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The 2019 MLB Season in Preview

Cole Stefan

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That time of year has arrived again. While parts of the nation still grip with the cold, the southern portion of the US has had a lot of spring training in the days leading up to the start of the regular season. Technically, there are two opening days this year. The first one is the Japan Opening Series between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A´s on March 20. Everyone else starts their season on March 28. For now, one should take a look to see what teams have done this offseason and how the team could do on the baseball diamond.

 

Baltimore Orioles (5th, AL East): The less said about last season, the better. Last season was so bad, they traded away all of their bright spots, primarily Manny Machado, and said farewell to their manager. For a team with that many losses, things had to change. They hired Brandon Hyde to manage the team in Showalter´s place, but considering that the only transactions made were adding Alcides Escobar, Jesus Sucre, and Eric Young. The team still has Jonathan Villar, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, Trey Mancini, and even Alex Cobb. If these guys improve from last season, the team might improve as well. For now, the team will likely remain where they are in a very competitive division.

 

Boston Red Sox (2nd, AL East): The time was right for them last year, the team won it all in five games. This team ¨surprised¨ many by being incredibly good for a majority of the season. Upon winning the title, the team decided to make almost zero changes. The only big transactions were re-signing people for certain amounts of years and dollars. Aside from that, the team is loaded. To begin with the hitting, the players include the talents of Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Brock Holt, Sandy Leon, Steve Pearce, Mitch Moreland, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts. Even if Dustin Pedroia is not necessarily up there anymore, the rest of the team can carry on without him. Then there is the pitching. The rotation features Chris Sale, David Price, Erasmo Ramírez, Rick Porcello, and Nathan Eovaldi. Craig Kimbrel might not be in the bullpen, but the rest of the relief is made up of only Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, and Tyler Thornburg. The numbers put up by this squad might have been impressive, but those numbers might not be able to carry the team to another division title, especially in a competitive division like the AL East.

 

New York Yankees (1st, AL East): Good things and bad things happened to this professional team. The good is that the Yankees broke the single season home run record with 267 home runs slugged during the year. The bad is that the Boston Red Sox beat the Yankees in four games in the ALDS. After such a devastating series loss over the span of five days, the Yankees were not going to sit around and ponder the failures. No, they were going to continue the upgrades. Some names on the list included Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Patrick Corbin, and even Nolan Arenado. Although none of those guys were collected, others were. The Yankees traded away Justus Sheffield and a few prospects for James Paxton. They sent Sonny Gray on his way to Cincinnati. They signed Adam Ottavino, DJ LeMahieu, and Troy Tulowitzki, all of whom used to play for the Rockies. They added Danny Farquhar, Billy Burns, and Drew Hutchison on minor league deals. Despite all this, these new men are only additions to great talents on the roster. The slugging men consist of a powerful outfield including Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and even Jacoby Ellsbury, should he stay healthy. Meanwhile, the infield is young featuring Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, Didi Gregorius when he becomes healthy, Luke Voit, and Greg Bird. Behind the mound is Gary Sanchez, who should see some redemption from last year. The pitching is also good. Aside from Paxton, the rotation features Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ. The bullpen is arguably the best in the league. This bullpen consists of arms such as Zack Britton, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman. If everyone has a consistent and healthy season, the Yankees are going to make some serious noise over the span of a great six months of baseball.

Tampa Bay Rays (3rd, AL East): This team exceeded expectations placed on them last season, this season, expect them to only meet the expectations placed on them. CJ Cron, one of the team’s best hitters, is gone. Jake Bauers, a decent fielder, is also gone. Not to worry, the Rays have other good hitters and fielders in Kevin Kiermaier, Matt Duffy, Willy Adames, Mike Zunino, and Tommy Pham. Their pitching is off the charts. This pitching staff includes Cy Young winner Blake Snell, veteran Charlie Morton, and even Tyler Glasnow. Now, some of these people might have been acquired, but the team is still very young and will have a serious core for years to come. These guys, could be in the mix for the Al East crown, but will be held off for now by the two teams listed above.

