It is officially the best part of the year- spring training begins tomorrow. What a wild off-season. We managed to see so many teams add in key pieces, make significant strides, and put themselves in a much better position for the upcoming season- all done while the Yankees did not get any better.
First off, when it comes to baseball, I am very old school. As much as I appreciate the thoroughness of sabermetrics, I think that baseball still comes down to two key factors: ERA and batting average. With that being said, I think certain teams will be very good this year. Today I will be talking about a few teams. I will talk about who I think will repeat, a team that will shock us, our hometown Phillies, and one team that will underperform.
I think it will be very hard to beat the Dodgers again in the World Series. On offense, they kept almost all of their significant pieces. On the mound, they added Trevor Bauer, the previous Cy Young winner and one of the top pitchers in baseball, who does not show any signs of slowing down. They had a relatively easy road to the World Series last year and I don’t see it being much more difficult this year. Statistically speaking, they are also top 10 in average and ERA, so if all goes as expected this year, I fully expect them to hoist the trophy again this year.
Another team that won’t win, but will make a good run, I truly believe is the Toronto Blue Jays. They did not lose any significant pieces, and they added Carlos Correa, so I fully expect their batting average as a team to increase. Also, I plan on watching their pitchers have a better year than they did last year, which will gradually bring their team ERA down. I do not think that they’ll go very far, but I would not be surprised if they make it past the first round, which they have not done in a while.
Last year, the Phillies finished third in the division. It has been years now that the Phillies have been without decent pitching. They signed a few arms, and I think that if they are somewhere around average, the Phillies will finish with a better winning percentage than they did last year. I think the better pitching will also alleviate some of the stress off the batters and their average will increase and they might be in a better spot- there is definitely potential for a wild card.
Finally, I think the Yankees, much to my delight, will underperform again this year. Despite an impressive bullpen, it has been their batting average that has kept them from the World Series. If it isn’t obvious, the “long ball” idea does not work, yet they refuse to believe it. They kept the same lineup that has consistently been atrocious in the playoffs. While their pitching will be very good, at some point it won’t be able to keep the Yankees in games if they are not hitting.
In conclusion, I could go on and on about what I think about all of the teams this year- but the truth is, I love baseball, and I do not think anyone is happier about teams reporting for Spring Training than me. I hope it is a great season and I am looking forward to it.