With the spring bringing warm weather and green grass, America’s favorite sport is also returning. After an exciting 2021 season, ending with the Atlanta Braves being crowned king of the MLB, everyone is looking to be the next in line.
The National League is absolutely stacked this year. It has the best division in baseball: the National League West, the team with the best pitching staff: the New York Mets, and maybe the most star studded team of all time: the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The New York Mets have a ridiculous pitching staff, including three time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer, and two time winner Jacob DeGrom. In 2021, DeGrom had a 1.08 earned run average through 15 games. DeGrom was on pace to have the single best earned run average (ERA) for the 2021 season if it wasn’t for the fact that he was battling through injury. Scherzer has a career 193-97 win-loss ratio, which ranks him as a top 20 pitcher of all time in this category. This pitching staff has been rolling this year, ranking fourth in ERA, and first in holding opposing hitters to a lower batting average (batting average against). Along with a strong pitching staff, the Mets’ offense has been stellar so far this year. Currently, they are first in on base percentage (OBP), second in total runs scored. This is a completely revamped Mets squad that will most definitely win the NL East and who have a great chance at the World Series.
Another championship contending team is the reigning champion, the Atlanta Braves, who lost their best hitter and team captain Freddie Freeman to the Dodgers last offseason. They are also missing their young star Ronald Acuña Jr. due to an ACL tear last season. The Braves have struggled to find their rhythm so far this year without their key players from last season. But as Acuña comes back, and middle infielders Ozzie Albies and Orlando Arcia find their place in the batters box, the Braves have a real shot at repeating last year’s win.
Adding yet another amazing pitching staff to the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers, led by Josh Hader, Brandon Woodruff, and newly awarded Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, have an exciting year ahead of them. The Brewers have the ninth best team ERA, and the seventh best BAA. They are doing great in the pitching department, but have struggled to hit all season. The hits are going to come with former league MVP Christian Yelich and right fielder Hunter Renfroe, who is coming off of a 31 home run season.
Now comes the most competitive division in the MLB, the NL West. The L.A. Dodgers are the best team in the division, and will probably end up being the best team in baseball at the end of the season. The Dodgers are constructed more like an all star team than a franchise. They lead the league in total runs scored, are fourth in OBP, and first in ERA and BAA. The next best team, the San Francisco Giants, are composed of a ton of crafty veteran players. The Giants aren’t necessarily the best at anything, but they continue to find ways to win. In addition to the Giants there are the San Diego Padres. They have been okay so far this year, even without their young star, Fernando Tatis Jr.. Without Tatis, the Padres have relied on only allowing a .201 batting average against, and have been carried by Manny Machado’s stellar start to the season.
The American League is not as competitive as the NL, but it still has a couple World Series contenders. Starting with the heavy favorite to win the American League, the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are one of the most exciting teams in baseball, leading the league in home runs. They are led by Hank Aaron award winner, Vladamir Guerrero Jr., who has already had a three home run game this season. Although their pitching is average, their presence at the plate is top three in the league, which keeps them in the World Series discussion.
Another great AL team is the Los Angeles Angels; led by a career .333 hitter Mike Trout and 2021 MVP Shohei Ohtani, the Angels are top 10 in five batting categories and in two defensive categories. The Angels have a great roster and great stats so far this season that should make for a lot of potential.
Then there are a bunch of fringe teams that have the potential to be contenders, but they haven’t shown enough yet. These teams include the slightly depleted Houston Astros that lost Carlos Correa this season; the Seattle Mariners who have no clear stars; the talented AL East teams: the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays; and the extremely offensively talented Minnesota Twins, who lack the pitching to be a real playoff level team.
All in all, this is going to be an exciting MLB season with no clear number one team and a bunch of people that could make the playoffs.