5 MLB Players With a Red Hot Start to the 2018 season

The season is only a few weeks in, but read below as we highlight some hot MLB starts that are flying under the radar.

Jose Pirela:

In his first full year as a starter for the Padres, the outfielder has not disappointed. Leading the MLB with 24 hits, he has gone unnoticed because of the struggling team he is playing for.

Pirela already has nine extra base hits through 17 games, and that only includes doubles and triples. Though players on his team have been consistently failing to get on base, he has managed to drive in 10 runs. He’s done a very admirable job to this point in the year.

While many now think of the Padres best player as Eric Hosmer, Pirela has done his part to show them how good he can be, as he looks to be a franchise cornerstone for a team who needs one.

Joe Mauer:

It wouldn’t come as a surprise to many if Joe Mauer was hitting over .400 if it was 2013 or 2014, but here we are in 2018 and he is still swinging a red hot bat. Every time he makes contact, it seems to just fall in for a base hit.

Mauer is hitting .412 through the first 10 games he has appeared in this year. Picking up 14 hits in 34 at bats, he has recorded 4 doubles while knocking in 6 runs. The team has been unfortunate to have so many games cancelled due to weather, but it has become a given that Mauer will record at least one hit every time he is in the lineup.

In his age 34 season, he is showing no signs of slowing down.

Jed Lowrie:

The infielder, who actually turns 34 today, has been swinging a hot-as-the-desert bat this season. Leading the A’s offense, Lowrie has a .348 average with 4 HR’s and 14 RBI’s. He has spent 5 of the past 6 seasons in Oakland, but this start without a doubt stands out among the rest.

He is showing that he can be a leader for a team that seems to be going through an ‘endless’ rebuild, constantly bringing in new players. He is providing some stability, in addition to help for the young power hitting duo of Matt’s, Chapman and Olson.

Lowrie’s start is just the beginning of what is to come for this team.

Adam Ottavino

Now in his seventh year as a reliever in Colorado, many fans have gotten used to Ottavino. He will be a decent reliever when he is given the chance to pitch.

This season, he has picked up 3 wins from the bullpen in his first nine appearances. He has finished out three games for them, and shown to be reliable. He has an ERA of 0.93, and 20 of the 29 outs he has recorded have come via the strikeout.

Every year, one or two middle-relievers get the chance to play in the All Star Game, and it seems this is Ottavino’s year.

Joey Lucchesi

You never know what you are going to get when you throw a rookie starting pitcher out there. But, with Joey Lucchesi, it seems you will get a steady arm for however many innings you need it, and a ton of strikeouts.

He has posted a 2-0 record with a 1.66 ERA through his first four MLB starts, spanning 21 and 2/3 innings. He has record 25 strikeouts so far. He is pitching for a team that is without a doubt, desperate to find some big arms as they try to finally start to limit runs and opposition opportunities.

This could not come at a better time as the 24-year-old rookie will throw his hat into the ring for NL Rookie of the Year, and may very well emerge as the future ace of the San Diego Padres.

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Shohei Ohtani Has Taken The MLB By Storm In 2018

Shohei Ohtani has taken the MLB by storm in 2018. Read below to find out just how he’s done this.

His offensive prowess

It all started for the Angels prized offseason acquisition when he got a single off of the very first pitch he saw in the majors. He’d go hitless for the remainder of his first game before starting to find a groove. He’s got 7 hits in 18 at-bats so far, including 3 home runs and 7 runs batted in. He isn’t going to be a regular in the lineup, but when he does play, he’s shown to be a fantastic complement to the likes of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Zack Cozart.

The fact that he’s been able to shrug off his struggle of a rough spring training, tells us all we need to know about him as a player and professional. For the cheap price (only cheap in sports terms) of $545Km, the Angels are getting a dominant hitter in the lineup every few days. He’s showing that it doesn’t matter who he is facing, the dingers won’t stop for Ohtani.

His pitching prowess

Through two starts and 18 innings pitched, Shohei Ohtani is off to a fantastic start. He’s allowed just 4 hits and 3 runs while striking out 18 and walking two. The stat that immediately stands out: a 9-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Coming over to the home-run crazed MLB, he’s been able to consistently make players swing and miss. All three runs he has allowed came on a moonshot home run from Matt Chapman early in his debut.

In a starting rotation that struggles with health and dominance, Ohtani is a breath of the world’s freshest air. He’s been whizzing balls past every batter, and not allowing very many baserunners. After the early blip in the radar from the Chapman home run, he has been absolutely perfect. While he can only pitch every sixth day or so, every time he takes the mound, it will be with great confidence from the entire club.

How has he done it?

