The 2015 season has been wild and unpredictable, but history always repeats itself. With that said, here are some historical precedents for three of 2015’s most exciting teams.
- Kansas City Royals
The Royals have been the best team in the American League this season for most of it, after overcoming predictions of mediocrity following last season’s World Series run. They don’t hit for much power, but make up for it with the league’s best hitting lineup by average, a great bullpen and a good not great rotation.
The Royals are the 2009 Los Angeles Angels. Like the Royals, this team was below average in home runs but tops in the AL in batting. Instead of Cain, Hosmer and Moustakas, they had Torii Hunter, Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins. Both teams got exceptional seasons from Kendrys Morales. They both had decent rotations and dominant closers in Greg Holland and Brian Fuentes (48 saves).
The Angels were eliminated by the eventual champion Yankees in six games in the ALCS. That seems like a fair expectation for this year’s Royals.
- New York Mets
The Mets are winning their division in spite of having no qualified regular hitting .280 and tying for last in the NL in batting. They make up for that with a large amount of big flies, a pitching staff that came together as the season went on and an unexpected closer in Jeurys Familia who took the reigns early in the season. They have been buoyed by an MVP-caliber deadline acquisition in Yoenis Cespedes.
The Mets are the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers. Like the Mets, the Brewers made up for below average hitting with power. Their pitching staff coalesced as the season went on, and they had a surprising closer, Salomon Torres, take over after Eric Gagne failed (and was linked to steroids like Mets incumbent Jenrry Mejia). Like Yo for the Mets, CC Sabathia is widely regarded as one of the best mid-season pickups of all-time, after he was worth 5 WAR in 17 starts.
The Brewers were eliminated by the Phillies 2008 buzzsaw in the first round, but the Mets could advance with the right matchup.
- Chicago Cubs
The 2015 Cubs have been all about youth rising up. The promotions of Bryant, Russell, Schwarber and Soler and the rise of Anthony Rizzo has made this one of the best young lineups ever. Even still, the Cubs are tied with the Mets and Padres for dead last in batting. They do hit a lot of home runs and steal a fair amount of bases, but also benefit from the rise of Cy Young candidate Jake Arrieta and get steadiness from Jon Lester.
The Cubs are the 2012 Atlanta Braves. The Braves, who won 94 games but were a wild card team, hit just two points higher than the Cubs as a team, but made up for it with the most homers in the NL. They had two of the best young hitters in the league that year in Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, with a prime-level Martin Prado anchoring the offense. They also had a solid veteran starter in Tim Hudson, as well as an emerging superstar in Kris Medlen who was Arrieta-like, going 10-1 with the Braves not losing any of his regular season starts.
The Braves lost the Wild Card Game at home to the Cardinals, when Medlen finally ran out of gas. That seems like a realistic end for the upstart Cubs.