Don’t Panic, It’s Early – Bautista and Other Early Season Baseball Oddities

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It’s Friday April 17th, we are 10 games into the 2015 season and already there are signs of panic among Jays fans.

Bautista isn’t hitting!  Donaldson hasn’t gone deep!  The offense is crap!  The pitching is inconsistent!  Russell Martin sucks!

All of those things are true at this point.

But here are two things to consider:

1. 10 games of the baseball season is just over 6% of the schedule, or the equivalent of 5 games into the NHL season and about 1 NFL game.  In Week 1 of the NFL, New England was crushed by Miami, but lo and behold they went on to win the Superbowl.  Through 5 games in the NHL, the New York Rangers were 2-3, the St. Louis Blues were 2-2-1, and the Winnipeg Jets were 1-4, yet all three wound up making the playoffs.  Message #1: Relax, it’s early.

2. Despite all of those thing about Toronto being true, they are 5-5.  Think about how bad they have looked at times this season and how inconsistent the players have been.  Then realize that they are 5-5.  The first place Red Sox are 6-3, meaning Toronto is only 1.5 games back.  If they were 0-10 and 10 games behind, there might be reason to be concerned, but not now.

What should also calm the masses, is something that Pat Tabler said last night (shocking, I know, that Tabler said something useful).  He said that if the season is broken up into 10 game chunks and Toronto goes 6-4 in all of those they will end the season with 96 wins.  Well let’s go one step further.  Let’s say they alternate those 10 game chunks at 5-5 and 6-4.  That will put them at 88-89 wins at the end of the year, exactly the number that both AL Wild Cards had in 2014.

The bottom line is this: Donaldson will not end the season with 0 HR.  Bautista will not hit .152.  Martin will not finish with a .292 OPS.  Hutchison’s ERA will be lower than 6.97.  Todd Redmond and his 16.62 ERA are gone.

We are in good shape.

Besides, if you think the Jays have it rough, take a look at the rest of these early season starts.

1. The World Series favourite and potential 100-win juggernaut Washington Nationals are 4-6 after a 2-6 start.  Three members of the best rotation in baseball (Strasburg, Gonzalez, and  Zimmermann) have a combined ERA of 6.61.

2. Preseason darlings Seattle and Pittsburgh are both 3-6, good enough for dead last in the AL West for the Mariners.

3. The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants are a miserable 3-8, last by a mile in the NL West.  They are scoring on average a woeful 2.91 runs per game.

4. Bryce Harper has 16 strikeouts in only 38 at-bats.  He is on pace for 260 strikeouts this season.

5. Starling Marte one of the top young players on the Pirates, is hitting .103.

6. Giancarlo Stanton, Chris Carter, and Anthony Rizzo combined to hit 106 HR in 2014.  So far this year they have 2…total.

7. Cole Hamels has allowed 7 HR in only 18 IP.

8. Clayton Kershaw, Jeff Samardzija, and Madison Bumgarner all have ERA’s over 5.25.  Masahiro Tanaka, Jon Lester, and Jeff Weaver all have ERA’s of 7.00 or above.

I have a sneaking suspicion that virtually all of those stats above will reverse themselves before the season is over.

Why?

Because it’s early – don’t panic.

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