Nolan Potts, ‘Doah Staff Writer
March 18, 2015
As the warm weather finally makes its way into Winchester, baseball season is beginning to heat up. The S.U. baseball team has opened its season, and the professionals are currently in Florida and Arizona preparing for their 162-game seasons. The San Francisco Giants will look to repeat as World Series champions in 2015 despite the loss of their third baseman Pablo Sandoval who signed with the Boston Red Sox this offseason. The team they defeated, the Kansas City Royals, made their first playoff appearances since 1985 last season and almost won the title. They will compete in the tough American League Central division that consists of the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. The Tigers appear to be the favorites to come out of this division as they return superstar Miguel Cabrera. Cleveland will rely on its Cy Young Award winner from last year in Corey Kluber to anchor its pitching staff.
Another division that will be a tough one in the American League is the West, where the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will look to get two big name players, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, back on track and to their old form. The Angels have arguably the best player in the MLB in outfielder Mike Trout, the AL MVP winner last season. The always-competitive American League East is also up for grabs. Alex Rodriguez is back for the New York Yankees after serving a yearlong suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. New York will also usher in a new era as longtime shortstop Derek Jeter retired at the end of last season. The Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Ray and Toronto Blue Jays are all contenders in this division in 2015.
In the National League, Cy Young Award and MVP winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers will look to repeat and pitch his team deep into the postseason. The San Diego Padres acquired outfielder Matt Kemp from L.A. this offseason as they looked to bolster their lineup. One team to really keep an eye on are the Washington Nationals, who quite possibly possess the best rotation of starting pitchers in the entire league. In addition to returners Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister, the Nats signed 2013 Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer who previously pitched for the Detroit Tigers. Ryan Zimmerman will move from third base to first base after the departure of Adam LaRoche in free agency. The Nats also are expecting big years from third baseman Anthony Rendon and outfielders Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper.
ESPN’s David Schoenfield predicts Washington will finish with the best record in the league at 98-64 this year, followed by the Dodgers (93-69) and the Pirates (91-71). Schoenfield says that the two best American League teams this season record-wise will be the Indians (90-72) and Seattle Mariners (88-74). With a lot of big name players switching teams and the league being more competitive as a whole this year, it should be another exciting MLB season. As the heat begins to intensify so should the excitement of America’s pastime, especially towards the end of the summer when the playoff races begin to take shape. Here’s to another great MLB season!