|PITTSBURGH PIRATES||ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS|
|Adam Frazier - LF||Gregor Blanco - CF|
|Josh Harrison - 2B||David Peralta - RF|
|Andrew McCutchen - CF||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Gregory Polanco - RF||Jake Lamb - 3B|
|David Freese - 3B||Yasmany Tomas - LF|
|Josh Bell - 1B||Brandon Drury - 2B|
|Francisco Cervelli - C||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Jordy Mercer - SS||Jeff Mathis - C|
|Trevor Williams - RHP||Taijuan Walker - RHP|
We're not even a quarter of the way into the season, and things have already radically changed from expectations before Opening Day. The table below compared the projected win tally before the season [from USA Today, which just happened to be the first credible one I found when Googling] to the actual win percentages obtained through the start of play today. There's already quite a large discrepancy, with 40% of the teams being more than 100 points away from their expected tally - I'm not sure whether you'd expect that to increase or decrease as the season goes on, either due to more unpredictable events like injuries, or the larger sample size respectively.
|Tm||W||L||W%||Exp W||Exp L||Exp W%||Diff|
So far, it's the Minnesota Twins who have been the biggest surprise in a positive way, with the Yankees just behind them. The Astros were expected to be good enough to win their division, but nobody expected their winning percentage to be this close to starting with a seven after 36 games. The D-backs are a little further back, but have still outperformed the USA Today prediction by 111 points, the second-most of any team in the National League West, with the Rockies just above them, with eleven additional points of overperformance. The Dodgers are one of the closest teams to expectations, and the Padres, too, are fairly close to as bad as people thought.
And then, there's the Giants. Hoo-boy. Watching the melt-down by the bay has only been slightly less pleasurable than the unexpected competitive nature of the Diamondbacks. Behind San Francisco, there is a 78 point gap before the next most disappointing team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Tonight's opponents, the Pirates, are also in the top five, along with the Royals and - another source of personal schadenfreude - the World Series champion Cubs, who look likely to fall back to the .500 mark, with defeat looming in St. Louis this afternoon. Of course, it's a long season, and there are still 125 or more games to go. But it's looking likely to be a very long summer for some fans.