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Some Surprises of the MLB Season from the Padres to Shota Imanaga

MLB seasons always have some surprises. For instance, many people had the Houston Astros making the postseason as a division winner or a wild card berth. Yet, in the middle of May, 12 other American League teams have a better record than the Astros who are 16-25. It’s been a less-than-ideal season for Houston, with their starting rotation in shambles and the bats going as cold as ice. Their bullpen has been a constant disappointment. Starters Hunter Brown, Spencer Arrighetti and J.P. France have struggled in the rotation. Closer Josh Hader and set-up man Ryan Pressly have been underwhelming in the bullpen.

It’s one of the big surprises in baseball. Nobody would have guessed for the Astros to be in the basement of the AL West or how the Boston Red Sox pitching staff is leading the majors in team ERA. Here are three surprises for the 2024 MLB season so far.

MLB Surprises to Begin the Season

The San Diego Padres Make Two Big Moves

It looked as though AJ Preller would be on the hot seat coming into the season. Instead, Preller has made two big moves in the last two months to keep the Padres in contention. First was acquiring Dylan Cease in a five-player trade with the Chicago White Sox. Cease is looking like the pitcher who finished second in American League Cy Young Award voting. He’s off to a 5-2 record with a 2.19 ERA over eight starts. Less than two weeks ago, Preller then doubled down and landed Luis Arráez in another five-player deal with the Miami Marlins. Arráez is hitting .301 with a .349 on-base percentage this season, including a .306 average and .359 OBP since his arrival to the Padres. It’s very surprising that Preller pulled off two deals more than two months before the July 30 trade deadline.

Shota Imanaga Is Outperforming Yoshinobu Yamamoto

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 10-year, $325 million deal this past winter. Yamamoto is living up to expectations after his one-inning hiccup against the San Diego Padres in South Korea. He’s rebounded well since then to 4-1 with a strong 3.21 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 53:10 K:BB over 47 2/3 innings. But he’s also given up three or more runs four times in nine starts. Shota Imanaga, who signed with the Chicago Cubs on a two-year deal, has been more of a surprise than Yamamoto. Imanaga has outpitched just about every other pitcher in the National League. He’s 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in nine starts and has pitched an inning less than Yamamoto.

The Oakland Athletics Have More Wins Than Seven Other MLB Teams

With all of the drama with the A’s, it hasn’t gone away, but they do have more wins this season than seven other teams. At 19-24, the A’s have a better record than the Chicago White (12-29), Houston Astros (16-25), Los Angeles Angels 15-27, Miami Marlins (11-32), Cincinnati Reds (17-24), St. Louis Cardinals (17-24) and the Colorado Rockies (13-28). With 19 wins, they’re tied with five other teams. Brent Rooker (10 home runs, 1.034 OPS) and Shea Langeliers (nine home runs, 24 RBI) have led the way offensively. The bullpen has been a big improvement, their relievers’ 3.40 ERA ranks ninth in the majors, led by flamethrower Mason Miller. He has a 1.10 ERA and has converted in all eight save opportunities this season.

Main Photo: © Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports


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