The Twins, Brewers, Reds, Diamondbacks and Rockies all have winning records on May fifteenth. How many analysts could have predicted that at the start of the 2017 MLB season. Although it is early, some of these five teams have a legit shot at making a run at the postseason.
The Rockies look to be the best of the five teams seemingly overachieving this year. The offense has always been above average for the Rockies, led by Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado, DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon. It is the pitching that has made Colorado a serious contender. Kyle Freeland and Antionio Senzatela may not be household names, but are both exceeding expectations for the Rockies pitching staff. Freeland leads the way with a 2.93 ERA and Senzatela isn’t far behind posting six wins to go with a stellar 3.31 ERA. The bullpen has been more than solid as well with closer Greg Holland proving that he is back to 2015 form when he was Kansas City’s dominant closer. He has 16 saves and has given up just two earned runs in seventeen innings on the year, making him one of the best values in baseball. Relievers Jake McGee, Chris Rusin and Chad Qualls all post ERAs under 2.54. The Rockies certainly have the offensive ability to keep up their hot start and now that the pitching has came to par, they look like serious contenders for a playoff spot.
The Diamondbacks also have reason to believe they can contend well into September for a possible October run. Playing a division with the Rockies, Giants and Dodgers hasn’t stopped them from putting up a 21-18 record to start the season. Under new manager Tory Luvullo, the Dbacks are off to the start that they were expected to have last year when Zach Grinkie and Shelby Miller were brought in. Although Miller looks like he has the potential to be the wrong end of one of the most lopsided trades in MLB history, Grinkie has bounced back this year posting a 4-2 record with a 2.79 ERA. Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin and Jorge De La Rosa have all been more than solid out of the pen with the three all have a 2.70 ERA or under. The hitting has been what has really carried the Dbacks so far though. The club has five starters with a .299 average or above. Brandon Drury is having an all star year and Paul Goldschmidt is doing what he always does, both hitting over .310. If the boys from the desert can keep up their hot start, there isn’t a reason we won’t be seeing them in October.
The Minnesota Twins play in one of the two worst divisions in baseball hands down. That alone makes their chances at making it to October baseball a little bit higher. The Twins hold a one game lead over the Indians coming into May 15th and they have two players to thank for it. Miguel Sano leads the Twins in almost every offensive category, including triples. He is almost a shoe in to earn a spot in Miami this July with a .297 average with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. With the exception with a start against the Red Sox, Ervin Santana has been the definition as dominant. He has posted a 1.50 ERA and just a 0.81 WHIP. If the Twins want to continue to contend in an AL central that still features the Indians and the Tigers, consistent players having down years like Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer need to come trough and play like themselves. If this doesn’t happen the Twins may fall back in a bad division.
The Brewers offensive is led by one man that wasn’t in the MLB last year. Eric Thames has been on a month and a half tear that has not stopped as of late. Thames is hitting .315 with 13 home runs on a season that is still young. Without him there is no way that the Brewers are only trailing the Cardinals this far into the season. Matt Garza had led the pitching staff with Corey Knebel has led a strong bullpen helped by newcomer Jared Hughes. Unfortunately, Ryan Bruans injury and a lack of pitching make the Brewers high favorites to fall back in the mix. The Brew Crew would be better off playing in a division like the AL central where they will able to compete. Although it is possible, it’s still unlikely that the Brewers compete for a playoff spot come September.
The Reds are above .500, something the World Champion Cubs can’t even claim at the moment. Joey Votto, Zach Cosart and Devin Mesoraco have been constants on a Reds team that wasn’t expected to do much. Adam Duvalls .263 average is complementary to his nine home runs and 26 RBIs. Raisel Iglesias has been solid out of the pen which has been one of the Reds strongest parts starting the year. But a young inexperienced pitching staff is unlikely to hold up against one of if not the best division in baseball. The Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates aren’t going away and even the overachieving Brewers roster currently looks better than the Reds. Although they may be over .500 they play in one of the best divisions in baseball, and losses are still going to pile up in Cincinnati.