By Griffin Hill
The 2018-2019 season of America’s pastime is soon approaching and I couldn’t be more excited. The last two seasons, and specifically the World Series, have been more thrilling than ever, and the new wave of young stars in the league are starting to pave their way to greatness.
This season should be just as intriguing, considering the blockbuster trades this offseason. With Stanton in New York, are the Yankees the favorite? Or can the Astros repeat their historic run? In the NL can the Nationals finally make a run to the championship game, or will the Cubs rebound from somewhat of a let down last year? With the season around the corner many questions have begun to be asked.
I will run through what I think will play out this year:
Top AL Contenders
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees got down to work this offseason. The signing of reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton was by far the biggest move by anyone this year. Stanton led the league in homers a season before, and just behind him in second… Yanks outfielder Aaron Judge. Judge was an animal in his rookie season and helped bring hope to the yankees season in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. The combo of Judge and Stanton along with the premier pitching of the men in stripes put the Yankees as a serious contender for the World Series, and maybe even the favorite.
The Houston Astros
The young Astros put together one of the most memorable World Series runs ever, and were able to take down the favorite Dodgers in a thrilling game 7. The great thing for this team… they lost no one. This young squad is coming back just the way they finished last season and there is no reason to believe they don’t have the talent to repeat. The grit showed by this team is phenomenal, and every playoff win ended in dramatic fashion. This team was my favorite team to watch, and can’t wait to see the young talent on this roster continue to drive in the runs in 2018.
Top NL Contenders
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers fell short last season, but by far had the most talented pitching roster in the majors. As long as Clayton Kershaw is a dodger, they will be a contender. The ace had an 18-4 record and a 2.31 ERA in 2017 and is a future Hall of Famer, but wasn’t the only stud on this Dodgers Roster. Kenley Jansen also had an unbelievable year, and was the best closer throughout the league. The Dodgers complemented this pitching with some of the greatest power hitters with guys like Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, and Justin Turner. LA should have a good chance at getting back to the World Series, but getting over the final hump is tough, and that is something they will have to do, even after being so close a season ago.
The Chicago Cubs
The Cubs broke the curse in 2016 by winning their first World Series in 108 years. Last year was somewhat of a let down. A team many predicted to repeat their success and go back to back as champions failed to live up to expectations. The team was drilled by injuries and wasn’t able to ever hit their stride. On the other hand, they still have an extremely talented roster, and everything it takes to make another deep playoff push.
How it will All go Down
The Contenders I mentioned above are probably the four top picks to win it all this year, but I think a winner will come from the outside; The Washington Nationals. The Nationals have been constantly criticized for having one of the most talented hitting, and pitching lineups in the world, yet failing to reach the World Series, or even the NL championship round. A lot like the nearby Capitols, they have been the heroes of the regular season, but let down the fans post season after post season.
I believe luck will change this year for the Nationals. Bryce Harper is going to have an MVP season, and will lead his team into the World Series. However, if this run is going to happen, it needs to be this year. Several contracts are up at the end of this season, and frankly people are losing hope on this team.
Spring training is underway and opening day will soon come. 162 games later we will see how the playoff spots fill, and shortly after that; another champion will be crowned and fans dreams will be made true.