This year, Major League Baseball is showing why it’s the hardest sport to predict.
The Philadelphia Phillies ($174,538,938) and the Boston Red Sox ($173,186,617), second and third in total payroll, are each in last place in their divisions.
Teams like the Washington Nationals ($81,336,143) and Tampa Bay Rays ($64,173,500) are excelling with extremely low payrolls.
When it comes down to it, the play on the field of the group as a whole plays just as big, if not more, of a factor than well-known talent.
Mediocre players can propel their teams by catching fire at the plate or the mound.
Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles centerfielder, is a career .278-hitter and has never stolen more than 12 bases in a season. This year, Jones is having an All-Star caliber season and is helping keep the Orioles in the thick of things in the AL East by batting .298 and having already stolen nine bases.
New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey has been a journeyman posting a 4.17 ERA over his nine years of service. This year, the 37-year-old knuckle-baller was the first pitcher to reach nine wins. He boasts a career-best 2.44 ERA.
Before the season started, all the experts counted the Mets out, but guys like Dickey have helped them stay relevant in a tough division.
Expect the unexpected in the game of baseball.