18. Washington Nationals, 6-5, fourth in the NL East
The Nationals’ bullpen is the reason they’ve struggled to start the season, with a league-high 10.17 ERA. While their starters’ ERA is still not great at 4.55 it still features Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburgh and Patrick Corbin. But with their bullpen allowing 58 runs in just nine games, the Nats can’t seem to hold onto leads or keep games close enough for their young bats to win games.
Washington also just lost SS Trea Turner for at least the next month after he broke his right index finger, which means more Wilmer Difo at shortstop. While he hasn’t been terrible to start the season (.240/.296/.360), he provides little offensive production. Luckily, the Nats’ young outfielders Juan Soto and Victor Robles have been excellent to start the season, both boasting OPS’s over .900. If the Nationals can improve their bullpen, they have enough young talent and veteran starters to quickly become one of the elite teams in baseball.
But right now, it’s hard to say the Nationals can rely on their two young outfielders to carry this team offensively, while also expecting this bullpen to figure things out on their own.
17. Texas Rangers, 6-6, last in the AL West
The Rangers have no pitching, particularly their starters, who have the fifth-worst ERA in the league at 6.00. Their bullpen isn’t much better, though it is in the middle of the pack with a 4.67 ERA. At least Texas has so much power in their lineup there will be games when they can survive their poor pitching.
Joey Gallo’s .219 batting average can make people overlook his season, but while he’s not hitting the ball a lot he’s walked 10 times with four home runs and a 1.030 OPS. Shortstop Elvis Andrus seemed to figure everything last season and has slid into the 3-hole in the Rangers lineup, looking natural in that part of the lineup. Slashing .378/.391/.489, Andrus leads the club with 17 hits but outside of him, Gallo and Nomar Mazara (who has plenty of pop himself), the Rangers aren’t built for long-term success. Expect the Rangers to fall lower to these rankings as their pitching starts to cost them more games.