Four Non-Playoff Teams From Last Year to Watch During the 2024 MLB Season

  • Juan Soto and Aaron Judge will launch bombs all season for the Yankees
  • The Mariners have one of the best rotations in the entire league
  • The Cubs made Craig Counsell the highest paid manager in MLB history
  • After a disastrous 2023, lighter expectations could help the Padres
Aaron Judge hitting a homer
The New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, and San Diego Padres all missed the playoffs last year, but should be interesting to watch in 2024. [Image:]

Major League Baseball is back for its 2024 season and we are back with another season preview article focusing on four teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year that may be worth keeping an eye on this year. As was the case in 2023, this is not necessarily a prediction that these teams will make the playoffs, but simply teams that are interesting in one way or another.

Our picks last year were pretty dead on. The Baltimore Orioles had the best record in the American League, the Milwaukee Brewers won the National League Central, the Los Angeles Angels were full of drama surrounding Shohei Ohtani (and now the Dodgers have Ohtani drama), and the Texas Rangers won the World Series.

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.

New York Yankees (+1,100 to win the World Series, -240 to make the playoffs)

With their resources, the Yankees are usually contenders, but injuries ravaged the team last year and they finished fourth in the AL East. They still had a winning record and were in the toughest division in baseball, but missing the playoffs is almost a crime in the Bronx.

they have Juan Soto to team up with Aaron Judge in the outfield

Every projection has them bouncing back this year, though they already have some key injuries, namely ace Gerrit Cole, who is shelved for a month or two. But now they have Juan Soto to team up with Aaron Judge in the outfield, so fans in the bleachers might want to bring their gloves to games. The Yankees gave away a lot to get Soto from the Padres, but he is already raking in their 4-0 start to the 2024 season, hitting .529 with a 1.365 OPS, so the trade is already paying dividends.

The key to the season will likely be the pitching staff, especially without Cole. If Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes can bounce back from sub-par 2023 campaigns and hold down the fort and Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton to do the same on the hitting side, the Yankees should be right there in contention for the AL East.

Seattle Mariners (+1,900, -135)

The Mariners have been agonizingly close to breaking through the last few years. They have had two 90-win seasons and an 88-win season, but only made the playoffs in one of those. Things are no easier this year with the last two World Series winners – the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers – in their division.

Logan Gilbert, Luis Castillo, and George Kirby all have Cy Young probabilities in the top ten

The team has the rotation arms to win the AL West: Logan Gilbert, Luis Castillo, and George Kirby all have Cy Young probabilities in the top ten. If Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo keep developing from last year, the Mariners also have a potential lock-down back end of the bullpen.

GM Jerry Dipoto was given a smaller budget this year, so he had to do a lot of shuffling, but he still brought in some strong hitters in Jorge Polanco, former Mariner Mitch Haniger, and former Ranger Mitch Garver. And, of course, young MVP candidate Julio Rodriguez will be bombing away.

Chicago Cubs (+3,000, +100)

As a lifelong Brewers fan, it pained me to see my team’s manager and hometown guy (he went to my dad’s high school) Craig Counsell leave for the Cubs and become the highest paid manager in MLB history. But hey, I’d do some unspeakable things for that kind of cash, including managing the Chicago Cubs.

farm system is rated as the best in baseball

The Cubs were much better than people thought they’d be last year, despite missing the playoffs. The key to this season and the reason they could be fun to watch (I hate to admit that) is that they have a ton of young talent either on the team already or knocking on the door. The team’s farm system is rated as the best in baseball at the moment.

There aren’t a lot of glaring holes on the Cubs, but also nothing that stands out as an obvious strength aside from the potential of the young guys. Craig Counsell was known with the Brewers as a manager who could get the most out of players who weren’t big names and put players in positions to succeed. He could very well do that in Chicago and get them back in the playoffs as soon as this year, especially in a weak NL Central.

San Diego Padres (+5,000, +180)

Now this is an interesting team. The Padres were huge spenders the last couple years, but disappointed mightily, not even finishing within shouting distance of an NL West crown. And now they lost Juan Soto, Josh Hader, and Blake Snell, not to mention guys like Seth Lugo, Trent Grisham, and Drew Pomeranz.

weight of the big spender expectations off of their shoulders

But remember, the Padres still have Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, and Fernando Tatis, Jr. anchoring their lineup and a strong rotation of Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Michael King, and Dylan Cease. With a smaller payroll and the weight of the big spender expectations off of their shoulders, perhaps the Padres players can relax and play to their potential.

It will still be an uphill battle in a division with the Los Angeles Dodgers, World Series runner-up Arizona Diamondbacks, and the San Francisco Giants, who are projected to be strong this season, but it will at least be interesting to see if the Padres can bounce back from the disappointment of the last couple seasons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *