The Atlanta Braves shocked the world and hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy on Tuesday, closing out the World Series over the Houston Astros in six games. Despite losing their star player Ronald Acuna Jr. to a torn ACL on July 10, Marcell Ozuna to a domestic violence case, and Mike Soroka to an Achilles injury, the Braves found a way to overcome and conquer it all.
Although some teams in MLB would dream for a season like the one the Dodgers had, they might consider it a bust. Even with a record of 106-56, the Dodgers played the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Game, defeating them 3-1. They would go on to defeat the San Francisco Giants in five games in the NLDS, before falling to the World Series champion Atlanta Braves in six games in the NLCS. The Dodgers wanted to make a championship defense this season and made quite a few moves to try and get there.
The Milwaukee Brewers saw everything come together for them to essentially run away with the NL Central, winning 95 games which were one short of their franchise record of 96 wins in 2011. They ultimately ran into the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, where they lost in four games.
Once a team vying a World Series title every year, the Rangers have been stuck teetering between trying to compete and embracing a rebuild. This year was a step in the right direction despite winning just 60 games and missing the playoffs.
All in all, 2021 offered optimism for the Boston Red Sox. Very few expected them to be competitive with the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, or Toronto Blue Jays. Even fewer imagined Boston would find itself in the ALCS against the Houston Astros.
The San Francisco Giants came into the season with below-average expectations. With the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres coming into the year as World Series favorites, no one thought the Giants would be anything special.
The Toronto Blue Jays were projected to be contenders as recently as a few seasons ago. No one thought that the projection would be the 2021 season. In a powerhouse division that includes the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, and the Boston Red Sox, the Jays more than held their own. Toronto went 91-71 and even held first place in the AL East at times.
Prior to the beginning of the season, the Yankees were projected to be one of the best teams in baseball. Similar to the past few years, they were overhyped and fell to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Wild Card Game.
The Washington Nationals had an extremely disappointing season, two years removed from winning their first World Series. There were expectations that they would be right back in the running to contend for the National League East title, but the opposite happened.
On the surface, the Tampa Bay Rays appear to have failed in 2021. A lot of old-school baseball minds have been pumping their fists and making sure to let the world know that “nerds” don’t win baseball games.
The San Diego Padres entered 2021 with astronomically high expectations, and rightfully so. The team entered the season with rising superstar Fernando Tatis Jr., complemented by established veterans like Manny Machado, Tommy Pham and Yu Darvish.
After finishing with the worst record in the majors in 2019 and the third-worst last year, the Detroit Tigers drastically improved in 2021. Behind controversial new managerial hire A.J. Hinch, the Tigers finished at 77-85 after losing 114 games in 2019.
The Colorado Rockies had an interesting season. There were fun moments, but fans and players alike also endured plenty of heartbreak. From blown saves to a shocking lack of moves at the trade deadline, 2021 offers a lot for the Rockies to learn from.
The New York Mets entered the 2021 season with heightened expectations. Steve Cohen came in as the team’s new owner and immediately made an impact. He traded for Francisco Lindor and locked him up. However, the season would end as the last five seasons have ended: without a playoff berth.
The Minnesota Twins were expected to win the AL Central this season or at least battle the Chicago White Sox for the top spot. That’s not quite how it went down. Let’s recap their season and hand out a few awards.
The Philadelphia Phillies had another up-and-down year, as they missed the postseason for the 10th straight season. They finished above .500 at 82-80 for the first time since losing the National League Division Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.