The 2020 MLB season ended in October with the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the commissioner’s trophy at a neutral site in Arlington, Texas. It was definitely one of the most bizarre seasons in recent memory because of the ongoing effects of COVID-19. Last year, MLB held a 60-game season with no spring training. This year it will be much different with pitchers and catchers reporting to camp on Feb. 17. The first spring training game will be played on Feb. 27, and the regular season will begin on April 1.
Over the quick off-season, reigning NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer joined the defending champs on a three-year deal. Superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor went from the city known for their rock and roll to the Big Apple. There are a lot of familiar faces in new places to begin the new season. With that being said, who are the title favorites? Four teams stand out.
San Diego Padres
The Padres are fresh off a 37-23 season after overachieving last year with the youngest team in baseball. What if I told you a team with Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Dinelson Lamet just got better? Well, they did by adding former Cy Young winner Blake Snell and last year’s NL Cy Young runner-up in Japanese legend Yu Darvish. The Padres are trying to avenge their loss and take down their divisional foe, the Dodgers.
The Dodgers won the 2020 World Series in six games over the Tampa Bay Rays five months ago. Clayton Kershaw finally got his ring, as did the Dodgers organization after waiting 32 years since their last title. L.A. is looking to do something that hasn’t been done since the dominant 1998-2000 Yankees, which is winning back-to-back titles. I believe the Dodgers can do it since they have the same exact team with the addition of Trevor Bauer and the hopeful emergence of top prospect Gavin Lux.
New York Yankees
New York saw their postseason hopes diminish in the divisional round with a 3-2 series loss of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees, who have been eliminated from the playoffs the last four years, are looking to win their first title since 2009. New York is the most historic franchise in baseball history and are wanting to add number 28 this year to their prestigious trophy case.
Chicago White Sox
Chicago is one of the few teams with a new skipper in 2021, as they hired legendary Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa. La Russa is trying to bring his team back to the fall classic like in 2011 with St Louis. Chicago, like San Diego, has one of the youngest teams in baseball made up of Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez. They also added veteran pitcher who played for La Russa in 2011, Lance Lynn, who played amazing the past two years for the Texas Rangers. They also added one of the game’s top closers in free agent Liam Hendriks. The White Sox are trying to bring the South Side of Chicago a taste of October success considering they haven’t done much since 2004.
This season I believe will be one to remember with an All Star Weekend being a possibility and a 162-game season on the horizon. The excitement is there for baseball fans that have been starving for a traditional season to be back.
Prep junior and my brother Bryce Kalie is definitely excited for his Dodgers this year.
“I’m excited for the upcoming season,” he said. “I’m glad my Dodgers got over their drought and got even better.”
I, like most baseball fans, am ecstatic about potentially being able to attend games again and a full season coming back.