How about those Red Sox?
If you predicted before the season that the Orioles would be leading the AL East and the Indians would be leading the AL Central, you would have been laughed out of the room. The â€œexpertsâ€ had them nowhere near the top of their respective divisions.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox, Rays, Twins, Tigers, Braves and Cardinals were all predicted to compete for a playoff spot. The Red Sox and Braves were World Series candidates.
These teams are a combined 15-39. It isnâ€™t even 10 percent into the season, but some of the predictions are not looking so good anymore.
However, on a positive note, let’s look at the surprising Indians and Orioles and give them some credit. Nobody predicted the Giants would make the playoffs last season (forget winning the World Series), so donâ€™t throw out early season success.
The Indians have a nice group of young players. Carlos Santana is one of the top hitting prospects in all of baseball, and should be in consideration for the Rookie of the Year Award all season.
Shin-Soo Choo is one of the most underrated, unheralded players in the game. He has hit over .300 each of the last three seasons, with 20 home runs and 20 steals each of the last two.
A potential downfall will be pitching. Their rotation is made up of a bunch of cast-offs or prospects who would not have the same opportunity on most teams.
Their one established pitcher is Fausto Carmona. He has a 17-win season on his resume, to go along with 46 career wins.
The rest of the rotation has 38 wins combined. These new guys can either take the league by storm, or fall apart and revert back to being the poor pitchers they have been in the past.
The Orioles are a different story. After Buck Showalter was hired last season, they were a great team. With Buck, they were 34-23; before him, 32-73. His winning attitude in the clubhouse has had a pronounced effect.
This season they have reloaded their roster with some veteran talent. Vladimir Guerrero, Mark Reynolds and Derrick Lee will provide a nice boost to their lineup to go along with former all-stars Brian Roberts and Adam Jones. Hitting will not be their problem.
The Orioles face the challenge of living in the AL East. With the Yankees and the Red Sox always two of the best teams in the league, it will not be easy having to play them each 19 times.
Their lineup should continue to hit, but as with the Indians they have an extremely young pitching staff. Each pitcher, especially Zach Britton is extremely talented.
But with a young staff, the team will go through a lot of ups and downs. Hopefully for the Orioles, there will be more ups.
At the end of the day, it is still extremely early in the season. The best part about a 162-game season is that the good teams will prevail, and the bad ones simply will not.