MLB Season Preview 2018

More stories from Kevin Sierotnik

American League


AL East


Arguably the biggest move in all of baseball this off-season came when Giancarlo Stanton was traded to the New York Yankees from the Miami Marlins which immediately put them 8n the conversation as the favorites in the AL East. The Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Stanton middle of the order will make it tough on opposing pitchers of divisional foes. Not to mention they still have Severino, Tanaka, and Sonny Gray rotation at the top of their rotation. The Red Sox will have the best shot to beat the Yanks, and that has to do with the offseason signing of J.D. Martinez. A healthy David Price and Chris Sale will give them a chance to take the division. The Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rays are all seemingly playing for third place with an outside chance for the second wild card in the playoffs.


AL Central


The Cleveland Indians are the clear favorites for the central crown. The lost Carlos Santana to free agency but they were able to replace Santana with Yonder Alonso. Also, the Indians return virtually everyone else from their 102-win team from last year. The Minnesota Twins also return a lot from their wild card campaign last year but added two quality starters in Lance Lynn and Jake Odorizzi. The Twins hope they can maybe push the Indians and at the very least contend for the wild card. The White Sox, Royals, and Tigers are all clearly in rebuilding mode with their offseason moves.


AL West


The World Series Champion Houston Astros are favorites to repeat in the AL West. Their World Series team brings back all of the key places plus they added Gerrit Cole via trade from the Pirates. The Astros should have no problem repeating as division winners. The Mariners and Angels are intriguing teams this season. The Mariners lost Yonder Alonso, Jarrod Dyson, and Danny Valencia, but they added Dee Gordon, Ryon Healy, and Juan Nicasio. The Mariners should compete for the second wild card with a healthy Felix Hernandez. The Angels just missed the playoffs last season and have a full year of Justin Upton. The Angels also added Ian Kinsler and won the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes. This team should be right in the mix for the wild card. The Rangers and A’s will compete for last in this division with no realistic shot at the playoffs.


National League


NL East


The Washington Nationals are the favorite for the NL East even after firing their manager, Dusty Baker, last year. The Nationals had another disappointing early exit in the playoffs and that marked the end of Baker. However, they return all of their key pitchers and bats. The Mets are the biggest competition for the Nationals as they finally have a healthy rotation and also an improved lineup with the addition of Todd Frazier. The Phillies look to improve after adding Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana to their young, impressive core including Rhys Hoskins who took the league by storm with all of his home runs at the end of the year. The Braves and Marlins are the bottom feeders of the division with the Marlins trading away basically everyone.


NL Central


The Chicago Cubs look to repeat as division champs and they are the favorite to do just that. They added Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood to make up for the loss of Arrieta. The Cubs also bring back their young starting lineup with another year under their belt. Their biggest competition is a tight race between the Brewers and Cardinals. The Brewers added Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to bolster a team that won 86 games last year. The Cardinals added Marcell Ozuna to a talented roster that hopes to make the playoffs after not making it last year. The Pirates and Reds go back and forth and compete for last place in the division this year.


NL West


The Los Angeles Dodgers are clear favorites to be the NL West Champs once again. They have the best pitcher on the planet and arguably the best young players in Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager. There seems to be no slowing down from this club. The Rockies, Giants, and Diamondbacks all have solid chances at a wild card spot this year. The Rockies added Wade Davis to their 87-win team last year. The Giants added Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen to give their championship core one last ride at another World Series. The Diamondbacks lost J.D. Martinez but they still have Paul Goldschmidt and virtually everyone else from their 93-win team last year. The Padres are clearly the last placed team in this division despite signing Eric Hosmer in the offseason.