Baseball is back! And with the MLB season in full swing it’s time for our MLB season preview! There are plenty of big storylines heading into this season. Will the Yankees brand new bash bros combo of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge lead NY to the promise land? Can the Houston Astros go back to back? Can the Mets pitching staff finally put it all together?
Here are 10 storylines to look out for this season:
1. How many homeruns will Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton combine for?
When the Yankees made the biggest splash of the offseason and signed the NL MVP Stanton pitchers in the American League probably gasped in disbelief. The top 2 home run hitters in the MLB last year, these guys absolutely mash! Coupled with the fact that Yankee stadium is a hitter friendly park, we are in for a treat. A combined total of at least 100 home runs doesn’t seem too far fetched in my opinion. Stanton may honestly hit 100 by himself.
2. This will be a contract year for some big names.
Next year’s offseason will be wild as stars Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, and Charlie Blackmon will all be free agents next winter. This means they will have plenty of teams throwing boat loads of cash at them. These guys know that big numbers equal a big paycheck so look out for these guys to go OFF.
3. Can Shohei Ohtani last as two way player?
We are in for a unique treat this year as the Japanese player who signed with the Angels this offseason will try to be the first player to successfully pitch and hit since Babe Ruth. I think at the Major League level with a 162 game schedule this could be too much too handle and at some point will have to convert to a PO (pitcher only) to ensure his health. There is a lot of hype around Ohtani so it’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.
4. The Mets pitching staff will finally stay healthy.
It seems like it’s the story of the Mets every single season. The talent is there, the durability is the question. I think this could be the year. Noah Syndergaard and Jacob Degrom both looked strong in Spring Training and appear poised for big years. If Matt Harvey and Steven Matz can be viable rotation options the Mets have a real shot at the playoffs.
5. The Giants will have a rebound year
2017 was a year to forget for San Fran as they only finished with 64 wins. However the offseason acquisitions of Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria have things looking up. It’s also my guess that their ace Madison Bumgarner simply won’t accept anything less than the playoffs. Pitching could be a bit of a question mark but I also expect Johnny Cueto to perform much better than his 4.52 ERA from last year. Tony Watson and Hunter Strickland will look to lock up the bullpen.
6. Will the Miami Marlins struggle to fill the stadium?
New owner Derek Jeter took control of the team and subsequently got rid of all of their best players. Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich are all sporting new unis this spring. Tough year to be a Marlins fan. The famed “Marlins Man’ has also announced he is looking for a new team to support. Ouch.
7. Mike Trout will have another big year
Ok this one isn’t too hard to predict. The guy has already won 2 MVP awards and he’s only 26. Scary part is he’s only getting better.
8. The Astros will reach the World Series again.
We saw last October how good this team is. They’re young and they’re talented. They’ve got the AL MVP in Jose Altuve. They just added ace Gerrit Cole to their already impressive pitching staff of. This team looks primed for another run.
9. Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers will play with a chip on their shoulder all season.
They were so close last year as they won 104 games and reached the fall classic. My feeling is that it only motivated LA to finally win it all. The signing of Yu Darvish gives them arguably the best rotation in the bigs with Kershaw and Rich Hill. And with Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, and Corey Seager leading the offense there’s plenty of reason to believe this could be the year.
10. The Nationals have to win big this year.
They have so much talent yet every year all they end up having to show is a lousy NL East title. On paper they are right with the other top tier teams in the league. Scherzer, Strasburg, Harper, Murphy, Gonzalez. This may be their last chance to finally get over the hump.
Here’s How I think they’ll finish:
- Red Sox
- Blue Jays
- White Sox
World Series Prediction: Nationals over the Astros in 7.
NL Cy Young – Jacob Degrom, Mets
AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander, Astros
NL MVP– Bryce Harper, Nationals
AL MVP– Mike Trout, Angels
NL Manager of the Year – Mickey Callaway, NY Mets
AL Manager of the Year– Alex Cora, Red Sox
NL Rookie of the Year – Scott Kingery, Phillies
AL Rookie of the Year – Shohei Ohtani, Angels
NL Comeback Player of the Year – Matt Harvey, Mets
AL Comeback Player of the Year– Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Life is much better when there’s baseball. The 2018 season is shaping up to be one filled with plenty of excitement and drama. Play ball!