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The Most Surprising Teams in MLB in 2022

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With the 2022 season well underway, it’s time to re-look at the most surprising teams in Major League Baseball. Last time we checked, the Guardians and Athletics were neck and neck in their divisions while the Phillies and Rangers were battling to keep their heads afloat. Now, it’s time to check back in and identify the most surprising teams in MLB.

The Boston Red Sox

Perhaps the most surprising team in baseball is the Boston Red Sox. After a surprising run to the ALCS last season, the Red Sox made a big splash this offseason when they signed Trevor Story to play second base. Boston entered the season knowing they would have to battle with the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays in what was expected to be one of the toughest divisions in baseball.

Instead, the Red Sox offense has sputtered, the pitching has underwhelmed and the Red Sox find themselves 13 games back of the rival Yankees. Meanwhile, Story has been the face of Boston’s futility. With a strike-out rate of 30.1% while only hitting the ball hard 35% of the time when he makes contact, Story is in the midst of his worst season as a professional.

The Los Angeles Angels

While almost everything has gone wrong in Boston, things couldn’t be better in Los Angeles. The Dodgers currently have the best record in the National League and the Angels find themselves only 1 game back of the Houston Astros. Mike Trout has put together an incredible season, hitting .325/.440/.684 with 10 home runs while reigning MVP Shohei Ohtani continues his impressive pitching and hitting.

However, the man most responsible for turning the Angels into one of the most surprising teams in baseball is Taylor Ward. The former 2015 first-round pick is in the middle of a breakout season, batting .375/.484/.733 while already setting a new career-high for home runs with nine. If Ward can continue this season, the Angels will have the scariest three-headed monster in baseball.

The Atlanta Braves

Winning a World Series is one of the hardest things to do in baseball, with incredible players going entire careers without making it to the Promised Land. Winning two in a row is downright impossible, with no back-to-back winner since the Yankees three-peated over 20 years ago. However, the Braves entered the season with high expectations with Ronald Acuña Jr. returning from injury and having added Matt Olson in Free Agency.

Instead, the Braves find themselves a few games below .500, looking up at the heavy-spending Mets who seem poised to run away with the NL East. Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, Marcell Ozuna, and Ozzie Albies are all hitting below .238 while the entire team has struggled to hit with runners in scoring position. While it is still relatively early, the Braves will need to start picking up some steam if they want to defend their crown in October.

The Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins were one of the biggest disappointments in 2021 as a trendy playoff pick but sputtered to a last-place finish in the AL Central. Instead of blowing the whole thing up, the Twins re-tooled, added Carlos Correa, Gary Sanchez, and Gio Urshela and set their sights on 2022.

The patience of the Twins front office has paid off so far and the Twins have been one of the most surprising teams this year. While their new additions on offense haven’t quite gotten going, returning players Max Kepler and Byron Buxton have helped lead a surprisingly efficient offense. Meanwhile, Joe Ryan has firmly entered the AL Rookie of the Year race for his efforts in leading the Twins rotation.

The Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers entered the 2022 season with legitimate playoff aspirations, having added Javier Báez and Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency while top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene looked ready to be added to the big league roster. With Miguel Cabrera chasing 3,000 hits, all eyes were on AJ Hinch and the Tigers as the season began.

Instead, the Tigers find themselves in the basement of the AL Central. Riley Greene went to the IL at the end of Spring Training, Torkelson and Jonathan Schoop are hitting way below .200 and Baez is hitting more ground balls than ever. Fortunately for the Tigers, the AL Central has been a bit of a weaker division in recent years and they find themselves only 5.5 games back of second place.

While there is still plenty of the season to be played, the Tigers, Red Sox, and Braves have left themselves with a bit of work to do if they want to play baseball in October. Meanwhile, the Angels and Twins are setting themselves up nicely for a fun summer.

What did we get right? Who are we missing? Should the Mariners be on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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