Can you believe that Opening Day to the 2015 MLB season is only 70 days away? 2015 definitely has several storylines that are worth watching. The hot stove brewed a number blockbuster deals across the MLB so without further ado, I present to you a preview of what’s in store for the 2015 season.
The Boston Red Sox put themselves in the conversation for being major contenders in the AL East. They acquired Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez via free agency. These sluggers, who have battled against each other in the San Fran-L.A. rivalry, will add much more depth in Boston’s batting lineup. They also added former All-Star switch hitter, Chili Davis, as the team’s hitting coach. Their starting rotation was a subject of much concern going into the offseason. Boston took a step in the right direction this offseason by acquiring Tigers’ right-handed pitcher, Rick Porcello in a trade for outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes. Rusney Castillo, one of the top prospects from Cuba, has a strong chance of being the everyday centerfielder for Boston. He hit well over .300 in 10 games last season. If he can piggyback off of that brief success, he should be a frontrunner for the AL Rookie of the Year award.
The Chicago Cubs have arguably had the best offseason to this point. Theo Epstein thought this team needed a new leader and he was able to bring in the best available manager, Joe Maddon. A 2-time AL Manager of the Year, he turned around the Tampa Bay Rays organization and led them to a World Series appearance in 2008. Left-handed ace, Jon Lester agreed to a 5-year/$155 million deal with the Cubs, giving their rotation plenty of strength. They also traded up for 2-time All-Star catcher, Miguel Montero. Veteran leadership is exactly what this team needed so Montero should be a great asset for this team both on the field and in the clubhouse.
The San Diego Padres acquired an outfield that is stacked with loads of speed and power: Matt Kemp, an MVP-caliber player when healthy, Wil Myers, a young phenom who won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2013, and Justin Upton, an All-Star power hitter who won his second Silver Slugger Award last season. This trio will surely help an offense that finished last in batting average at .226 in 2014. The Padres’ pitching staff has always been pretty good as they had an excellent team ERA of 3.27 last year so building around their strong staff was the smartest move for them to make.
Future of Hall of Fame outfielder, Ichiro Suzuki, has a couple major milestones that are in reach this season. He’s only 156 hits away from joining the 3,000-hit club and he’s 13 steals away from 500 career stolen bases. He signed a 1-year deal with the Miami Marlins so he’ll be teaming up with the 2014 NL MVP runner-up, Giancarlo Stanton.
The final subject to look out for during the 2015 season is the beginning of the Rob Manfred era. Manfred served as the Chief Operating Officer of the MLB before becoming the new commissioner yesterday. He will now be tasked with carrying the torch for America’s pastime now that Bud Selig has officially moved on.
This year, it will be tough to predict the two teams that will make it to the Fall Classic due to the level of parity around the MLB. If I had to choose right now, I would go with the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Red Sox have primed talent to go along with veterans like Big Papi and Pedroia. The Cardinals have been one of the most prominent teams in the NL in recent years and I personally feel that this year’s team is poised to make another run for the NL pennant.
With so many other storylines in this upcoming season, I cannot wait to see how things turn out. Pitchers and catchers report in just a few weeks from now which means that Spring Training is right around the corner. As the countdown to Opening Day continues, I am eager for this year’s MLB season to get underway.