With the first couple of weeks of the 2012 baseball season underway, there have been some surprises in the standings; but don't let that fool you...
The following five teams have been struggling lately but, with all the talent they have on their roster, don't be surprised if you see them competing for the top spot of their division come September.
- Philadelphia Phillies
- San Francisco Giants
- Los Angeles Angels
- Boston Red Sox
- Kansas City Royals
The Philadelphia Phillies have been hit by the injury bug, big time, and, although the NL East is strong, they are still the reigning champs and need to be given their respect. I, for one, do not believe the Phillies will be a contender in the NL East this year but, as I said, we need to give them their respect for being the reigning NL East champs and, at least, add them to the conversation.
The Giants are only two years removed from their miraculous World Series win in 2010 and most of the pieces that helped them win it are still there. The rotation is still there and Matt Cain looks as strong as ever. The Giants offense is suffering right now, but doesn't that sound like 2010 all over? The NL West isn't very strong and when the Dodgers come back to Earth the Giants will have an opportunity to climb the standings.
The Angels were a lot of critics' favorite to win it all this offseason given their massively expensive winter. Right now, they're in last place. While I don't think the Angels will win it all this year, or even the division, they won't finish in last place. Look for them to rebound in a big way and make the playoffs in one of the wild-card spots.
Much like the Angels, the Boston Red Sox were liked by many analysts and their failure to get wins early in 2012 has surprised many. The Red Sox have too much talent to be in the cellar and they will almost certainly be competing for a wild-card spot in the months to come.
The Kansas City Royals may be the one that really surprises you on the list. They are in last right now but they have a lot of young stars-in-the-making that are getting ready to blossom; and when they do, the team will be tough to compete with. The Tigers pretty much own the AL Central right now but with all the talent on the Royals' roster I think they can definitely take the No. 2 spot in the division; maybe with a bit of luck, they just might be able to compete for a wild-card spot with the Angels and Red Sox.