- 08/18/2013, 06:24PM ET
CuntryBlumpkin said 08/18, 06:24 PM
Surprise- There's a couple other teams I briefly thought about, but to me the answer has to be the Red Sox.
Last season they were terrible, they traded their big names to LA, made some low key acquisitions in the offseason, and they have been terrific all season. Maybe it was just getting good locker room guys for a change, maybe it's the new coach, but whatever it is, the Red Sox have made a fool out of this guy who picked them to finish last in the East. They currently lead the AL East and have most of the season.
Disappointment- There's a few more contenders in this one. The Nats, Phillies, Blue Jays and Angels have all vastly underperformed, but my choice is the San Francisco Giants.
Maybe the others had more expectations, but the Giants are the defending World Series Champs and the winner of 2 of the last 3 WS. They're currently locked in a fight with the Padres to avoid the cellar of the NL West. The team didn't really lose any key players over the off season, really it's basically the same team. They're not producing with the bat like last season and the pitching staff as a whole has regressed.
Mrlns Fn said 08/18, 11:15 PM
For my surprise team I'm going with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Before you say they were good last year, let me say they weren't. They may have had a decent start but ultimately they finished 2012 four games UNDER .500. This season they are in first place in the NL Central, even as late as August 18th.
And what changed, you ask? Well, they signed a couple cast offs in Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano. In other words, nothing, really. Martin and Liriano are decent players but they certainly wouldn't make a bad team a pennant winner.
Yet the Pirates are in first place in the NL Central with a record of 72-51 as of August 18th, 2013.
For my disappointing team I'm selecting the LA Angels of Anaheim or whatever.
This team is truly a disappointment. The Angels have the AL's fourth highest payroll but the fourth worst record, at 55-68. They are only ahead of the laughable Astros in the AL West, one of MLB's most winnable decisions.
Big name acquisitions like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton have been spectacular failures and even "stud" pitchers Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson have been disappointments.
Good topic and good luck.
CuntryBlumpkin said 08/19, 06:18 PM
The Pirates, yeah it's surprising that they're still atop the NL Central, but each of the last two seasons we've seen them contending for first place up until around this time. It's been clear that the Pirates have been on the verge the last few years, and it should be expected that they were eventually gonna get it together and play good for an entire season.
While Martin and Liriano weren't big acquisitions, they are upgrades over Barajas and Correia/Bedard.
They also got Neil Walker back, who's injury last season started their down fall and have Marte for the entire season. Maybe I didn't expect the Pirates to be in first place right now, but I'm not at all surprised that they're contending with a winning record, and I don't think many people were picking them to finish in the cellar like people were doing with the Red Sox.
The Red Sox last year were terrible. They got rid of Crawford, Beckett and Gonzalez and replaced them with aging players like Gomes, Drew and Victorino. Really, it seemed the talent level on the Sox was higher last season, but some how they are performing much better this season under a new manager and new players.
Mrlns Fn said 08/20, 12:42 AM
The Pirates have shown they can start fast in recent years but this year seems different; this year they seem like true pennant contenders, as good as the Cardinals and all the other NL Central teams if not better.
Pittsburgh's division leading play may not be a total schock but it is more surprising than the Red Sox leading the AL East.
Think about it. The Red Sox were bad last year after a long stretch of competitive play, year in, year out. Boston identified a few obvious problems, IE Bobby Valentine, first and foremost. Carl Crawford wasn't right in the head. Beckett wanted out because of fried chicken and beer-Gate.
The Red Sox identified their weak links and eliminated them, thereby restoring themselves to their usual pattern of success.
Boston leading the AL East isn't a surprise at all unless you look at 2012 in a vacuum. Fans forgot that Ortiz, Ellsbury, Pedroia, Buchholz, Napoli, Victorino, etc are all very talented players, but we knew those things in 2011. We're just too short sighted as fans, sometimes.
Point being, Boston had one down year (predictably so, after hiring Bobby V) but there was no reason to think taking out the trash wouldn't help.
CuntryBlumpkin said 08/20, 06:29 PM
Yeah, the Angels did have a ton of expectations this season, and yes they have disappointed, but keep in mind that they didn't make the playoffs last season and they have NL East rejects Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton backing the rotation.
It's hard to win when you don't have any pitching past the 1 and 2 starters and a shaky bull pen.
Yeah, nobody expected the Angels to be 15 games back, but the AL West is tough, and I don't think anybody would be surprised that the Rangers and A's are ahead of them, you know two teams from the division that made the playoffs last season.
The Giants on the other hand were thought to have had one of the better pitching staffs in the Majors, but they have all disappointed top to bottom, same with the lineup.
The Giants aren't just some team that made some noise last season to just miss the playoffs. THEY WON THE WORLD SERIES LAST SEASON AND IN 2010 and they are sitting behind the Padres and Rockies for LAST PLACE in the NL West.
I think the defending World Series champs with essentially the same roster as last season in last place is a bit more disappointing than a non playoff team from last year.
Mrlns Fn said 08/21, 02:11 AM
The Angels are now 17 games back in the AL West. Seventeen games behind the Rangers. Heck, they're 15.5 games behind the Oakland A's for second place in the division.
The A's still don't have an abundance of talent one their roster and regardless of Billy Beane's infamous trickery there is no way on God's green earth the LA Angels should be fifteen and a half games behind the A's for second place, much less 17 back from first.
It's an embarrassment. The Angels are absolutely loaded. This team started the season with Pujols, Kendrick, Aybar, and Trumbo in the infield, and Hamilton, Trout, and Bourjos. There are no useless players in this lineup and conversely there are a number of really good hitters and/or fielders. The Ianetta/Conger combo at catcher offers good offensive production as well. There is talent all up and down the roster. The A's shouldn't be within sniffing distance of the Angels right now, just off offensive firepower alone.
The rotation includes Weaver and Wilson as co-aces with Vargas, Hanson, and Blanton (or Williams) as solid, experienced veterans to plug into the 3, 4, and 5 spots.
The Angels are far too talented to be so far back.
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