Baseball is moving along the season is beginning to take shape. Many of the storylines have come and gone like flashes in the pan. As we enter the middle of May, a few storylines are still going on that could be worth keeping an eye on as we enter the middle of the season. Could there be a guy that could hit .400? Will the few surprise teams continue the upward trend? Could the best player to play in the modern era of baseball get traded? Only time will tell if these storylines will continue as the summer approaches.
3 Storylines In Baseball Worth Watching
Luis Arraez hitting .400
Hitting .400 is something that hasn’t been done in baseball since Rodgers Hornsby in 1922 with an average of .401. Tony Gwynn came the closest with a .394 average in 1994, the strike-shortened season. Chipper Jones, back in 2008, came the next closest when he hit .364. Needless to say, the way modern baseball has made it incredibly hard even to come close to that magical number of 400. Between all of the now-banned shifts and specialty pitchers in the bullpen, you can see how this might never happen again.
Luis Arraez has something that bodes well for him, and it’s similar to why Tony Gwyn came close to the 400 number almost 20 years ago. He possesses the ability to hit the ball to the opposite field. If you look at his spray chart, plenty of hits go into left field. In a time where so many hitters just hit home runs and take their walks, a guy who still has that inside-out approach is a relic of a time that has passed by.
Hitting .400 is something that many assume will never happen again. The league leader in batting average was Jeff McNeil, who hit .326. As of this article, Arraez is hitting .382. The shift ending may allow the more slap hitters to get more chances to shine. He’s able to show that pure hitter ability on display. Not that home runs and bat flips aren’t cool, of course. Sometimes just seeing a hit the other way to set up a rally, and it topped off with a three-run home run is perfect. Keeping an eye on what is happening in South Beach is worth it as the season continues.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates
Every season, there are always a couple of teams that seemingly come out of nowhere to take the entire baseball world by surprise. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates have done that up to this point in the season. Even then, Pittsburgh has gone 2-8 in their last 10 games to fall into second place in the National League Central behind the Milwaukee Brewers. Arizona is currently 24-18 and is also second in the National League West. Both teams have outperformed what was expected of them.
Even with Pittsburgh currently on a slide, Mitch Keller has become that staff’s ace. In Keller’s last two games, he has pitched 16 innings with 21 strikeouts while allowing zero earned runs. In one of those games, Keller threw a complete game shutout. The Pirates have a great young core of players who could make that team a contender for the long term. Striking while the Cardinals aren’t doing as well as they could be and striking while the iron is hot is the key.
Arizona has been on an upward trend for a solid minute. In a similar vein to how Pittsburgh built their team the same way, through the draft. Unlike the Pirates, however, Zac Gallen has been an ace for a couple of years. The separator has been how Corbin Carroll looks like he could be an actual Rookie of the Year candidate. On top of that, they have plenty of top prospects that are knocking on the door of the majors within the next few seasons.
Oakland Athletics and their Stadium Situation
Oakland Athletics fans are in a situation that many fan dread being in stadium limbo. The Oakland Coliseum isn’t in the most fantastic shape since the Raiders left for Vegas in 2020. The city of Oakland has been at a standstill with the team for years. The unfortunate part of this is that the Athletics need a new place to play their games in. Earlier this season, the A’s visitors’ broadcast booth got taken over by an opossum.
Earlier in the week, the Athletics reached a deal to potentially build a 30,000-seat stadium on the Vegas strip on the Tropicana Hotel site. The potential move has prompted fans to protest the move to Vegas. They have begun chanting to sell the team outside the stadium and also have bright signs to games as well with the same message. There was even controversy because the MLB Offical video highlights cropped out the “sell the team” signs in a highlight from the team.
No fanbase should ever be in a position where their team is trying to fail intentionally, so they can move on to another city since they can’t progress. Having essentially dismantled the team over the past two seasons. Apart from a few promising prospects the team has, there is very little for the fans to come to the ballpark, and the failing attendance shows that. Again this is an unfortunate situation for the fans to be in. Hopefully, they can stay in Oakland, but the signs point to Las Vegas.
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