Of all the MLB seasons in recent years, this one is most likely the most anticipated. Only a few teams got weaker in the off season, and many got stronger. The Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals both lost their hard hitting first basemen; Prince Fielder from the Brewers, and Albert Pujols from the Cardinals. However the move of two players has shifted the balance of power from the National League to the American League. With the addition of C.J Wilson from the Texas Rangers, and Albert Pujols from the Cardinals, the Los Angeles Angels are early World Series favorites. The already strong Detroit Tigers are better and have more power in their lineup with the addition of Prince Fielder. And we haven’t even mentioned the American League East yet.
Last season there were two teams from the American League East in the playoffs, the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Boston Red Sox ended a historic September collapse with a loss against the Baltimore Orioles to give the Rays the chance to win their final game against the Yankees and make the playoffs, which is exactly what they did. The Yankees have added more pitching to their already great team, the Red Sox added a few players but looked to their minor league programs for the pitching and utility players they needed. The Tampa Bay Rays have a great pitching rotation and now they have a great catcher in Jose Molina to lead the rotation. Last season the Toronto Blue Jays finished the season at .500, yet were in fourth place in the AL East. Of their 81 losses, 39 came from teams in the AL East. The Baltimore Orioles finished the season at .462, but on a high note. Of their 93 losses, 44 came from AL East rivals. Given the fact that the Blue Jays finished the season at .500 in the toughest division in baseball, it is very likely that the Blue Jays, who quietly added some needed players over the winter, can take a playoff spot now that there is a second wild card team.
In the National League, the best two teams are reeling from the loss of key players. Meanwhile the bottom of the National League last year, may be the top this year. The Miami Marlins have a new starting rotation, a new All-Star shortstop in Jose Reyes, and a new stadium. The Washington Nationals have promise and may make the playoffs due to the addition of a second wild card team. However the Houston Astros will likely have another season as the worst team in baseball. The Philadelphia Phillies will have another great season and will make the playoffs, but they won’t be the team they have been for the last five years.
With the rise and fall of so many teams this off season, the upcoming season is shaping up to be a great one.