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Thread: What are this year's dark horse teams?

  1. #1
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    What are this year's dark horse teams?

    AL: Oakland
    NL: Cincinnati
    Born to an age where horror has become commonplace, where tragedy has, by its monotonous repetition, become a parody of sorrow, we need to fence off a few parks where humans try to be fair, where skill has some hope of reward, [and] where absurdity has a harder time than usual getting a ticket." -- Thomas Boswell, 1984

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    Cincinnati has the classy NL dark horse pick for years.

    AL: Royals
    NL: Giants

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    Well, Kevin, I don't think of myself as classy; I'm just playing a guessing game! And a whole lot would have to go right for the Reds to surprise me.

    The Giants and Royals were on my radar screen, too. The Giants need more bats and the Royals need better pitching. Perhaps if they combined their teams?
    Born to an age where horror has become commonplace, where tragedy has, by its monotonous repetition, become a parody of sorrow, we need to fence off a few parks where humans try to be fair, where skill has some hope of reward, [and] where absurdity has a harder time than usual getting a ticket." -- Thomas Boswell, 1984

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    AL: Rangers
    NL: Marlins

    Teams like the Braves, Diamondbacks, Giants and A's aren't consensus picks and I think are more likely to compete than those two and could surprise people, but I think still too many people are picking them to use as dark horses.
    Hey, this is my public apology for suddenly disappearing and missing out on any projects I may have neglected.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by keystone View Post
    The Giants and Royals were on my radar screen, too. The Giants need more bats and the Royals need better pitching. Perhaps if they combined their teams?
    I agree completely!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinWI View Post
    Cincinnati has the classy NL dark horse pick for years.

    AL: Royals
    NL: Giants
    I agree with everything
    Unlike most other team sports, in which teams usually have an equivalent number of players on the field at any given time, in baseball the hitting team is at a numerical disadvantage, with a maximum of 5 players and 2 base coaches on the field at any time, compared to the fielding team's 9 players. For this reason, leaving the dugout to join a fight is generally considered acceptable in that it results in numerical equivalence on the field, and a fairer fight.

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    The Rangers? Just loyalty, Philkid3, or do you have some of those stats you love to convince me? I just never trust their pitching, even with Nolan Ryan hanging around.... Didn't Vicente Padilla just go on the DL?
    Born to an age where horror has become commonplace, where tragedy has, by its monotonous repetition, become a parody of sorrow, we need to fence off a few parks where humans try to be fair, where skill has some hope of reward, [and] where absurdity has a harder time than usual getting a ticket." -- Thomas Boswell, 1984

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by keystone View Post
    The Rangers? Just loyalty, Philkid3, or do you have some of those stats you love to convince me? I just never trust their pitching, even with Nolan Ryan hanging around.... Didn't Vicente Padilla just go on the DL?
    What do you need convincing of? That they should compete or that they make sense as a darkhorse?

    I don't think they're going to really compete or be much better than a little below mediocre. A dark horse, to me, is a team that neither I nor anyone else expects to be good but that I think has potential variables to be a surprising playoff team.

    The Rangers were a mediocre team last year and while I actually see a little regression overall -- both in reliable projections and in my own homework -- I do think being a 79 win team again is, at its base, possible. Essentially, the loss of Milton Bradley being replaced by an improved defense, regression to the mean by Millwood and Padilla and natural progression from guys like Davis, Kinsler and Hamilton.

    That's in a division where I think 79 wins could be 5 wins more or less out of first place. Not only is that well within the range of flukes and luck, but there are a few question marks that could come out on the positive side: Could Chris Davis have a unique skill set at the plate and experience the kind of season Bill James projects? Could Josh Hamilton have only scratched the surface last year? Could Kinsler repeat the same season and stay healthy? Could Millwood and Padilla once again have great contract years?

    These are things I would to some degree bet against, and hence I have the Rangers in 3rd and not that far from 4th. But they are also all realistic possibilities, and if the Rangers could reproduce a mediocre season without them, it probably wouldn't take all of them being reached to win a weak division.


    They're certainly not my pick as a playoff team or even a likely contender. They are, however, my dark horse pick for those reasons. By the very nature, though, I don't expect a dark horse to be good.
    Hey, this is my public apology for suddenly disappearing and missing out on any projects I may have neglected.

  9. #9
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    And no, Padilla is not scheduled to miss any time. He left a game early with forearm stiffness, but as of yet the official word is he's fine.
    Hey, this is my public apology for suddenly disappearing and missing out on any projects I may have neglected.

  10. #10
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    If you're looking for teams I think will be in solid contention that no one else seems to, I have trouble thinking of them. Even teams like the Braves and Indians, who I think will see sizable win increases and contend, I think many people agree with. So I'm going with teams even I don't think will contend but have realistic -- if unlikely -- circumstances that could put them in the post season.
    Hey, this is my public apology for suddenly disappearing and missing out on any projects I may have neglected.

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    OK. Thanks, philkid3. That all makes total sense. I understand where you're coming from now.

    Seventy-nine wins in that division is possible. That is realistic but unlikely. Perhaps you have a better understanding of the term "dark horse" than I do!

    The Braves and Indians fall into the "realistic but unlikely" category in my mind as well.
    Born to an age where horror has become commonplace, where tragedy has, by its monotonous repetition, become a parody of sorrow, we need to fence off a few parks where humans try to be fair, where skill has some hope of reward, [and] where absurdity has a harder time than usual getting a ticket." -- Thomas Boswell, 1984

  12. #12
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    I definitely don't think the Indians are unlikely. They aught to be the favorites in the division.
    Hey, this is my public apology for suddenly disappearing and missing out on any projects I may have neglected.

