The 2021 MLB season has been full of twists and turns.
Many teams are nowhere close to where preseason projections pegged them to be, and that trend has made for a very entertaining campaign.
From pleasant surprises to disappointments, there are several MLB teams that meet the criteria to be named one of the three most shocking clubs in baseball this season.
Let’s see who makes the cut and who doesn’t.
3. Atlanta Braves: 63-56
All things considered, the Atlanta Braves have to be on this list.
Sure, some preseason projections thought the Braves could compete for a playoff bid, but a lot has changed since then.
Most fans completely dismissed the Braves’ playoff chances once the injury bug ravaged them.
But there’s no quit in this Atlanta team.
Inexplicably, the Braves have a one-game lead in the National League East right now.
The team is seven games over .500 at 63-56 and is 11-3 in the month of August.
Tons of players deserve credit for Atlanta’s insane run, but none more than Freddie Freeman (1.035 OPS over last 47 games), Austin Riley (1.066 OPS over last 36 games), Dansby Swanson (1.096 OPS over last 25 games), and Ozzie Albies (.906 OPS over last 19 games).
Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley go back-to-back for each of their 25th home runs of the season.
The Braves infield is having an all-time great season. pic.twitter.com/JwPqAydBDg
— Kevin Keneely (@KevinKeneely1) August 15, 2021
2. Minnesota Twins: 53-66
The Minnesota Twins have been one of the most disappointing teams in baseball this season.
They were expected to contend for the division title in the American League Central.
Instead, they currently find themselves in fourth place in the division with less than two months remaining.
Minnesota’s 53-66 record is the fourth-worst in the AL.
It just wasn’t meant to be for the Twins in 2021.
The organization made the obvious move by punting on the year with a soft deadline sell a few weeks ago.
With any luck, the 2022 campaign will be different.
1. San Francisco Giants: 77-42
The San Francisco Giants play in the toughest division in all of baseball.
The NL West features three legitimate World Series contenders in the Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres.
If the season ended today, all three of those teams would make the playoffs.
That’s what makes San Francisco’s success this season so impressive.
Even with two other World Series contenders in their division, the Giants have managed to stay atop the NL West for almost the entire 2021 campaign.
They’re currently 77-42 on the year—good for an absurd 104-win pace.
The craziest part?
They weren’t even supposed to contend.
Most preseason projections had the Giants finishing below .500.
Instead, the they look like the best team in baseball.
They have a four-game lead over the Dodgers for first place in the division, and San Fran’s 77-42 record is the best in baseball by a pretty big margin.
MLB fans still seem to be waiting for LA’s ridiculously talented roster to carry the Dodgers to the top of the division, but it might not happen.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 17, 2021
The Giants are for real, and it looks like they might claim the NL West crown in 2021.