 

Toronto Blue Jays (4th, AL East): After last season, the only question everyone had was simple: Why was Vlad Jr. not called up? Personally, the team is getting him ready for the majors in 2019. If he is called up, he will most likely take over the position of third base, formerly home to Josh Donaldson. Another good question would be who takes over at shortstop? The Blue Jays bought out the contract of Troy Tulowitzki and are still paying him. Elsewhere, Yangervis Solarte is gone, but the team did acquire Clay Buchholz, Bud Norris, Clayton Richard, Freddy Galvis, and even Matt Shoemaker to fill some holes. They will look nice with Justin Smoak, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Marcus Stroman, Kevin Pillar, Randal Grichuk, and Kendrys Morales. Team health was an issue last year and if that issue is fixed, then the team might do okay in a competitive division.

 

Chicago White Sox (3rd, AL Central): This team came as a surprise when they said they wanted Harper and Machado. This team also came as a surprise with some of the moves they made. This included trading for Alex Colome, Ivan Nova, and Yonder Alonso. These guys could easily make the team big for a few years, depending their contracts. Asides from the acquisitions of Brandon Guyer, James McCann, and Kelvin Herrera, the team might still have some holes. Utility man Matt Davidson is gone and Michael Kopech is out for the year. The good news for the team is that with young guys such as Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Adam Engel, and Daniel Palka, the team could very well compete in the Central division.

 

Cleveland Indians (1st, AL Central): The team has made changes since getting swept by Houston. To begin, the team welcomes back Carlos Santana in place of Edwin Encarnacion. The team even traded for Jake Bauers in the same deal. They even managed to get Hanley Ramirez as he nears the end of his career. The team might have had major losses in Josh Donaldson, Andrew Miller, Rajai Davis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Michael Brantley and Cody Allen, but the team has enough talent to compete for the crown again. José Ramirez and Francisco Lindor could bolster the infield with Jason Kipnis while Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer dominate on the mound. The outfield might be a bit of an issue, but the team should be fine using Leonys Martin and Greg Allen on a daily basis. How far the team gets depends on how they play this year.

 

Detroit Tigers (4th, AL Central): This team seems changed, but not by much. The team managed to do not so good because of the absence of Miguel Cabrera. Good news, he is back, bad news, Victor Martinez is not. V-mart retired and aside from that, no major transactions happened down in the motor city. The one a fan could consider is the acquisition of Josh Harrison in free agency as well as Tyson Ross, but that is really it. Due to this lack of excitement for the Tigers, they have to work with players like Mikie Mahtook, Jordy Mercer, Victor Reyes, Jordan Zimmerman, and even Michael Fulmer. Honest point, Casey Mize could get called up by September if he does well in the minors. But for now, the Tigers just have to struggle for some time.

 

Kansas City Royals (5th, AL Central): It is hard to imagine that this team won a World Series back in 2015. Since then, the team has not made the playoffs and has sold almost all of their big names. Now, the team has to work with Alex Gordon, Homer Bailey Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier, Cheslor Cuthbert, Brad Boxberger, Ian Kennedy, and even Eric Skoglund. The biggest name on the team, Salvador Perez, is looking like he might be out for the year and the biggest acquisition by the team was signing the speedy Billy Hamilton. Although the rest of the division might seem weak, one can be certain that the Royals will not have enough in their tanks to compete in the Central this year.

 

Minnesota Twins (2nd, AL Central): If the league had to choose a winner for the offseason, the Twins could be a candidate. Although they were not in the mix for Harper or Machado, the team made a lot of other deals that could positively impact the franchise´s future. Firstly, the team added utility man Marwin Gonzalez for two years to help the outfield. Secondly, the team acquired Jonathan Schoop and also Nelson Cruz, both in free agency as well. Then, the team adding fielding depth with Martin Pérez and CJ Cron. Aside from that, the rest of the team is set. Joe Mauer’s career might have ended slightly too early, but people such as José Berríos, Eddie Rosario, Jake Cave, Jake Odorizzi, Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton, Kyle Gibson, and Max Kepler. This team could be in the running for the AL Wildcard or, even better, the AL Central crown.

