2019 MLB 1st Half Surprises so far… and will they last?
If I gave you a $100 bill in March and said: “Bet this on any MLB team to have the best first-half record in baseball.” Who would you have picked? One thing I can say with a good deal of confidence; I bet it wouldn’t have been the Minnesota Twins.
Yes, it’s true, as we put May behind us the Minnesota Twins have a 37-18 record, good for best in the Majors. But they aren’t the only surprise of this MLB first half. Let’s take a deeper look at the Twins and also delve into some other early-season shockers that have affected the betting market.
Minnesota Twins sit atop the MLB mountain as June begins
Not only does Minnesota have the best record in the league, but they have also opened up a big ol’ 10-game lead over the Indians in the division. How have they done this you ask? With the utmost confidence, I can offer just one answer to that question… I have no idea. How about “every Cleveland player is having a career year.” Perhaps some stimulant has contaminated the clubhouse cooler at Target Field. I mean sure, Jorge Polanco is having an MVP quality season and they have veteran studs Marwin Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz on roster doing damage. But just how the rest of an honestly average lineup is hitting so well is beyond my comprehension.
What I can comprehend is the law of averages and can say with certainty that this will not last. I mean we see this every year with a middle of the road player, it just so happens this season’s crop is ALL ON THE TWINS! Unless Rocco Baldelli found the holy grail of hitting clinics, expect regression toward career means and a quick exit from the playoffs.
Great time to lay some money on the Indians so scrape back into this race and come out on top of the division come season’s end.
The Rays pitching staff are channeling their inner aces
The Rays have been pitching lights out so far this season. Like black hole level of lights out really… so good. Their starting rotation has a league-leading 2.33 ERA on the season, this is insanity people. For reference, the next closest team is the Dodgers with a 3.09 ERA followed by the aforementioned twins at 3.45. Not enough for you? Ok, let’s take a walkout to the bullpen, which ranks third in ERA at 3.49 and 3rd in total strikeouts. They are still making use of an uncommon strategy in baseball by utilizing an opener, think closer but for the 1st inning. The thought process being that it minimizes the ABs players have against any given pitcher. This doesn’t rank so much in the fade category heading into June as I believe we’ve seen enough of this Rays staff to trust them to continue their excellent pitching.
The Yankees prove they are unbreakable despite a glass jawed lineup
Last week the New York Yankees placed Miguel Andujar on the 60 day IL after season-ending surgery to repair a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. This marks the 20th stint on the IL that a Bronx Bomber has occupied at one point this season, a league-leading number and a category you don’t want to be winning at.
But here’s the real twist, the Yanks have the 2nd best record in the division and sit atop the AL East with a 36-19 record, behind just the Twins for best in the Major Leagues. Let’s review, the Yankees are without the likes of OF studs Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, young ace Luis Severing and now last year’s rookie of the year, Andujar. Despite all of these punches, Bronx’s best just refuses to go down. Well much like the Rays, we are seeing many new faces who are playing way over expectations.
This squad, missing their 5 best HR hitters from 2018 for most of the season, matched their numbers from last year with 90 home runs in their first 55 games. Guys like Luke Voight and Gio Urshela have been hitting the cover off the ball, and Domingo German is pitching more like El Duque in his debut season in pinstripes.
Now while I do believe the Yankees will continue to succeed and content for the World Series this season, one thing must be mentioned about their hot start. “The Baltimore Effect” refers to the fact that The Bronx Zoo has played an astonishing 21.8 percent of their total games against the Orioles this season. Now this influences their W/L ration due to the putrid team Baltimore is trotting out on a daily basis. This has also inflated their HR numbers with the Bombers hitting 36 long balls in just 12 games vs an O’s team which has allowed a dry heave-inducing 117 dingers so far this season. But the Yankees will get healthy soon, just in time to start playing teams fielding actual skill this year.
Cody Bellinger is hitting like the lights out
Sure Cody Bellinger has always been a very good baseball player since his debut in 2017, but where has this legendary performance come from? Bellinger’s been good since day one, but he has been off-the-charts good to date this season. He enters this week slashing a bonkers .374 with 52 RBIs & 20 HRs with a .465 on-base percentage to go along with a 1.213 OPS, legendary stuff. Look the kid can’t hit like this all year but at this point, it almost doesn’t matter.
He has already shown his ceiling to be HOF worthy, he’s 23 years old and appears in line to be a perennial All-Star in this league. Expect this hot start to keep up, though don’t expect him to finish with a BA above .350, regression will occur.
Holy Home Runs Batman
The first half of 2019 has been about the hitters so far, specifically everyone’s favorite long-ball specialists. Home run totals are up in the first third of this campaign, way up. Hitters this year have actually kicked in the door to 2019 and have decimated the all-time record for both total home runs and home runs per 9 innings. Not to mention that the league usually sees an uptick in bombs when the weather warms up, so we are just getting started with what should end up as the highest HR total in history.
Entering June we have seven different players who are on track to eclipse the 50 home run mark. A feat only 2 people in the last 5 seasons have accomplished – Yankee teammates Giancarlo Stanton & Aaron Judge. And only 2 more over the last decade have reached the mark, Jose Bautista & Chris Davis.
To date, Yelich, Alonso, Bellinger, Rosario, Bell, Sanchez & Dietrich are all on pace for 50. If you needed any more reason to trust the power surge this season. As of the writing of this very sentence, news broke that MLB hitters have set a new HR record for a single month with Vlad Guerrero Jr smacking the 1,120 through deep ball in May.
Make the most of the MLB season
There is still plenty of time left in the 2019 MLB season and still plenty of betting left to be done. Be it game by game wagers, player or team props, or season specials we’ve got a lot of action yet ahead of us. Be sure to take advantage of our 3$ per head promotion for new agents, refer your friends, and get started making money on the MLB and more. And keep an eye on this blog for weekly articles pointing you and your money in the right direction.