Every year in MLB, a handful of teams find themselves stuck in the middle.
Whether these teams are overachievers, underachievers, or somewhere in between, it’s no fun being on the outside looking in as it pertains to the playoff picture.
This season, there are three teams in particular that seem destined for a .500 finish.
Here they are, ranked in order of likelihood.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays did an admirable job staying relevant for the first couple of months this season, but the honeymoon phase is now over.
The team is currently 33-33 after dropping three straight games to start the week.
While a .500 mark would be good enough to stay afloat in some MLB divisions this year, that is not the case in an extremely deep and competitive American League East.
Toronto has way too much talent to completely collapse, so a .500 finish seems like a pretty likely landing spot.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and his 1.129 OPS will certainly carry the team to some wins, as will players like Marcus Semien (.883 OPS), Bo Bichette (.827 OPS), Teoscar Hernandez (.831 OPS), Hyun Jin Ryu (3.43 ERA) and Robbie Ray (3.45 ERA).
There is a really nice foundation in place for this club, but the Jays might be just a year away from getting over the hump.
2. Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds are still firmly in the MLB playoff mix right now, but it remains to be seen how much longer that will last.
At 35-31, the team has overachieved in a big way.
Highest SLG % in the MLB (min. 160 PAs):
1. TYLER O'NEILL – .649
2. Jesse Winker – .645
3. Vlad Guerrero Jr – .643
4. Fernando Tatis Jr – .639
5. Nick Castellanos – .624
— Cardinals Stats And Facts (@SpittinFactsSTL) June 11, 2021
After Castellanos and Winker, the Reds just one other everyday player with an OPS above .800.
When you couple that with the team’s bullpen woes, it seems likely that Cincinnati will finish the season roughly even in the win-loss column.
1. Los Angeles Angels
Mike Trout will likely return just in time to help the Los Angeles Angels to a .500 finish.
#Angels manager Joe Maddon said Mike Trout is likely to be out "probably another month." But chance he could return sooner.
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) June 14, 2021
The team is currently 33-35 and falling out relevancy.
Despite having two of the most valuable players in the league in Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the Angels seem to fall short of expectations every single year.
There is always a chance that the team could get back into the playoff picture with one or two months of elite baseball, but there’s no reason to believe that’s in the cards.
The Angels are coming off a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics in which they were swept by a combined score of 22-13.
It’s probably too soon to officially throw in the towel on any of the teams on this list.
The Blue Jays have enough talent to make a run and perhaps steal a Wild Card bid.
You can’t count out the Reds, who have two legitimate MVP candidates.
And as for the Angels, well, it feels like we say this every year, but you can’t dismiss a team with two generational talents.
The most likely outcome seems that each of these teams finishes right around .500, but you never know.
It’s a long season.