 

Houston Astros (1st, Al West): After winning the AL West for the second year in a row, their chances of repeating as champions were shot down in five games by the Boston Red Sox. Rather than mope, the team added. Firstly, the team did lose some players such as Charlie Morton, Brian McCann, potentially Dallas Keuchel, and definitely Marwin Gonzalez. The hole of Gonzalez was immediately sold to Michael Brantley, who joins the team on a two-year deal. Joining Brantley out there will be George Springer and a rotating role between Tony Kemp, Kyle Tucker, Josh Reddick, and Jake Marisnick. The infield was not boosted much, but it did not really need to be. The Astros already have stars in Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa. As for the pitching, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are one of the best one-two punches in the league. With this much talent present on the team, if the Astros do not take home the AL West, then something got messed up during the season.

 

Los Angeles Angels (4th, AL West): The Angels had expectations last seasons and did not exactly live up to them. Shohei Ohtani might have gotten Tommy John, but he will still be able to bat, not bad for the AL Rookie of the Year. Albert Pujols still has three years left on his contract and Mike Trout has an expensive new contract for an extension of twelve years. If the team does not make a statement, then this might be the last they see of Trout. Andrelton Simmons and Zack Cozart are decent infielders who cover a majority of the infield. Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun have parts of the outfield covered. A good acquisition is Jonathan Lucroy, who can fill the hole left by Martin Maldonado. As for the rotation, Matt Harvey is a nice addition to go with Andrew Heaney, Nick Tropeano, Trevor Cahill, and Tyler Skaggs. Although the team might not have made a big acquisition, they can certainly try to make an effort to compete in the west for a good position. Seems different from last season, could there be a feeling of underrating the team in the air?

 

Oakland Athletics (2nd, AL West): The power of Billy Beane’s Moneyball tactics once again propelled the A´s into the playoffs. The power was brushed off by the Yankees in the Wild Card game. Now, the team has returned with a quiet vengeance. The team did not lose much, but what they did lose was Jeurys Familia, Jonathan Lucroy, Mike Fiers, and Trevor Cahill to free agency. The team was able to acquire Jurickson Profar, Joakim Soria, Marco Estrada, and Jerry Blevins, which could be a win-win scenario. With these acquisitions and players such as Khris Davis, Stephen Piscotty, Chad Pinder, Matt Olson, Blake Treinen, and Matt Chapman, the team will look potentially stacked to make a serious run in upcoming seasons. Chances are, Khris Davis could have a monster season and maybe win MVP. The only obstacle that could possibly prevent the A´s from taking home a division crown are the Houston Astros, who just have way more talent than some other teams do to win.

 

Seattle Mariners (3rd, AL West): The Mariners went on a rebuild, but they also made upgrades in the process. After yet another season of missing the playoffs, something had to change. The team needed to sell pieces to get pieces. To begin, the Mariners traded away James Paxton, Robinson Cano, Edwin Díaz, Jean Segura, James Pazos, Alex Cólome, and Mike Zunino. In some of these trades, the team acquired Carlos Santana (traded to Cleveland for Edwin Encarnacion days later), JP Crawford, Justus Sheffield, Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, a few prospects, and Omar Narvaez. These additions, alongside a few signings will go nicely with the rest of the team. Ben Gamel could have a breakout year while Mitch Haniger will continue to be good. Dee Gordon, Kyle Seager, and Ryon Healy will keep the infield as is. Finally, Felix Hernandez will remain on the team for yet another season and be in a rotation featuring Mike Leake, Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, and Wade LeBlanc. The team will be competing for a playoff spot this year. Can they get it? One cannot answer immediately.

 

Texas Rangers (5th, AL West): The Rangers might be back to some relevance. They might be the weakest teams in the division, but they have some nice acquisitions to boost the team’s morale. The Rangers acquired Lance Lynn for 3 years, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shelby Miller, Hunter Pence, Jason Hammel, Matt Davidson, Logan Forsythe, and Matt Bush. These new acquisitions can help out the experienced members such as Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo, Mike Minor, Delino DeShields, Shin-Soo Choo, and Nomar Mazara. Gallo is expected to have a great season and might be trade bait if the team underperforms. The team also has to manage without future hall-of-famer Adrian Beltre, but the team will still have some relevance in their final season at Globe Life Field.

