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With the All-Star break about a month away, there are many stories that are a number of surprising stories this season, as well as some stories that everyone saw coming. There are teams that we knew would do good, and be where they are, and then there are teams that are a bit surprising and came out of no where.
This is Part 1 of a two-part article talking about the top MLB mid-season storylines.
The Strasburg Saga
One of the biggest stories so far this season is the performance of last year's top draft pick, Washington Nationals' pitcher Stephen Strasburg. So far, he has made only two starts in the major leagues, but some are already saying that he is one of the best pitchers in the league.
He has 12.1 IP with a 2-0 record and a 2.19 ERA with 22 Ks and only 5 BB. His next start is scheduled for this Saturday, June 19th, against the White Soxs.
Being one of the biggest Yankee fans I know, it would take a lot for me to give up an opportunity to go to Yankee Stadium. But after seeing this kid pitch I would definitely consider going down to DC to see him instead of seeing a Yankee game.
This kid is a phenom and is being hyped as much as possible, which is good for the Nationals because every time he is pitching they sell out the game. Without a doubt this kid is going to be great for a long period of time,.But with greatness comes great highs and great lows.
Every pitcher goes into a funk every once and a while, and it is a matter of time until Strasburg hits his first major road bump. The big key in every slump is to see how the player can manage his way out of it, and this is a problem for many young players. The way Strasburg will handle himself during the ups and downs will really show his maturity as a player, and will enable him to excel to great heights throughout his career.
The Yankee Dynasty
As of today, the New York Yankees are tied for 1st place in the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees just finished a stretch where they played some of the worst teams in baseball, and they did what they needed to do by winning 16 of the 18 games.
The only real test they had was against the Blue Jays and they lost 2 of 3 in Toronto. The real test now is to see how they handle the next couple of series in which they play the Phillies and the Mets, all at home.
You dont't really have to worry about the Yankees. They have a plan and they are going to stick to it for the rest of the season. I don't see them being real players in the trade market this mid-season, because they don't really need anything.
There is not much you can do to improve this team right now. The Yankees just need to keep playing like they are right now and we will be sure to see them in the playoffs this October.
The Red Machine
How about them Reds?
It seems unbelievable, but Cincinnati is in 1st place in the NL Central .That's right, Cincinnati is in first place—not the Cardinals, not the Cubs,—but the Reds.
I have a been a fan of what the Reds have been doing for a couple of years now, and finally the hard work and smart moves are paying off.
The Reds have a great farm system and they have produced one of the best starting rotations in baseball. The biggest surprise of this Cincinnati rotation is the success of Mike Leake.
Leake, who was drafted only a couple picks behind Strasburg, started this season in the Reds rotation. Leake is 5-0 with a 2.68 ERA and 52 Ks. He already has 77.1 IP, so I would believe that the Reds will skip a couple of his starts to keep his arm fresh as they get closer to the end of the season.
The way the Reds are playing it looks like they are in a great position to make the playoffs. They are going to want Leake to be fresh and ready to go if that is the case.
More about the Mets, Phillies, and Giants is coming up in Part 2