The most pleasant surprises of 2021

Baseball is impossible to predict. That’s one of the reasons a season is so fun.

If we go back to February, with Opening Day weeks away, DraftKings Sportsbook tried to predict the total wins each of the 30 teams would have. The odds had the Dodgers in the highest (101.5) and the Pirates in the pit (59.5), but a lot has happened since then.

Now, with the regular season wrapping up this weekend and the playoffs just around the corner, it’s a good time to review those forecasts.

Here, the most pleasant surprises of 2021

San Francisco GiantsPre-season prediction: 75.5 Current wins: 105 (+25.5)

The Giants not only exceeded expectations, but they have also played like no other team in the majors in 2021, catching up with the widely favorites of the NL West, the Dodgers. Thanks to smart moves by Farhan Zaidi in management and a great job from manager Gabe Kapler and his coaching staff, the Giants have received important contributions from both their veterans (Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, etc.), as well as other players who arrived. without making much noise (Logan Webb, LaMonte Wade Jr., etc.), to reach triple digits of wins.

Seattle Mariners
Preseason prediction: 72.5
Current wins: 89 (+16.5)

Based on the Pythagorean record, which is based on run differential, the Mariners are more or less what was expected of them earlier in the season. But luckily for Seattle, a negative run differential hasn’t stopped him from approaching 90 wins and continuing in the bid for the AL Wild Card, in pursuit of his first postseason berth since 2001.

Milwaukee Brewers
Preseason prediction: 82.5
Current wins: 95 (+12.5)

If we go back to the offseason, the biggest noise in the Central de la Nacional was made by the Cardinals when they acquired Nolan Arenado. Meanwhile, the Brewers were coming off a 29-31 record in last year’s shortened season. But thanks to phenomenal pitching spearheaded by three great starters (Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta) and a brilliant closer, Josh Hader, the team has left 2020 well behind. Plus, the May trade in which they acquired Willy Adames – who will likely get some MVP votes – reinvigorated the offense. The Craig Counsell Brewers tied the division and are heading for their fourth straight postseason.

Tampa Bay RaysPre-season prediction: 85.5 Current wins: 98 (+12.5)

By now, we should stop underestimating the Rays. The low number of projected wins was due to Tampa Bay parting ways with Blake Snell and Charlie Morton after reaching the World Series last year. But the club has never based its success on just one player (or two). With a deep roster, the Rays have won the AL East for the second year in a row as they try to equal the franchise record for wins in a season.

Boston Red SoxPre-season prediction: 80.5 Current wins: 89 (+8.5)

The Red Sox have been through many ups and downs in the past 10 years, finishing four times (including 2020) in the AL East basement and winning the division four more times. That won’t happen in 2021, but Boston still has a chance of advancing to the postseason, now with Puerto Rican Alex Cora back in command.