The 2018 Major League Baseball season is almost upon us. Each team has a fresh new start, a chance to make it to the postseason, and become World Series champions. Fresh new faces join each team, and new prospects hope for a shot to join the major league roster. Each team has 162 games to prove why they should be world champions.
The 2017 season ended with a wild World Series, as the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. This year, both teams are poised to make another deep run in the playoffs. Both the Dodgers and Astros are projected to lead their respective leagues in wins, with both projected at 97 wins. Though 97 wins is pretty impressive, it will be down for both teams from a year ago, when Houston won 101 and LA won 104 ball games. As for the other playoff spots, winning the AL East is projected to be the New York Yankees, after they bolstered their already powerful lineup this offseason with the addition of NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. In the AL Central, the Indians are projected to win the easy division, as the only other team that can compete with them in the division are the Minnesota Twins. The AL Wild Card race will be a wild one again this season, with the Boston Red Sox easily taking the first wild card, and the second wild card should be between the Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins, and Los Angeles Angels. Now onto the NL remaining playoff spots, the NL East winner is projected to be once again, the Washington Nationals, winning by a landslide in a weak NL East. The NL Central champs are projected to be the Chicago Cubs, winning for the fourth straight season. The NL wild card will also be a tight race, but the NL Central will come out with both wild card teams, in the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals. The best odds a team has to win the world series, according to CBS Sports, is the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 23.38% chance at winning it all.
The most coveted individual award in baseball for players is the MVP award. For the AL, the early MVP candidates are Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, and superstar outfielder Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Stanton won the NL MVP a season ago with the Miami Marlins before being traded this offseason. Aaron Judge is coming off the best rookie season ever seen, after hitting 52 home runs and cruising to an easy Rookie of the Year award. Mike Trout has won the AL MVP in the past, and he is always in contention to win the award year after year. For the NL MVP, three players that will be in contention will be Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs, and Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Harper is always talked about with the NL MVP and is sometimes considered as the best player in baseball with Mike Trout. Kris Bryant won the NL MVP in 2016, in just his second year in the Majors and is poised to make another run for the award. Cody Bellinger took the MLB by storm last season in his rookie year, cruising to an easy NL Rookie of the Year award.
Another coveted individual award, strictly for pitchers, is the Cy Young. The favorites to win this award for the AL are Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox and Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians. Sale put on a dominant season last year only to finish second behind Corey Kluber. Kluber led a dominant Indians pitching staff that helped them win 102 games. For the NL, the favorites are Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals. Both pitchers are always in first or second in the NL Cy Young award, and it will be the same this year. Both dominate their leagues, and are at the top of the league in both ERA and Strikeouts.
After a slow offseason, in which most of the big name guys didn’t find a team until late February and early March, we can finally say the baseball is right around the corner.