Baseball is Back!
Similar to my article regarding the NBA, this will be a brief preview for each of the MLB’s 30 teams in the 2018 season. And, just like that article, the teams will not appear in any particular order (except I will be alternating NL and AL). One more note: there will be ellipses. Lots and lots of ellipses...
Sure, they made some splashy signings and are looking forward to a full season of top prospects Rhys Hoskins, J.P Crawford, Scott Kingery, and Jorge Alfaro, but the team is still a bit from competing. Their solid young core should develop nicely over the next few years, however, and if they can lure a few more big names to Philly then we could easily see them sliding into a Wild Card spot (can’t say they’ll win the division because the Nationals are pretty stinkin’ good).
Tampa Bay Rays
The team that’s supposed to sell every year once again failed to sell (save for the Evan Longoria deal). Tampa has been building one of the game’s best young rotations fronted by Chris Archer and backed with a ton of young guns who could seriously contribute at the Major League level. Trading away Drew Smyly and letting Jake Odorizzi walk were moves designed to create space in the rotation for their prospects, and it has worked nicely (despite the fact that Blake Snell still walks about two guys per inning). The offense is not what it was last year, what with Steven Souza Jr., Corey Dickerson, Tim Beckham, and Logan Morrison gone, but the team has plenty of youngins chomping at the bit for playing time.
Los Angeles Dodgers
They’re really good, and they’re only getting better. Sure, Teen Wolf is out for a few weeks, but when your roster is THIS stacked….it really doesn’t even matter. They should run away with their division.
Chicago White Sox
Lots of hype surrounding this team, and I mean LOTS. Yes, their team basically comprises the entire Top 10 prospects list, but a team of prospects doesn’t get you to October. They should have a fun year and bring plenty of excitement to a team that plays in Guarantee Rate Field on the south side of Chicago, and I’m sure analysts all around the game will be eyeing the team’s progress very closely…
They’re just the White Sox of the National League. And if you wanna see hype...just google this kid Ronald Acuna. Your browser will blow up…
They sounded optimistic about their chances this year when the MLB Network crew stopped by, but I’m not sure why. Manny is going to become one of the game’s top shortstops and Trey Mancini is a poor man’s Rhys Hoskins, but the roster is extremely average. Don’t even bother looking for their starting pitchers, you won’t find any...
St. Louis Cardinals
Marcell is gonna break out of his shell and the Cardinals will go back to their winning ways. I think last year was the first of my lifetime they didn’t win 90 games...They just picked up Greg Holland which should provide them with a nice back-end presence...Honestly this roster is a lot better than most will give them credit for. They have veterans, youngsters, tweeners, and they all wanna ball. I really think this club is going to have a nice year and possibly even challenge for the division crown.
An okay season last year, an okay season this year. They didn’t change much and don’t look like they will very soon. Jon Daniels went from being one of the most exciting young GMs in the game to kinda stagnating. They play in one of the best divisions and aren’t really loaded with talent. You could maybe count on a bounce back year since they kind of disappointed last season…
San Francisco Giants
Living in the Bay Area, I’ve heard it all about the Giants. But if we’re being real, they probably won’t make the playoffs again. Their already-shaky rotation has lost its two big dogs, they have to deal with three playoff teams in the division, and the roster is aging FAST. Cutch and Longo are nice additions, but they’re really nothing more than window dressing…
Marlins of the AL. They are really bad, worse than most think. Time for Thomas the TANK to stop by Detroit.
I mean, you do have a guy on your roster who finished second in the NL MVP voting last year, but then again the team whose player won the award went 77-85, so maybe that isn’t a good predictor of success. They have a lot of young starters that they have been giving a lot of innings to, like the Rays, but unlike the Rays their starters aren’t faring so well. However, the team fields a good lineup and has plenty of top prospects on the way. We could be seeing a new version of the Big Red Machine soon…
Last year’s World Series winners now get full seasons from Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, and all of their prospects are either in the Bigs or Big League ready….I think they’ll be juuuust fine.
This is the last year on Bryce Harper’s contract as we all already know, so he will definitely be playing his best baseball. Adam Eaton is back and healthy after a scorching start to 2017, and the rotation looks really good when you throw THAT bullpen behind it. This team should pretty much run away with their division, and maybe new manager Dave Martinez can solve their playoff woes. It worked for Dave Roberts and the Dodgers...
