Opening Day Preview

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The Kansas City Royals celebrate after defeating the New York Met 7-2 to win the World Series on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015 at Citi Field in New York. (Jill Toyoshiba/Kansas City Star/TNS)

Matthew Leto, Staff Writer

On April 3rd, six major league baseball teams will face off. Opening Day will feature three games. The defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals will face off in a World Series rematch against the New York Mets. The Tampa Bay Rays will host their American League East rival the Toronto Blue Jays. The Pittsburgh Pirates will also host their division rival the St. Louis Cardinals. After an offseason full of trades and free agent signings, the anticipation for the game’s return is skyrocketing.

This year’s favorites according to Las Vegas odds, are the Chicago Cubs who have not won a World Series since 1908 and are said to be cursed by the ” billy goat.” The favorite by most fans is the San Francisco Giants, who happen to win every even year in the past seven years.

Here are my projections for division winners as well as my World Series prediction:

American League East – The American League East will be the most competitive division this season. However, the Toronto Blue Jays will win the east with their stacked batting lineup. Last year’s American League MVP Josh Donaldson and the power machine that is José Bautista will slug their way to the top of the division. If the Blue Jays can get constant quality starts from their star pitcher Marcus Stroman, the Blue Jays will lock up the division easily.

American League Central – The American League Central will be in contention to the end of September. My prediction is the Minnesota Twins will shock the league and capture the American League Central. The signing of Byung Ho Park will be pivotal if the Twins will pull off the upset. The number 2 prospect Byron Buxton, according to Mlb.com. Buxton, is projected to start at center field and will make a splash with his ability to hit and his blazing speed. Right fielder Miguel Sano will hit bombs in the outfield and create chaos for opposing team’s outfielders.

American League West – The American League West will be a battle for the crown between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels. However, I believe the Astros will prevail through their balanced team. The reigning American League Cy Young winner, Dallas Keuchel will duel against division rivals and drop opposing team’s batting averages. Emerging superstar Carlos Correa, has drawn comparisons to Yankee superstar Alex Rodriguez and will likely be in contention for MVP and the 30-30 club (30 home runs and 30 stolen bases).

National League East – The National League East will be easily won by the New York Mets. The Mets will have no trouble winning the division because of their pitching staff. The Mets’ pitching staff may be the greatest staff the league has ever seen. The Mets pitching staff features three pitchers who could easily win the Cy Young award: Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom.

National League Central – The National League Central will be fought to the wire in late September. I predict the Chicago Cubs will secure the division. The Cubs team is hands down the most balanced team in the league. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo lead the Cubs stacked lineup, and pose a fierce 3-4 combo against opposing teams.

National League West – The National League West will be an intriguing race down the stretch between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. I predict the Dodgers will come out on top. The Dodgers lineup is star-studded: Corey Seager, who is the number 1 prospect according to Mlb.com, and  superstar Adrian Gonzalez will hit their way into the MVP race. Clayton Kershaw will pitch his way into the Cy Young award race and carry the Dodgers to the playoffs. The Dodgers Kenta Maeda will be intriguing to watch, as he adjusts from pitching in Japan to America.

World Series Prediction – The American League winner will be the Houston Astros led by their ace Dallas Keuchel. The National League winner will be the Los Angeles Dodgers who will be led by their superstar Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw will close out the World Series in game 7 out-dueling Keuchel. Expect clutch performances by the Astros Carlos Correa and the Dodgers Corey Seager who will take home the World Series MVP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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