  13. #13
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    That is such a tough division to figure. The Twinkies could be in the mix as well, so if we delete the Indians since they are "unlikely," in the AL Central I guess the dark horse would be the Royals? They certainly strike me as unlikely -- especially with that starting pitching.
    Born to an age where horror has become commonplace, where tragedy has, by its monotonous repetition, become a parody of sorrow, we need to fence off a few parks where humans try to be fair, where skill has some hope of reward, [and] where absurdity has a harder time than usual getting a ticket." -- Thomas Boswell, 1984

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    AL - A's
    NL - Marlins

  15. #15
    MagsMigs Guest
    AL: Anyone in the Central. Seriously, if the all finish within 6 games of each other, I won't be the least bit surprised.

    NL: Marlins, Giants & Brewers will all have quietly good years.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagsMigs View Post
    AL: Anyone in the Central. Seriously, if the all finish within 6 games of each other, I won't be the least bit surprised.
    Agreed! I could see any team winning the division, even the Royals and Tigers.

  17. #17
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    AL Royals
    NL Giants and Reds
    The Voice of Croatia - Glas Hrvatske

  18. #18
    Cards
    Jays
    D'Backs

    The Giants won't be good. They finished 15th in runs and that's about right. 10th would be stunning and necessary for a "good" year. Their pitching finished 9th in RA.

    Simplistic measures but it looks like they weren't unlucky finishing 72-90 (pyth 68-94) and that was with full Lincecum. If he misses some time they're really toast, or if Cain who allowed 300+ baserunners regresses... kudos to Tim but I've seen Loaiza, Carmona, Prior, Liriano, Weaver, Sheets, etc. fail to cash in the checks written for their great upcoming success. And I'm not even counting Colon or Schmidt, the older dudes.
    Last edited by plask_stirlac; 04-05-2009 at 02:32 PM.
    (fantasy football)
    JM: Only did that for a couple of years and then we had a conspiracy so it kind of turned me sour. Our league's commissioner, Lew Ford(notes) at the time, was doing some shady things that ... I'd rather not talk about [laughs].
    DB: Isn't he in Japan right now?
    JM: I don't know where Lou is right now. He's probably fleeing the authorities [laughs].

  19. #19
    Keep your eyes on the Blue Jays and Indians in the AL, and the Nationals (yes, those Nationals) and Cardinals in the NL

  20. #20
    MagsMigs Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by KevinWI View Post
    Agreed! I could see any team winning the division, even the...Tigers.
    Thanks for the confidence

  21. #21
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    The Jays sure have lost a lot of pitching...

    The Cardinals will be interesting -- so much depends on Carpenter.

    Lincecum is such a stud, but will he get run support?
    Born to an age where horror has become commonplace, where tragedy has, by its monotonous repetition, become a parody of sorrow, we need to fence off a few parks where humans try to be fair, where skill has some hope of reward, [and] where absurdity has a harder time than usual getting a ticket." -- Thomas Boswell, 1984

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by plask_stirlac View Post
    Cards
    Jays
    D'Backs

    The Giants won't be good. They finished 15th in runs and that's about right. 10th would be stunning and necessary for a "good" year. Their pitching finished 9th in RA.

    Simplistic measures but it looks like they weren't unlucky finishing 72-90 (pyth 68-94) and that was with full Lincecum. If he misses some time they're really toast, or if Cain who allowed 300+ baserunners regresses... kudos to Tim but I've seen Loaiza, Carmona, Prior, Liriano, Weaver, Sheets, etc. fail to cash in the checks written for their great upcoming success. And I'm not even counting Colon or Schmidt, the older dudes.
    Wow, crush my dreams man.

    Cuz I have to agree. Those who expect the Giant's to compete are expecting rookies bats to do well for a full season, Timmy to not have sophmore blues, Cain to improve slightly, Zito to pitch all year like he did last fall.
    In short, too many things have to go right for the Giants to do as well as some seem to expect.

    They will be more fun to watch with all the kids at least. And who knows, it *could* happen.

    My vote goes for

    Reds
    AL? whocares?

  23. #23
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    NL: Reds and Giants
    AL: Royals and A's

    G Rizzle

  24. #24

    NL - The Cardinals

    In The NL I think the Cardinals may surprise alot of naysayers. They won 86 games, 10 games above .500, last year without Carpenter and Wainright missing about 1/3 of a season worth of starts. (If) both stay healthy enough the whole season to each get from 30 - 33 starts a piece, I wouldn't be surprised to see them win about 30 - 36 games between them. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Pujols, Ludwick and Ankiel combine for at least 100 HRs and 250 - 300 RBIs between them. A big problem with the Cardinals last year was the bullpen blowing leads. If they can get any kind of decent bullpen this season I can see them winning as many as 94-96 games this season since they won 86 last year with a bad bullpen. I think David Freese will surprise a lot of people also with the incentive of playing in front of home town fans in a great baseball city with very supportive fans.

  25. #25
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    You can never count out a TLR team. Lots of spare parts for him to play with, and if Carpenter comes back...

    Travis Snider is a revelation. Still, I wonder about the Jays starting rotation....
    Born to an age where horror has become commonplace, where tragedy has, by its monotonous repetition, become a parody of sorrow, we need to fence off a few parks where humans try to be fair, where skill has some hope of reward, [and] where absurdity has a harder time than usual getting a ticket." -- Thomas Boswell, 1984

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