This coming baseball season looks like it could be a classic. No one is truly dominate. There are lots of good teams. But that’s just good. Good teams get the Wild Card. You don’t have to be dominate to win your division, but you have to be the best of five teams.
Perhaps the only sure bet for possible dominance this year is the Washington Nationals. And even that has questions to it. Washington’s pitching staff looks un-hittable. The rotation is ridiculous, and has six guys who all have excellent arms. As I said Friday, it’s a great mix of youth and vets.
The roster overall is stacked, and the defense looks like it’ll be, with the pitching the best part of this team. With Bryce Harper in right field, he’s accompanied by Denard Span and Jayson Werth. However, the two both have injuries, and will miss Opening Day. That puts Tony Gywnn Jr. in left field, who’s a promising young outfielder, but isn’t quite ready yet. The field time he’ll get in the early part of year will help develop him faster.
The Nats infield is fantastic, and anyone will have trouble getting a ball past them. Ian Desmond is great player, on offense and defense, and has a nice arm. Ryan Zimmerman continues to have health problems, when he’s not hurt, he’s very effective.
While Washington looks banged up, the pitching should carry this team early until their guys return. The staff is just too good, nothing will stop them.
The Nats are the best team in the NL East, but the division got a lot better this offseason. The Marlins spent a ton of money, and look to contend. The Mets are the biggest question, being a team that could go two completely different ways.
If Washington gets healthy on schedule, they’ll win this division. If setbacks occur, and Miami gets hot, the Nats will have serious competition. Miami is no one to screw around with. Giancarlo Stanton is locked up, the team acquired Dee Gordon and Mat Latos. Latos is a big boost to the rotation down there. He’s a great pitcher, and the Marlins need a good year to keep after the season, as he’s an expiring. Miami’s infield is the biggest question. It’s full of young guys who need to step up. It could be their biggest problem or biggest break.
Washington is my pick for this division. They’re just too good. Too many things have to go right for other teams to challenge them.
Based on other divisions, I don’t see anyone else who is just going to run away. There are other good teams, but none that really stand out. However, just in case, let’s list some contenders, if there are anymore.
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Los Angeles Angels
- St.Louis Cardinals
Again, these are possibilities. The Dodgers play in the NL West, one that features the defending champion San Francisco Giants. As said in the Big Questions column, the Dodgers were busy in the offseason, adding depth and trading away injury-riddled players. Their pitching staff is full of talent. The lineup is super powerful, but has aging stars who are hurt most the year. Los Angeles has always had so much potential, but injuries and postseason collapses plague them.
Their window is closing though. The Padres, for once, look very competitive, and will easily challenge the Dodgers and San Francisco. I love the padres this year, and if the Dodgers fall back, they’ll be right there.
South of Chavez Ravine is the Angels, who again, seem to be dominate in their division every year, yet can’t produce in the playoffs. The Angels won the division last year, as Mike Trout had another MVP season. Trout is one the best players in the league, and he has all the skills you want. Though, the offense hasn’t been helped out by anyone over the years. The pitching is a tad lackluster, and it’s killed the Angels. Now, Garrett Richards is hurt, and will miss at least one start. While it’s not that big of a deal, LA has to hope for no set backs.
The case against the Angels lies in Seattle’s hands. The Mariners look destined for a big season, and at least a playoffs run. They finally have a good lineup full of power, and the rotation is at it’s peak. The Mariners owners are spending money, getting fans excited.
Oakland is going to be one long, wait and see. The front office knows what they’re doing, yet, they know that this team isn’t last year’s. They tore it apart in the offseason, and it seems everyone is gone. However, the bright side is that the A’s have way more depth than usual, and has solid backups for injuries. While it won’t carry them to the playoffs, it’ll save them a couple losses.
St.Louis is very similar to both LA teams. They’ve been playing in a great division, yet no one can catch them for the crown. Now, another team has snuck into the picture and the Cubs. They went all in in the Winter. It should, or let’s say better work. Joe Maddon is one of the best managers in the game. He’ll make it happen, and will definitely challenge St.Louis. The Cardinals added some pop acquiring Jason Heyward, while filling an outfield hole left by the late Oscar Taveras. Hayward’s bat, when hot, is a huge addition. The question is whether he can stay consistent. The Cardinals have a great rotation and bullpen. The defense is the only question mark with this team.
Dominance this year looks scarce. No one, except Washington, totally stands out. In my opinion, this is a good thing, and it’ll set one heck of a finale at the end of season.