The Major League Baseball season may have just started, but every team is already working toward the postseason and ultimately the World Series. This past offseason saw a lot of familiar faces switch around to give their new teams a better chance. Health permitting, they should be able to take their respective divisions.
With merely a few add-ons this offseason, the Mariners are looking to take the division with the help of newly acquired Nelson Cruz and “King” Felix Hernandez. The previous division champs, the Angels, may have remained untouched this offseason, but Mike Trout may not be able to lead his team to another division title by himself. The Oakland Athletics have a newly built lineup, and after trading away their infield, the organization is trying to remain a contender. The Houston Astros gained some veterans to take the reins while the Texas Rangers are plagued with injuries once again.
Boston Red Sox
The new powerhouse trio in the East, with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval joining David Ortiz, now brings spirits back to Boston after a horrendous season. Though Baltimore is a tough contender for second, after losing Cruz and Nick Markakis, they may have lost some serious hitting power. The Toronto Blue Jays gained third baseman Josh Donaldson from Oakland but he doesn’t seem to have his fire set thus far in the season. Tampa Bay still has some work to do and the Yankees only have an over-the-hill Alex Rodriguez to lead them after Derek Jeter’s retirement.
Despite tasting the World Series after a 29-year postseason drought, it still doesn’t look like the Kansas City Royals have enough firepower to take the division from the Detroit Tigers. With a lineup of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler and newly acquired Yoenis Cespedes, the Tigers have more than enough power to take the division. The Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox are both contenders for second with powerful rotations. Cleveland has American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber while Chicago has Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija along with Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu.
San Diego Padres
The Padres are a whole new team going into the division this year against previous division champs, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the World Series champion San Francisco Giants. The competition may be neck-and-neck, but “Big Game” James Shields will help San Diego take the division with the new outfield of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Will Myers. The Rockies are still fiddling with their lineup while the Diamondbacks are going to rely on rookie Yasmany Tomas for some major help.
The Nationals have got too much experience and hunger for the postseason not to be able to take it, especially with seasoned pitcher Max Scherzer as their ace. Miami could be a factor with so many players coming off of a good season with other teams to help Giancarlo Stanton gain some momentum for the division after placing third last year. The New York Mets have sustained some injuries already and Atlanta has essentially traded its team away.
After losing in the wild card game last year, the Pirates might have some fuel in the tank to knock St. Louis out of the top spot. The Chicago Cubs may have Jon Lester in their pocket, but it’s difficult to predict a World Series run with no experience. The Milwaukee Brewers have the power but they just need to stay healthy, while Cincinnati doesn’t quite have enough offense to drag them from the bottom of the division.