World Series champion Atlanta Braves went 12-14 this past April. The 88-loss Kansas City Royals went 15-9. In fact, one of the few players holding the Royals back this time last year was Jorge Soler, who went 16-to-78 with 29 strikeouts in April, only to eventually hit huge home runs for… the world champion Atlanta Braves!
You see where we’re going with this. The start of the MLB season is a fascinating mirage. We let this fool us every year because we are nothing but emotional beings who routinely get carried away in the moment. And nowhere is that truer than on Twitter, where our Insta-analysis is, um, not exactly staunch.
So every year right at the start of the season we scan this social media site for some early reactions to see if they are valid or void. These were just some of the reactions from opening weekend… and overreactions.
#1: “Watch the Dodgers pull a Lakers.” — @epicgiraffe170
If LA fans have been traumatized enough by the Lakers to believe such things, it’s understandable. But we’re not here to judge a team based on three games at Coors Field (although it was pretty weird that this loaded lineup only produced one homer at Coors, and it was by Austin Barnes).
But we will monitor it very closely on the speed of Julio Uríasas he has taken on an even more important role in this rotation.
Conclusion: Overreaction for the time being. It says here that Freddie Freeman will be a better fit for the Dodgers than Russell Westbrook for the Lakers.
#2: “FREDDIE WHO??!! MATT OLSON!!!!” – @SteveP103
Ah, yes, how quickly the Braves fans who mourned Freeman’s departure threw those fond memories in the trash now that Olson is 8-for-14 with a thingy, two doubles and three walks. Can’t really blame them.
Put yourself in Olson’s shoes. Traded just three weeks before opening day, he was placed in the double pressure cooker to both play for his hometown team and replace one of the game’s most popular players. On his first weekend on the job, his new team unveiled a banner honoring the World Series he didn’t win and presented (almost) everyone else with an extremely flashy ring that he can’t wear (and frankly, nobody really should). wear). longer time, because that can not be good for the finger bands). Yet all he did was surface and rake. And given Olson’s pedigree as a real brawler, who’s made the adjustment to reduce his K-Rate and moved from the cavernous Oakland Coliseum to a more palatable in-battery performance platform, get used to it.
Verdict: Acceptable, reasonable response, but let’s not forget Freddie.
#3: “The Blue Jays are a social experiment to see how far poor rotation and amazing offense can take a team.” — @DuffleBag31
In fact, this experiment was conducted in Arlington, Texas in 1998-99 when the Rangers (the team the Blue Jays just had a wild weekend against in 2022) made the playoffs in consecutive years with a combined rotation of 5.48 ERA (and were swept by the Yankees in the Division Series every time).
The Blue Jays likely won’t maintain their current pace, conceding a record-breaking 378 home runs this season, and they won’t maintain their current tempo this year either, conceding a record-breaking 324 home runs. Not only did we have the Blue Jays in our top 10 lineups preseason, we also had rotations and bullpens (despite last year’s significant relief area issues) so you won’t see us leaving them anytime soon. It was jarring to see José Berríos throwing only 18 of his 34 pitches to strikes (with just one sweeping strike) on opening day, but, well (and here’s an astute analysis that applies to EVERYTHING you’re reading and watching right now ), it’s been a short spring workout and things are going to be a little strange this month.
If anything, those of us with no real sentimental attachment to the Blue Jays should celebrate what we saw this weekend. Because if they’re consistently winning three-game streaks, making 20 runs and giving up 23, this is going to be one of the most entertaining teams we’ve seen.
Verdict: Overreaction, but we’re all for experimentation.
#4: “I hope you’re ready for Bobby Witt Jr. because he’s the next big thing in baseball.” — @LanceTHESPOKEN
First of all, how great is it that the royals already had a whit (like in Merrifield) and now have a whit? And both Whit and Witt can really hit.
Young Witt’s first strike was an RBI double that gave the Royals the go-ahead for a 3-1 win over the Guardians on Thursday. He became the only modern-era player whose first career hit was a go-ahead extra base hit in the eighth inning or later on opening day.
Witt is MLB Pipeline’s top baseball candidate in an absurdly talented crowd of candidates currently, or soon to be, flooding the big leagues — and the American League in particular. He’s got the bloodline (his father was a major league pitcher for 16 years), the bat (he had a .290/.361/.575 slash last year and hit 33 home runs between double-A and triple-A), and the briskness (he also stole 29 bags) to influence this league for a long time. He’s also one hell of a defender, as evidenced by his stunning run-saving game in the 10th inning of Saturday’s win.