He’s done this by, well, for starters, coming in as an experiment that many doubted from the beginning and succeeding tremendously. Many around the league, writers, managers, didn’t believe in the guy who could both hit and pitch. That would end in high school, or early in college for most players coming through the American system. Not for Ohtani, who crushed it in Japan and is showing the MLB that he may be a revelation.

We’ve seen NL pitchers who can hit before with the likes of Micah Owings, Carlos Zambrano, and most recently Madison Bumgarner. However, while these guys can be used as a pinch hitter, they aren’t starting in the lineup solely just to be a bat. Managers love to get pitchers who rake, but for an AL team to have the luxury of a designated hitter who is also the team’s ace, it is unforeseen.

He’s done this by never changing his approach. Ohtani wanted to come to a small market, and while he is in LA, he’s with the smaller team there and it’s worked. He tuned out everybody who said he wouldn’t succeed and has, as Rihanna put it, “Shined bright like a Diamond”.

It’s been a very exciting ride while following Ohtani and the journey he has been on to re-define the norms of the MLB. It’s clear to see that he has got the potential to succeed as a part-time starting pitcher, as well as a part-time designated hitter.

Follow VegasOdds on Twitter as we post MLB articles every Tuesday. You can bet your chips that you’ll be seeing a lot more Ohtani stories as the year goes on!

Nationals Welcoming Eaton Back in a Big Way

The Washington Nationals are off a strong offensive start in the 2018 season. They got Adam Eaton back from a torn ACL, and he has been electric over the team’s first few games. Let’s go into detail about this hot beginning.

Adam Eaton, over his first three games has eight hits in 13-at-bats including two home runs and 5 runs batted in. That is a good a .615 batting average to this point, and he’s also walked once, giving him an OBP of an astounding .613

Eaton in 2017 played in 27 games, hitting two home runs and 13 runs. He had a .297 batting average, and stole three bases in four opportunities. His void was definitely felt last year after his hot start and now he is picking up right where he left off.

Why his hot start is so important for the team:

With the Nats letting Jayson Werth walk in free agency and being without Daniel Murphy to begin the season, they are without two of their top offensive contributors to begin the season. They also just placed catcher Matt Wieters on the 10-day DL.

For Eaton to come in like he has, and provide firepower around Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, is major for this squad. 2018 is no different as the team has one of the league’s top pitching rotations, and having a bat like Eaton in the lineup will make things all the easier to win games.

It’s sad and unfortunate but ACL injuries remain a big part of the game and require long timetables for players to rehab and recover. Eaton however, stayed with it, and now look at him, off to a dazzling start for a team that once again has World Series aspirations.

Is it sustainable?

The only factor that will tell us of Eaton will continue to play as he has, is time. His track record would say that he is going to slow down a bit, but will finish the year batting around .300. His last two fully healthy seasons before coming to Washington saw him hit .287 and .284 respectively. That sort of production for the course of all 162, would be very beneficial to this Nationals offense.

Eaton is a career .286 hitter so it would seem that once he eventually comes back to earth, that is what his numbers will sit near. Leading the team with 16 total bases through the year’s first three games though, is a very good look and a perfect way to start the comeback tour. His slugging percentage is an astonishing 1.231 so far.

What this will mean with Murphy comes back:

This team has the potential to be as dangerous as it has ever been. When Daniel Murphy gets back into the lineup, if Eaton can stay hot, it will make this team very tough to stop. Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman are two players that can get hot in a hurry, and they’ve both struggled so far. All of these guys plus Bryce Harper swinging hot bats would spell big trouble for opposing pitching.

When a team has as many dynamic hitters as the Nationals do, any emerging stars make them even more dangerous. Adam Eaton wasn’t expected to be a star of any kind this year, but his production has been major and it has not gone unnoticed.

Follow Eaton and the Nats as they are back in action tonight against the Atlanta Braves!

Four Sleepers to Reach Major League Baseball Postseason

With the MLB season drawing near, read below a list of four playoff sleepers!

1) Los Angeles Angels:

Since they won the AL West in 2014 with a 98-64 record, the Los Angeles Angels have failed to qualify for the playoffs. With a guy of Mike Trout’s caliber on their roster, they really can’t afford to waste any more seasons, and the work they put in the offseason shows they’re ready to compete.

They went out and picked up veteran 2B Ian Kinsler, and former Reds 3B Zack Cozart to improve a lineup that already featured Justin Upton, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols. They acquired on of the biggest Japanese names in years in Shohei Ohtani, and though he struggled in spring training, they still have high expectations for him right out of the gate.

They’re not being looked at as favorites in the division with the Astros above them, but with the talent they have on offense, paired with a solid rotation, beware of the LA Angels. As long as they have Mike Scioscia as manager, they will always have a chance at postseason baseball.

