Big Surprises Early in 2024 MLB Season

MLB Surprises - Cleveland Guardians 2024

There have been plenty of big surprises in MLB during the first quarter of the season, from surprise teams and players to the rebound of the AL Central. There has been an increase in attendance at the stadiums and in TV viewership. We even saw the streaming service Roku get awarded Sunday baseball games.

Eye-Opening Teams

A few eye-opening teams have everyone paying extra attention. The Cleveland Guardians and Kansas City Royals are currently Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the American League Central. Both teams have been in those spots for most of the season. The Guardians are doing this with a rookie manager, Steven Vogt, who has quickly gained the respect of his players. Super utility player David Fry has jumped out to an impressive start and is challenging his team to find him more playing time.

The Royals are seeing the maturity of Bobby Witt Jr. and veteran leadership from catcher Salvador Perez. They are also showing everyone that the signing of Seth Lugo is working out. He is currently 7-1 with a 1.79 ERA and has become the ace of this staff.


Milwaukee Brewers

Big surprises in MLB also include the Milwaukee Brewers. Many had them picked for last place with rookie manager Pat Murphy taking over. However, he has this team believing in themselves. They are currently third in MLB in batting average, third in stolen bases, and fourth in home runs.

Individual Players

Several individual players have been a surprise. Those include Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams, who has been pitching well and keeping his team around .500.


Another impressive pitcher is Reed Garrett, who previously had a career ERA over 7.00. This season, through 16 games for the New York Mets, he is 5-0 with a 0.78 ERA.

While Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman are getting most of the headlines for the Baltimore Orioles, Jordan Westburg has produced solid numbers. He is hitting .296 with seven home runs. He is also playing very well at both second and third bases.

AL Central

Last year, the AL Central had only one team with a winning record. They also saw the bottom two teams each lose 100-plus games. This season, the AL Central is the only division with four teams above .500. It looks like it will be a very competitive race the rest of the season that might even see two teams get playoff spots.

Attendance and Viewership

As noted, attendance and viewership are up. The average attendance of 26,927 to start the 2024 season is the most since 2017, according to MLB figures. MLB cites a 0.9 percent increase comparing the first 448 games this season to the same number of games in 2023. Through the games in early May, MLB is still seeing an increase at various stadiums including those of last year’s World Series teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers.


Viewership is also up for national TV broadcasts on FOX, ESPN, and MLB Network. Something perhaps a little bit more surprising is the increase of younger viewers. MLB on FOX saw a 32 percent increase in viewership among 18- to 34-year-olds, while viewership for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball has increased by 38 percent in the same demographic. MLB Network, too, has seen an increase in viewership for the same range. Their viewership is up 50 percent among adults 18 to 34 when they’re showing live games.

Roku Deal

On May 13, Roku and MLB agreed on a deal to show Sunday baseball. The deal started on May 19 with MLB games broadcasted free on The Roku Channel. Included in the deal is an all-new MLB Zone to help baseball fans discover live and upcoming games. The Roku Channel will also have nightly recaps, highlights, and a fully programmed MLB FAST channel.

London Series

Other surprises in MLB are still to come. The regular season started with two games between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea. Still to come is the MLB World Tour in London for one of the National League’s best rivalries. Two games are set for June 8 and 9 between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. This is the second consecutive year regular season games are taking place in London. Last year, the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals played a two-game series aawith more than 55,000 fans at each game.

Rickwood Field Game

On June 20, MLB will play at Rickwood Field. That is the oldest professional ballpark in the country and the former home of the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues. Among the variety of activities scheduled as a tribute to the Negro Leagues is a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. If healthy and able to travel, look for 93-year-old Hall of Famer, Giants legend, and former Black Barons player Willie Mays to attend.

All-Star Game

July 16 will see the MLB All-Star game played at Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers, winners of the 2023 World Series. The MLB Draft will also be held during All-Star week. There will be plenty of activities in and around the stadium including the All-Star Red Carpet Show.


MLB is off to a surprising start for the 2024 season. The outlook for the final 115 to 120 games should be just as interesting and exciting for all baseball fans. Yes, we know some teams are already out of the race for a playoff spot and looking to next season. However, everyone should settle in as this is shaping up to be a very entertaining rest of the season, with surprising performances from teams and individual players yet to come.

Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images


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