MLB Spring Training Underway

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After long months of patiently waiting, MLB is finally returning, but how will Covid-19 affect the season?

Ryan W. and Ryan A.

After five long months of eagerly waiting for MLB to return, fans are finally able to enjoy the game of baseball. MLB officials were still deciding whether or not they should delay the season for another month. Even the Biden administration pitched in, suggesting a one-month delay for the season while getting players vaccinated in time for opening day.” However, the Major League Baseball Association was opposed to this, and Spring Training will begin February 27 as originally planned.

With the MLB coming soon, many fans are wondering how this season will pan out compared to others, and which team is favored for a 2021 World Series run. With only a few days left until Spring Training, players have already reported in anticipation of a fun and exciting season. 

The Blue Jays, Padres, Yankees, Dodgers, and Mets are most confident going into 2021, all having had a successful offseason by signing some tremendous players. In contrast, 2020 winners like the Athletics, Astros, and Rays are projected to have a rough year, having lost valuable players through free agency. 

The Dodgers, a powerhouse in Major League Baseball for years, added to their riches by signing Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer to a three-year $102 million dollar deal that should solidify their pitching staff for years to come.

Many fans are ecstatic for the year, but it may not meet expectations. With Covid-19 still at the center of the sporting world, it could again affect the upcoming season. However, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that teams “should be preparing to start on time,” according to Bleed Cubbie Blue.

Another argument concerns whether fans will be allowed to attend games and cheer on their favorite teams. According to Bleed Cubbie Blue, Commissioner Manfred is “planning to allow fans to attend games.” However, there is no telling what the spread of the virus may do to the fans, players, and staff. One superspreader event could delay the season. So, how will Major League Baseball prevent a chain of positive tests?

Despite the concern, fans are also curious which teams have the best shot at winning the World Series. Let’s take a look.

(The Biden Administration suggested) a one-month delay for the season while getting players vaccinated in time for opening day.”

— Jack Baer

Los Angeles Dodgers: After winning the 2020 World Series, they’ve secured their spot on this list, but they soared past everyone after signing Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer from the Reds. With an improved pitching staff and their tremendous hitting, they are undoubtedly the favorite to win the World Series once again.

San Diego Padres: By signing several key pitchers, such as former Cy Young winner Blake Snell, along with the outstanding Yu Darvish, the Padres have now aligned themselves with the best of the west. The only thing that may stop them is playing among their divisional rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. With two of the best teams in the same division, it’s hard to identify which team will win the National League West, let alone the World Series.

New York Yankees: The Yankees have been one of the best teams in baseball for over a century and are always finding a way to compete. They will be even better with some of the players they signed, including former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. Hampered by injuries, they have struggled in recent years, but the Yankees finally added some depth to their roster, so they are less affected by injuries. However, they also have one of the toughest divisions in baseball, with the up-and-coming Toronto Blue Jays and the underdog Tampa Bay Rays.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays are one of the most promising teams in baseball, and are only getting better after having an amazing offseason. The Jays have fielded decent squads over the past decade, but none compare to this year’s assembled talent. With a respectable pitching staff and tremendous hitting, they’ve become World Series contenders. However, they have a young roster and may need more experience before they are ready to compete with the best.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves have been a fairly good team over the past few years and had a great playoff run in 2020. They fought hard but lost to the Dodgers in seven games. Many fans anticipate a down year, as they lost talent to free agency. Yet, they were able to re-sign most of their core including star Charlie Morton, allowing fans to hope for a World Series run in 2021. 

Chicago White Sox: After years of rebuilding, the Sox have finally assembled a dream team. The pickup of star pitcher Lance Lynn at the beginning of the offseason provided them with pitching that could make the Sox World Series contenders. They are one of the youngest and most promising rosters, with top prospects like Nick Madrigal, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez. On top of this, they also hired Hall Of Fame manager Tony La Russa. 

Other teams like the Cardinals, Mets, Indians, and Twins are also expected to make the playoffs, though they are a few moves away from being among the top tier of MLB teams.

Baseball fans around the world are looking forward to a season unmarred by Covid-19, and hope that their favorite team just might take home the 2021 Commissioner’s Trophy.