 

Atlanta Braves (2nd, NL East): The Braves went younger last year, this gave them a division title and a 4-game NLDS against the Dodgers, which they lost. This year, they got older, but not by a large margin. The aged men in this case are Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann. The younger men are the true show stealers though. Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz are expected to be the top two arms in the rotation. Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna are expected to have great seasons coming off of their performances last year. Ender Inciarte is expected to be very speedy out in the fields. Dansby Swanson is expected to shine this year as a premier shortstop and Freddie Freeman has been lauded as a top five first baseman. The bullpen seems like the only weakness though. Beyond Darren O’Day and Aroldis Visciano, there appears to be nothing that could help the team out. If that situation does not change, there will be issues. Expect a great dogfight between them and the Phillies listed below.

 

Miami Marlins (5th, NL East): The selling from Derek Jeter continued this offseason. This time, he only made one major trade and it was sending J.T. Realmuto away after a year of hearing him wanting to leave. With him gone, the Marlins need another catcher, but they should be fine. The Marlins got a fresh new look this year, something out of an inverted Miami Vice that could delight the fans. The team has talents such as Martin Prado, Miguel Rojas, Curtis Granderson, Jorge Alfaro, Dan Straily, Sergio Romo, Jose Urena, Starlin Castro, and Sandy Alcantara. Without a doubt, these guys are some of the best on the team. The biggest issue is that everyone else is not. Because of the many trades of Derek Jeter, the team went from being really special to really bad in a span of an entire offseason. This year, the team will remain really bad as there are many holes to be fixed, debts to pay, and issues to settle. Another year in the cellar will be the story for this team as of right now.

 

New York Mets (3rd, NL East): Meet the Mets, more like the new-age-ish Mets. After another injury-plagued season and less than fortunate results, which includes the retirement of David Wright, the Mets have upgraded to be pretty competitive in the NL East. Firstly, the team got back Jeurys Familia to be a strong reliever in the bullpen. A stronger reliever will be Edwin Díaz, who was acquired from the Mariners in a trade that saw Jay Bruce sent to Seattle and Robinson Cano sent to New York. Also acquired were Jed Lowrie, Justin Wilson, and Carlos Gomez, all in free agency. Even with these acquisitions, the Mets mean business this year. Defending NL Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom is expected to have another strong season and the number 2 guy, Noah Syndergaard, are projected to be a top one-two starter setup in the league. Brandon Nimmo, Yoenis Cespedes, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, and Todd Frazier will be the hitting that powers the Mets to a competitive edge with the rest of the best in the NL East. Expect some serious noise in the division this year.

 

Philadelphia Phillies (1st, NL East): Bryce Harper, the only words that come to mind when discussing this upcoming season. In terms of the offseason, sentences come to mind. This is only because the team did a fine job in acquiring or trading for a lot of talent. Aside from Harper´s record 13-year, $330 million deal, Andrew McCutchen, Andrew Romine, and David Robertson were also acquired in free agency, for much less. That is not all though, the team went out and traded for other talents too. For the record, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, James Pazos, and Austin Davis were all traded to Philadelphia for players such as Carlos Santana and JP Crawford. Then of course there are the current talents. The new acquisitions will work with the likes of a hitting core of Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Maikel Franco, Aaron Altherr, and Nick Williams. For the pitching, Aaron Nola is likely the ace of the team and the rest of the rotation would be Jake Arrieta, Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta, and Jerad Eickhoff. The bullpen is alright too, since it features Pat Neshek and Hector Neris. A team this talented could go on a serious run equivalent to the 1980, 2008, and 2009 teams, which means Bryce Harper would go to the NLCS for the first time in his life. Expect some competition for the division title though.

 

Washington Nationals (4th, NL East): After failing to make the postseason last year, changes occurred. The worst of these changes was losing Bryce Harper to free agency. The best was signing Patrick Corbin for six years to bolster an already hot rotation that features the arms of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Another fine addition to this rotation will be Aníbal Sánchez, who will fit fine in the 4th of 5th spot. Meanwhile on the fielding side, Adam Eaton should have a healthy season with the team this year and joining him in the outfield should be no-longer-teenage sensation Juan Soto, whose numbers as a teen were very impressive. In the infield, Trea Turner will have a speedy year at shortstop and Anthony Rendon shall bring the slugging forward. Ryan Zimmerman and Wilmer Difo should take care of the rest of the infield and Yan Gomes is all set to be the backstop. One future addition the team could have is Carter Kieboom, who has rookie of the year potential. Finally, expect a great 19 games between the Phillies and Nationals this year.

