There are real sleepers in each MLB division that could make a splash this season.
Every season, it feels as though there are one or two teams that stun everyone by exceeding expectations, either getting into the playoffs or on the brink at the least. There are a few sleeper teams in the MLB this season that in 162 games could be contending at the end of the season.
And even more so, every division has its massive favorites. Look at the NL West for example. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will be the heavy favorites to not only contend, but both make the playoffs one way or another. That means that the other three teams will have to do their best to be the sleeper of all sleepers this year.
Now, let’s look at the best sleeper team in each division for the 2021 MLB season.
AL East: Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox finished dead last in the AL East in 2020, having one of the more brutal seasons in a while. Of course, that came off the heels of an offseason that saw Alex Cora fired and Mookie Betts traded. Not great. Well good news for them, their 2021 offseason is off to a far better start and should only get better.
The rehiring of Cora as the manager following his suspension instantly makes this team a contender again. Add in the fact that they have an incredible offense led by Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers and you remember how good these guys can be. Now, what hurt them last season was their pitching — or their lack thereof. With Chris Sale returning sometime this season, he should give them a surge, but it’s an offseason where they must bring some guys in.
Tanner Houck seems to be a possible lock as a starter moving forward following his impressive debut in 2020, but otherwise, there are still some question marks. Eduardo Rodriguez can surely be an answer too now that he seems to have been cleared following his long fight with COVID-19.
If the Red Sox can figure out what they are doing for their pitching struggles, they will be back in the hunt for a wild card and the AL East.
NL East: Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals won the World Series in 2019 and then finished in last place in the NL East in the shortened 2020 season. Not great. And a lot of people are sleeping on them now that the New York Mets have stacked themselves up and the Atlanta Braves remain the top team in the division. Well, they will still have one of the best rotations in baseball, which should push them forward to another successful season.
Max Scherzer refuses to slow down, Patrick Corbin remains solid, and Stephen Strasburg should be back to carry the load and fight. Add in the factors on offense like young phenom Juan Soto and the latest addition of Josh Bell who could reemerge and you could see a team back in playoff form.
The Nationals have a lot of good parts that set them up for success in 2021 and are one of the more serious sleepers in baseball.