July 21, 2024

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MLB Season Preview: 5 Storylines to Watch This Year

5 min read

Right after a prolonged wintertime, the crack of the bat and pop of the glove have eventually returned. All Major League Baseball players have claimed to spring instruction camps, and baseball followers can at the time yet again truly feel the excitement of another period just around the corner. Even additional exciting: The 2021 MLB period is scheduled to be a complete 162 games, as opposed to 2020’s abbreviated 60-recreation period.

 

 

Spring instruction games––which start out on Feb. 28––will supply the to start with flavor of baseball motion in 4 months. And right after another occupied offseason of trades and totally free agent acquisitions, anyone is eager to see which groups and players hit it out of the park (and which kinds strike out). In this article are 5 storylines that we’ll be subsequent carefully this 12 months.

Los Angeles Dodgers mlb season
The Dodgers are wanting to run it again in 2021. JOHN G MABANGLO / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

Can the Dodgers Grow to be the Very first Repeat Globe Sequence Champs in Two A long time?

Right after seven consecutive seasons of playoff heartbreak, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers eventually broke through in 2020 and gained the Globe Sequence. Can they do it yet again? Not given that the New York Yankees gained three straight among 1998 and 2000 has there been a repeat Globe Sequence winner. But if there’s a team to snap this two-ten years dry spell, the 2021 Dodgers are it.

The Dodgers not only retained most of their critical placement players––including star shortstop Corey Seager and MVP outfielders Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger––but they also built a huge offseason enhance by signing 2020 National League Cy Younger award winner Trevor Bauer. Incorporating Bauer to an all-star pitching employees that currently capabilities players like Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, and David Rate is borderline unfair. It’s a prolonged period and there will definitely be twists and turns, but at least on paper, the Dodgers are poised to make a significant run at heading again-to-again.

Fernando Tatís Jr.
Fernando Tatís Jr. Sue Ogrocki / AP / Shutterstock

Will the San Diego Padres Dwell up to the Hoopla?

About one hundred twenty miles south of Dodger Stadium lies the largest impediment standing in the way of a Dodgers Globe Sequence win––the San Diego Padres. 2020 was a breakout 12 months for the Friars: They completed the 60-recreation period with a .617 profitable percentage and gained their to start with postseason collection given that 1998. Beyond accumulating Ws, the team, fueled by dynamic youthful shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr., immediately founded itself as one of the most exciting clubs to look at.

This offseason, the San Diego entrance office environment doubled down on their achievements and place the Dodgers on observe. The team additional a trio of frontline starting pitchers including Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove. Furthermore, they locked up their 22-12 months-aged star shortstop with a whopping fourteen-12 months, $340 million agreement. Mix these offseason moves with a extremely gifted roster––don’t forget about former Dodger Manny Machado––and we are set for a West Coastline duel among two prime groups. Buckle up.

new york yankees mlb season
Can any team in the American League prime the Yankees? Gregory Bull / AP / Shutterstock

The American League’s Extensive Open Fight for Supremacy

When several baseball gurus place the Dodgers and Padres at the prime of the heap in the National League, the American League is a a great deal more durable phone.

Even so, the AL East at the time yet again looks like the preferred to deliver a Globe Sequence contender. The New York Yankees are in a excellent placement right after including DJ LeMahieu and Corey Kluber to their currently deep roster. Nonetheless, they’ll have to prevail above the analytics-based mostly method of the Tampa Bay Rays (the reigning AL champs) and the effective bats of the Toronto Blue Jays, who additional George Springer this offseason.

The Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox in the AL Central could also make a run, alongside with the Houston Astros in the AL West. Shedding Springer was a blow to the Astros, but they nonetheless have ample roster firepower and knowledge for a shot at the title.

mlb season baseballs
MLB announced it is “deadening” baseballs for 2021. Charlie Riedel / AP / Shutterstock

A New Baseball

Household run counts have skyrocketed above the past few seasons and even prompted many superior-profile pitchers to complain about juiced baseballs. When MLB officers would by no means admit that they experienced deliberately adjusted the baseball, the stats appeared to prove if not. Right after increasing household run counts each and every 12 months, the most latest 162-recreation period (in 2019) saw the ball go away the property six,776 times––a new history.

This has led to a major shift in the recreation. There has been sizable growth in strikeouts, walks, and household operates, and that has led to longer games with a lot less motion. To beat this household-run-or-bust method to batting, MLB announced it would be “deadening” baseballs for the 2021 period. Teams ended up instructed this adjustment would imply a ball hit above 375 feet would fly about one to two feet shorter than before. Time will inform no matter if this energy will make a dent in household run counts or affect how the recreation is played, but it will be monitored carefully as the period progresses.

fans mlb season 2020
Hopefully true followers can replace the cardboard cutouts in 2021. ETIENNE LAURENT / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

The Return of the Enthusiasts

There’s no getting around it: The 2020 MLB period was awkward. Looking at groups participate in in entrance of cardboard folks was extremely bizarre. The silence right after recreation-profitable household operates? Even stranger. But now that the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has started, groups and followers alike are hoping for additional everyday living in ballparks across the state in 2021.

Once the normal period starts on April 1, fan attendance will be subject to neighborhood rules. For groups that do permit followers, they will have to provide tickets to pods of followers and preserve these teams physically unfold out.

As the vaccine results in being additional extensively accessible, there is hope that attendance degrees will be authorized to enhance. And if the 2021 MLB period concludes with some feeling of normalcy, that will be a significant win for the sport—and for all of society.

Engage in ball.


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