 

Chicago Cubs (1st, NL Central): Those early two days in October are going to hurt for the Cubs for a long time. The Cubs went from potentially clinching the best spot in the NL to losing to the Brewers and Rockies in consecutive days and being sent home. Very few acquisitions were made by the Cubs, but the ones they did make might have an impact. They picked up Brandon Morrow, Brandon Kintzler, Brad Brach, Daniel Descalso, Xavier Cedeno, and Steve Cishek. These might not be big names, but the team has enough of those already. Some big names the team has includes a grand hitting core featuring the likes of Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, and Javier Baez. With this many good hitters, the Cubs are covered for here. On the pitching side, the rotation seems less talented, but still competitive. The rotation is likely Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Kyle Hendricks, and Cole Hamels. The bullpen would consist of Carl Edwards Jr. and Pedro Strop amongst a list of other relievers. After a painful last two days to their season, expect the Cubs to come out roaring this year.

 

Cincinnati Reds (5th, NL Central): The Reds were a disappointment last season. Joey Votto would fall under this category for how he did last year as well. However, the Reds made transactions that might make the team better. The Reds traded for Sonny Gray, Tanner Roark, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, and Matt Kemp while sending away only Homer Bailey and three prospects. What the Reds were able to pick up will make them classy, but that can go along with the classier Reds players. These include talents such as Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suarez, Tucker Barnhart, Joey Votto, and Jesse Winker. The pitching looks okay, aside from Gray and Roark, there is going to be Matt Wisler and Michael Lorenzen to start. The good news is that the Reds were able to keep Raisel Iglesias to close out games. Despite these news and transactions made, the Reds will still find themselves at the bottom due to the competitiveness of the rest of the division.

 

Milwaukee Brewers (3rd, NL Central): Game 7. That was how close the team was to their first World Series appearance since 1982. As a result, the team vowed to change, but did not do so by much. The biggest acquisitions were signing Yasmani Grandal in free agency, trading for Ben Gamel, and bringing back Mike Moustakas. All that was lost was Domingo Santana, but that should not be a big deal. The rest of the team is stacked though. NL MVP Christian Yelich will likely have another great season, but one where the numbers start to show earlier than later. Ryan Braun has seen a reformation of his career under this squad and Lorenzo Cain fills out the other position in the outfield. In the infield, Moustakas gets his spot while Jesus Aguilar and Eric Thames fight for first base. Orlando Arcia appears to be the shortstop for this season and the second baseman is probably Travis Shaw. The pitching is another story. To begin, Brent Suter will likely return this season following Tommy John surgery and he will join a rotation with Junior Guerra, Zach Davies, Jhoulys Chacin, and Jimmy Nelson. The bullpen is one of the top 3 in the league. The arms that relieve games will be star Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffries, Jake Petricka, Corey Knebel, Brandon Woodruff, and Taylor Williams. With a team this stacked, it is hard to imagine them not in playoff contention for a majority of the year.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates (4th, NL Central): The Pirates were fighting until almost the end last season. This season, they hope to do the same with a slightly different lineup. First, the only big acquisitions made by the Pirates were signing Lonnie Chisenhall, Francisco Liriano, and Melky Cabrera in free agency. The rest of the team looks as though they are going to be competitive. Starting with the position players, the main players here include the likes of Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte, Jung Ho Kang, Colin Moran, Gregory Polanco, Adam Frazier, Josh Bell, and Francisco Cervelli. These assets will help the Pirates in fielding, hitting, and running. The pitching is the bigger deal. They might not have an elite ace, but they have cannon-firing arms. They include a rotation consisted of Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Joe Musgrove, Jordan Lyles, and Nick Kingham. This rotation could be one of the best in the league. The bullpen is not short of arms either including Keone Kela and Edgar Santana. This team might not have many elite players, but they do have the talent to fight in a competitive division this year.

