For most of us, our favorite day of the year is usually a holiday. Some people like Christmas, others like Easter, Halloween, etc. But my favorite day is not a holiday. Or a birthday. For a few people in the U.S, Feb 10 is the best day of 2013. Why is this? Feb 10 is officially the start of the Major League Baseball season. Pitchers and Catchers start reporting to their teams starting on Feb. 10. Over the next two weeks, we get to see all of our favorite players come to spring training. Whether you’re a superstar or a minor leaguer, February marks the start of a long season. With spring training comes the questions. Who’s the best team? Who is the most underrated team? Who needs a trade? Here are my picks for the upcoming season
American League East Winner: Tampa Bay Rays.
This may come as a big surprise to many people. With all the noise the Blue jays made in the offseason, acquiring Jose Reyes and R.A Dickey, they would seem to be the immediate favorite. But everybody thought the Marlins would be great last year too, and they couldn’t even fill their own stadium because they were so bad. Injuries are very common in the MLB, and if one of the Blue Jays stars were to go down, they could fall. If the Ray’s are going to pull this off, they will need exceptional play from rookie Will Myers and Cy Young winner David Price. The Red Sox also pose a threat to take the league, and the Orioles are weirdly enough, starting to become a legitimate franchise. This division will most definitely be the most interesting this year.
American League Central Winner: Detroit Tigers
This one is a no brainer. Coming of one the best years in the franchise’s history, the Tigers have arguably the best pitcher – hitter combination in Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. With a healthy Victor Martinez, this team has a great chance at winning it all. The White Sox are seasoned with veterans, but i can’t see them staying healthy the whole year. The Royals made improvements, acquiring James Shields from the Rays, but still are missing that superstar to lead them to the playoffs.
American League West: Los Angeles Angels
The Angels certainly made the most noise in the offseason, acquiring Josh Hamilton from the Rangers. With a healthy C.J Wilson, the Angels could be one of the best teams in baseball. The Oakland Athletics showed that you don’t need a lot of money to be successful in baseball, as they were one of the best teams in the MLB, and kept their payroll under 30 million dollars. With the perfect combination of rookies and veterans, the Athletics will finish in a close second, but still steal a wild card spot. The Rangers lost their captain, and best player in Michael Young and Josh Hamilton. They can still make some noise, but don’t expect much come October.
National League East Winner: Washington Nationals.
This was very tough. With the Braves acquiring the Upton Brothers, they would seem to be a favorite for the division. But beyond their bullpen, the Braves don’t have any depth in their starting rotation. The Nationals have the best one – two pitcher combination in Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, and also a young superstar in Bryce Harper. I think because of their youth, the Nationals have a chance at winning the World Series. The Phillies are still a good team, but the race between the Braves and Nationals is going to be way too tight for them to sneak into second place in the division. For the goodness of the world, I will not even talk about the Miami Marlins.
National League Central Winner: Cincinnati Reds
The Reds could be considered one of the best all around teams in baseball, and the addition of Shin-Soo Choo certainly makes them even better. Nobody will want to face Aroldis Chapman for six innings this year, and Joey Votto is just a beast. The Cardinals can only win the division if they resign Kyle Lohse. Lohse has a combined 30 wins the last two years, and only three losses. The Brewers certainly have a bright future if Ryan Braun is good without his needles, but they still don’t have enough depth in their lineup to top the division. The Pirates just don’t have much besides Andrew McCutchen, and the Cubs are still the Cubs.
National League West Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have certainly made an impact in the trade market, getting Zack Greinke, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez. This team has the potential to plow everybody over in the MLB, or be one of the worst collapses in baseball history. Crawford’s health is certainly an issue, but if he can regain his 2010 form, LA is going to put the league on notice. The Giants are certainly a very close second, with virtually the same roster as last year. It will be interesting to watch divisional games between them and the Dodgers, and if the Giants win that series, they could win it all.
Most Valuable Players: Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen
Trout had an outstanding rookie season, and is poised to be the best player in the league this year. He can do a little bit of everything, and it can not be expressed how important he is to the Angels. McCutchen would have gotten the MVP last year if the Giants hadn’t won the World Series. With a deprived lineup, McCutchen is going to be a star this year for the Pirate’s.
World Series Winner: Washington Nationals
This topic is certainly a hot one. With all the offseason moves, the Nationals managed to get a great starter in Dan Haren, and a legitimate leadoff man in Denard Span. With last year’s collapse in the postseason still sour in their mouths, I think that our nation’s capital will be hoisting the trophy at the end of the year.