We sampled the opinions of BtB writers on the question, "How for-real are these teams who are currently outperforming expectations?" 1 is the most for real, 5 is the least:
Daniel: I expect the Rays and Twins to finish above .500, so both are for real (with the Rays just being the better team). The other teams are really playing above their heads, but I thought each would be a little better than the common views, so I'm not totally surprised (just mostly).
Jinaz: Rays are solid and deep. Twins are too, despite no frontline starter. Padres look pretty solid all-around, but won't finish much over 0.500 if I had to guess.
Satchel: Tough to be down on Minnesota. The offense is impressive and Liriano's re-emergence makes their pitching staff downright horrifying. Minnesota definitely has the easiest track to the playoffs in the AL.
I think that San Diego got underestimated a little before the season. They're not as good as they've been, but that pitching staff has been really impressive even with Mat Latos struggling. Plus, it's nice to see Chase Headley emerging as Robin to Adrian Gonzalez's Batman.
Tommy: The Nationals are getting by with smoke (Livan Hernandez) and mirrors (Ivan Rodriguez) right now. The Padres are the most intriguing of the group considering their ballpark, pitching staff,and Adrian Gonzalez, however, I still think Colorado is the team to beat out West.
Steve: The Padres bullpen is really good (1st in xFIP). The question is can the rest of the team hold up its end of the bargain?
Mystery Voter: With Strasburg on the horizon, I don't think it's out the question for Washington to flirt with .500 this year.
Jeff: This is a tough one, because while the Nats are clearly overperforming, they have some actual talented reinforcements on the way which could help keep them significant. I like what the Padres are doing, but Jon Garland has a 2.06 ERA to go with a 1.15 K/BB, so some hard times are ahead.
Sky: Maybe I'm still drinking the 2009 Power Rankings Kool-Aid, but the Jays are a solid team and a touch above .500 is completely reasonable. They have a ton of young talent starting to break out, and Vernon Wells appears to have returned from Zombie-land. They aren't a great team, but they surely can maintain what they've done so far.
The results from the opposite question, "Which team currently underperforming expectations is the most for real?" are after the jump...
1 is most-for-real (i.e. bad) while 5 is least for real (will turn it around). We had one author abstain from this question, and two others refuse to answer on the Brewers, for whatever reason...
Daniel: Man, the O's position players have sucked this year. Jeez. [Not Ty Wigginton!] Things have to pick up eventually though. The Braves and Sox - and to a lesser degree - the M's, Brewers, and Dodgers, are still decent to good clubs. More of them than not should finish above .500.
Tommy: The Orioles, well, they are what they are, but don't be surprised when they are contending in 2012
Jinaz: Red Sox, Angels, Braves, and Dodgers seem too good to be doing this poorly. Maybe they're not as good as we thought, but they'll all be over 0.500 if I had to guess. Orioles...well, there are good pieces there, but there's a lot of not so good pieces too. I certainly don't expect them to crack 0.500 this year, and they're doing a good job of assuring themselves of that.
Satchel: Boston is a good team, but they're pretty clearly not better than Tampa or New York. It's probably time to pull the plug on Big Papi, but the offense hasn't been the problem (4th in MLB in wOBA). That rotation is seriously underperforming.
The Mariners' offense is really, really bad, and somehow it seems like a lot of smart people missed it. If Seattle really wants to make a run, it's time to stop the charade and bench the Griffey/Sweeney platoon.
Steve: I thought the Braves would be better, maybe not as good as CHONE (Melky Cabrera a .350 wOBA..?), but better.
Jeff: I have trouble buying that any of these teams are as bad as they've looked, given that good things were expected and it's only been a month.
Sky: I don't love the Brewers, they're better than this -- and they've played better than their record indicates, too. I think I picked the Braves to win the division this year. While I still like them, that was probably a bit of wishful thinking.
Your turn: who do you think the "for real" teams are in 2010? Who's going to maintain their current pace, and who's going to change direction, for better or worse?