As we get closer and closer to Spring Training 2021 and the 2021 MLB season, it is time to start thinking about what teams might be a surprise this season.
Making predictions is what makes this time of year a lot of fun. We always have those teams at the top of the standings at the end of the season, for example, the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, etc., but there are always a few teams that will surprise us all at the end of the season.
2021 MLB Season: The Surprise Teams
The Detroit Tigers are a team that will be back at the top in the near-distant future. With new manager AJ Hinch at the helm, the Tigers will be looking to get atop of the American League Central Divison in 2021. Of course, they still have to contend with the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins, but just because those teams have been at the top of the division for the last few seasons does not mean the Tigers will take a back seat in 2021.
The Tigers have spent the last few seasons building up the farm system through the draft and free agency, hoping to field a competitive team soon. As the current roster sits, the Tigers have pitchers Casey Mize and Matt Manning, who should be ready to contribute in the starting rotation alongside Spencer Turnbull and Jose Urena. Not to mention the Tigers’ first-round pick from the 2020 draft, Spencer Torkelson. Torkelson created a lot of hype before the Tigers drafted him in the first round in 2020, which means the Tigers will be expecting him to produce once he gets called up.
The Tigers have the always savvy, but they’re not so young anymore, with Miguel Cabrera still showing he’s got it at age 37. Cabrera managed to hit .250 in 2020 with 10 home runs. This will be a player that Hinch will rely on heavily to help guide this young lineup. The Tigers are on the right track after spending so many seasons down at the bottom of the division. Although they are young, expect the Tigers to make some noise in 2021.
Kansas City Royals
After the Kansas City Royals won it all in 2015, it has been all downhill since then. Going into a rebuild mode shortly after, the Royals are a team that will be looking to climb back into the postseason talks. The Royals went out and adding some pitching depth by signing Mike Minor this offseason. Minor will fit nicely at the back end of this rotation, an area where the Royals struggled in 2020. Alongside Minor, the Royals have Danny Duffy, Brady Singer, and Kris Bubic. The Royals will be relying heavily on this rotation if they look to turn things around in 2021.
The Royals added some veteran presence with the signing of Carlos Santana, who will come in and play first base. Hunter Dozier, Whit Merrifield, and Jorge Soler will all be looking to break out in 2021. All three of these players have the ability to get on base, which is something the Royals will need to see more of in 2021, especially with Alex Gordon retiring.
Some may still have the Royals a couple of years away before they contend again, but this team is young with lots of superstar talent, which makes the Royals a very interesting team to watch in 2021.
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are another team that might surprise you this season. The Giants have been spending the last few seasons rebuilding, but as each season passes, the Giants continue to get better and better. This 2021 season could be the season that we see the Giants get over the hump.
The Giants this past week went out and sign veteran left-hander Alex Wood. Pair Wood, along with veterans Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, and Anthony DeSclafani (whom the Giants signed earlier this offseason), will give the Giants rotation some depth while also keeping the Giants in more ballgames.
Veteran catcher Buster Posey should return for the 2021 MLB season. After opting out last season, Posey will have a couple of new pitchers to work with. Look for Posey to split time behind the plate with Joey Bart. Bart made his debut in 2020 and will the Giants’ future backstop when the veteran Posey, who will more than likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, decides to call it a career.
The remaining parts of this lineup will remain intact, being led by young superstar right-fielder Mike Yastrzemski, who batted .297, 10 home runs, and a .968 OPS in 2020. The Giants will continue to rely on Yastrzemski to produce runs and keep that Giants offense going.
2021 MLB Season: Final Thoughts
The upcoming 2021 MLB Season will definitely be different. Teams have just started signing free agents. With Spring Training starting in about thirty-one days (Pitchers and Catchers start reporting) teams will be finalizing their rosters before heading to Florida and Arizona. The Tigers, Royals, and Giants are just a few teams that have made improvements during this offseason. It will be interesting to see how everything plays out at the end of the season.
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