There can only be one World Series winner and six division champs. Inevitably, that means a few teams will end the 2019 Major League Baseball season disappointed.
Some teams obviously don’t care too much about winning this year. Others have reputations — either surprising finishes or dominant performances — to keep up. Just look at the NL East. It’s so competitive that disappointment is a guarantee.
Who will be the teams that reach the point of disappointment? We asked our crew of MLB opinion-havers for their picks. If your favorite team is listed below, we apologize in advance. Just know that, in at least one instance, the same team is also on our list of potential surprises. Baseball is wild like that.
The Braves followed up their surprising success in 2018 by ... doing nothing. Aside from Josh Donaldson, the team didn't do much to improve during the offseason. Instead, they will depend on their youngsters to once again lead them to glory. It's not a terrible strategy. The Braves have a star in Ronald Acuña, another standout in Ozzie Albies and a number of promising young pitchers. Still, relying on young players, especially pitchers, can be a dangerous thing. Mike Foltynewicz is already dinged, pushing more unproven players into the spotlight. On top of that, the rest of the division got better. The Nationals splurged on Patrick Corbin and the Phillies added three All-Stars. Repeating as division champs isn't going to be easy. - Chris Cwik
The Cubs still have a lot of young, talented players, but after missing out on the NL Central crown by just one game and then losing the NL wild-card play-in game, they did essentially nothing to make themselves better this offseason. Asking for an improvement on 95 wins seems bonkers, but there were actual impact players on the market and the Cubs made a play for exactly zero of them. And that's while the Brewers and Cardinals each found ways to upgrade their lineups. Having Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish return to full health is almost like getting roster upgrades, and maybe that will be good enough. But the Brewers and Cards are chomping at the bit to make the Cubs regret standing pat over the offseason. With the Cubs fielding a team that's nearly unchanged from the 2018 club that couldn't make it past the wild-card round, it's not hard to imagine that happening. - Liz Roscher
Can a team win their division and still be considered disappointing? The Indians might provide the answer this season. Cleveland will win the AL Central barring a complete disaster, but that's not because of anything that was accomplished this winter. It's because the rest of the AL Central is so far behind it will take another year or two to finally catch up. The big problem is that the Indians did nothing to gain ground the Red Sox, Yankees or Astros. Those three teams are setting the pace in the AL, while the Indians seem content showing up to the postseason and hoping for the best. That sounds like a recipe for another quick October exit. - Mark Townsend
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox. Thanks to the playoff system, teams just don’t repeat in baseball any more. - Kevin Kaduk
Boston Red Sox
I’ll echo my man Duk’s sentiment here and go with the Red Sox, but not just because it’s so hard to repeat. It’s especially hard to repeat if your bullpen is what the Red Sox are trotting out on opening day. Craig Kimbrel is gone, presumably for good, even though he’s still a free agent. The Red Sox have said they won’t spend a bunch of money to upgrade their bullpen. This, after the Yankees added Adam Ottavino and brought back Zack Britton. We’ll see if that pledge holds up once we get to the summer, but it seems like an odd hill to die on for the defending champs. I just can’t see them repeating with a bullpen led by Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Brandon Workman. - Mike Oz
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