Rarely does a baseball team stay the same from one season to the next. Offseason trades, retirements, injuries, and other factors all contribute to how a team will change. So far in 2014 these are three teams who appear to have drastically changed from the 2013 season.
Chicago White Sox
Whenever a pitcher took the mound in 2013 against the Chicago White Sox he knew his odds of winning were pretty good. The team only won 63 games and finished 29th in runs with 598. Now in 2014 they are off to a start that lets us know that this is not the same team.
A lot of credit can be given to newcomer Jose Abreu. His power bat has provided immediate offense for the team albeit his average has dropped. The excitement of what he can possibly do though has kept fans very interested. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez has also provided a different kind of spark. Having been with the team since 2008-, Ramirez looks to finally be what the White Sox have wanted after several down seasons. Other than the fans, team ace Chris Sale is probably happiest about the extra run support going 3-0 in his first 3 starts.
Not all changes have been good ones. In particular the Atlanta Braves have a starting rotation absent of Tim Hudson. Even worse, Mike Minor has started the season on the disabled list and Kris Medlen will miss the entire year. Missing from their lineup is veteran catcher Brian McCann who moved on after 2013 via free agency.
The new starters the Braves have are a mix of young talent and veterans whom to many look like ticking time bombs. Aaron Harang has gotten off to a good start, but to expect him to continue on this path is asking far too much. Replacing McCann is Evan Gattis who will have no problem supplying the team with power. What they will miss more with McCann’s absence is veteran leadership and a good batting average
Another team going through a very similar situation as the Braves is the Arizona Diamondbacks. Before the season even began they lost their ace Patrick Corbin to a season-ending injury. An already questionable starting rotation has lost the number one guy they counted on to win games and only a call-up of prospect Archie Bradley may give fans a reason to follow.
Starters Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy, Bronson Arroyo, and Wade Miley have all struggled. It’s beginning to look like they will need their offense to click if they want to salvage the season. They still have Paul Goldschmidt, but other than him their best position players are streaky. The newest big bat they got in the offseason, Mark Trumbo, will undoubtedly provide them with plenty of power. However any offense Trumbo adds will be at the cost of a poor batting average. Don’t be surprised if they turn out to be one of the worst teams this year if their pitching cannot turn things around.