5 MLB Teams Most Likely To Perform Above Expectations This Year

Don Phan February 27, 2013 Comments Off

New-Royals-starter-James-Shields

The major league exhibition season kicks off for most teams this weekend. Throughout the winter, various pundits have been making predictions and attempting to define expectations for each team. With that in mind, let’s take a look at which five teams are likely to exceed expectations this season.

1. Kansas City Royals

Record Last Season: 72-90

Why Will They Improve?

The Royals have been busy this winter trying to supplement their young talent with some veteran players who can make a difference right now. It is no secret that the Royals have had one of the better farm systems in baseball over the past few years. However, it is time for the team to finally realize its potential. They have revamped their starting rotation by trading for James Shields while also acquiring Ervin Santana. With a starting rotation that looks like it belongs in the major leagues, they might have a shot at contending for a wild card berth.

2. Cleveland Indians

Record Last Season: 68-94

Why Will They Improve?

For some reason, no one is taking the Indians seriously. Despite having contended for parts of the last two seasons, they are a 150-1 long shot to make the World Series this year. While no one is seriously suggesting that the Indians are a championship contender, they should improve significantly from their 68 wins last season. The biggest reason why they should be a better team is that they have signed manager Terry Francona to a contract. He lead the Boston Red Sox to two championships during his tenure there. He could do to Cleveland what Buck Showalter did for the Orioles.

3. Miami Marlins

Record Last Season: 69-93

Why Will They Improve?

Why are the Marlins going to be better than they were last season? The easiest explanation is that there are going to be zero expectations for this team. With the pressure off, the young talent that the team has accumulated should be able to fly under the radar. While they may not make the playoffs, don’t be surprised to see the Marlins make some noise in the first half of the season. The Marlins could be the biggest sleeper team in 2013.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record Last Season: 79-83

Why Will They Improve?

The Pirates have fallen just short of the playoffs the past two seasons. However, this may be the year when they finally break through. Players such as Andrew McCutcheon have the experience necessary to help the team play with more consistency. The Pirates also have a lot of promising young arms coming up through their system. If everything comes together just right, don’t count Pittsburgh out. A run at 90 wins isn’t out of the question.

5. Philadelphia Phillies

Record Last Season: 81-81

Why Will They Improve?

The Phillies suffered through a disappointing 2012 season. However, they will get Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back for a full season. Their pitching looks to be relatively strong on paper. It is certain that Cliff Lee will not take 14 starts to record his first win of 2013. Cole Hamels should be good for another 15 wins as well. Although the Braves and Nationals are strong competition, a team with championship experience can never be counted out.

These five teams are the most likely to do better than the experts expect. For the fans in Kansas City or Pittsburgh, a playoff berth would be like a drink of water to a man walking through a desert. In Miami, getting back to .500 would seem like a dream come true. It would also help energize a fan base that has nothing going for it right now.

Don’t miss my take on the 5 teams who will perform below expectations.



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