Yesterday was a day I had been looking forward to for some time- the beginning of Major League Baseball’s spring training. Here are some of my predictions and thoughts regarding the upcoming season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were the big spenders of the offseason, acquiring stars like Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Zack Greinke. However, I think the San Francisco Giants will repeat as division champions. The pressure on the Dodgers will be tremendous, and given the extensive history of injuries to players like Crawford and Matt Kemp coupled with their shaky bullpen, I have more trust in San Francisco’s world-class starting rotation and solid relief pitching.
I think the New York Yankees will be good but not great this year. Their main problem is age- shortstop Derek Jeter is 38, while Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte are 38 and 40 respectively. However, their clubhouse is full of proven winners and their bullpen should be even better with the return of star closer Mariano Rivera. If Jeter and Robinson Cano can step up offensively this year, they should be able to finish ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays.
The most intriguing division will be the American League West. The Angels made a splash by signing slugger Josh Hamilton to complement stars Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, but their pitching will be shaky again this year. The Rangers seem to have drawn the short straw, losing Hamilton to free agency and lacking a true #1 pitcher. The Oakland A’s were the surprising division champion last year. This year they will be just as young as always, but if rising talents Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone can anchor the pitching rotation again, I see them being competitive in what will be a difficult divisional race.
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