The 2018 MLB season is off and running, and I got my peanuts and cracker jacks enjoying every moment. There have been hot starts from teams such as the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, L.A. Angels and surprisingly the New York Mets. I recently put out power rankings and highlighted some key players off to blistering starts, which you can find here.
Now, not everyone is off and running to start the season. In fact, some so-called “superstars” have come out of the gate with ice-cold bats. I understand it is early and we are just beginning the long 162 game journey, so of course the players I’m about to list can turn it around, but as of now, they have not lived up to expectations.
5. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks are off to an impressive 8-2 start, but that has not been the case for slugger Paul Goldschmidt. The first baseman is batting .118 with 0 home runs and only 3 RBI, well below the usual stats we have come to see from the All-star. Goldschmidt has been one of the most consistent hitters in the league over the past five seasons. He has finished in the top three of MVP voting three of those five years. Has the slugger hit the wall at 30 years old? Highly unlikely but Arizona will need their best player to step up if they want to continue their hot play all season long.
4. Mike Trout – L.A. Angels
Arguably the best player in the world is off to one of the slowest starts of his career. Trout through the first 11 games of the season is batting .222 with an OBP of .327 which is good enough for 99th in the league. The power numbers have been somewhat there with 3 home runs and 8 RBI, but we are not talking about an everyday run of the mill player, this is Mike Trout, and he is held to a higher standard. Out of all the guys on this list I have the most faith in Trout’s bat to come to life and work his way into the MVP discussion, which seemingly happens every season.
3. Fransico Lindor – Cleveland Indians
The only thing going well for the young Indians shortstop has been his baserunning. Lindor has three stolen bags in four attempts. That’s where his production ends. Lindor doubled his home run total last season compared to the previous from 15 to 33, due in part to him adjusting his launch angle. He went from just a speedy baserunner to a threat to go yard every time he stepped up to the plate. So far this season Lindor is batting .175 with 0 HR and 0 RBI. He also is not giving himself many chances to use his baserunning prowess with a .250 OBP, which is nearly 100 points below his career average.
2. Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
Ryan Zimmerman was another player who benefited from adjusting his launch angle in 2017. He provided the Nationals with one of his best seasons as a pro knocking in 108 RBI and 36 HR. He also saw his batting average tick up over .300 for the first time since 2010. This season Zimmerman has started out about as cold as you possibly can batting .097, 1 HR, 3 RBI. Zimmerman is 33 years old now and looks to be on the downside of his career, and the ledge seems to be coming up quick.
1. Giancarlo Stanton – New York Yankees
Ahh yes, we have finally made it to number 1 on our list. The most highly sought-after player this past offseason, Giancarlo Stanton. It was for a good reason why Stanton was wanted by basically everyone team around the league. He was coming off an MVP season where he belted 59 HR and 132 RBI. It was one of the best power number seasons in quite some time. This season for his new team up north, the New York Yankees, has not gone as expected. Stanton booed in his debut at Yankee Stadium, a game where fans sat through five strikeouts from their big-name pickup. If you thought that was bad, the new Yankee struck out five times again just five days later leading to more boos from the fans in attendance. We have seen many players crack under the bright lights of a large market, will Giancarlo Stanton be the next victim?