At the conclusion of play on May 8, almost half of the teams in baseball had played at least 35 games or more than 20 percent of the 2014 schedule. By the end of the weekend, every team will reach the 20 percent pole of the season, giving fans a chance to sit back and analyze what narratives to focus in on when summer approaches.
On a day-to-day basis, Major League Baseball players and teams can confound, confuse and frustrate. Yet, over a full season of innings, at-bats and plays, the best individuals and groups emerge to form the backbone of the sport.
When this column series began four weeks ago, rises from the Milwaukee Brewers, Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu dominated the early-season takeaways. Before long, pitching dominance in Atlanta and Albert Pujols' return to form headlined the week.
Two weeks ago, Pujols' 500th homer, Troy Tulowitzki's special talent and Cliff Lee's path to Cooperstown took center stage. Finally, last week brought an appreciation for Oakland's AL West dominance, Francisco Rodriguez's revival and Jayson Werth's value.
With another week in the books, more perspective has been delivered for the baseball community. Here are the biggest takeaways from the first six weeks of the 2014 MLB season.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted and are valid through the start of play on May 9. All contract figures courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts. Roster projections via MLB Depth Charts.