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Hype Readings for All 30 MLB Teams for 2013

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2013

Hype Readings for All 30 MLB Teams for 2013

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    Every MLB team opens the season with a certain amount of hype surrounding their expected performance during the upcoming season. Whether or not that hype is warranted does not become clear until much later in the season.

    Take last year for example. The Angels entered the season with as much hype as anyone following the signing of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, but they got off to a slow start and wound up missing the playoffs. 

    On the other hand, few picked the A's or Orioles to finish anywhere but last place going into 2012, but when October rolled around both teams found themselves in the postseason.

    My point being, hype and success are two very different things. So here is my take on where each team's hype reading stands entering the season on a scale from 1-10. 

Houston Astros

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    Hype Reading: 1

    Coming off of a 107-loss season, and with their move to the AL West, few teams have ever entered a season with lower expectations than this year's Astros.

    The additions of Chris Carter and Carlos Pena should give the team some added pop, but they simply don't have the overall talent to finish anywhere but the cellar as they continue to rebuild.

Miami Marlins

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    Hype Reading: 1

    The Marlins were at a solid 8 or 9 on the hype scale entering last season, after they spent big in hopes of ushering in their new stadium with a winner. 

    However, they struggled mightily and wound up losing 93 games to finish last in the NL East. That sparked an offseason fire sale, and outside of Giancarlo Stanton the team doesn't have much reason for excitement in 2013.

Minnesota Twins

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    Hype Reading: 2

    Despite a solid offense last season, the Twins were unable to avoid the AL Central cellar as they lost 96 games, their second straight 90-loss season.

    Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia were added to improve things this offseason, but that won't be enough for them to avoid another last-place finish. Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham give them some offensive fire power, but there's little else worth watching in Minnesota.

Colorado Rockies

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    Hype Reading: 2

    The return of Troy Tulowitzki, who played just 47 games last season, is certainly reason for renewed interest in the Rockies if nothing else.

    Their top three starters are also all back healthy after they each missed time last year, so there is certainly potential for some improvement. Still, fourth place is likely their ceiling this season, and there is a lot of work to do on the pitching side of things if they want to get back to contention.

San Diego Padres

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    Hype Reading: 2

    The Padres will be the team battling with the Rockies for fourth place in the NL West, and while they're in no position to contend this year, the future looks bright in San Diego.

    They have one of the deepest farm systems in the league, with Jedd Gyorko just the first of what will be several impact rookies to debut over the next few seasons. This season though, a fourth place finish would be a respectable showing.

Chicago Cubs

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    Hype Reading: 3

    Only because they are the Chicago Cubs and have as rabid a fan base as any team in baseball, do the Cubs rank a notch ahead of the five teams below them in terms of hype.

    In reality, the team will be hard-pressed to avoid a last-place finish in the NL Central and another loss total approaching 100. Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija give the team a trio of building blocks, but they're still at least a couple years from approaching contention.

Chicago White Sox

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    Hype Reading: 4

    Despite holding the top spot in the AL Central though September 24, the White Sox missed the postseason last year, and they enter the season with low expectations despite returning a very similar roster of players.

    Their pitching staff is thin beyond Chris Sale and Jake Peavy, and there is the threat of regression from guys like Adam Dunn and Alex Rios, so the team is not without it's problems. Realistically they could finish anywhere from second to fourth, depending on how the new look Indians and Royals perform.

Seattle Mariners

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    Hype Reading: 4

    The Mariners are a team on the rise, with one of the best farm systems in the game and a number of top tier prospects on the cusp of making a big league impact.

    As the team stands now, the additions of the red-hot Michael Morse (4 HR in 16 AB) and Kendrys Morales should improve what has been the league's lowest-scoring offense three years running. They look like a safe bet to finish fourth in the division, but they could make some serious noise next season.

New York Mets

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    Hype Reading: 5

    After an impressive showing out of the gates last season, the Mets collapsed in the second half and wound up 14 games under .500.

    They have some solid pieces looking to the future, but a lot will have to break right for them to have a chance to finish anywhere but fourth in the NL East. A rotation of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese should give plenty of reason for optimism long-term though.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Hype Reading: 6

    The Orioles were one of the biggest surprises of the 2013 season, as they entered the season expected to finish in the cellar of the AL East, but instead found themselves in the postseason.

    Though there is no question they have a solid core of talent and are a team on the rise, last season was the perfect storm of sorts. They went 29-9 in one-run games and 16-2 in extra-innings, so some regression from last year's 93-win campaign has to be expected.

    With the division getting tougher around them, and the expected step back, few expect the Orioles to return to the postseason. Still, they should remain in the hunt for much of the season. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Hype Reading: 6

    For the past two seasons, the Pirates have been right in the thick of things in the NL Central at the All-Star break, only to succumb to a late season collapse and fall short of finishing over .500. Not since the 1992 season have they closed out a season with a winning record.

