Since I last left you, all thirty Major League teams have opened their season. Yes, the rite of every April has come to pass for half the league. Over the next week and a half those who began play on the road will celebrate their home openers. Then we will have the grand old game every day until October, and then most nights until early November.
Sunday was the American League’s preview, tonight it’s the Senior Circuit’s turn.
Pitching is going to be the theme in the National League East. The Washington Nationals boast arguably two of the best individual arms in the game with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. The Mets might have the best starting rotation in Majors. Noah Syndergaard leads the rotation, followed by fellow long-haired stud Jacob deGrom. Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler follow behind the long blonde tandem. The big question mark in Flushing is the elbow injury to Steven Matz. For now, Robert Gsellman will take Matz’s spot in the rotation.
The Mets biggest off-season moves are the players they kept. Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker were both re-signed. As for the Nats, Adam Eaton was the big addition, Wilson Ramos, the most notable loss.
In Miami the biggest and most stinging loss has to be Jose Fernandez. Not only the devastating loss of a player, but the loss of an energetic leader and the face of the franchise. The big question in Little Havana is will this team, and franchise for that matter, rebound after the tragedy at the end of last year?
The Marlins decided to fill the void left by Fernandez’ death by building a communal pitching staff. Edinson Volquez, who was acquired as a free agent was the Opening Day starter.
The sleeper in this division could very well be the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phils are stocked with a lot of young talent that might not know they’re supposed to lose. The only attraction in Atlanta this year will be its new billion dollar ballpark.
After 108 long years the ultimate “W” flag will fly over Wrigley Field!
In the Central Division, the big question is can the Cubs, fresh off their first championship in 108 years, repeat as champs? Two main pieces of the championship puzzle have gone elsewhere. Closer Aldoris Chapman decided to return to the Bronx, and centerfielder (and leadoff man) Dexter Fowler went to the dark side in St. Louis. Former Royal Wade Davis joins the pitching staff, and former rival John Jay looks to replace Fowler in center.
The Cardinals’ pickup of Dexter Fowler and the loss of Matt Holliday were their two most significant changes. There weren’t any major moves in Pittsburgh or Milwaukee. In Cincinnati, The Reds continue to be in full-out rebuilding mode.
Out west last year the Dodgers and Giants battled into the final days of the season. The Dodgers really didn’t make any major moves. The Giants added closer Mark Melancon, and parted ways with Angel Pagan.
The rest of the division, is just that. The rest. It’s going to be a two-horse race in the National League West. The Padres, Rockies, and Diamondbacks are all in rebuilding mode.
So now it’s prediction time!
New York Mets
Los Angeles Dodgers
Wild Cards will go to Washington and San Francisco.
National League Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers
World Series Champions: Cleveland Indians!
Yes, folks I’m putting it on the line. Another drought will end!
See you next Wednesday for a wrap up of the opening week of Major League Baseball!