by Asa Brown
The Major League Baseball season is upon us. The West will soon beat the East in the NBA playoffs, and the dog days of summer will arrive. So, from the only guy that still follows baseball, here are a few storylines to follow this season:
Two-way Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, who has been called the ‘Babe Ruth of Japan,’ should have everyone excited in 2018. He choose to come over from the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan to play here in the States for the Angels. So far, he is hitting .361 with 11 runs batted in…and he can do this:
He can throw 98 MPH and has is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA with 19 strikeouts (that’s good). We’ll see if he can keep it up for the rest of the year.
The Miami Marlins:
Last fall, as the rest of the league geared up for October baseball, MLB owners approved the sale of the Miami Marlins to a group led financially by billionaire investor Bruce Sherman and former Yankees star Derek Jeter. When they bought the team, the state of the roster and team finances were such that they could have taken advantage of their star power and compete for a few more years. Instead, the new owners blew it all up. In the lead up to Christmas, the Marlins traded away $315 million superstar Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Marcell Ozuna. In late January, they completed the bulk of the firesale with the trade of Christian Yelich to the Brewers. It was a massive windfall: In addition to the $295 million left on Stanton’s contract, the Marlins shed around $113 million in future commitments. There’s a lot of rebuilding, and that’s exactly what the Marlins just began.
A competitive year:
The Astros and the Dodgers, the World Series competitors from last year, should all be back. The Indians, Red Sox, Cubs, and Nationals plan on making a run too. In addition, the Rockies, Angels and Yankees have announced they expect more next year. For the Angels, it means trying to get Mike Trout to the postseason again. For the Rockies, that means a deep playoff run. For the Yankees, it means bringing another championship to New York. The Diamondbacks, Brewers and Twins are in similar situations. The Mets, Blue Jays, and Pirates are off to a hot start. The Giants have added some veteran pieces, and the Braves and Phillies may be ready to compete. That doesn’t even get into the MLB’s middle class. So this year could be a barn burner.
Best free agent class ever looms:
As things stand now, Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, Dallas Keuchel and Josh Donaldson will all hit the market at the end of the 2018 season. That’s not all, though. Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Miller and Daniel Murphy should be available as well, making this possibly the best free-agent class ever. This season may matter, but where those guys end up signing could change the entire complexion of the MLB for years to come.