Get ready for a slugfest in the American League this baseball season. Some of baseball’s best offenses are in the AL where the designated hitter rule applies, and last year’s National League MVP has crossed over.
Of course we’re talking about Giancarlo Stanton, who the New York Yankees picked up in the off-season from the Miami Marlins. Stanton clobbered 59 home runs last season and joins Aaron Judge who hit 52 of his own last year. The Yankees have surely upgraded and have propelled themselves into the mainstream discussion for AL supremacy. However, Judge’s off-season shoulder surgery could slow him down and there are other teams in the AL East who have no interest in conceding to New York.
Take the Boston Red Sox, for example, who, like New York, have a new manager, but also made a headline splash in the off-season when they signed J.D. Martinez, who hit 45 dingers last year with the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. And Boston has Chris Sale heading a solid pitching rotation. Also, don’t write off the Toronto Blue Jays, who ran into injury woes last season after twice playing in the League Championship Series in 2015 and 2016. They’re good in all facets of the game.
Over in the Central Division, most would say it is the Cleveland Indians’ to lose. After a 102-win season last year and basically the same roster, why wouldn’t you pick them? First baseman Yonder Alonso is a newcomer and joins Francisco Lindor, the shortstop who could easily win the AL MVP award. The Minnesota Twins, a wild card team last year, won’t sneak up on anyone this season, while the Kansas City Royals have basically bid farewell to many of the players that were on the roster during those World Series runs in 2014 and 2015.
The AL West may be the best division in baseball, and also has a player that turns heads in the sports world in the form of Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels. His name is popping up all over LA’s depth chart, including as a starting pitcher and DH. The Angels can trot out All-Stars at many positions, like Mike Trout, who when healthy, is MVP caliber.
In Arlington, the Texas Rangers too are ready to get back in the hunt after a down year, and have a solid rotation anchored by Cole Hamels. But will it be enough to overcome the World Series Champion Houston Astros, who are young and talented and appear hungry to defend their first title? With Justin Verlander tossing an entire season from the mound and guys like Carlos Correa putting up big numbers, it’s hard not to imagine Houston being great, again.