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2013 MLB Surprise Teams

The 2012 season has not been without its share of surprises. The biggest surprise has been how some of the teams that performed so poorly in 2011 bounced back to make their way into contention in 2012. The Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals all look poised to make the 2012 Postseason, and all of them had losing records in 2011.

Here are the teams that I think could take a page out of the Orioles’, Athletics’, and Nationals’ book and make a huge jump into contention next season:

Chicago Cubs

Core – This team has some amazing players in all facets of the game. Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney and Jeff Samardzija are huge building blocks for this team as they look to the future.

Flexibility – Their ownership and front office have done a good job of clearing off some payroll so that they can make some moves over the next couple of years. This team will definitely be a player for big free agents in the near future.

Kansas City Royals

Prospects – Wil Myers and Bubba Starling will be huge players for this team. The Royals’ minor league system is wrought with amazing talent, and many of their brightest players could see Major League action soon.

Youth – All of the Royals’ best players are young (Billy Butler – 26, Alex Gordon – 28, Mike Moustakas – 24, Eric Hosmer – 22 and Alcides Escobar – 25). This team definitely has the pieces to build. They just have to get some starting pitching consistency.

Miami Marlins

Pieces – Even with all of their struggles, they still have some of the most impressive pieces on their team. I am mainly speaking of Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Steve Cishek. Furthermore, Stanton might be the most intimidating hitter in all of baseball.

Changes – It is unlikely that the Marlins with not make some major changes in the offseason. The Marlins were a very exciting team coming into 2012, but with a few changes, they could be a very dangerous team.

San Diego Padres

Trending – Since the 2012 All Star Break, the Padres are a quiet 10 games above .500, and they have gotten some really great performances from key players. Chase Headley, Cameron Maybin, Yonder Alonso and Alexi Amarista are all trending upwards, and they could very well keep that momentum going into next season.

Ownership – With the new Padres ownership in place, there could also be a new willingness to keep more talent in house and to also go out and get more. There will be some major baseball excitement in So Cal in the coming years.

Seattle Mariners

Pitching – King Felix and Jason Vargas are great top-of-the-rotation pitchers, and they really set the standard for the rest of the pitching staff. It will take amazing pitching to compete in that incredible division, and the Mariners have that capability.

Brink – This team has had flashes of greatness in the second half. It looks and feels like they are missing just a few pieces from being a viable team in the AL West.

Tweet to @MLBFanCave and @KyleOKC using the hash tag and let us know who you think could be the surprise team of 2013.

The 2012 season has not been without its share of surprises. The biggest surprise has been how some of the teams that performed so poorly in 2011 bounced back to make their way into contention in 2012. The Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals all look poised to make the 2012 Postseason, and all of them had losing records in 2011.

Here are the teams that I think could take a page out of the Orioles’, Athletics’, and Nationals’ book and make a huge jump into contention next season:

Chicago Cubs

Core – This team has some amazing players in all facets of the game. Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney and Jeff Samardzija are huge building blocks for this team as they look to the future.

Flexibility – Their ownership and front office have done a good job of clearing off some payroll so that they can make some moves over the next couple of years. This team will definitely be a player for big free agents in the near future.

Kansas City Royals

Prospects – Wil Myers and Bubba Starling will be huge players for this team. The Royals’ minor league system is wrought with amazing talent, and many of their brightest players could see Major League action soon.

Youth – All of the Royals’ best players are young (Billy Butler – 26, Alex Gordon – 28, Mike Moustakas – 24, Eric Hosmer – 22 and Alcides Escobar – 25). This team definitely has the pieces to build. They just have to get some starting pitching consistency.

Miami Marlins

Pieces – Even with all of their struggles, they still have some of the most impressive pieces on their team. I am mainly speaking of Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Steve Cishek. Furthermore, Stanton might be the most intimidating hitter in all of baseball.

Changes – It is unlikely that the Marlins with not make some major changes in the offseason. The Marlins were a very exciting team coming into 2012, but with a few changes, they could be a very dangerous team.

San Diego Padres

Trending – Since the 2012 All Star Break, the Padres are a quiet 10 games above .500, and they have gotten some really great performances from key players. Chase Headley, Cameron Maybin, Yonder Alonso and Alexi Amarista are all trending upwards, and they could very well keep that momentum going into next season.

Ownership – With the new Padres ownership in place, there could also be a new willingness to keep more talent in house and to also go out and get more. There will be some major baseball excitement in So Cal in the coming years.

Seattle Mariners

Pitching – King Felix and Jason Vargas are great top-of-the-rotation pitchers, and they really set the standard for the rest of the pitching staff. It will take amazing pitching to compete in that incredible division, and the Mariners have that capability.

Brink – This team has had flashes of greatness in the second half. It looks and feels like they are missing just a few pieces from being a viable team in the AL West.

Tweet to @MLBFanCave and @KyleOKC using the hash tag and let us know who you think could be the surprise team of 2013.