Another year, another set of disappointing teams that should be competing in October but will most likely fall short. The beautiful thing about the MLB is that any team can compete if they find the right formula. On the other hand, any team can also never find the right formula and fail to compete. Then there’s a middle ground where teams that should be competing are falling short despite having a loaded offense or elite pitching.
This middle ground area features quite a few surprises every year and this season has some as well. Let’s check out the top five most disappointing teams in the MLB this season.
5.) Kansas City Royals: 34-47, 12.5 games back
While the expectations for Kansas City were not high coming into 2021, their recent play is what gets them onto this list. The Royals at the end of April were the best team record-wise in the American League. Then in June, they managed to fall so quickly they now sit 13-15 games under the .500 mark. When a team manages to go from the best team in their division to dead last, they make this list.
The Royals have so much talent both on offense and in their bullpen, but they cannot stay healthy. The pitching staff is struggling to produce and continues to put the offense in bad spots early in games. Until the Royals can manage to stay healthy with their guys who are producing, they will continue to struggle. The Royals of 2014 and 2015 are not a thing anymore, and the new reality is that the Royals need to fix quite a bit to start winning games again.
4.) Minnesota Twins: 33-47, 13 games back
Yet another AL Central team that has fallen off the ladder and splatted on the pavement. Minnesota makes this list because they went from winning the division for the second year in a row to the bottom of the division. The Twins currently sit essentially in a tie for last place with the Royals.
Yet again a team that is loaded with talent, more than most of the division, but the injury bug is prominent in Minnesota. Another derailing thing is that the best ERA+ pitching staff from last season has vanished. This season’s pitching staff is one of the worst in the league, and to go from record breakers to one of the worst lands you on this list.
Minnesota is another team that deserves better than they have this season. The Twins are two-time division champs in the last four seasons, and now they’re near rock bottom. However, make no mistake that if Minnesota is fully healthy, they’d be contending for sure. Keep an eye on Minnesota for next season, but for now, here they are at number four.
3.) Philadelphia Phillies: 38-41, 4 games back
This Phillies roster is yet another example of an All-Star-filled one that is underperforming. While the Phillies are not 15 games under .500 like the first two teams on this list, they still sit below .500 overall. I fully support Bryce Harper getting the mega-contract he got as well as J.T. Realmuto, but when neither are even All-Stars, that’s disappointing. The Phillies also feature an atrocious +7 ERA in their last three to four games, and any team giving up that many runs will never win.
One of the biggest struggles for this Phillies team is their performances on the road. Philly is 15-26 on the road this season, and any team sitting near the .500 mark has to win tough road games. The saving grace for Philly so far is that they do perform better at home. This star-studded lineup should easily be ten games over .500 by now, and I stand strong for the idea that any team with Bryce Harper and his “mega-contract talent” should be winning more games.
2.) Atlanta Braves: 40-41, 3 games back
The Atlanta Braves are high on this list simply because they were competing in the NL championship last season and are now around .500 overall. Yet another roster chock-full of All-Star talent that just cannot produce when needed. While the Braves have managed to crawl back from nearly falling ten games under .500 back to only two games, they are still far too behind. Atlanta has also been hit with the injury bug this season, and many big producers for them were hit, including Marcell Ozuna.
There is still plenty of baseball left for the Braves to make a run at the division-leading Mets. However, it should be the Mets chasing the Braves not the other way around. If Atlanta can manage to get their big bats healthy again and manage their middle-of-the-pack pitching, this division should be Atlantas all the way.
1.) New York Yankees: 41-39, 9.5 games back
This should not be the number one most disappointing team but when the Yankees who were heavy favorites to win it all this season are playing .500 baseball, well then they deserve the number one spot. The Yankees feature way too much star power to be sitting in third or fourth place. The Yankees are either middle of the pack or near bottom in most of the major stat categories. I have no idea how the Yankees managed to play this type of baseball, maybe the early favoritism towards them got to their heads?
Until the Yankees can figure out how to win as a cohesive unit like last season, they will more than likely miss the playoffs. However, at only 5.5 games out of a wild card spot and plenty of baseball left, there’s still time. Sorry Yankees fans, but the number one spot has been reserved for you until further notice.
Stats from mlb.com, espn.com, and baseballreference.com