- 02/20/2013, 10:06AM ET
Outlaw... said 02/20, 10:06 AM
By biggest surprise, I mean which team will most surpass preseason expectations.
For the biggest disappointment, I have the Los Angeles Dodgers(Tough choice between them and the Blue Jays).
Really, I don't see where all this hype is coming from. They traded for a bunch of guys that were overpaid and either couldn't hit, couldn't pitch or couldn't stay healthy in Boston, and they're expecting these players to hit, pitch or stay healthy in LA? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If this roster had been put together 3 years ago, I'd be scared, but as of now, they're just an overpriced team full of players ran out of Boston, and Hanley, who is a big time head case and not as good as he once was.
For the biggest surprise team, I'll stick with the NL West and pick the San Diego Padres.
They were one of the best teams in the majors during the second half last season, and they kept basically all of the players. They have some solid young pitching and an offense that has the potential to put runs on the board. Keeping Chase Headley was huge for San Diego, I can see them contending for the division or wild card.
Marlins Fan said 02/21, 01:12 AM
I'm writing this on a tablet so I need to apologize in advance for the typos/auto-correct mistakes that are sure to follow.
I'm not going to counter your selections just yet in order to be fair, so let's get to the teams I've chosen for this debate.
For biggest disappointment I'm going with the Texas Rangers. The Rangers appeared in two of the last three World Series and they're generally viewed as a perennial WS contender.
However, this isn't the same old Rangers team. They lost their cleanup hitter and one of their better outfielders in Josh Hamilton, a player not so far removed from an MVP season. They also lost Mike Napoli who was critical to their postseaskn run in 2011 and at times looked like one of the most dominating players in the game. Also Nelson Cruz is battling PED stories and Adrian Beltre certainly isn't getting any younger. I just don't see who's going to replace Hamilton's run production, among other things.
For biggest surprise I'll take the Seattle Mariners. Their offense still leaves a bit to be desired but Kendrys Morales will provide some desperately needed power and their pitching... oh, their pitching. More on that soon.
Outlaw... said 02/21, 10:15 AM
Nobody is really expecting the Rangers to win the AL West this season, so I don't think they'll be a disappointment. They lost their best and most popular player in Hamilton and let Napoli walk to the Red Sox, and their rotation has some serious questions.
MLB Network says the Rangers look like a third place team behind the Angels and A's, so if anything Texas has the opportunity to surprise people this season, because on paper, they're way behind the Angels.
I just don't think enough people are expecting the Rangers to perform well for them to be a disappointment.
As for the Mariners, yeah, they added Morse and Morales, but they also lost their number 2 and number 3 starters. I think they're a decent team, and maybe the added wins of playing the Astros puts them around .500, but their division is just too stacked ahead of them.
If the Mariners finish ahead of the Angels, Mike Sciosia should be fired, and despite the Rangers' losses, they still have a lineup capable of putting up a lot of crooked numbers, and we all saw last season how scrappy this A's bunch is.
Marlins Fan said 02/22, 12:47 AM
Not sure why you think "nobody" is expecting the Rangers to make a WS appearance but according to Las Vegas' betting lines the team from Texas has the 6th best chances of any MLB team, so I feel pretty safe and secure saying they're viewed as a likely 2013 WS contender.
And I stand by my statement that they are destined to be a disappointment this year, something I notice you didn't really argue against at all.
Seattle I have a lot to say about but I want to focus on your argument so I'll save the Mariners talk for my third argument.
Moving on, you say the Dodgers are doomed to disappoint this year but I disagree.
LA easily has the best lineup in the NL. Seriously, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Dee Gordon, the surprisingly effective AJ Ellis behind the plate (shout out to the former Albuquerque Isotopes mentioned there), nobody has an offense as loaded as the DOdgers in the NL.
And their pitching is better than you think.
Fisrt off, Clayton Kershaw is the best LHP in the game, and one of the best overall. Beckett always owns during odd-numbered years. Lilly, Grienke and Billingsley give LA a nasty rotation.
Outlaw... said 02/22, 08:50 AM
The general fan base thinks Texas will have a bit of a down year, and thus it really wouldn't be a big surprise if they had a down year.
They lost two huge pieces of their lineup, two starters(Feldman and Dempster) and their setup man in Mike Adams, and while they did replace Napol and Adams, the other spots remain vacant. You can only lose so much talent to a division rival before you have to pick the division rival to beat you. Much more is expected of the Dodgers than the Rangers, and the Rangers are a better team.
If this were 3 years ago, you' be right about LA's lineup, but since we're in the present it's a lineup full of hasbeens and Boston's trash. Kemp and Ethier are very solid, A-Gon and Crawford, there's a reason Boston didn't want them anymore. Hanley- He needs to prove he still has it.
Kersaw is a great pitcher, and Greinke is solid, but after that, LA's rotation is scaring nobody. Beckett, Ryu, Billingsley(coming off an injury) isn't scaring a soul.
Seattle has potential to be a solid team, but San Diego ended last season one of the hottest teams in baseball, and they're more talented and play in an easier division than the Mariners.
Marlins Fan said 02/23, 05:12 AM
Crawford may or may not be finished as a (very) borderline MVP candidate but I don't see any reason Adrian Gonzalez shouldn't have a huge year. He's back in the NL West, a division he seemed very comfortable in, and there's plenty of protection in the lineup to where he should post numbers more similar to his MVP candidate years.
And again, LA's wealth of pitching makes it hard to see them collapsing barring injuries or some other strange and unpredictable set of circumstances.
Remember, Beckett dominatesthe odd years. Doesn't matter that he sucked last year; he always sucks on even years. He'll give one of those seasons where you start believing maybe he could be an ace again, as hes prone to do. During odd years. Remember that.
Also I disagree with your premises that A)the Padres are more talented than Seattle, and B)the AL West is stronger than the NL West this year. Might sound crazy but as I already stated, Texas will fall off, the fluky A's will regress to the mean, and Lord knows what to expect from the Angels. (See what I did there?)
The NL West, conversely, features the reigning World Champion Giants and the LOADED Dodgers.
Good TD, GL.
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