The Red Hot Reds, 2 New MVPs and a Repeat Champion: 5 Hot Takes I Have From the 1st Week of the MLB
A little over a week ago, the MLB finally kicked off a full 162 game season full of bat flips, bench-clearing brawls and a whole lot of fun. So far, we've seen Shohei Ohtani make history, Yermin Mercedes and Akil Baddoo become notable names and Mike Trout continue to dominate the league as per usual. Although some of these things, like Mike Trout's dominance, could be predicted, there was a lot one could learn by watching this week. But, what could be a fluke and what will last? Read below to find out five hot takes we have after the first week of the season.
1. The Reds will win the NL Central, and will take the 2 seed in the NL.
Coming in at 7-5 after the first week and a half of the season, the Reds look the best they've been in years. They've hit more home runs and have more RBIs than any team in the MLB as of April 13th, and are 3rd in hits & 4th in batting average. Now, they're in the lead of their division by a game, and would be the 2 seed if the playoffs started today. Obviously ten games isn't a big enough sample size, but the Reds have all the tools to keep this up. A lineup full of sluggers, some starting quality pitchers and an above average closer in Amir Garrett. Although they may not go far in the playoffs due to an average rotation, their regular season could be quite successful.
2. Either Matt Chapman or Matt Olson will be traded, and the Brewers will be all in.
After dropping the first six games of the season, the Athletics have rebounded to 5-7. However, this is nowhere near where they hoped to be. On the flip side, the Brewers are 7-5 and look to be poised for a rebound season. But what's their connection? The Brewers need corner infielders and the Athletics have great ones. If the Brewers want to elevate themselves to a solid playoff team, they could really use a guy like Matt Olson or Matt Chapman. In return, the Athletics could load up on young talent and draft picks in order to get a jumpstart on a rebuild.
3. There will be two new MVPs this year.
This isn't too hot of a take, as MVPs often shift from year to year. But, it needed to be said, as it doesn't look like Jose Abreu and Freddie Freeman will go back-to-back this year. Abreu is currently batting .196 and only has two home runs, which pales in comparison to others in the AL like Mike Trout, who is hitting .381 with four home runs, and J.D. Martinez, who is hitting .378 with five home runs. Likewise, Freddie Freeman is batting .191 with four home runs, which is simply not as great as teammate Ronald Acuña Jr.'s .442 average and seven home runs and Nick Castellanos' .306 average and four home runs. Although obviously both reigning MVPs will improve on their below average starts, they are certainly not the current frontrunners.
4. Multiple players will hit the 30/30 mark, but nobody will join the 40/40 club.
The 40/40 club is an elusive mark that only a few have achieved in a season. Only four have achieved this feat: Jose Canseco in 1988, Barry Bonds in 1996, Alex Rodriguez in 1998 and Alfonso Soriano in 2006. There have been many close misses in recent seasons, most notably Ronald Acuña's 41 home runs and 37 stolen bases in 2019. Interestingly enough, Acuña is on pace to do it again, and his seven home runs and three stolen bases are both among league leaders. Other players that are on solid pace are Whit Merrifield and Marcus Semien, but both of those players haven't proven to be good enough to keep it up. So, it's really Acuña or bust, and if the rarity of this feat holds true, then it's likely a bust.
5. The Dodgers will repeat as World Series Champions.
Another rare feat in baseball is to repeat as World Series Champions. No team has done it in over twenty years, and rarely do the reigning champs even make it back to the series. But, this year's Dodgers have as good of a chance as anyone. They currently boast the best record in the league at 10-2, have multiple MVP candidates in Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts, and a loaded pitching staff good enough to shut out any team in the league. Although anything can happen in the postseason, the Dodgers look more well equipped than any other team in the league.