Every year some players and teams do better than anyone expected them to. Some of these surprises came out of nowhere and couldn't have been predicted by anyone, and some of the surprises happened a few years earlier than people expected them to. 2018 had many surprises during the baseball season.

Max Muncy

Max Muncy is probably the biggest surprise of the season. In 2015 and 2016 he combined to hit .195 which led to his release from the Athletics. 2017 saw him spend the whole season with the Dodgers AAA affiliate. Muncy had a fantastic year in 2018 as he appeared in 137 games with the Dodgers and slashed .263/.391/.582 with 35 home runs and 79 runs batted in.

His 35 home runs were the best on the Dodgers and fifth best in the National League along with Jesus Aguilar. Muncy also participated in the Home Run Derby and was on the final vote ballot for the all-star game.

NL East

The NL East was a surprise to many as not too many people predicted it would turn out as it did. The Nationals were heavy favorites to win the NL East but ended up finding themselves eight games back of the division-winning Braves when the season ended.

The Phillies also surprised many as they were winning the division for sometime during the season until they faltered in the second half. No one expected the Phillies or Braves to do well this season, but both teams proved themselves as good teams a year ahead of schedule as both teams were expected to be in their final stages of a rebuild.

The Mets also surprised some as they went in as buyers during the off-season which put them in for contention for a wild-card spot. They started really hot, but after the first month of the season, all they did was fall down the standings and became a laughing stock in the baseball world.

Brewers starters

From opening day, the Brewers starting rotation was a huge weakness.

They didn't have a top of the rotation caliber starter, and they had pitchers trying to prove themselves as major league caliber pitchers. The Brewers signed Jhoulys Chacin during the off-season as rotation depth, but he turned out to be more than a rotation depth pitcher as he won a career-high 15 games while putting up a respectable E.R.A.

of 3.50. He also pitched the most innings he has ever pitched in a single season since 2013 and whiffed a career-best 156 batters. Chacin played a huge part in getting the Brewers to the NLDS.

Chacin wasn't the only breakout pitcher on the Brewers as the Brewers employed another breakout pitcher in Wade Miley. Miley signed a minor league contract with the Brewers during the off-season but ended up being a huge part of the Brewers success. In 16 starts, he got five wins and two losses and put up the best-earned run average of his career with an E.R.A. of 2.57. Miley also posted the best opponent average of his career with opposing hitters only batting .237 off him.

Jesus Aguilar

2018 was a huge season for Aguilar who proved that he has what it takes to be an everyday player.

Aguilar slugged 35 home runs and batted in 108 runs. He also slashed a career-best .274/.352/.539. Aguilar had the second most home runs on the Brewers and tied for the fifth most home runs in the National League with Max Muncy. Aguilar was named an all-star for the first time in his career this season and participated in the Home Run Derby.

Miles Mikolas

After failing to make much of an impact in the major leagues from 2012-2014, Mikolas signed with Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon professional baseball league in Japan. In Japan, Mikolas reinvented himself by going 31-13 with a 2.18 E.R.A. over three seasons. In the off-season, the Cardinals took a flyer on him by signing him to a two-year, $15.5 million deal.

Mikolas pitched like an ace this season going 18-4 with a 2.83 E.R.A. His 18 wins was tied for the best in the national league with hall-of-fame caliber pitchers Jon Lester and Max Scherzer and had the seventh-best E.R.A. of all major league pitchers.

Braves starting pitchers

The Braves have a strong lineup. Their rotation isn't as good as their offense is, but it still did well thanks to great seasons from multiple members of their rotation. Anibal Sanchez was once a reliable pitcher with the Tigers and Marlins but put up earned run averages of 4.90+ since 2015. After the Tigers let go of Sanchez in the off-season, Sanchez moved on and signed with the Braves and was one of the reasons why the Braves clinched the NL East.

Sanchez put up a 2.83 E.R.A. and whiffed more batters than hits given up for the first time since 2013 as he whiffed 135 batters and only gave up 106 hits. This also led him to post the best opponent average of his career with an opponent average of .213.

After being a middle of the rotation type pitcher, Mike Foltynewicz pitched like an ace-caliber pitcher. Foltynewicz had a career year as he won 13 games, put up a 2.85 E.R.A. and struck out 202 batters which saw him eclipse the 200 strikeout mark for the first time in his career. He also became the first Braves pitcher since 2009 to strike out 200 or more batters in a season. Foltynewicz also only gave up 130 hits in 183 innings pitched and posted a career-best .195 opponent average.

He was also named an all-star for the first time in his career.

Jacob deGrom

There's no denying that Jacob deGrom is a good pitcher which is evidenced from his performance this season and in previous ones but what's so surprising about deGrom's 2018 is how good he was. deGrom gave up three or fewer runs in 28 consecutive starts. The most runs deGrom gave up in a game this season was four against the Marlins on April 10. deGrom also got 23 quality starts in a row which is the current major league record, and it will be very hard for anyone to come close to that.

What's even more impressive is that deGrom did that on a terrible Mets team. When deGrom started, if the Mets scored four or more runs his record would have been a perfect 30-0.

If they scored three runs when he started, he would have been 25-1, and if they scored two runs when he started, he would have been 20-6. Instead, he finished the season with a record of 10-9 as the Mets offense gave him almost no run support when he pitched. At least he'll probably win the Cy Young award.