After a few call-ups last season, the A’s morphed into a .500 ballclub full of energy and minimum salaries. This year will test whether this band of bros can hold up for 162 games, and especially whether or not Oakland now has the best young corner infield pair in Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. Their young rotation has already seen three potential starters go down in Spring Training, so the remaining five will be forced to step up. Luckily, a good bullpen should make their jobs a little easier…
We all know the story here. That Ian Happ home run on the first pitch of their season pretty much sums it up. I feel so bad for Starlin Castro… pre-World Series Cubs to Yankees and now the Marlins. At least the name fits...
New York Yankees
Stanton and Judge could easily break the all-time duo home run record, and the rest of the team looks great. It should be really fun to watch them compete with the Red Sox, because either one of them could go to the ALCS.
Wait, A.J Pollock is finally healthy? And Paul Goldschmitt finally got MVP recognition? Everything’s coming up Arizona (if you forget about the Dodgers). In many divisions they would be the cream of the crop and maybe even challenge for 100 wins, but they unfortunately play in the NL West. Either way, don’t be surprised to see them back in the Wild Card game this year.
Toronto Blue Jays
This is a really odd team. I wouldn’t necessarily call them good, but they have pieces and managed to scratch out 76 wins after a dismal start last year. I don’t think they’ll reach the Wild Card just because there are so many good teams out there, but they have a bright future after some nice acquisitions (Randal Grichuk, Aledmys Diaz) and the development of some top prospects (Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.).
They were only kinda okay last year, and they finally traded away their two best players (Starling Marte doesn’t count because he cheated). Good young outfield, plenty of good young pitching options in both starters and relievers...I think their farm system and GM are good enough to get them back to decency within a few years. Who knows, they might even win 75 games this year.
Kansas City Royals
They got Moose and Alcides Escobar back...but other than that, things are looking pretty dismal for the once proud Royals Nation. Not a very talented roster, no farm system to speak of...back to 30 years of irrelevance they go.
Pretty similar situation to the Diamondbacks, which is why they finished so close in the standings last year. They let Greg Holland go, but they signed Wade Davis, so there’s not much of a change there. Ian Desmond should have a full, productive season, which they’ll especially need after also letting Mark Reynolds walk. Their staff continues to develop (despite trading Eddie Butler), and Bud Black should lead this team back to the Wild Card against a familiar foe…
They could very easily finish 82-82. Pretty average team with a few standouts, plus they’ve always hovered around that mark. Bringing back Ichiro was a heartwarming story (though not if you read that ESPN article), but when you play in the Northwest you aren’t gonna get much attention or recognition.
Yu Darvish coming in hot! This team has established itself as one of baseball’s best, and I think they’re ready to go back to the World Series this year. It’s just hard to bet against such superb young talent…
Lost a few pieces, gained a few pieces. Should get back to the ALDS easily, but will they collapse again? Seems impossible when your club is so good at everything...
New York Mets
If they can actually all stay healthy, they have a real shot at a Wild Card spot. That rotation is scary to think about, lucky for Major League hitters that’s all they’ve had to do the past few seasons. Jay Bruce is a great addition, and their outfield can carry them to bigger things offensively…
Boston Red Sox
Pretty similar spot to the Yankees. They are all-around amazing, and they will be sniffing 100 wins. If J.D Martinez keeps it up and Mookie gets back to MVP form, watch out...
Many were surprised by their success last year, but when you look closely you can see the makings of a good ballclub. Throw in Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, and you see the makings of a REALLY good ballclub. Pitching will be a question with Chase Anderson on the shelf, but they have the bodies to hold it together. They might even challenge the Cubs again...
The Brewers of the AL. Everyone was bummed when they heard Ervin Santana would be out, so Minnesota went out and grabbed Lance Lynn AND Jake Odorizzi (more than makes up for Santana, right?). They have a great rotation, their position players are a good mix of young, old, and oh yeah, talented. They have a will to win and they will this season.
San Diego Padres
Wow, they signed Eric Hosmer (sarcastic clapping). It’s a really random move and I just don’t know why either party wanted to do this, but whatever. They have plenty of of exciting young dudes, especially Manuel Margot and Fernando Tatis Jr., but they are a ways from competing. Maybe they’ll find some actual pitching instead of converting all their untalented position players…
Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout alone would have been pretty good. But when you throw in Zack Cozart, Ian Kinsler, and a re-signed Justin Upton, this team actually looks pretty scary. The pitching is more or less there, and we know Mike Scioscia can lead them to the promised land. They could definitely make the Wild Card game and beyond…