Ranking the three most underrated MLB teams at the start of Spring Training and the three most overrated teams that are sure to disappoint.
Spring Training is a time for new beginnings and MLB fans are hoping their team could fight for a World Series. Well, except for fans of the Baltimore Orioles.
A new season also means a new batch of Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections. The initial projections are sure to get fans riled up and there surely were some surprises — both good and bad. Let’s take a look at some teams who may break the statistical mold and end up far off from what PECOTA sees in 2021.
3 teams that will exceed expectations
3. St. Louis Cardinals
PECOTA projects the Cardinals to finish third in the National League Central with an 81-81 record. Fans have a right to be outraged considering the team hasn’t finished at or below the .500 mark since 2007. The Cardinals are consistent winners and just added a star of the game in Nolan Arenado. Yadier Molina is back for one more run and Paul Goldschmidt hasn’t gone anywhere either. It would be a true shock if the Cardinals finished at .500 and couldn’t pass a Chicago Cubs team that may be selling some stars in 2021.
2. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are one of the most hyped-up teams in baseball. PECOTA has them finishing 83-79 behind the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins in the American League Central. This team may be one of the bigger unknowns out there. No one knows how Tony La Russa will mesh with this young club. But assuming he doesn’t totally torpedo the entire locker room, the White Sox should be poised to at least finish better than the Indians. The young core in place is too talented to play in this weak division and only walk away with 83 wins. Or so we have been led to believe all offseason.
1. Atlanta Braves
The Braves got one of the more shocking projections with an 82-80 record that is good enough for a fourth-place finish. Fans in Atlanta may just be ignoring the projection at this point. This team made it to the NLCS in 2020 and has won the division three years running. The Braves finishing behind the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals is quite the bold projection and PECOTA either knows something we don’t or just sees the Braves facing huge regression in 2021. It is hard to knock this core in place until they prove they don’t deserve the respect.