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Which MLB club could be this year's surprise contender?

A full season in Pittsburgh help Chris Archer lead the Pirates back to the postseason. Butch Dill/USA Today Sports

A year ago, the Houston Astros were favored to win the American League West, and they did. After the Astros, the Los Angeles Angels looked like the second-best club with a good shot to win a wild card. The Oakland Athletics looked like they might finish anywhere from third to last in the division. FanGraphs projected Oakland for 78 wins in 2018 before the season began. The A's defied the projections and took the league's second wild-card spot with 97 wins, getting great seasons from Matt Chapman and Jed Lowrie as well as a great bullpen performance led by Blake Treinen.

In the world of prognostications, Oakland surprised us all a year ago. Naturally, we're all wondering who could be this year's unexpected contender. Here are the candidates to be this year's A's.