April 3, 2015

2015 MLB season preview

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

Opening night for the MLB season on Sunday, meaning we’re just a mere 162 games away from the playoffs – ridiculous, no?

Well, while baseball doesn’t have any intentions of shortening the season any time soon, it is going about shortening games this season – and it’s about time.

But, with offence falling in recent years, who does this move to speed up games benefit more: Pitchers or batters?

Both sides will have less time to adjust on the fly, but hitters have gotten used to going through elaborate routines at the plate and will now have to keep one foot in the box instead of stepping out after every pitch.

With less time to do this adjustments, take signs from coaches and just in general think about what could be coming next, it could lead to another decrease in offence.

Unless the league makes an adjustment to make the strike zone smaller or lower the mounds, we could be in for another prolonged dead ball era.

THE A-ROD SAGA

With Alex Rodriguez returning to the New York Yankees after his yearlong suspension, we should be in for some interesting stories.

While it should be safe to assume that the 41-year-old slugger won’t be his former formidable self, you have to wonder how much the Yankees actually want to keep him around. He’s carrying a hefty salary and a valuable roster spot.

Also, there’s the looming threat that he may reach a home run milestone and activate a massive bonus clause.

This should lead to the Yanks thinking about a buyout – which would also buy them some goodwill with the public as well.

Where this all goes, nobody knows, but at least it should be interesting.

RED SOX INSTANT REBUILD

While Boston fans in the past were quick to malign the rival Yankees  for spending their way through rebuilds, it now looks like the Red Sox are just fine with doing the same.

After a terrible title defence in 2014, Boston went out and signed World Series hero Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez and a trio of starting pitchers to restock the rotation.

With an already decent roster, this should thrust the team back into contention sooner rather than later.

EVEN SEASONS

The San Francisco Giants may have won the World Series last year, but you can already count them out this year.

Why? Because it’s an even-numbered season.

For some reason, that just doesn’t jive with the Giants.

Maybes it’s title hangovers from winning the years before, but the odd-numbered years just don’t go well by on the south side of the Bay.

Can the champs end this weird anomaly, or will we make this officially a dynasty and see the Giants return to the post-season to defend their title?

THE MORE CUBANS THE BETTER

With U.S. President Obama’s opening of relations with Cuba, we can expect to see more players coming to the majors from the Caribbean nation.

Rusney Castillo just got the biggest contract ever for a defector.

Yasmany Tomas, Yoan Moncada and Hector Olivera all signed deals too, but will start in the minors.

With Jose Abreu and Yasiel Puig already making a huge splash in MLB, it should fun to see what their compatriots can do when they get the call.

PREDICTIONS

What’s a good season preview post without some predictions? Here’s how I think the season will break down.

AL East: Baltimore Orioles

AL Central: Detroit Tigers

AL West: L.A. Angels

AL wild cards: Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox

NL East: Washington Nationals

NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals

NL West: L.A. Dodgers

NL wild cards: Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers

ALCS: Orioles over Angels

NLCS: Nationals over Cardinals

World Series: Nationals over Orioles

AL MVP: Mike Trout, LAA

NL MVP: Bryce Harper, WAS

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale, CHW

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, LAD

AL ROY: Daniel Norris, TOR

NL ROY: Kris Bryant, CHC

First overall pick: Texas Rangers

Surprises: Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres.

Disappointments: Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners.

Leave a Reply