2) Seattle Mariners:

It’s been quite some time since the people of Seattle were able to taste playoff baseball. It’s been since 2001 since the Mariners made it to the postseason. They’ve started putting the pieces together over the past few seasons, in acquiring players like Jean Segura, Nelson Cruz, and Robinson Cano.

They made another splash this offseason when they traded a few prospects to acquire a hot name from Miami, Dee Gordon. He brings tremendous speed to the lineup and a very strong defensive presence. One thing they’ve been lacking over the past few years is a fully healthy Felix Hernandez, and should thy have the King around for over 30 starts, it will pay dividends for all of their other starters.

With all of the bats they have in the lineup, and very impressive looking starting rotation, there is no doubt the Mariners will compete for a playoff spot. They’ve won 86+ games in two of the past three seasons, but that was not enough to crack the last spot. 90+ wins as a team, and full seasons from James Paxton and Felix Hernandez should be enough to allow the Mariners the chance to be one of the 5 best in the AL.

3) San Francisco Giants:

It’s hard to call the Giants sleepers after their acquisitions of Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria in the offseason, but coming off their abysmal 2017 season, that is exactly what they are. They won 3 consecutive even-year World Series from 2010-2014 before falling the NLDS to the eventual champion Chicago Cubs.

The Giants return Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Buster Posey to a lineup that looks to be rejuvenated. Matt Moore and Jonny Cueto, two proven starters, both had miserable years last year with Moore going 6-15, and Cueto going went 8-8. Their combined ERA was around 5.00.

With Moore gone, they have Cueto and Madison Bumgarner to lead this year’s rotation. It’s now an even year in 2018, they have a number of dominant bats in the lineup, and they still have Bruce Bochy as manager. All these things said, be sure to keep an eye on the San Francisco Giants in 2018!

4) New York Mets

The New York Mets? You’re about to tell me the New York Mets are a playoff sleeper in 2018, after a 70-92 finish last year? Yes, and here is why.

They went to the World Series in 2015 and lost the NL Wild Card game in 2016 leading up to last season. They played horrendously, but had a very solid offseason. They added ex-Yankee 3B Todd Frazier who still has some power, longtime 1B Adrian Gonzalez who is still an All-Star when healthy, and they brought back Jay Bruce, who has a lot of pop in his bat.

When you put together Bruce with Juan Lagares and Yoenis Cespedes, you’ve got a very solid outfield. Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom are still leading a very solid starting rotation, and Jeurys Familia has a good chance to have another successful year at closer.

Beware of the New York Mets, because lead by new 42-year-old manager Mickey Callaway, they will be a tough out this year!

All 30 MLB teams are in action on Thursday as the 2018 MLB season kicks off. Keep your eye on these four teams, as some of the year’s playoff sleepers!

Major League Baseball Season Quickly Approaching Opening Day

Major League Baseball season is right around the corner, and it’s never too early to start thinking about the 2018 World Series. Vegas has released new odds to win the 2018 World Series, and there are some interesting bets to be made. Here is a look at the odds to win the 2018 World Series as of March 4th, 2018:

Los Angeles Dodgers +500

The Dodgers went to the World Series a season ago, only to fall to Houston. Now, they are the favorite out of the National League. Los Angeles, obviously would like to see a full healthy season from their aging ace Clayton Kershaw. The loss of Yu Darvish from the postseason rotation of last season will certainly be something that the Dodgers need to replace. This team has shown the past couple seasons that they have staying power, but can they push through and take it all is the next question.

New York Yankees +550

New York Yankees come into the season as the team to beat. The Yankees still have some question marks in the starting rotation. But, one thing that is not in question right now is the ability of the Yankees to slug the baseball. The Yankees added Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason to go with Aaron Judge. Baseball’s are going to be flying out of the park all season in New York.

Houston Astros +550

The defending World Series Champions are even odds with the Yankees for the 2018 season. It’s hard to go back to back in any sport, but the grind of baseball is quite taxing playing nearly 200 games. It will be interesting to see how Houston holds up with their health this season. The Astros are certainly loaded with talent from top to bottom in their lineup.

Chicago Cubs +750

The addition of Yu Darvish was huge, as the Cubs now have three guys that were opening day starters a season ago. The rotation appears to be quite ready for a huge run, and we have seen the Cubs offense do it’s thing. The Cubs are a season removed from their first title in 108 years, so the rest factor may play a part. Chicago also has two MVP candidates in the middle of their lineup. It should be a fun season on the north side of Chicago.

