Being a baseball fan, this is the most exciting time of the winter. Now, pitchers and catchers have officially reported for each MLB team. So for this edition of the Hot Corner, we are going to lay out which teams we think will win each division, who will win the Wild Card, the team that will make the biggest impact and our sleeper team pick.
Philadelphia Phillies (97-65)
Minus a pathetic Roy Oswalt, the Phillies should still make another trip to the postseason.
Cincinnati Reds (91-71)
With the loss of Albert Pujols for the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals and the loss of Prince Fielder for the Brewers the Reds should take advantage in the NL Central.
Arizona Diamondbacks (93-69)
Youth and talent along with Justin Upton’s beastly bat, the snakes should slither past the other older NL West teams.
New York Yankees (98-64)
With the now refurbished rotation the Yankees have with the signing of Hiroki Kuroda and acquiring Michael Pineda the Yankees will be a force to reckon with.
Detroit Tigers (95-67)
They still have last year’s Cy Young winner and MVP in Justin Verlander along with adding Prince Fielder.
L.A. Angels (92-70)
If you add the greatest player in baseball by signing Albert Pujols, and you get an electric arm in C.J Wilson I am sure they will win the West easily.
Wild Card with best shot of making impact:
Texas Rangers (89-73)
The Rangers won the American League crown last season, but this year they have the loss of C.J Wilson to the rival Angels to deal with and an inexperienced Yu Darvish to work with.
Washington Nationals (84-78)
With the great signing of pitcher Edwin Jackson and the trade to acquire Gio Gonzalez the Nationals might start strong but come up short.
Philadelphia Phillies (104-58)
With the bolstering of rotations in Miami, and the signings by the Nats, the Phils will be challenged this year. However, the Big 3 (Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay) is looking to improve on last year’s earlyplayoff exit. Phillies win the division by four games.
Cincinnati Reds (88-74)
The Reds bolstered their bullpen with a one-year deal with closer Ryan Madson. Joey Votto will lead this team easily especially after the departures of Prince Fielder in Milwaukee and Albert Pujols in St. Louis.
San Francisco Giants (86-76)
Welcome back Buster Posey. With Posey back at the helm in the catcher’s spot look for San Francisco to get that much needed offense to drive them to the postseason.
New York Yankees (98-64)
Three words. AJ Burnett gone. That right there gives the Yankees an extra six wins. Yankees remain tight with the Red Sox, but look for them to make one last run with Jeter as their shortstop.
Detroit Tigers (94-68)
In comes Prince Fielder to add some more power to a lineup that is already busting from the seams with talent. Add in Justin Verlander at the mound and this team goes far.
L.A. Angels (96-66)
This one will not be as determined as many will think. Texas will remain strong contenders in the West but if Albert lives up to his mega-contract, LA should win this division by a game or two.
Wildcard with best shot of making impact:
Texas Rangers (94-68)
The Rangers will be leaning on Josh Hamilton to recover from his latest bout with alcholism. CJ Wilson is a huge loss for Texas. Look for them to add to its rotation at the trade deadline.
Toronto Blue Jays (90-72)
A new logo and a new look means more victories. Just ask the 2008 Rays.