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By Michael Aleksandrov – Staff Writer
Opening Day is finally today! Teams will need to find their footing fast in the 60-game sprint to this year’s World Series. Here are the top teams in the MLB right now…
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have two of the best players in the MLB at their position: Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger. LA also has Justin Turner and Corey Seager (the league’s leader in doubles), who combined for 46 home runs and 154 RBI last year. The team’s pitching core of Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw is still solid, despite losing Hyun-jin Ryu in free agency and David Price sitting out. LA has one of the top closers in Kenley Jansen. The team also has a surprising amount of top prospects despite trading for Mookie Betts over the offseason. The Dodgers are stacked: anything short of a World Series would be a vast underperformance.
2. New York Yankees-
The Yankees added Cy Young runner-up Gerrit Cole (2.50 ERA, 215 K’s) to an impressive pitching rotation. The team hangs its hat on its relievers: Zach Britton (1.91 ERA, 53 K’s) and the high-velocity Aroldis Chapman (2.21 ERA, 85 K’s) shut down batters in the late innings. The Yankees were one home run away from tying the Twins for the top spot last year. This largely is due to a deadly duo of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees also have promising young star Gleyber Torres, who belted 38 home runs for the team last season. The Yankees are hungry to win after failing to capitalize on a 103 win season last year, losing to the Astros in 6 games in the ALCS. When Masahiro Tanaka
3. Houston Astros-
The ‘Stros will probably lead the league in HBP this season after their infamous cheating scandal broke over the offseason. The team has an older yet still dominant Justin Verlander, who struck out 300 batters en route to the AL Cy Young award last season. 36-year-old Zack Grienke is a solid number two with a 2.93 ERA and 181 K’s last season. The lineup is well rounded with 6x All-Star Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and George Springer providing plenty of hitting for the team. The largest issue for Houston will be remaining healthy- if they can do this, another pennant may be in sight.
4. Tampa Bay Rays–
The Rays took the Astros to 5 games in the 2019 ALDS and established that they can be a force in the MLB. Tampa’s biggest strength is pitching. In 2019, Charlie Morton finished third in Cy Young with 240 K’s and a 3.05 ERA. The team’s second starter is 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell. Tyler Glasnow rounds out the top 3 with a 1.78 ERA. The team also has one of the best ‘pens in the league. Closer Nick Anderson had 41 K’s over 21 innings with the team and makes batters miss at almost 40 percent of his pitches. SS Wander Franco is the cornerstone of the league’s best farm system. The team also has slugger Austin Meadows (29 doubles and 33 home runs last season) and Avisail Garcia. The
5. Minnesota Twins –
Minnesota hit a league-high 307 home runs last season. They then went out and signed the 2015 AL MVP and “Bringer of Rain” Josh Donaldson. The team’s lineup includes Nelson Cruz, discoverer of the Fountain of Youth, who hit 41 home runs with a 1.031 OPS. The lineup is bolstered further by Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano. While the pitching staff isn’t as elite as other clubs, it isn’t horrible. Homer Bailey and Jose Berrios are the team’s top starters and the team brought on Tyler Clippard and Sergio Romo to bolster its pitching corps. Minnesota looks to finally break out of their playoff funk and dominate the league this year.
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