In total, Chicago has 12 plate appearances with runners on first and second with no outs, while having only eight plate appearances with the bases loaded and less than one out.

    Cincinnati Reds: Ryan Ludwick on the DL

    When Ryan Ludwick went on the disabled list, we all knew that Reds would be in a little trouble. However, we didn't realize how much trouble.

    Replacing Ludwick has been Chris Heisey, who is batting .173 in 75 at-bats.

    Milwaukee Brewers: Bullpen

    The Brewers went out and got a much different bullpen during the offseason but are still struggling in that area.

    They're struggling so much that it's really a bullpen-by-committee approach at the end of games.

    The real troubling reliever is John Axford, who was once the closer and now has an 8.32 ERA.

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Left Side of the Infield

    The Pirates are barely getting any production from Clint Barmes and Pedro Alvarez. The pair are batting a combined .180 with 51 strikeouts.

    Luckily for Pittsburgh, the rest of the lineup has picked up some of the slack. But if its going to make it to the postseason, there can't be any holes in the lineup.

    St. Louis Cardinals: Bullpen

    The Cardinals have started working on their bullpen with the demotion of Mark Rzepczynski.

    However, more work still has to be done. The Cardinals relievers rank last in the league with a 5.89 ERA and are watching opposing hitters hit .301 against them.

    For starters, Mitchell Boggs should be the next to go with a 12.66 ERA.

NL West

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    Arizona Diamondbacks: Bullpen

    The Diamondbacks lead the league with eight blown saves.

    They also lead the league with eight wins by relievers, so at least they're winning games. However, it's not going to last all season.

    The bullpen has to hold the lead when they come into the game. If the trend continues, Arizona likely will find itself out of the playoffs.

    Colorado Rockies: Starting Rotation

    Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood have looked good this year, but the others are not looking so hot.

    Part of it is due to Coors Field, but it's also happening on the road for the Rockies, although it's gotten better in the last week with only 21 earned runs given up in the last six games.

    Still, the rotation must show more consistency if they're going to hang onto first place.

    Los Angeles Dodgers: Luis Cruz

    The Dodgers do have a bit of a struggle with depth in the starting rotation, but when you have an everyday starter batting .089, there's a bigger problem.

    Luckily the Dodgers are starting to get Juan Uribe more starts to offset that, but he's only batting .219. So, it's almost a pick-your-poison kind of deal.

    San Diego Padres: Starting Rotation

    The Padres once again have a struggling rotation. The only positive is it's not a patchwork rotation with multiple injuries.

    San Diego has a 5.48 ERA from its starters and is one of three teams that has failed to pitch a shutout this year.

    With three starters above 5.60 in ERA, it looks as if it's going to be a long season in San Diego.

    San Francisco Giants: Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong

    Both were originally thought to be the top pitchers in the rotation this year, but Cain and Vogelsong have struggled out of the gate. Both pitchers have ERAs north of 6.20 and have given up 16 total home runs.

    I'm not sure if they're still in a World-Series hangover, but these two pitchers have to get it together if the Giants are going to repeat.