    A full season of Wandy Rodriguez in the rotation will help, and adding Russell Martin was a solid move, but the team still lacks consistent offensive production behind Andrew McCutchen and has a questionable back end of their staff.

    Once Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole arrive full-time the team could be a real threat, perhaps next season. For now though, I think their streak of losing seasons runs to 21.

New York Yankees

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    Hype Reading: 6

    Not since the early 1990s have the Yankees entered a season with lower expectations, and with all the injuries they have had to deal with they could dig themselves a huge hole before they get their roster to full strength.

    Perhaps this is a group that will rally around the idea of being looked at as an also-ran, but with the Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox all improving this offseason and the Orioles a team on the rise, the Yankees have their work cut out for them. 

    They've missed the playoffs just once in the past 18 years, but they could make it twice in the past six years this season.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Hype Reading: 6

    Little known fact if you're a casual baseball fan; the Brewers were the highest-scoring team in the National League last season. Had it not been for the MLB's worst bullpen, they likely would have been playing in October.

    Gone from last year's pitching staff are Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf, but the team signed Kyle Lohse and has a solid crop of young arms backed by an improved bullpen. The NL Central is tough, with the Reds and Cardinals both standing in their way, so few expect the Brewers to be more than fringe contenders this year.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Hype Reading: 6

    The Diamondbacks had an incredibly busy offseason, highlighted by them finally pulling the trigger on trading right fielder Justin Upton.

    Adding Brandon McCarthy to the pitching staff was an underrated move, and Martin Prado brings a solid immediate return for Upton. They disappointed last year after a division title in 2011, and while the Dodgers and Giants are the class of the division, the Diamondbacks still have a shot at the postseason with a talented overall roster.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Hype Reading: 6

    A rash of injuries to a number of their superstars, coupled with the simple fact that the team was another year older, resulted in a disappointing 2012 season for the Phillies as they finished 81-81.

    With Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay (?) now healthy some think the team could be in a position to make one last push for the postseason. However, Halladay has not looked like the same pitcher, and the team has a tough task in their own division with the Braves and Nationals among the game's top teams.

Cleveland Indians

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    Hype Reading: 6

    Heading into the offseason, this was expected to be a rebuilding year for the Indians. Instead, they went to work this winter rebuilding their roster with a number of veteran pieces with their attention on contending in 2013.

    Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn were the big signings, but they also added Mark Reynolds and Brett Myers among others to an already talented offensive core. It'll be their starting pitching that holds them back though, and while they should be vastly improved from last season, they're not a playoff team.

Kansas City Royals

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    Hype Reading: 7

    After giving the Opening Day nod to Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen the previous two seasons, there was no question the Royals pitching staff needed to drastically improve if they hoped to contend.

    Improve it did, as the team traded for James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana, along with the re-signing of veteran Jeremy Guthrie. 

    If their young hitters like Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez can take the next step in their development they have an outside shot to contend for a playoff spot. They may not be as close as some people think, and it may take another year, but they're close.

Boston Red Sox

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    Hype Reading: 7

    After a 2012 season that was nothing short of a disaster, the Red Sox set to work rebuilding their roster using the significant amount of payroll room they freed up in their August blockbuster with the Dodgers.

    With a bevy of new veteran additions, and the excitement surrounding Jackie Bradley's arrival in the majors far sooner than anticipated, the Red Sox should be far more competitive this year.

    Their pitching remains the question, and if newcomer Ryan Dempster and injury-returnee John Lackey can pitch well while Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz bounce back from down years, the team could be in a position to contend for a playoff spot. That's a whole bunch of "ifs" though.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Hype Reading: 7

    Few teams could handle losing their ace from the previous season (Kyle Lohse) in free agency, then seeing another key starter (Chris Carpenter) and their starting shortstop and leadoff hitter (Rafael Furcal) go down with season-ending injuries.

    The Cardinals, however, have become the masters of overcoming injuries and making the most of organizational depth the past few seasons, and they're expected to once again be in the hunt for a playoff spot.

    Is anyone else excited to see just how good Allen Craig can be over a full season of at-bats?

Texas Rangers

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    Hype Reading: 7

    The Rangers lost as much in free agency as any team in baseball, as Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young are gone from their once-vaunted lineup, and Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Koji Uehara and Mike Adams are no longer part of the pitching staff.

    What's left is a team that has admittedly lower expectations, but a real chance to contend nonetheless. The impending arrivals of Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar alone move them up the hype meter, and following Yu Darvish's near-perfect game they could continue to climb said meter in the weeks ahead.

    They have a big series coming up this weekend with the rival Angels, and a solid showing could set up the whole rest of their season.

Oakland Athletics

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    Hype Reading: 8

    Billy Beane once again worked his magic, as he traded his two best pitchers in Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill last season, only to turn around and win the AL West title with a group of journeyman veterans and unproven youngsters.

