Exceeding expectations – by G. Scott Thomas

The Tampa Bay Rays have been unexpectedly good this season. Astoundingly, shockingly good.

No one believed the Rays could be horrible. Oddsmakers predicted this spring that Tampa Bay would end with one of many American League’s finest information. Caesars Sportsbook set the Rays’ over/beneath at 89 wins, trailing solely the Houston Astros (95), New York Yankees (94), and Toronto Blue Jays (92) among the many 15 AL golf equipment.

However the Rays have vastly exceeded these excessive expectations, profitable 35 of their first 50 video games, translating to a victory fee of .700. In the event that they had been to keep up that feverish tempo over the complete 162-game schedule, they’d end with 113.4 wins, surpassing Caesars’s preseason forecast by 24.4.

That’s the very definition of overachievement.

But Tampa Bay’s file — amazingly good although it could be — nonetheless doesn’t rank as 2023’s largest shock. That distinction belongs to Baltimore, which was pegged for a dropping yr with an over/beneath of 78 wins. The Orioles responded by going 33-17 of their first 50 video games, the equal of 106.9 victories over a full season. That’s 28.9 wins past their anticipated complete.

Solely the fiercest diehards consider that the Rays and Orioles can preserve their exalted information for the complete yr. However the 50-game mark provides a great alternative to separate baseball’s highest and lowest achievers, and each of these golf equipment positively belong within the former group.

So do the Texas Rangers (plus-22.2), Arizona Diamondbacks (plus-17.5), and Pittsburgh Pirates (plus-16.7), the opposite three groups which have double-digit win balances, based mostly on comparisons of their spring predictions and 50-game projections.

On the reverse finish of the size are the Oakland Athletics. The oddsmakers absolutely anticipated the A’s to be horrible in 2023, which is why Caesars set their over/beneath at 59.5 wins, the bottom predicted complete within the American League. (Solely the Nationwide League’s Washington Nationals had been slotted beneath Oakland with a forecast of 59.0 wins.)

However the Athletics have been significantly extra dismal than envisioned. Their 10-40 file would translate to only 32.4 victories over a full 162-game slate. That yields a stability of minus-27.1, simply the worst within the majors.

The runners-up for underachievement are the Kansas Metropolis Royals (minus-19.9) and San Diego Padres (minus-19.5).

The next breakdown exhibits the 50-game file for every membership, adopted by its season win prediction (as issued by Caesars in March), its win projection (based mostly on its 50-game file), and the ensuing stability. Groups are ranked from the perfect overachievers — to date — to the worst underachievers.

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