The 2015 Major League Season is just around the corner leaving me to wonder which teams in the American League are the most underrated teams. Every year we see a ball club get looked past and sometimes not even talked about. This happened last season when the Kansas City Royals came out of no where to represent the American League in the World Series.
We even saw it with the Baltimore Orioles last season as Vegas had them set at an over/under of 78 wins. In the end the Orioles not only eclipsed that total but ran away with the American League East by 12 games. Then that success carried over into the postseason as they knocked off the Detroit Tigers.
Now when we look at the most underrated teams around the American League we like to look at the same areas as the overrated teams but also other important moves that could impact the club. These areas include a player who might be returning from a long-term injury or a prospect that might became an All-Star in his first season in the majors.
We also took a look at what Vegas and other key insiders around Major League Baseball had to say about the clubs. ALl of this information together gave us a good backing to build a list of the most underrated teams in the American League.
Here are the most underrated teams in the American League.
Baltimore Orioles: While the Orioles won’t be a surprise to anyone in 2015 they land on this list simply based on how much credit the team is receiving leading up to the season. Vegas has them as the third best team in the American League East behind the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.
Yes the Red Sox added Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez this off-season but how much better can those two make them if they lack the talent in the rotation to lead them. Remember this is a Red Sox club that failed to bring back long term ace Jon Lester to solidify the rotation. Now this could change if the team finds a way to land Cole Hamels before spring training is over but for now he isn’t with them.
Now we know the club failed to sign Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis and Andrew Miller to long-term deals. All three were key parts in the clubs success in 2015 but their increased salaries just didn’t make sense for a team that won’t over pay for free agents.
That being said the Orioles will have a few key players returning in 2015 that they lacked down the stretch in 2015. The first is All-Star catcher Matt Wieters who was off to his best season at the plate before being placed on the disabled list while requiring Tommy John sugery.
The next man the team gets back is Manny Machado who went under his second knee procedure in two seasons this time on the other knee. The good news is the team and Machado knew it was required but didn’t know when that time could come. Machado might have the best club on the team and when healthy has great extra base potential.
Then you have J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis who should both have bounce back seasons. Hardy failed to reach 20 home runs for the first time with the club while Davis struggled from the start before being suspended for the use of Adderall. Now Davis has an exemption that will let him use the medicine this season allowing him to focus on the game.
Houston Astros: We could have gone to a few other clubs but we landed with the Astros in the American League West division. Yes this club finished with the second worst record in the American League but to be 20 to 1 odds to win the division might give some sports bettors a little extra motivation.
Now yes I know they are in the same division as the Seattle Mariners who made some noise this off-season. Yes I know this is the same division that has the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers. I never guaranteed they would win the division I just stated that they were an underrated team in the American League.
When you look at this roster they have one of the top second baseman in baseball in Jose Altuve. They have some big bats in the lineup including Chris Carter, George Springer and the newly acquired Evan Gattis. The team also has some big time minor leaguers waiting to arrive including shortstop Carlos Correa. The team also added veterans Hank Conger and Jed Lowrie this off-season to fill out their roster.
The one question mark the Astros have is how good can their starting rotation pitch in 2015. If this gets answered this team could play spoiler for a lot of teams around baseball.