So, no, Kansas Citians shouldn’t be shy about celebrating their new third baseman.
Conclusion: This team can compare Witts with anyone. No overreaction.
#5: “Noah Syndergaard is an ace.” — @f_tsyou
Syndergaard’s successful first start for the Angels – in a pitcher duel with Tommy John returnee Justin Verlander – was a clear highlight of the weekend. Thor was a risky and interesting offseason target for an Angels team with a longstanding need for rotation and, yes, a need for someone other than their DH to serve like an ace. The Angels signed Syndergaard to a one-year, $21 million guarantee, though his two innings for the Mets in late 2021 were his only big league appearances in the last two seasons, so his 5 1/3 innings scoreless in his The Halos -Debut was very encouraging.
However, a cautious observer would note that 15 of Syndergaard’s 16 outs (including a double play in the third inning) were recorded on balls in play. He scored just one strikeout and his four-seam 94.7 mph average was three ticks below his 2019 norm. We’ll need to see a much larger rehearsal of Syndergaard’s breaking ball and changeup before we can confidently state that he did belongs again to the pitching elite.
Verdict: Overreaction, but you really can’t blame the Angels fans for being blown away by Thor.
#6: “The Red Sox absolutely own Gerrit Cole.” — @JamesBaerga
Cole was upset that his opening day start was delayed four minutes because of pre-game celebrations, which included Billy Crystal’s ceremonial first pitch. You’d think Cole was just forced to watch City Slickers II.
Complaining about being four minutes late didn’t look good, but should Yankees fans be concerned that Cole now has a 5.79 ERA in his last six starts against the Red Sox, including last year’s Wild Card Game? In a word… maybe? Fair or not, performance in such a steep rivalry often cements how players are remembered in the Bronx, and Cole has been unconvincing against this particular opponent to date. The good news is that Cole will have many more opportunities from July through September (interestingly, the Yankees and Red Sox won’t face each other again until then), and most of those games should start on time.
Conclusion: A timely reaction.
#7: “Too early to call Seiya Suzuki the best cub ever?” — @adamcarrico
Cubs All-Time WAR Leaders:
Yada yada yada … Seiya Suzuki, 0.1.
OK, he’s not at the top of the list yet, but Suzuki is on the board after a big opening weekend at Wrigley. The Cubs took two out of three from the reigning NL Central Champion Brewers as Suzuki went 3-on-8 with a homer and four walks. He only oscillated on 21% of the pitches he saw and had an 8% breath rate. And he did so against the top pitchers on one of baseball’s top batons as Milwaukee started Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta in the inaugural series.
Scouts have raved about the 27-year-old Suzuki from his Nippon Professional Baseball days, but we’ve seen that those skills don’t always translate as well as we’d like in MLB pitching. And Cubs fans should remember too well how Kosuke Fukudome arrived from Japan in 2008, had a huge April and quickly fizzled out. But Suzuki’s power and controlled approach were his strengths overseas and it was nice to see him show those strengths straight away.
Conclusion: Obvious overreaction. Suzuki isn’t the greatest Cub of all time. But he could be her first rookie of the year since Kris Bryant.
#8: “Will the Steven Kwan statue be completed by [Guardians] house opener?” — @graceqkauffman
Well, this much we can say after three games: Kwan is the best player ever worn (so far). Guardian Uniform. He went 8-for-10 with two doubles and three walks in the opening weekend. And while hilarious exaggerations like the one above were circulated on Twitter, it was interesting to see how the Guardians themselves reacted to Kwan. First, they hired him after a strong spring in which he came to camp with seemingly little prospect of a job. Then, just one game into the season, they traded their former first-round pick Bradley Zimmer to ensure Kwan retains his squad spot if Josh Naylor returns from the injured list. Then, starting in the second game of the season, they put Kwan in 2nd batting order.
So while no statue is in the works, Kwan’s early stat line is a work of art. Ranked 15th on the Guardians system by MLB Pipeline, he wasn’t among the most anticipated call-ups for 2022, but he is the result of a recent emphasis on contact skills by an organization that has struggled to develop big-league hitters. Kwan is definitely one to check out.
Verdict: A statue is an overreaction, but a plaque might be necessary.