3 MLB teams that will exceed expectations in 2024, and 2 that will disappoint

The 2024 MLB season is here. With that in mind, how will these potential contenders actually fare this year?

Miami Marlins v New York Mets - Game Two
Miami Marlins v New York Mets - Game Two / Elsa/GettyImages
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The Detroit Tigers will be good soon, but not this year

Following a 78-win season, their most in a season since winning 86 in 2016, the Tigers are seemingly on the come up and are approaching a return to the postseason for the first time in a decade.

Yet, the brakes needs to be pumped on the Tigers being a potential AL Central contender. While Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson and Kerry Carpenter form a nice young core, there are severe question marks surrounding everyone else in the lineup — especially Javier Baez.

After excelling in 2021 following a trade to the Mets, Baez positioned himself to be among the most coveted free agents in the ensuing winter. Baez then capitalized, signing a six-year, $140 million contract with the Tigers. But since then, he’s been nothing short of disappointing, accumulating just 2.7 fWAR across 280 games over the last two years.

Beyond those four, rookie second baseman Colth Keith and center fielder Parker Meadows are the most exciting players — with the verdict still out on both. Detroit is completed with a slew of veterans headlined by Mark Canha and Gio Urshela. Overall, this lineup has few true difference-makers, as no player is projected by Steamer to have a WRC+ above 116 (Spencer Torkelson).

On the pitching side, Tarik Skubal is one of the most promising starters in the sport. Even so, Skubal can’t carry Detroit’s rotation on his own. At this point in his career, Kenta Maeda is a fine back-end rotation piece while Jack Flaherty seems to be much closer to an innings eater rather than a reliable middle-of-the-rotation arm. Beyond those three, it’s hard to see any of Matt Manning, Reese Olson or Casey Mize being anything beyond back-end starters this year.

Though if the Tigers can hand the ball to their bullpen with a lead, Tyler Holton, Andrew Chafin, Jason Foley and Alex Lange are all solid relievers that can cement wins. 

In simple words, the biggest problem with Detroit is that it is, for the most part, a very average team. There is a great young core developing with Greene, Torkelson, Carpenter and Skubal, but outside of those players, it’s hard to see non-star players putting this team over the edge. 

Projected by BetMGM to win 81.5 games, it will likely be a season too early until the Tigers become a .500 or better team.