The Teams Most Likely to Surprise in 2018
As we covered yesterday with our piece “Make It or Break It”
The process of winning a championship in Major League Baseball is a very difficult one. Many things have to go well, a few things have to turn out great and you have to have a bit of luck. For this entry we will cover the four teams that if the luck falls may surprise people in 2018.
Once a team that dominated the National League East lead by a trio of Hall of Fame pitchers, the Braves are once again on the cusp of competitive play. The Braves have the number 2 top farm system in all of baseball. That system is lead by Ronald Acuna, though Acuna was reassigned to Minor League camp a few days ago it is viewed as a temporary move as there is not much left for Ronald to accomplish in Triple A. The Braves also have one of the games best players in Freddie Freeman. So having Freeman and Acuna playing on the same field will give the Braves a chance to compete in 2018
Chicago White Sox
A theme amongst the teams who may surprise in 2018 is a top 10 farm system. The White Sox have some incredible starting pitchers that will be the staple of the future success on the South Side of Chicago. Along with some awesome hitting talent like Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada. The White Sox will have a solid opportunity at a Wild Card position especially in the mediocre at best American League Central.
Oakland another team with a Top 10 farm system, the A’s are searching for a new ball park to get out of the cavernous Oakland Coliseum. The A’s are in a very tough tough division, as the AL West is the home of the reigning World Series Champions division. Though despite that tough competition the A’s have the kind of young team that could be driven to elevate their game against a better team and prove that they have what it takes to compete for a Wild Card spot.
Of this list of possible “Sleeper/Surprises” I think the team most likely to have a serious opportunity to make a Wild Card run it is the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies had an eventful off-season as the signed veteran first baseman Carlos Santana and brought in a brand new manager in Gabe Kapler. And with only a few weeks left in Spring training the brought in 2015 Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. Arrieta will be able to provide some veteran leadership and guidance for a very young pitching staff. Santana has already helped in a short amount of time guys like Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez. This team is playing with “houses money” as no one expects them to compete. They will also have a full season of Rhys Hoskins, a player who took baseball by storm last August. I covered the signing of Arrieta and the effect it had on the team more in-depthly in the piece entitled “The Arrieta Effect” on March 15th. So don’t sleep on the Phillies they may really “surprise” people in 2018.