Spring Training MLB Preview
Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Ah March, the best month for sports. We got March Madness, the XFL, and BASEBALL season is right around the corner! So today, I'm giving my Pre-Spring Training MLB preview.
First off, I'm going to announce Let's Talk Sports' All-MLB Teams.
Note: Some players play more than one position ex: Ketel Marte
1st Team 2nd Team: 3rd Team:
C: Yasmani Grandal J.T. Realmuto Gary Sanchez
1B: Freddie Freeman Pete Alonso Anthony Rizzo
2B: Jose Altuve DJ LeMahieu Ketel Marte
3B: Nolan Arenado Anthony Rendon Alex Bregman
SS: Francisco Lindor Javier Baez Marcus Semien
LF: Juan Soto Michael Brantley Marcell Ozuna
CF: Mike Trout Cody Bellinger George Springer
RF: Christian Yelich Mookie Betts Ronald Acuna Jr.
SP: Gerrit Cole Jack Flaherty Hyu-Jin Ryu
Jacob deGrom Mike Clevinger Walker Buehler
Max Scherzer Shane Bieber Patrick Corbin
Justin Verlander Charlie Morton Lucas Giolito
Stephen Strasburg Luis Severino Blake Snell
Closer: Josh Hader Kirby Yates Liam Hendriks
I'm sure that stirred up some controversy, especially because some notable people were left off. But I believe this is truly where players stand at the moment.
Alright, now down to the fun. Who's making the playoffs? Here's my playoffs, and an explanation for why each team in my bracket deserves to make the playoffs at the moment.
AL East: Yankees are the one seed, Rays get the wildcard and are the five seed.
I have the Yankees winning the division here, and it's pretty obvious why. This team won the division handily last year, added the bets pitcher in the MLB, and Mookie Betts is out of their way. They have one of the highest chances to win the World Series, and have a lineup stacked with power hitters. Some of these include Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu, and Gleyber Torres. This list goes on too. As long as nothing goes horribly wrong, it looks like Bronx Bombers are going to be hitting 400-foot bombs into the stands all season.
Now onto the Rays. I had a clear idea of the better wildcard team, which I will get to later. This left me with the Athletics and the Rays for the last wildcard. Although the Athletics look really good, and have the talent to make the playoffs, I think that with a productive 1-2-3 combo of Charlie Morton, Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow (combined with a solid lineup that contains Austin Meadows, Ji-Man Choi, Kevin Kiermaier and Hunter Renfroe) the Rays could look like the team we saw last year that almost beat the Astros in the playoffs.
AL Central: Twins are the three seed, nobody is a wildcard.
Boy does the AL Central fall fast. From 2015-2019, the Kansas City Royals went from World Series Champs to the worst team in the league; and from 2017-2019, the Indians are slowly, but surely, making a similar, but less steep, dip. This leaves the Twins, a power-hitter stacked team that gets more homers than mentions on ESPN. While some would say the White Sox could win the division, I think that they need a few more years to develop, and for the AL to clear an easier path for them. But, back to the Twins. Surprises last year like Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and Mitch Garver helped them cruise into the playoffs, where they were ended by the Yankees. But, I think that if those mentioned above step it up even more, this team is legit, not even mentioning the fact that the Twins picked up all-star third baseman Josh Donaldson. Although the three seed sounds low for them, I think that the Rainmaker and co. could be able to win 95+ games, and make a run in October.
AL West: Astros are the two seed, Angels get the wildcard and are the 4 seed.
There are a lot of different opinions on this division. However, what all of them have in common is that they don’t have the Mariners and the Rangers in the playoffs. This left me down to three teams: The Astros, Athletics, and the Angels. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough space for all three teams to make the playoffs, which made me have to make a tough decision. In my opinion, the Astros are a lock to make the playoffs at the least, and are the favorites for the division. This narrowed the field to two teams. Although I really like the Athletics, the Angels, and their new additions push them over the competition. I really like the addition of Anthony Rendon, and having the best player in baseball in Mike Trout helps quite a bit when considering who can make the playoffs. Despite some lack of talent at the pitcher position, I think the Angels can squeeze in the playoffs this year, and maybe even make a run.
NL East: Braves are the 2 seed, Nationals get the Wildcard and the 4 seed. As a Nationals fan, it pains me to say that I have the Braves winning the division again. But, when you look at the rosters, the Braves are clearly the better team. They boast superstars like Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña Jr., and have a great supporting cast to go along with it. However, you can’t take out the reigning champion Nationals from the playoff conversation just yet. They still have one of the best 1-2-3 pitching punches in the league with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin. Even though they lost Anthony Rendon, they still have young talent like Juan Soto and Trea Turner to go along their veteran lineup. Pickups like Eric Thames have also helped boost my confidence in the team.
NL Central: Cardinals get the 3 seed, Reds get the wildcard and the 5 seed.
I’ve always found the NL Central to be the hardest division to predict, and this year is no different. To start off, I eliminated the Pirates and the Cubs. The Pirates simply lack the talent to the distance, and the Cubs have a lot of weird drama with Kris Bryant and I don’t know where they are really at as a team. Between the three teams remaining, liked the Cardinals the best because of their talent in players like Jack Flaherty & Paul Goldschmidt, and their consistency. For the wildcard, I liked the Brewers a lot. But, I found it hard to not choose the Reds, who one source said is, “on the comeup,“ and has a legitimate chance of making it to October. I like Derek Dietrich as a cleanup hitter a lot, and I think that Joey Votto still has a good bit left in his tank.
NL West: Dodgers get the 1 seed, nobody is a wildcard. This is an odd year for the NL West. In fact, the only thing normal is that the Dodgers sit in 1st place of the division again. There is not much to say about why this is the case, as they have two of the top five players in the entire MLB (Bellinger and Betts if you couldn’t figure that out. The loss of Ryu doesn’t even make much of an impact in this, as they are so far ahead of the other teams. The unordinary which I mentioned earlier is that neither the Rockies, Giants, or Diamondbacks are playoff contenders. The Padres are normally not very good, but they are on the rise. However, this division is all for the Dodgers in 2020.