 

St. Louis Cardinals (2nd, NL Central): Not qualifying for the postseason turned some heads down in St. Louis. What they managed to do was go after some players to turn some more heads. The biggest deal made was signing Paul Goldschmidt for six years in free agency. He will likely be the starting first baseman. Joining him on the infield will be Matt Carpenter, who had impressive numbers last year, Kolten Wong, who could have a breakout season, and Paul DeJong, who could see himself as a star in a few years. The outfield is also powerful, with players such as Dexter Fowler, Marcell Ozuna, Harrison Bader, and José Martínez. These three could make some serious noise this year and become a top 5 outfield in the league. Yadier Molina returns for yet another season and brings his veteran experience with him. The other big deal was signing Andrew Miller, who could see himself in the closer role once again. He will join a bullpen that features Chasen Shreve, Brett Cecil, and John Gant amongst other names. The starters are definitely Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright, and Michael Wacha while other veterans fill up the other two holes. Despite a third place finish last year, the Cardinals could come out swinging and finding themselves in the playoffs this year.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks (4th, NL West): The D-backs did not quite live up to expectations last year. Now, the absence of some of their greats over the span of two offseasons will come back to haunt them. This offseason, Paul Goldschmidt and AJ Pollock were both claimed by other teams in the NL while Patrick Corbin brought his arm to Washington for six years. Others left too, but they went to many different places. In their places, few acquisitions were made. Adam Jones left the Orioles behind and so did Caleb Joseph. Greg Holland and Wilmer Flores were just more additions to the D-backs. They will join the remaining talents on this team that will try to compete this league. In the field, Eduardo Escobar signed to an extension and will help out an infield with Nick Ahmed, Jake Lamb, Ketel Marte, and Christian Walker. The outfield still consists of Steven Souza Jr., Jarrod Dyson, and David Peralta. These fielders and hitters can bring their talent and depth to the competition, but it is the pitching that might carry them. The ace on the team is Zack Greinke with Archie Bradley, Rob Ray, Matt Andriese, and Zack Godley taking the rest of the rotation. The bullpen consists of the arms of Holland and Robby Scott primarily. These offseasons have weakened a team that was in the playoffs back in 2017, if the team continues to lose pieces, they might never escape a black hole of playoff droughts.

 

Colorado Rockies (2nd, NL West): The season this team produced last year met higher expectations than portions of the Rocky Mountains. That was before getting swept by the MIlwaukee Brewers in the NLDS. Now, the team has made changes that might help them. Firstly, they lost Adam Ottavino, DJ Lemahieu, and Carlos Gonzalez to free agency. In return, the team extended Nolan Arenado for six years and acquired veterans such as Mary Reynolds, Daniel Murphy, and Michael Saunders. The infield appears to be fine as is. Aside from Nolan Arenado, there are the talents of Trevor Story, Ian Desmond, and maybe Murphy at second. The outfield will likely be made of Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, and one other asset. In recent years, pitching has been a problem, however, the pitching might be fine this year. The rotation will likely consist of Kyle Freeland, Tyler Anderson, Jon Gray, German Márquex, and Harrison Musgrave. The bullpen will include Chad Bettis, Wade Davis, and Antonio Senzatela. If this team wants to contend for a playoff spot this year, a few more pitching arms is their best solution.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers (1st, NL West): Another year, another season as runner-up to the title. Last year, they lost the World Series in five games to the Red Sox. This year, they tried to add on more to the talent already there. Acquisitions were few for the Dodgers, but the ones they made include getting AJ Pollock, Joe Kelly, and Russell Martin. These new pieces will go along with a core that will remain young for years. This includes many ROTY candidates and winners such as Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Walker Buehler. The rest of the talents on offense includes Chris Taylor, Julio Urías, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, who put up impressive stats last year, Enrique Hernandez, and Brad Miller. On the pitching side, the rotation is fine featuring the legendary Clayton Kershaw, Buehler, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Rich Hill. The bullpen will be carried by Kenley Jansen once again, and he will remain the closer for a while. One has to consider if the Dodgers will make it back and maybe win it all this year, the chances are always up in the air. The NL is getting tougher by the season, but the Dodgers might have enough potential to go far in the postseason this year.

