Ah the five-foot piles of snow are 90% gone and today I actually saw grass. Spring is finally upon us, and with Spring Training ramping up the intensity and players begin to see a more definite role for their team, baseball is nearly back (it kind of already is but shhhh). With Opening Day a week away, baseball is the only thing on my mind. So here is my 2015 baseball season preview (Warning: I am not a licensed fortune-teller and can only mildly see the future).
This division may be the most difficult to pick. The reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants did not even win their division last year and will have a tough time repeating. The Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the best teams in baseball, but will get some serious competition from the San Diego Padres and their busy offseason. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies will be lucky if they hit .500.
The Dodgers should get another fantastic season from reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw; Madison Bumgarner will have to maintain his postseason dominance in order for the Giants to be anywhere near contention. James Shields should benefit from half of his games being played in spacious Petco Park with the Padres.
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- San Diego Padres (Wildcard)
- San Francisco Giants
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Colorado Rockies
Arguable the best division on baseball, the Saint Louis Cardinals are defending division champs and if they can remain healthy they should be a bit better than last year. The Chicago Cubs are relying heavily on their young players; if they can play up to their potential, they would have a dangerous offense. They are probably one year from truly contending. The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds look roughly the same as last year, but will probably fight to get to .500.
Perennial MVP candidates Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) and Yadier Molina (Cardinals) should continue to duke it out, but McCutchen is the favorite to win his second in three years. The player I am most excited to follow is the Cubs’ Kris Bryant; he has nine homeruns in eleven Spring Training games. While Spring Training is quite different than the regular season, he is the heavy favorite to win the Rookie of the Year.
- Saint Louis Cardinals
- Pittsburg Pirates
- Chicago Cubs
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Cincinnati Reds
The offseason has been very busy in this division; with the Washington Nationals seeming to be the best team in baseball and a World Series bound team. The Miami Marlins have had a busy offseason and if they can play consistent baseball, they should win a lot of games. The New York Mets could compete for a playoff spot if something drastic happens, but as everything is now, they will hover around .500. The Atlanta Braves will be rebuilding this season and the only reason they will not finish last is because of the abysmal Philadelphia Phillies.
The Nationals have a plethora of Cy Young potential on their staff, if they stay healthy Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg could make a run at Kershaw. Star young outfielders Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton should have strong seasons and demand MVP discussion.
- Washington Nationals
- Miami Marlins (Wildcard)
- New York Mets
- Atlanta Braves
- Philadelphia Phillies
Continue on here for Part 2 and the American League Preview!