Ahead of the MLB Season back in March, we posted an article with all of our preseason projected division results.
Some teams have been completely living up to expectations- teams like the Astros, White Sox, and Braves are all atop their divisions as we thought! The same goes for teams like the Orioles and the Pirates, who ended up being just as big of a disaster as the consensus thought.
However, there were some others that either underperformed or over-performed completely out of nowhere.

This is our apology tour, be it for the right or wrong reasons, to the fans of the teams that we jumped to conclusions.

Tampa Bay Rays

After the Rays had a complete meltdown in the World Series with the way they managed Blake Snell, they were expected to take a step back after the discourse with Kevin Cash led to the Rays trading their ace to the Padres.

So without Snell, the new face of the franchise Tyler Glasnow, who was on a Cy Young pace, went down for the season needing Tommy John surgery. Then, they traded their starting shortstop, Willy Adames, who is currently putting up MVP numbers in Milwaukee.

Photo: The Canadian Press

They still have cruised to the best record in baseball steadily all season and have never seemed to have a lapse in the process while having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.

The Rays win. No matter what. Whether it’s through their new prospects, their bullpen, the cheap veteran contracts, or players you’ve never heard of, they are a constant, and anyone who doubts their small-market nerd operation year after year should feel just as stupid as they make the rich teams look when they beat them.

Minnesota Twins

“What a nightmare of a year in Minnesota,” says the Minnesota sports fan to his/her dismay every year when hope enters the equation.

They brought back the majority of their roster that put up a great regular season and melted down in the playoffs, just as usual, looking to bounce back. Well, the meltdown happened at the beginning of the season rather than in the postseason.

They came out of the gates with a 5-2 record, looking like the offensive powerhouse that they were in years past, then they got hit with COVID issues, a Byron Buxton injury, and their bullpen blowing leads and suddenly they had the worst record in the league and couldn’t ever recover from it. Buxton came back from that injury only to break his hand on a hit-by-pitch. Their bad luck forced them to deal Cruz to Tampa and Berrios to Toronto.

We predicted to be the up-and-coming powerhouse to potentially take over the Central from them, but no one would have guessed that they’d be 5th in the division for the majority of the year with as many veteran players that they brought back. That’s just the unpredictability of baseball, babe.

San Francisco Giants

The sexy teams out west were the Dodgers and Padres. The collective baseball community had them penciled in as the favorites to compete for the NL Pennant, with the Dodgers trying to repeat with an even deeper roster and San Diego loading up in free agency.

Paddling in on their kayaks in McCovey Cove are the old, grizzled San Francisco Giants, to not only show both of them up in their division but take the best record in baseball for the majority of the season.

While they weren’t expected to be as abysmal as the Rockies or D-Backs in the NL West, San Francisco was expected to be an older team with veterans on expiring deals to maybe be competitive long enough to get some trade value out of their pieces at the deadline and be in the market as a big-spender in the offseason. Little did we know that Buster Posey (age 34), Brandon Crawford (age 34), and Brandon Belt (age 33) would all have career years, their pitching staff and bullpen would virtually be unstoppable with the second-best ERA and WHIP in the majors and the fewest walks allowed.

They’ve already exceeded their preseason projected win total at 75.5. The whole first half of the year was a mirage of “okay, when is this magic going to stop?” and it never has. And rather than punt on their high value, they’re going for it- they made a trade at the deadline for former MVP Kris Bryant and WANT to win! It’s a beautiful story of old guys proving they’ve still got it.

We’re sorry, San Francisco.

St. Louis Cardinals

We’re not mad, we’re just disappointed.

When the Cardinals made the offseason move to go out and trade for Nolan Arenado, the All-Star, Platinum Glove-winning third baseman, it was generally thought that this was THE move to fly to the top of the NL Central and firmly plant their flag as the organization that was going for it; the Cubs had dealt Yu Darvish and were approaching a rebuild, the Reds lost Bauer, the Pirates were tanking, and the Brewers didn’t make a splash that size. St. Louis had already won the Central and made the NLCS in 2019 without even having a star the size of Arenado before, winning it because of their consistent organizational success, so this was the biggest addition since Pujols left.

They’re not entirely out of the race for the second wild card, but what a mediocre, unexciting season.

The Brewers have coasted at the top of the division as one of the best teams in baseball, meanwhile, the Cardinals have had pitching that walks the most batters and strikes out the fewest, and has blown leads left and right. They’ve been around .500 all year, even behind the Reds, and decided not to make any significant trades before the deadline to get them some significant help. They were supposed to be an NL powerhouse!

Arenado will be with the birds for a while, and Jack Flaherty will come back from injury, but what a lackluster season in terms of expectations.

Featured Image: Neville E. Guard/KNBR
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