At SeatGeek , we use ticket data from transactions on the secondary market to make many inferences about the sporting world and fan sentiment. Today, we took a look at the change in prices of tickets for each team in the MLB from 2009 to 2010. The teams with the largest percentage increase from last year to this year were dubbed the “Surprise Teams” of 2010.

As you can see from the title, the two surprise teams of 2010 are the San Diego Padres  and theTampa Bay Rays . Coincidentally, these two teams begin a three-game series tonight in Tampa. They are also currently two of the best in baseball. If the season ended today, both would make the playoffs; the Padres as the NL West Champion and the Rays as the AL Wild Card Winner (TB is currently tied with the Red Sox for the Wild Card, so they’d actually have to play a one-game playoff, but my point is that they’re good). As of June 22, the Rays have a 42-27 record, while the Padres are 40-29.

In 2009, the Rays were still really good, finishing the season in third place in the AL East behind the Yankees and Red Sox, with an 84-78 record. However, this year they are even better. They’ve had the best record in the league for most of the season and only recently have fallen back into the pack a bit. Undoubtedly, their stellar start to the season has had a reflection on ticket prices on the secondary market, causing the increase in average ticket price transaction from 2009 to 2010.

Last year, the average transaction price for Tampa Bay Rays tickets was $33.68. In 2010, that price has risen to $42.56. The superstar play of Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, David Price, and Jeff Neimann have given the Rays a lot of success this year, which in turn has driven up the price of tickets on the secondary market.

The Padres have seen an even greater improvement in their play from 2009 to 2010. Last year, the Padres finished with a 75-87 record but have turned it around due in large part to their pitching staff. The likes of Jon Garland, Mat Latos, and Heath Bell, coupled with perennial MVP candidate Adrian Gonzalez, have put the Padres in first place and have increased the price of tickets for their home games on the secondary market.

In 2009, Padres transaction ticket prices were $35.83. This year, their prices have risen to $46.74! In percentage terms, the Padres ticket prices rose a league-leading 30.5 percent, while the Rays’ prices rose 26.4 percent.

MLB 2010 Surprise Teams, Padres and Rays













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