Preseason predictions rarely mean very much in any sport—rarely do professional sports teams play exactly the way they “should” on paper.

This year, some of Major League Baseball’s most unlikely suspects have emerged from the depths of their divisions to challenge standing powerhouses for spots in the playoffs.

Granted, the MLB season is long—162 games long. Things fluctuate throughout: The Yankees drop to third in the standings, rise back to first; the Cardinals yield first place for a few days, gain it back, lose it, win it again—overall, the entire season is a roller coaster.

Although there is no telling which teams will be at the top of their divisions at the end of the season, there is some validity in scratching your head when you see a few teams currently leading or strongly competing for their divisions.

Here is a brief analysis of those teams.

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