This is one of my favorite times of year. The weather is getting warmer, spring training is in full-swing, the Astros are getting hate mail, and all of this means that Opening Day is just around the corner.
Like every offseason, there have been some intriguing player acquisitions, headlines, and predictions; the obvious being the Astros sign-stealing scandal, Gerrit Cole to the Yankees, and Mookie Betts/David Price to the Dodgers. While the Yankees, Dodgers, and Astros remain favorites to make it all the way this year, here are a few things you should watch out for:
- The NL East
- The Minnesota Twins
- The Chicago White Sox
The NL East is going to be a very exciting division to watch this year. Not only do you have the defending champions in the Washington Nationals, but you have talent all around minus one team (Miami, you know who you are).
The Mets’ biggest issue these last few years has been staying healthy, but they’ve proven that they can be a special team when they’re healthy. I can’t imagine Edwin Diaz playing worse than he did last year and he’s extremely talented as proven a couple years back. I’m eager to see how the bullpen plays this year.
Philadelphia is a team that could make a run, as long as they have consistent starting pitching. I believe they’ll have the hitting to compete with many teams, and Bryce will only get better in Philly with time.
Atlanta is my favorite to win the division this year over the defending champs. They have solid pitching, great hitting, talent all around, and good coaching. I believe they’ll make it to the NLCS this year.
The Minnesota Twins had a remarkable year last year. The biggest question mark for me is their pitching, especially their starting rotation. Berrios is still young and can’t lead that pitching staff on his own. If the Twins make a move for a starter at or before the deadline, I wouldn’t be surprised.
My “wild card” to watch for this year is the Chicago White Sox. The Padres will be exciting to watch as well, but I think the Sox are closer to making playoffs at this point. This is a team that has so much young talent across the board. If this team clicks on all cylinders and stays healthy, I can see them being a playoff team this year. I think next year will be even better for them too.
Consider all that on my tab.