 

San Diego Padres (3rd, NL West): The Padres really did not perform last year, this year could be different though. That is mainly because of the signing of Manny Machado for 10 years and $300 million. This megastar is expected to be the starting third baseman for the team, and this is for two reasons. The first is that is where he played at the beginning of his career. The second is that the rest of the infield seems covered. The team also signed Ian Kinsler for much less to be a starting second baseman. Eric Hosmer signed for seven years one offseason earlier and will see himself as the starting first baseman. The shortstop position will be filled by a young superstar named Fernando Tatis Jr., who could be an NL rookie of the year. The outfield also has some depth. Jose Pirela, Wil Myers, Manuel Margot, and even Hunter Renfroe make up a young outfield to go with the young infield. The pitching is also young, and a lot of it was acquired over time. Clayton Richard might be gone, but the new team ace will likely be decided over the course of the season. The rotation will have pitcher slike Robbie Erlin, Aaron Loup, Craig Stammen, Bryan Mitchell, and others. The bullpen seems fine though with pitchers such as Adam Warren, Kirby Yates, and much more. Even if this team does not win the division, they could be having their best seasons since the days of Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman.

 

San Francisco Giants (5th, NL West): The stretch of great runs on even years seems to have died, as implied last season. This year, the stretch of being bad on odd years is going to hurt them. Trading for Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen did not really turn out last year and the team fell apart. This year, not much happened to the team. To begin, Hunter Pence is gone. New acquisitions included Cameron Maybin, Gerardo Parra, Yangervis Solarte, and Drew Pomeranz. Regardless of this, the team still has World Series talent. The offense comes in Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, and Chris Shaw. These guys have playoff experience, but it is hard to tell if it will help here. The pitching still has some stuff to it. The rotation is anchored by Madison Bumgarner with Jeff Samardzija, Will Smith, Derek Holland, and Sam Dyson. The bullpen is a maybe with the best talents being Mark Melancon and Ty Blach. To be honest, one might find it hard to remember that this team won three titles in five years, the fact that some of the players are still on the team might help, but looking at the rest of the squad, that experience will carry the Giants almost nowhere this year.

 

These team predictions might not come true in some cases, but, there is certainly going to be a lot of baseball to determine the fate of each team during the regular season. Sometimes, the factor is one player or play that can change a whole season around. Below are my predictions for this year, including player awards and postseason winners.

 

Predictions:

 

AL Manager: Kevin Cash – Tampa Bay Rays

NL Manager: Gabe Kapler – Philadelphia Phillies

 

AL Comeback Player of the Year: Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees

NL Comeback Player of the Year: Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds

 

AL Rookie of the Year: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Toronto Blue Jays

NL Rookie of the Year: Fernando Tatis Jr. – San Diego Padres

 

AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole – Houston Astros

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers

 

AL MVP: Aaron Judge – New York Yankees

NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr – Atlanta Braves

 

Postseason:

 

Wild Card:

AL: Boston Red Sox defeat Minnesota Twins

NL: Atlanta Braves defeat St. Louis Cardinals

 

League Division Series:

AL: New York Yankees defeat Boston Red Sox in 5

     Houston Astros defeat Cleveland Indians in 4

 

NL: Chicago Cubs defeat Atlanta Braves in 4

     Philadelphia Phillies defeat Los Angeles Dodgers in 5

 

League Championship Series:

AL: New York Yankees defeat Houston Astros in 6

NL: Chicago Cubs defeat Philadelphia Phillies in 7

 

World Series:

New York Yankees defeat Chicago Cubs in 6

 

Overall, this year is going to be very exciting. For some teams, this season is a make or break year regarding the talent on the team and the cap space available. For others, this is just a year to either sit back or go on the attack. Regardless, the season is going to bring lots of milestones, thrills, controversies, moments, clutch factors, great talents, and fresh souvenirs. One other series to look forward to aside from the Japan series is the London Series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, which is expected to be a nice treat for the UK. Finally, anything can happen in six months, only time can determine what happens next.

 

https://www.foxsports.com/san-diego/video/1228758595852

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Wilton High School's News Source
The 2019 MLB Season in Preview