2018 Major League Baseball Preview
Phoenix ~ In a few short weeks, baseball will be back, bringing excitement all over the United States to fans young and old. It means that afternoons at the ballpark, and tailgating parties in your favorite team’s parking lot will be back. In a few weeks you will be forcing yourself to stay awake (even though you know you have work or school the next day) in a nail biting game taken into yet another inning. You will find yourself at a back yard barbecue with friends and family, hot dogs and bratwursts sizzling on your neighbors grill, because baseball is back and everyone is happy. Playing catch in the backyard with your old man and pickup wiffle-ball games will take place at the local park. Ceremonial first pitches by your favorite movie star, and ” Take Me Out To The Ball Game” will be back. In just a few weeks, songs like ” Go Cubs Go”, “Sweet Caroline”, and ” New York, New York” will be booming out of Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and Yankee Stadium speaker. We will begin to hear the voices of beloved announcers such as Bob Uecker, Pat Hughes, and Hawk Harrell will be echoing through the summer wind. So celebrate, and hang in there – because in a few short weeks, America’s Favorite Pastime will be Back !
1. Washington Nationals
The Nationals are realistically the only team who can win this division, they are just too dominant. With a stacked starting rotation, including names as Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez, they have the depth to go sweep every team in this division. And even though Bryce Harper struggled through a down year, the lineup was able to carry the team down the stretch. Whenever you have players like Scherzer, Strasburg, and Gonzalez in your starting rotation, and Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, and Anthony Rendon, you’ll have a great chance at winning any division. The next step for the Nationals ? Getting past the NLDS for the first time ever.
2. New York Mets
The Mets have gotten better in the off season, but I don’t think they compete with the Nationals for the division. They have a good starting rotation if the pitcher stay healthy, but that as been a problem the past few seasons. When you have a pitcher like Jacob deGrom, who relies heavily on his four-seam fastball and a guy like Noah Syndergaard, who can throw in a sinker, it will mix hitters on back-to-back nights. New York added All-Star third-basemen Todd Frazier and All-Star first-basemen Adrian Gonzalez to help dd to a line-up tgat relied heavily on Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce.
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Philadelphia Phillies
5. Miami Marlins
The Marlins are at the start of what will be a long and painful rebuilding phase. After trading franchise star Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, owner Derek Jeter traded away shortstop Dee Gordon to the Mariners, Christian Yelich to the Brewers, and Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals. The Marlins are just at the beginning of the rebuilding process that will take many years to find success.
1. Chicago Cubs
Any time you in the division by six games, advance to the NLCS, and finish the season 92-70, it’s a great year, right ? Not for the Cubs, who considered 2017 an off season after having to battle with the surprise Brewers for the NL Central after winning the World Series just a year before. I think the Cubs will win this division for the third straight year, just because their overabundance of stars. With their big money, Chicago acquired star pitcher Yu Darvish this off-season to bolster the rotation. Darvish is in an elite group that features Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana. Chicago needs a big yer out of Kyle Schwarber, who lost a lot of weigh this winter and actually looks fit for once. Scwarber’s batting average was only .211, he had 30 homers, but he also struck out an enormous 150 times throughout the year.
2. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers shocked the baseball world last season when they competed with the World Series Champion, Cubs, last season in the NL Central race. They again surprised many in their off-season moves – trading for Christian Yelich, and signing All-Star outfielder, Lorenzo Cain. Throw in Domingo Santana and Ryan Braun in that outfield and it could be good as any in the Majors. Travis Shaw at third base, a budding Orlando Arcia at shortstop, Eric Sogard at second base, and Eric Thames or Jesus Aguilar at first and you have a powerful infield too. Now that the Brewers finally have a lineup to be reckoned with, with plenty of depth, they should be able to produce many runs per game, and maybe even beat out the Cubs in the division race.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Cincinnati Reds
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last season, the Dodgers had an interesting season. They got off to a slow 10-12 start to the year, but soon were winning games, and couldn’t stop. In late August, they were 91-36, and on pace to tie the Mariners record of games won in a season – 116. But then the Dodgers went on a dry spell and lost 16 of their next 17 games. Fortunately, for Dodgers fans, Los Angeles heated up in October and only lost one game before getting back to the World Series, but lost it in 7 games. This Dodgers team can do it again.
2. Arizona Diamond-Backs
3. San Francisco Giants
The Giants made some big additions this winter. They Brought it Evan Longoria, from the Rays, and Andrew McCutchen, from the Giants. San Francisco suffered through a terrible season last season, and with these additions, they hope to make a run in the Wild Card race.
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers
Washington Nationals @ Chicago Cubs
Arizona Diamond-Backs @ Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Dodgers
1. New York Yankees
The New York Yankees were already The Bombers before they added Giancarlo Stanton to their All-Star line-up. The Yankees weren’t supposed to be competitive in the AL East last season, but with the help of breakout star Aaron Judge, catcher Gary Sanchez, and pitcher Luis Severino, the Yanks were 2 games away from a division title, and ended up a game away from playing in the World Series. In the off-season, the Yankees were both buyers and sellers, shedding salary to make room for the biggest contract in history. That contract belongs to Stanton.
2. Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox should be pretty good this year. Their line-up is full of young bats and offensive power. The starting rotation will get a boost thanks to the return of David Price, who will team up with Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Tampa Bay Rays
1. Cleveland Indians
The Indians did hardly anything this off-season, but get rid of players. Cleveland let key players Carlos Santana, Jay Bruce, and Bryan Shaw all go. However they did add Yonder Alonso to a two-year deal worth $ 16 million. The Indians have a great rotation including Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, and expect to win the Al Central.
2. Minnesota Twins
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have several exciting player up in the Majors and many more below in the Minor League’s. The Sox are in the middle of an all-out rebuilding phase. Last seson GM Rick Hahn traded Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Melky Cabrera, Miguel Gonzalez, and Anthony Swarzak. Not to mentionlast off-season’s trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton.
5. Detroit Tigers
1. Houston Astros
Can the Astros defend their World Series title ?
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Texas Rangers
5. Oakland A’s
Cleveland Indians @ New York Yankees
Los Angeles Angels @ Minnesota Twins
New York Yankees
By Jacob Szczap