Wolf's Howl

Early MLB Breakouts

Shohei+Ohtani+after+an+at-bat
Shohei Ohtani after an at-bat

Shohei Ohtani after an at-bat

Shohei Ohtani after an at-bat

Josh Calloni, Reporter

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The MLB season is underway and there are some clear breakout players.

First off, a big surprise has been Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani was the news of the offseason, signing from Japan with the Angels as a two way player. Ohtani struggled mightily in spring training, getting only two hits in 30 at bats, and pitching to a tune of a 7 ERA, or 11 runs in 2 innings. However, Ohtani got his hitting debut on opening day, went 1-4, and took off from there. He pitched his first game, and gave up three runs over six innings. In his home debut as a hitter, he hit a home run, first of three so far this season. Ohtani then debuted as a pitcher at home, and held a perfect game through seven innings.

Another early star around the league has been Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman. Chapman has batted .347 through 13 games so far, and is near the top of the league leaders in home runs with 4. Chapman, known for his glove, definitely has turned it on with the bat.

Finally, a pitcher that has impressed, Jarlin Garcia of the Miami Marlins. The Marlins, who tore their team down this offseason, have had little to talk about, but Garcia is an exception. Garcia has pitched 16 innings, given up only two runs, leading to a 1.13 ERA.

“I don’t think there’s any clear breakouts so far. While Shohei Ohtani has been exceptional, I think him winning Cy Young and hitting 30 plus home runs like so many people have suggested is highly unlikely, even though he’s on that pace,”  sophomore Hayden Gooch said.

As for teams, there have been two definite surprises. The New York Mets, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, both of whom had rebuilding type offseasons, have started off the first handful of games very strongly. The Pirates tore down their team, trading their core of Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. The Pirates also didn’t sign a major league free agent. However, with a newly branded team, through 12 games their 9-3, and off to a very hot start.

As for the Mets, a team reluctant to spend money in the offseason, they have started off 10-1. Their bullpen has been next to unhittable, and their rotation, full of potential allstars, have lived up to their potential thus far.

“Though it is still early, I do think some clear breakouts are showing up. Shohei Ohtani has been excellent, is living up to the hype. 3 home runs and pitching two great games, he’s definitely budding into the star that he is supposed to be. On top of that, Matt Davidson and Bryce Harper, who have both hit tons of home runs, but Harper is already a star, though Davidson is budding,” sophomore Adam Thomason said.

So, how about the hometown Cardinals? Jose Martinez, who broke onto the scene last season, is now the starting first baseman. Martinez is hitting everything thrown at him, smacking three home runs so far, and hitting .364. Martinez had six RBI and had four hits in a game against the Reds on April 12.

Another breakout has been Luke Weaver. Weaver came up and joined the rotation last June, and now, looking for his first full MLB season, and through two games, he’s been pitching to a 1.59 ERA through two starts so far. However, the biggest surprise has been reliever Jordan Hicks. Hicks has reached 100 miles per hour on the radar gun multiple times, and hasn’t allowed a run to this point, through six appearances. Hicks, only 21, has been bounced around as an option for a future closer role with the club in the years to come.

The Cardinals started off the first three weeks of play with a record of 13 wins and 8 losses.

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Early MLB Breakouts