Over the course of the baseball season, some teams have exceeded expectations while others have disappointed. These 10 teams have been the best of the best, and for good reason.
10. Los Angeles Dodgers
If I told you Clayton Kershaw was going to get even better than he was, you’d fall out of your seat. Well, he did and he alone is the main reason the Dodgers have remained relevant. The lineup from Puig to Gonzalez has been inconsistent and Joc Pederson hasn’t developed as well as expected. The best chance they have is if Corey Seager continues to play well and Julio Urias pitches well. Kershaw can’t pitch every game Dodgers.
9. New York Mets
As a Yankee fan, it’s pretty hard to put the Mets as the better of the two New York teams. With a pitching staff containing Noah Syndergaard, Jack DeGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz and soon returning Zack Wheeler, this team will almost always have the pitching advantage over their opponents. Despite this rotation, the Mets have seemed to really struggle to score runs consistently. The only player that can be counted on more often than not is Yoenis Cespedes. David Wright has continued to struggle with injuries, Michael Conforto has not developed as expected and new editions like Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker haven’t been as productive as expected, especially considering former met Daniel Murphy has excelled like never before.
8. Kansas City Royals
Last Year’s World Series champions are following the formula that brought them so much success over the last few years. Excellent contact, low strikeouts, and stolen bases. In what was supposed to be a way to limit the loss of Johnny Cueto, neither Ian Kennedy nor Edinson Volquez have been able to replicate anywhere near the production that Cueto gave them last year. Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera have still been one of the best bullpen tandems in the league, but the starting pitching needs some work.
7. Boston Red Sox
You’d think that after acquiring Craig Kimbrel and David Price, they’d be the reasons Boston is a pitching force, yet they aren’t. A knuckleballer named Shawn Wright has a strong claim to the Cy Young award leading all of the American League with a 2.18 ERA, and David Ortiz has as strong a claim as ever for American League MVP as he’s among the best in the AL in batting average, home runs, and RBIs. Now if only David Price can actually pitch more consistently, this team would be a no doubter favorite to win it all.
6. Baltimore Orioles
Chicks dig Home Runs. Well, the Orioles really did it as they just broke the record for home runs in a month with over 50. With players such as Chris Davis, Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo offense is never going to be a major issue concerning this team. The problem comes with the starting pitching this team has, or doesn’t. They rank outside the top 15 in team ERA and are even worse in terms of quality starts. The only thing that saves them is a good bullpen. If they got someone, anyone to pitch for them, they can be an even more dominant force.
5. Cleveland Indians
Is it an omen that since Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA title, the Indians have been dominant? Maybe but this team has been extraordinary when it comes to their starting pitching. With guys like Kluber, Salazar, and Carrasco the Indians have been impressive in the pitching department. Not only have they done well there, but their hitting and fielding is the biggest surprise. Rising star Francisco Lindor is making a very strong case for best shortstop in the AL in a loaded class, Jason Kipnis has enjoyed a more productive season than last and they’ve been the hottest team recently. If only Brantley can get hot, they’d be even better
4. Washington Nationals
Max Schzerer and Stephen Stratsburg are arguably the best 1-2 punch in baseball. And with a lineup containing Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and a phenomenal addition to Daniel Murphy, this team seems to be nearly flawless. All I hope for is Bryce Harper’s bat to come back to life
3. Chicago Cubs
It seems like they were destined to win the World Series after April, but things have simmered down a bit. With an incredible lineup lead by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, and a rotation that is among baseball's best, this team doesn’t appear to have any imminent flaws aside from youth. This is their second season with Joe Maddon as the coach and second season altogether, this inexperience will be tested as they go further down into the season. Will they excel, or will they fall?
2. Texas Rangers
My pick for the American League division just happens to have the best record. Am I surprised? Not really. Am I surprised on how they’ve done it? Absolutely. Ian Desmond might be the steal of free agency, Adrian Beltre is showing why he’s a hall of famer and Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish make for one devastating duo. A closing pitcher will put this team at number one, but for right now, they’re the clear number 2.
1. San Francisco Giants
It’s an even year so you knew this was coming. Madison Bumgarner doesn’t have to pitch every game because Johnny Cueto is doing great and Jeff Samardzjia is showing why he was paid 90 million dollars. Bruce Bochy is getting the most out of his lineup and defensively, they are among the best. Buster Posey may not be hitting at the MVP-caliber he’s used to, but calling a game and throwing out batters for him has never been better, and the Giants are now the favorite to win it all, like I predicted at the start.