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Biggest Storylines from the First Month of the MLB Season

With the second month of the MLB season in full swing, storylines are beginning to take shape within the league. Teams began to cement their spots in the standings, and players aimed to show off their skills and have the best stats in the league.


When looking at the teams and players in the offseason, many believed this season would be almost identical to the last. Besides offseason trades and free agent signings for the big-name teams, fans did not see much action in Major League Baseball. However, so many stories throughout the league have shocked fans this season. Here are five of the biggest surprises from the first month of the 2024 baseball season.  

 

AL West Shakeup 

With perhaps the most shocking of all the stories, the Houston Astros have had a less-than-ideal start to their 2024 season. After winning the World Series in 2022 and making it to game 7 of the American League Championship Series last season, the Astros have started their season with a winning percentage under .500.


Even with the distractions and scandals of the past years, the Astros have been able to come back from behind in games and find ways to win, but that has not been the case this year. With a new manager and most of their starting pitchers on the injured list, the offense must power the team if they want to have any chance of making the playoffs this season.   


Even more shocking in the AL West is the Oakland Athletics. Despite news that the team will be moving to Sacramento next season before their permanent move to Las Vegas, the team has been able to stay afloat. The Athletics had the worst record in all of MLB last season, so it is very surprising to see them in the standings above the consistently great Astros. 

 

Courtesy of Robert Edwards / USA Today Sports

Struggling Rookies 

When the season began, fans were eagerly anticipating the debuts of many rookies. So far this season, however, the rookies have not made the biggest impact on their teams. Jackson Holliday’s debut for the Baltimore Orioles was one of the most highly anticipated in recent years,yet he was sent back to Triple-A after 34 at-bats.


Jackson Chourio, another highly anticipated rookie, is only batting .219 in his first month with the Milwaukee Brewers. Several rookies are having trouble adapting to major league level pitching during their time with their teams, leading many fans to question exactly why this is.   

 

Courtesy of G Flume / Getty Images

AL Central Chaos 

Last season, the AL Central Division was easily the worst in all of baseball. While every division had at least three teams finish with a winning percentage over .500, the AL Central only saw the Minnesota Twins finish with a winning record.


This season, three teams have winning records, and both the Cleveland Guardians and the Kansas City Royals would be in the playoffs if the playoffs began today. While the AL Central was once the weak link of the league, the young cores of high draft picks can prove to be impactful for this division in the future.   


Courtesy of Peter Aiken / USA Today Sports

 

Sparkling Pitchers 

With the influx of pitching injuries throughout the beginning of the season, many fans wondered which pitchers would run the league. While notable names like Zack Wheeler and Tyler Glasnow are continuing to pitch successfully for their teams, some new names have been entered into the Cy Young race this season.


Detroit Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal has been turning heads around the league so far this season and has been striking out players at an extremely high rate. Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ranger Suarez has a 1.37 ERA in nine starts this season. Lastly, Shota Imanaga has been impressive so far for the Chicago Cubs. While Yoshinobu Yamamoto was the coveted Japanese starter on the free agent market, Imanaga has surprisingly been the better pitcher in the early going.  


Courtesy of Chicago Cubs (@cubs) on X

High Payroll Teams Shining 

When the season began, many wondered if the teams with the highest payrolls would be able to live up to their expectations. After signing Shohei Ohtani and Yamamoto along with trading for Glasnow, the Los Angeles Dodgers had to live up to expectations that were higher than ever. So far this season, the team is first in their division and Ohtani is having one of the best seasons of his career.   


Over on the East Coast, the New York Yankees have found a way to once again take control of the AL East. After a down year, New York traded for superstar Juan Soto, who proved to be the missing link. Even without ace Gerrit Cole, the Yankees have been able to shine with a great rotation, a great bullpen, and a consistent lineup.

   

The Phillies have also been able to keep the same pace from the last few seasons. With a great start from their starting pitching rotation, as well as the lineup continuing to hit home runs, the Phillies have the perfect formula to battle with the Braves for the NL East.   


Courtesy of Erik Williams / USA Today Sports



Edited by: Emma Habel

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