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Major League Baseball: 2017-2018 Preview

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Kris Bryant (17) and Anthony Rizzo (44), the present and future centerpieces of the Chicago Cubs

Kris Bryant (17) and Anthony Rizzo (44), the present and future centerpieces of the Chicago Cubs

Kris Bryant (17) and Anthony Rizzo (44), the present and future centerpieces of the Chicago Cubs

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The Chicago Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. Rookie sensations Trevor Story and Corey Seager burst onto the scene. These are just a few examples of some remarkable occurrences last year in Major League Baseball, and we expect no less this year.

Winning the World Series is a very tough task, but winning two in a row is an incredible feat. The last team to successfully repeat was the New York Yankees, in 1999 and 2000. The question every baseball fan has for this season is: Can the Cubs win it all again? They certainly have the young talent, highlighted by reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant and All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Most of their core players are returning, with the exception of center fielder Dexter Fowler, and their 5 man pitching rotation is very solid. The bullpen is going to have to step up this year, as it has been the one glaring weakness of the ballclub. The Cubs, led by manager Joe Maddon, is one of the teams heavily favored to hoist the World Series trophy once again at the end of this season.

Other contenders are on the rise in the MLB as well. In the National League, the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking like two potential teams to give the Cubs a run for their money. The Nationals bolstered their outfield with the acquisition of Adam Eaton. Likewise, the Dodgers have one of the best young players in the league, shortstop Corey Seager. Of course, both teams also have an excellent pitching staff; Washington has the 2016 Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer and Los Angeles has ace Clayton Kershaw. There are other teams in the National League that consistently play these tough teams, like the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants-two teams that have made the playoffs numerous times over the past couple of years

Don’t sleep on the American League just yet: it is chock-full of possible World Series contenders, including last year’s AL champions, the Cleveland Indians. MLB superfan Daniel Finan (12) is a loyal follower of the Tribe and believes they will have a successful year.

“I am confident they will have a solid year due to their performance last year as current AL Champions, and their big free agent sign Edwin Encarnación will bring a lot of extra offensive power to an already dangerous team,” Finan said.

The Boston Red Sox will be a problem for the Indians and the other AL teams they face. David Ortiz, better known as Big Papi, has retired, but the Sox still have a very impressive roster. Young, talented outfielders like Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi will have monster seasons, and their pitching staff is full of All-Stars.

Many teams are expected to have breakout seasons. The Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros are expected to perform very well this season compared to last. Finan believes that the Rockies, led by hard hitting third baseman Nolan Arenado, will be in the playoffs this year.

“The team to look out for this season is the Rockies… Don’t be surprised to still be seeing them play baseball come October.” said Finan.

There will also be some teams in the League that are shaping up to have an disheartening season. The Atlanta Braves, in their brand new SunTrust Park, are not projected to have a great season as they are completing a rebuild with their stellar minor league system. The Padres and the Twins, two teams with depleted pitching staffs, will most likely have down years too.

Baseball is an unpredictable sport. The 2017 season is underway and we all are in for an enjoyable season, no matter which team you are rooting for.

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Major League Baseball: 2017-2018 Preview