Question of the Week: Which MLB team shows the most promise after Week 1?

Matt Washuta, Zander Frost

Matt Washuta

Baseball season is upon us once again and though it’s only been a week, there are some teams demonstrating phenomenal potential. One of those teams, the Cincinnati Reds, is proving its worth and could be poised to not only make the playoffs, but also make a deep run. The Reds boast a complete offense composed of multiple power hitters such as Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips and a new addition in Shin-Soo Choo. Young third baseman Todd Frazier is also proving his potential as he is off to a powerful start collecting 12 hits in seven games, including three home runs. He also has driven in 10 runs and boasts a stellar .414 batting average. Thus far, the team has been consistent offensively and Joey Votto should return to his MVP-esque form soon.

The Reds pitching staff is also solid as starting pitchers Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey all boast an ERA under 3.00. Bailey is off to a hot start allowing only two hits in his first outing, which was against a talented Washington

Nationals team.

To put this into perspective, the Reds 5-2 start includes series wins over the National League title favorite in the Washington Nationals where the Reds obliterated phenom Stephen Strasburg scoring six runs against him and the Los Angeles Angels, an American League title favorite. This isn’t a short-lived hot start but reflective of the kind of heights the Reds can achieve throughout the season.

Zander Frost

If ‘promise’ means potential for success over the other teams for this particular season, the clear standout is the Boston Red Sox.

As a lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan, it pains me to say this, but the criticisms of the Red Sox this preseason have, for the most part, been off base and sensational. Looking at the roster, it’s pretty clear that this is, in fact, a wholly better roster than the one assembled for the 2012 season.

While the Shane Victorino deal was a definite overpay and probably a long-term mistake, the reality is that although earning more than his worth, Victorino is still a solid player and contributor on a good team. Although the Mike Napoli and Ryan Dempster deals were less questionable yet still probably veteran overpays, these two players will also contribute this year. The main point against these contracts would be that they were old additions to a noncompetitive team, but if the Sox are as good as they’ve looked, then they’re perhaps not great, but potentially worth it in the long run.

As for the rest of the roster, Will Middlebrooks looks like he may be able to skip the sophomore slump and develop into a good to great player in the ‘hot corner’ in a league that is starving for talent there. Dustin Pedroia looks like an MVP again, and if Jacoby Ellsbury can stay healthy, he looks like the elite leadoff man he has been in the past.

       

Kevin Mahoney

Because the MLB season is so long and full of slumps, hot streaks and late playoff pushes, it’s difficult to pinpoint a clear favorite after just the first week of play. However, one of the favorites to win the World Series going into the season, the Washington Nationals, has shown that it’s a true contender after the first week. The Nationals have shown strength in their pitching staff. Arguably the deepest and most talented staff in all of the majors, the Nats’ will rely on their pitching to bring them deep into October and, this time around, they’ll have their ace Stephen Strasburg. Last season, Strasburg was shut down late in the year due to a cautionary pitching count. However, Strasburg is now off the leash and ready to be the workhorse the Nats so desperately needed in last year’s playoffs. We all saw from last year that the Nats have an outstanding rotation and deep bullpen, but with the continued growth of phenom Bryce Harper, the Nats have put together one of the scariest and most potent lineups in the National League. Harper started off the year in style hitting two homers in his first two plate appearances and has continued his stellar play throughout the early portion of the season. The Nats also upgraded the top of their lineup by adding Denard Span, a proven leadoff hitter which will give their big guns, Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, more opportunities to drive in runs and give their staff some support. Simply put, the Nats just don’t have many holes and in a National League that proves to be open for the taking. Don’t be surprised if the Nationals are representing the League in the World Series.