Just over a month into the 2022 MLB season there are some things that are starting to stick out. Each season, there are a few breakout players or some team performances that make us turn our heads. Here are some of the top MLB surprises so far.
Taylor Ward becoming a slugger
The Los Angeles Angels third baseman has been subpar over the first few seasons of his career, but he is breaking out in 2022 and it has helped the Angels to a first place standing in the AL West. Ward has the highest batting average and best OPS among qualified hitters in the AL. The Angels look different than they have in years past and if they can stay healthy and keep up this level of success, maybe this is finally the year where Mike Trout will see a return to the postseason. It’s about time someone pulls their weight and helps out the best player in the last 20 years.
Glad they didn’t trade Eric Hosmer
Before the season began, the San Diego Padres were trying desperately to get rid of Eric Hosmer’s contract. Entering action this weekend, they are feeling pretty good about keeping him around as he bats .367 with 21 RBIs and an OPS of 985. He has eight doubles and 40 hits in 109 at-bats. Hosmer is getting older and after a season where he batted just .269 with 12 home runs, you could have foreseen a season where his numbers dropped tremendously. He has done the opposite of that and has the Padres right in the mix in the NL West.
Are the Yankees for real?
The New York Yankees always field a roster with expensive players that have plenty of star power behind their names. However, year after year, the Yankees have disappointed in one way or another. This might be the season that is much different. One month into the season, the Yankees have 23 wins and the best record in Major League Baseball. They’ve had a winning streak that hit double digits and their fair share of exciting moments. It’s still early, but the Yankees look scary.
The Minnesota Twins
I’m not sure if we should be all that surprised by the Twins having 18 wins and a first-place spot in the AL Central. They were bad in 2021, but over the last five years, the Twins have put up consistently good numbers in the American League as they made the playoffs three times in that span. Unfortunately, it hasn’t led to postseason success. After a tough season, Minnesota is back, and Byron Buxton is making a case for the MVP award already.
No more long ball
I am all for home runs in baseball. And home runs are down significantly. Major League Baseball is no longer using juiced balls, at least that’s what they say. However, some teams believe they are still being used for nationally televised games. The numbers tell the true story this season, there have been just .9 home runs per game this season, compared to 1.22 last year and 1.39 in 2019.