MLB spring training provided a sneak peak for the exciting 2021 baseball season

Zac Silfin, Staff Writer

2021 MLB Spring Training is wrapping up and the long awaited season is nearly underway.  Stars from every team have given fans a preview of the season, and some ballclubs are more prepared than ever before.  

The San Diego Padres acquired some new high-profile pitchers, including Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, and Blake Snell.  They also signed a 14 year extension with shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr., one of the new young faces of baseball.  

North of San Diego lie the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers who broke their 32 year championship drought by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in six games last October, and are hungry for more.  They signed Trevor Bauer, the 2020 NL CY Young award winner, to a three year, $102 million contract.  The acquisition makes the team one of the most dangerous in the sport, and a serious contender in the upcoming season.  

The baseball teams on the West Coast will be fun to watch, but in the East, there are some teams that are also looking to make a run.

In the NL East, the Mets made many moves, which began with a change in ownership from the Wilpons to billionaire Steve Cohen.  His first move as owner was a blockbuster trade for shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco.  The lopsided deal with the Cleveland Indians puts the Mets in a good position to compete with the reigning National League East champion, the Atlanta Braves.  

The Braves had a quiet offseason, with the exception of re-signing Marcell Ozuna to a four year contract. The club has won the division for three straight years, and Atlanta feels comfortable with its position atop the Mets and Phillies.  

Philly should be at least a contender for the NL East this year with its star-studded lineup.  Over the offseason, catcher J.T. Realmuto signed a five year, $115 million contract, but he isn’t the only noteworthy player that will be playing with the Phillies this year.  Pitcher Aaron Nola will return to the club as their ace. Bryce Harper, Didi Gregorius, Rhys Hoskins, and Zach Wheeler will all contribute to a potential division championship for the Phillies. 

“There is fierce competition in the NL East this year as the Braves, Phillies, and Mets all made major signings over the offseason.  The Braves have been one of the best teams in the league in recent years, but their trip to the postseason won’t be so easy anymore, as the Mets have one of the best pitching rotations in baseball and a sensational lineup.  Both of these teams should partake in the postseason and it will be interesting to see who survives in the east,” said sophomore Dylan Epstein.  

The Yankees have exited the last few posteasons with disappointing defeats, mostly due to their lack of pitching.  Over the winter, General Manager Brian Cashman made some impactful moves to enhance the Yankees rotation and bullpen, including acquiring Darren O’Day, Corey Kluber, and Jameson Taillon.  The pitching staff should also feel confident about their young arms, including Deivi Garcia and Domingo German.  Of course, don’t forget Gerrit Cole, who has sparkled in his Spring Training starts.  

On the offensive front, the club renewed contracts with veterans DJ Lemahieu and Brett Gardner.  Will this be the year the Bronx Bombers return to their championship status?  New Yorkers hope so, but those up North in Toronto have been forming an All-Star lineup for themselves.  

Hyun-Jin Ryu and Steven Matz will carry the bulk of the starting pitching force for the Blue Jays, backed up by Kirby Yates and other young pitchers in the bullpen.  The offense should be rolling for the Jays, starting with newly acquired George Springer, a three time All-Star and a proven postseason performer.  

Bo Bichette looks to follow up his breakout 2020 season (.301 batting average), and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. has high hopes for a breakout season after losing 42 pounds over the winter.  

“I believe that the Toronto Blue Jays will be one of the Yankees top competitors due to their amazing offseason additions like Marcus Semien and George Springer.  All of those stars can battle with the tough pitchers in the league and offense will win their games,” said sophomore Ryan Epstein.  

 After last year’s sixty-game season, the upcoming 162 games are sure to be very different.