Washington Nationals +800

If Bryce Harper is going to walk away from the nation’s capital and play somewhere else, the Nationals are hoping it’s atleast after a World Series title. The Nationals have a new manager as the leader of the squad. It will be interesting to see how a few of the bats in the Washington lineup get through the season. The bullpen is still the big question for the Nationals heading into the 2018 season.

Cleveland Indians +850

When October arrives, you can bet that the Cleveland Indians will be among the mix of teams with a chance to take down the title. The Indians went to the World Series in 2016, and fell short to Houston in 2017. The Indians still have a great roster that can contend. Cleveland comes into the season at a pretty good value of +850 to win the World Series.

Boston Red Sox +1200

The Boston Red Sox added J.D. Martinez late in Spring Training, which will help big time with the pop in the lineup. Boston was successful a season ago, but was the worst playoff team in hitting the ball out of the ballpark. Martinez brings a big bat to an already talented lineup. It should be interesting with the Red Sox sporting their starting pitching staff again in 2018.

Others:

San Francisco Giants +2000
St. Louis Cardinals +2000
Arizona Diamondbacks +500
Los Angeles Angels +2800
New York Mets +2800
Milwaukee Brewers +3300

The season is quickly approaching, and we are excited about the possibilities for the upcoming season. Major League Baseball is such a long grind, so there will be new, changing odds available in the coming months. There is a look at the recent 2018 World Series Odds.

MLB’s Top Free Agents Still Available as Spring Training Arrives

The MLB’s Spring Training is in full speed and the list of free agents is getting smaller each week.  This week, we saw the San Diego Padres sign former Kansas City Royals 1B ERic Hosmer to a earth shattering guaranteed 8 year, $144 million dollar contract!  The list is getting smaller but the reality is the signing’s are slow with many teams expected to save salary in attempts to sign some of the big available players that will come available next year such as Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon, Dallas Keuchel and Adam Jones, just to name a few.  

This was expected to be a very slow and steady free agency market due to the fact that many teams already have their eyes on a few of these players and want to make sure they can afford them and don’t want to tie up much salary with signing other players.  

That being said, there are still some very big names that can certainly help some teams out this year in attempts to win a World Series.  In this article, we will look at the top 10 free agents that are still available on the market.  

JD Martinez

JD Martinez was picked up by the Arizona Diamondbacks towards the end of last year to help them in the postseason.  Martinez has been one of the most consistent home run hitters over the last 3 years, hitting 105 homers in the last 3 years.  He is definitely a big bat for any lineup but it is abundantly clear that teams are avoiding signing him due to the cost he will bring.  

Jake Arrieta –

The Chicago Cubs have made it abundantly clear that they would not resign Arrieta and many other teams are shying away from Arrieta now with the season less than two months from starting.  Arrieta is a former Cy Young award winner and is looking for a deal that will bring him more than 1 year.  There are a total of 6 teams that have shown interest but none have made a move to offer a contract more than 1 year.  

Mike Moustakas –

Hosmer’s former teammate Mike Moustakas is one of the top third basemen’s that are available this year and there are some teams that are very close to signing him. Many feel that the New York Yankees will make a push for Moustakas and his 38 home runs could add on to the completely powerful Yankee Lineup.  Moustakas is just 29 years old and still has several good years left in his tank.  

Alex Cobb –

Cobb and the rest of the free agent pitchers on this list really took a backseat to many teams awaiting the decision on Yu Darvish. With Darvish signing last week, it now clears the way for some teams to start signing some of these other pitchers like Cobb.  Cobb is a 30 year old right handed pitcher and has received a qualifying offer from the Tampa Bay Rays but he has not accepted to offer.  If another team makes an offer and he accepts their offer, they would have to give the Rays a draft pick.  That could drastically restrict Cobb and force him to resign with the Rays.

Logan Morrison –

The former Tampa Bay first basemen is waiting to sign with a ball club but the phone is ringing off the hook and time is running out on his shot to get on with a team during spring training.  Morrison is tagged to be heading to Boston but if they sign him, it will be after JD Martinez signs with a team.  The Red Sox have their eye on both Morrison and Martinez but they much prefer to sign Martinez.

Lance Lynn

Lynn rejected St. Louis Cardinal’s qualifying offer in November and became a free agent.  He was slated to make $17.4 million dollars and the Cards basically refused to sign him or keep him for that much money.  Lynn was 11-8 last year with a 3.43 ERA.  The fact is that Lynn may believe that his price tag is worth more in his own eyes than teams around the league believe his price tag should be.

The reality is any of these free agents could sign even before we are able to hit submit on publishing this article.  The market is closing fast on some of these free agents and as we said earlier – the amount of talent coming out next year will affect the amount of money that some of these guys will get paid in their contract.