MLB Teams and Players off to Disappointing Starts

The 2019 MLB regular season isn’t even a month old yet, but enough baseball has been played for us to be surprised by a few things. Early-season statistics must be taken with a grain of salt because not much has stabilized yet on an individual player basis. There’s still more than five months for things to even out, and for the most part, they will across the board. That’s just how baseball works — the law of averages typically wins out.  Keeping these odds in mind is very important when making sports betting wager at or other online sports books.

But there will be at least a handful of occurrences where a disappointing start will turn into a rough year, or an anticipated postseason contender doesn’t live up to expectations. Let’s dig deeper into the following 10 players and teams who have all gotten off to varying degrees of disappointing starts.

Boston Red Sox

Championships aren’t won in April, but they sure can be lost. It’s yet to be seen how badly the Red Sox have dug themselves into a hole with their 6-12 start, but it won’t be easy getting back to the top of the American League East. They’re currently in last place and are already 7.5 games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays.

What’s most shocking is how different this start is compared to their 2018 championship run. Last season, Boston didn’t lose its 12th game until May 11th.

Boston’s rotation and bullpen has combined for -0.1 fWAR through about three weeks of play while also allowing 1.93 home runs per nine innings. That’s the third-worst mark in baseball, behind only the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Manager Alex Cora’s trio of Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and Nathan Eovaldi has struggled quite a bit, as well. None of them own an ERA below 8.40, and they’ve combined for -1.0 fWAR through 44.1 innings.

Colorado Rockies

At the outset of this season, the Rockies appeared to be primed to make their third consecutive push toward the playoffs. While they’re only 4.5 games behind first place in the National League West, they haven’t helped themselves by getting off to the worst start in franchise history.

And once again, it’s the offense that’s been failing them. Position players have combined for -2.8 fWAR and a 43 wRC+, both the worst marks in baseball by a considerable margin. When we look at the fWAR leaderboard for qualified players, three Rockies hitters are among the bottom five (Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, and Garrett Hampson). Heck, even Nolan Arenado is off to a rough start (0.2 fWAR and 81 wRC+ through 80 plate appearances).

FanGraphs gave the Rockies just a 16.0% chance of making the playoffs prior to the season started. With this terrible start factored in, those chances have cratered to 4.2% heading into Wednesday’s action.

Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers

He’s currently on the 10-day Injured List because of a right knee strain, but taking a break was probably in Odor’s best interest at the moment. The young second baseman is currently slashing .167/.255/.214 with no home runs, two RBI, and five runs scored through 47 plate appearances.

When looking at hitters with at least 40 plate appearances, Odor’s 25 wRC+ is among the 25 worst. One encouraging part of his offensive game is his increased walk rate. After a career-low 3.0% mark in 2016, it jumped up to 4.9% in ’17 before going even higher to 8.0% this past season. That number is currently at 8.5%. Unfortunately, it’s been accompanied by a 31.9% strikeout rate, which would easily be a career-worst mark if the season ended today.

At first glance, Odor’s batted-ball profile looks pretty good since there is a drop in ground balls, but his hard-hit rate is down to 33.3% (45.2% in ’18). While his 44.0% fly-ball rate seems healthy for a hitter who likes to slug dingers, it’s basically negated by the fact that his infield-fly rate is a ridiculous 36.4%.

Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians

We already touched on Corey Kluber’s disappointing start to 2019, so it makes sense to now shift focus to his fellow rotation mate. Carrasco is slated to take the hill Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners, and he has a lot of work to do when it comes to getting his season-long numbers back to normal.

He enters his fourth start with his typical strikeout rate (30.9%) and walk rate (5.5%) in tow, but also with a 12.18 ERA. Two of his first three starts have yielded at least six earned runs, and he’s still trying to complete more than five innings for the first time in 2019.

Some things that will (hopefully) start stabilizing for Carrasco is his hard-hit rate allowed (61.8%) and ground-ball rate (20.6%). His curveball usage has also been cut down drastically so far (12.3% in ’18, 4.4% in ’19). He’s only thrown it seven times this season, but hitters have posted a 433 wRC+ and 0.0% strikeout rate against it (29 wRC+ and 34.0% strikeout rate in ’18).

Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels

There will never be a day when Simmons is known for his bat more than his glove as a big leaguer. However, his last two seasons at the plate with the Angels have been rather productive.

After posting a 90 wRC+ and 2.7 fWAR in his first year with L.A., those numbers have increased each season, with career-high marks coming in 2018 (109 wRC+ and 5.5 fWAR). He’s also registered back-to-back seasons of at least 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases, along with more than 120 RBI plus runs scored, making him more than a viable option in fantasy baseball circles.

It’s been a rough start for Simmons in 2019, as he’s mustered just a .520 OPS and 39 wRC+ through his first 66 plate appearances. He is swinging a lot more often (51.5% swing rate in ’19, 45.2% in ’18), but not necessarily in the right situations. Simmons’ swing rate on strikes has increased almost three percentage points, but his chase rate is currently at 37.5% (it was 28.0% at the end of last year).