MLB 2013 Preview
Nearly four months after the San Francisco Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, major league baseball is back in action with the start of spring training exhibition games. Last year was a great season to be a fan and it can only get better from here. We can look forward to seeing young stars like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, who we should expect to have break out sophomore seasons. Also very intriguing is whether grizzly veterans such as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera can recover from injuries to lead their New York Yankees back to a World Series. This off-season there were many blockbuster trades that make some teams scary looking contenders to win it all.
There are many teams that could be powerhouses and eventually end up raising the World Series trophy. The San Francisco Giants are defending champions and winners of the World Series in 2 out of the last 3 years. They have to be frontrunners to repeat. Even though they might not have the best baseball team on paper, you can’t count out a winning team that’s playing with as much confidence as the G-men of the baseball world. It is tough to say who will be the best team in baseball this year because there are so many teams that have the tools to win. Certain teams are strong in different aspects of the game. Whether it be the potent offense of the Los Angeles Angels, the great pitching and chemistry of the Giants, or the experience and expecting to win attitude of the New York Yankees. Whichever team can put all of those facets of the game together best will have the most success this season.
Over the off-season the teams that have seemed to acquire the best free agents are also striving to be contenders. There are so many American League teams that are hungry for the championship considering the National League has won the World Series the previous three seasons. The Los Angeles Angels were already a very talented team and then they add the top offensive free agent this offseason, in Josh Hamilton. His spectacular season last year led to the Angels picking him up in free agency for a whopping $125 million through five years. If he continues his power hitting (43 HR’s 128 RBI’s last year) he will help the already powerful line-up possibly shatter the all- time home run list for a season, 254 Home Runs held by the star-studded Seattle Mariners of 1997. With great players like Trout, Mark Trumbo, and arguably the best hitter in the game, Albert Pujols; look for the Angels to make a run for a championship.
The team that made the most moves this off-season was the Toronto Blue Jays. They acquired R.A. Dickey, whose knuckle ball leaves batters swinging at air like Yao Ming swatting at a fly. It just doesn’t happen often. He had 20 wins last year which is second best only to the Washington Nationals Gio Gonzalez. He was at the top of the league in every other pitching category. They also were involved in the largest trade of the off-season. The Miami Marlins wanted to reduce payroll and rebuild so they offered the Blue Jays notable players. Most importantly shortstop Jose Reyes, and starting pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buerhle. With these additions to an already stacked Jays offense, led by slugger Jose Bautista, look for the Jays to try to push the Yankees off of their throne in the AL East.
The National League has plenty of contenders as well. The Cincinnati Reds have a young and exciting team led by ace Johnny Cueto and slugger Joey Votto. With the help of co-owner Magic Johnson the LA Dodgers look to become the best team in the city of angels. They are led by their electric outfielder Matt Kemp. They seemed to have been dealt the better hand in the trade with the Boston Red Sox at the end of August 2012. They acquired veteran and 2003 World Series MVP Josh Beckett and possibly the best lefty hitter in the game, Adrian Gonzalez. Look for those acquisitions and the Dodgers young star southpaw Clayton Kershaw to lead them to the top of the NL West. The Washington Nationals are predicted to have their best season in franchise history. I think that is easily possible considering they will let the best pitcher in the game actually pitch the whole season! That pitcher is the flame-throwing Steven Strasburg. Of course you can never count out teams like the Giants and Atlanta Braves who have put together exciting teams for this year.
This season should be one of the most exciting in recent years.