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3 MLB Dark Horses for 2013

As teams begin to hit the field for the first time this spring in actual games, fans are also beginning to gear up for the 2013 Major League Baseball season. Last year’s playoffs provided an exciting end to 2012 and showcased a few clubs we hadn’t seen in October in quite some time. So, which teams might surprise us this season? We’ve picked three dark horses that could make some noise in 2013 and surprise bettors by contending for a World Series title.

1. Baltimore Orioles – 40/1

Some won’t consider the Orioles a dark horse since they broke through last season and made the playoffs, but their 40/1 World Series odds say otherwise. Despite making a deep run last season and nearly knocking off the Yankees in the postseason, the Orioles aren’t getting much love from odds makers, but they will from us.

With basically their entire 2012 roster returning this season, the Orioles should be poised to compete with the best of the AL East (Yankees and Rays) again. After a spectacular 2012, it’s safe to say that Adam Jones is a burgeoning star, while Jim Johnson emerged as one of the league’s best closers. And let’s not forget that the O’s are still plenty young. With young up-and-comers like Manny Machado – who proved to be very clutch for a 20-year old – the Orioles should be good for the next few seasons, including this one.

For a team that should easily compete for a playoff spot again this year, the Orioles have extremely good value at 40/1. Jump all over this one.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates – 50/1

The Pirates are another team that showed vast improvement in 2012, enjoying one of their best seasons in years. Unfortunately for them, they faded down the stretch and failed to make the playoffs, finishing below .500, but proved they have a wealth of young talent and can compete in the NL Central nonetheless.

The Pirates are certainly a team on the rise and after making some key additions they could make 2013 their year. Pittsburgh should be even more improved in 2013 after signing Russell Martin, Francisco Liriano, Brandon Inge and Brad Hawpe. Martin will make the biggest impact right away as he will be the starting catcher for the Pirates to start the season.

With the Cardinals and the Reds looking good again, it will certainly be tough for Pittsburgh, but considering they should be better than they were a year ago, a NL wild card spot is well within reach, giving them a decent shot at the World Series in 2013. They are considerably less valuable than the Orioles, but are still a solid dark horse selection.

3. Seattle Mariners – 75/1

The Mariners are definitely the biggest long shot of these three, but they are another team that should be vastly improved and by playing in the AL West, which has proved to be wide open in years past, they certainly have a better chance than most to sneak into the postseason.

It’s no secret that the Mariners were a mess offensively last season, finishing dead last in the league in runs scored. However, they did have success scoring on the road and considering they moved the fences in at the Safeco Field for 2013, the Mariners hitters should have more success at home this year. They also made a few key signings, including Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales and Jason Bay, that bolstered their lineup. And after locking up Felix Hernandez for the next seven years recently, the Mariners have secured a fine pitching rotation as well.

At 75/1, it’s a long shot, but the Mariners have good value and a much stronger team than they fielded last year. Look for the Mariners to compete in the AL West.


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