The 2021 MLB season shows a handful of powerhouses, a few hopefuls, some average teams, and some really bad squads.
We know the likes of the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres will all make runs at their respective divisions.
But there are also average teams that can’t win the division, but still won’t finish last.
So which MLB teams fall under that category?
3. Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians used to field a very competitive squad in the second half of the 2010s.
They even made a World Series appearance in 2016 and were very, very close to winning it before the Chicago Cubs ended up prevailing.
Being a small market MLB team, Cleveland’s front office and ownership have been selling pieces in the last couple of years as they approach their free agency, because they wouldn’t be able to afford them or any big fishes in the open market.
That has caused a bit of a ‘soft rebuild’ in Cleveland that has knocked the franchise out of first place in the division’s power rankings.
This phase has coincided with the White Sox’s ascent to contender status.
They also have some good pieces in the rotation and the bullpen, but their offense needs a few breakout performances to take it to the next level.
Their lineup isn’t exactly fearful.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) June 6, 2021
Cleveland is good enough to finish second or third in the American League Central division, but is no longer able to fight for the division title, as they are currently 31-26, four games back of the White Sox.
2. Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies have been the same team for at least a couple of years: a slightly above-average club that may fight for a Wild Card spot if things go right in a specific season, but far from fighting for the division.
The Atlanta Braves and, especially, the Mets, look much better this year.
Philadelphia is already four games out of the division’s top spot, held by the Mets, and that’s with the latter’s season-long injury crisis.
Additionally, they lack a real, reliable center fielder, too.
Philadelphia may be able to finish above .500, far from being a last-place team, but also not close to taking the division.
Forget what the standings show in that GB column. How the @Phillies stand where it actually matters, in the loss column:
NYM – 20
ATL – 26
MIA – 28
WAS – 29
PHI – 29
Seven other NL teams have fewer losses. The #Phillies are nowhere near a postseason contender at the moment. pic.twitter.com/PrEpYC1jOp
— PHILLIES BELL (@philliesbell) June 1, 2021
1. Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds made it to the MLB postseason last year, but they had no offense whatsoever.
This year, they have two of the best batters in the National League in Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos, but the rest of the offense hasn’t performed to expectations and the pitching has been a bit inconsistent, especially the bullpen.
Will the Reds have enough time and resources to make a push for the division?
It’s possible, but unlikely.
They are currently on a four-game winning streak and four games out of first place, but they need to fight three teams that are in front of them as of Monday morning: the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, and St. Louis Cardinals.