SI.com's Tom Verducci links two of the year's most-discussed trends: the demand for young players and the demand for good defense, writing that "the renewed emphasis on defense hasn't helped the value of older players." As a result, teams are reluctant to sign older free agents like Frank Thomas and Jim Edmonds. Many of the older players who signed contracts this offseason are struggling; Verducci mentions Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera among others. Of course it's too early in the season to make sweeping generalizations, but Verducci concludes that baseball's "a young man's game."
Verducci adds that teams like the Tigers and Rangers are playing better because they're defending better. Elvis Andrus has made his mistakes at short for the Rangers, but they're a stronger defensive team this year. Similarly, Brandon Inge and Adam Everett have strengthened the Tigers' defense and helped the team to an 18-16 start. The Rangers (1st) and the Tigers (3rd) are among the best teams in the league at converting balls in play into outs.