    They lost Brandon McCarthy and Jonny Gomes, but aside from that return essentially the same team, and it is safe to say they won't take anyone by surprise this time around. How well their young pitchers perform the second time around will be a determining factor in their season, but expectations are relatively high for this group.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Hype Reading: 8

    Long a pitching-led team whose biggest concern is whether or not they'll be able to score enough runs to back their impressive staff, the Rays set out to improve their offense this offseason.

    James Loney, Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson were signed to fill out the infield alongside Evan Longoria and they should all be moderate upgrades. 

    The key addition though was top prospect Wil Myers, who was acquired from the Royals for James Shields. He could be up and hitting in the middle of the lineup by midseason, and his bat should help with their second half push.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Hype Reading: 9

    Winners of 97 games last season, the Reds ran away with the NL Central crown but they were bumped from the playoffs in the NLDS when they blew a 2-0 series lead to the Giants.

    They filled their biggest weakness when they added Shin-Soo Choo to serve as the starting center fielder and lead-off hitter, and they entered the season with as complete a lineup as any team in baseball.

    They benefited greatly from all five starters staying healthy last season, and they'll need to avoid the injury bug again, but most expect the Reds to once again push for the best record in the NL.

Atlanta Braves

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    Hype Reading: 9

    The addition of the Upton brothers has brought an air of excitement to the 2013 Braves, and with good reason as they are two of the most talented all-around players in the game, at least from a pure tools standpoint.

    They join Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman in a talented lineup, and when you throw in solid starting rotation with exciting young pitchers Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran, as well as one of the best bullpens in baseball, it's no surprise there is so much hype surrounding the Braves in 2013.

San Francisco Giants

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    Hype Reading: 9

    The reigning champion Giants may not have the league's best team on paper, but they return every key piece from last year's title team. 

    Their rotation, led by Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, should once again be among the best in baseball and their bullpen was fantastic last season even with the loss of Brian Wilson.

    Offense will continue to be the question, as they lack a true impact bat outside of NL MVP Buster Posey. They found ways to score last season though, and their experience can't be undervalued. They're one of the teams to beat as the season gets under way.

Detroit Tigers

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    Hype Reading: 9

    It took them until the final days of the season to lock up the AL Central title, but once they punched their ticket to the postseason the Tigers were the best team in the American League.

    They were steamrolled by the Giants and swept for the title, but there is plenty of reason to think the 2013 version of the Tigers will be even better than last year's club.

    A full season of Anibal Sanchez will help the rotation, while free agent signing Torii Hunter and injury returnee Victor Martinez will make an already potent lineup even better. They should run away with the AL Central this time around, and they have as good of odds as any AL team to be in the World Series.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Hype Reading: 10

    The Angels may have been the league's biggest disappointment last season, as they spent a ton of money to add Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Then they benefited from the phenomenal rookie season of Mike Trout, but in the end fell short of making the playoffs.

    It was another busy offseason, as they signed Josh Hamilton to a $125 million deal to give the team an absolutely stacked lineup. They also added three new starters behind Wilson and Jered Weaver in Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson.

    Time will tell if those moves make the staff better compared to last season, but there is no question that anything short of a trip to the World Series would be considered a disappointment for the Angels.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Hype Reading: 10

    Since the July trade deadline, the Dodgers have added Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu to a lineup that already featured stars Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw.

    Now, with the highest payroll in the National League and a roster littered with former All-Stars, the Dodgers fully expect to push the Giants for the NL West title and to make a run at the World Series.

    The roster still has a few holes, and it remains to be seen how this group will come together as a team, but the hype is at an all-time high in Los Angeles.

Washington Nationals

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    Hype Reading: 10

    The consensus "best team on paper" entering the season, the Nationals led all of baseball with 98 wins last season. Their season ended on a disappointing note though, as they were bumped from the playoffs in the NLDS by the Cardinals.

    The additions of Denard Span, Dan Haren and Rafael Soriano should only make them better, and having a full season of Stephen Strasburg after he was shut-down last September means having one of the game's best pitchers around for the postseason push.

    They'll get everything they can handle from the Braves in the NL East, but anything short of a division title and serious playoff run would be short of expectations for a franchise that has turned things around incredibly quickly.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Hype Reading: 10

    The Blue Jays were a popular pick to surprise last season, but they were hit hard by injury, and they wound up finishing the season 73-89 in fourth place in the AL East.

    Getting their roster back healthy would have been enough to give the team an outside shot to contend, but the team instead opted to go all-in this winter to make a push for a title.

    Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Emilio Bonifacio were acquired in a trade with the Marlins, while reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey was brought on in a separate trade with the Mets.

    Those five join the likes of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and Brandon Morrow to give the Blue Jays an impressive crop of talent. They've been picked by many to win the deep AL East, and in my mind there is no team with more hype surrounding them entering the season than the Blue Jays.

     

    Joel Reuter is a National MLB Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.


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