Every year it seems as though baseball fans will come out of the woodworks once “their” team starts to perform. I would be far from surprised if the Padres suddenly had a massive influx of fans this season, what with all the moves they’ve made this offseason, they are going to be a very fun team to watch in 2021 and beyond. But we want something fun. Something different. Teams that aren’t there yet but have been pulling some of the right strings to make the leap from divisional cellar dweller to powerhouse. Here are your bandwagons to consider:
Toronto Blue Jays
It is hard not to like this team with all the young talent they possess. As a Yankee fan, I can’t say I’m too fond of them, and I’m almost a little jealous. I mean, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the organization is loaded with MLB talent, along with some really good minor league prospects. Make no mistake, the window to become a Jays fan is rapidly closing, as they made the playoffs in 2020 and the aforementioned youth will only continue to develop and get better. Sprinkle in the fact that they seem to be contenders for every big free agent this offseason… your chance to squeeze on to this bandwagon might be gone before you even know it.
The Mariners could actually use some fans. The team hasn’t been watchable on a consistent basis for a few years now and they’ve lacked a homegrown superstar since the fall of Felix Hernandez and their continued failure to keep/develop talent. Jerry Dipoto may have this team rolling in no time, though. 2020 AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis signals the next generation of Mariners talent. Consensus top 10 prospect Jarred Kelenic, Evan White, 2020 first round pick Emerson Hancock, Julio Rodriguez, Logan Gilbert, and Taylor Trammell. If that list of names doesn’t get you excited for what might be in store for the Mariners… get excited. The window for you to join the bandwagon is still open for the next year, but don’t think about it for too long… the Mariners might just be moving by then.
San Francisco Giants
It feels like this team shouldn’t be included here… they have three World Series titles in the last 10 years, more than any other team. And yet, they really should be here. The Giants roster aged faster than Macaulay Culkin. Seriously, how is he 40 years old? Feels like just yesterday he was the little 10-year-old starring in Home Alone. Right, back to the Giants. The Major League team doesn’t have a ton of exciting talent, but the farm system certainly looks poised to help out the situation. Joey Bart looks about ready to take over Buster Posey’s role as the everyday catcher for the Giants. Toss the team’s top international prospect Marco Luciano into the fold and things can get exciting over the next couple seasons if President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi and co. can continue bringing in good young talent to support the preexisting guys.
This might be just as much of a project as the Giants. The Tigers have some names to watch over the next couple seasons. Three top pitching prospects deep, Detroit has reason to be comfortable with the future at the pitching position. Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal both made their debuts this year and figure to improve as they get their feet wet. Fellow top pitching prospect Matt Manning is also projected to debut in the next year or so. On the hitting side, Spencer Torkelson, 2020’s #1 overall draft pick, headlines a respectable group of prospects, including MLB.com’s #25 overall prospect, Riley Greene. Motown might have a little more pep in their step once these players start to play some more. If you want a ticket to the show, consider getting it now.
Similar to the blue birds, the Marlins are coming off a surprise playoff appearance in 2020, especially considering the navigating of the COVID-19 pandemic they had to endure. There is plenty to be excited about in Miami. Already on the roster you have Sandy Alcántara, Sixto Sánchez, Jazz Chisholm, Jesus Sanchez and Brian Anderson. Miami boasts a fairly strong top prospect list, with top 100 prospects JJ Bleday and Edward Cabrera leading the charge. The Fish just added another top pitching prospect with the #3 overall pick in 2020, drafting Max Meyer. The seasoned vets in Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte give the Marlins reason to believe in some repeated success. When you factor in the promotion of Kim Ng to the team’s General Manager position, you really have a lot to look forward to. The space on the bandwagon… or the fishing boat… is starting to run thin. Grab a fish hook and some bait before it’s too late.
All five of these teams have a lot of young talent that present each team with an opportunity to have success in 2021 and beyond. The question of course will be whether these teams and their players can put it all together and make a run for the World Series. I’ve presented you all five new teams you can root for if you’re struggling to root for your current favorite team or maybe don’t have a team at all. Best of luck to you in your decision.
P.S. Don’t sue me if your decision does not pan out. I cannot be at fault there. Sorry not sorry.