As baseball returns this year, we are looking for all sorts of big plays. Who will be the first person to hit for the cycle? Or who will pitch the first no-hitter? This year may be one of the most exciting years in baseball. Big headlines have already been made just several games into the season. Here are just a few of them…
Jason Heyward's Rookie Year
Heyward has already been discussed as a one of baseballs biggest prospects of all time, with Hall of Famer Hank Aaron saying that, “Baseball needs Heyward.” Many experts have also said that Heyward could have a potential breakout season. “Heyward could be great on both sides of the ball,” says ESPN analyst Keith Law. I personally agree with Law, but at the same time I think the main focus on Heyward will be his hitting ability. Already this season, Heyward has shown a great display of power and contact hitting. Most surprising was Heyward’s opening day home run against one of the more talented pitchers in the NL, Carlos Zambrano. In my opinion, Heyward will bring in a good number of RBI’s, but he’s probably not going to hit better than .285 as the season moves along.
The Wild NL West
This year the NL West looks like it has several teams who could possibly win the division. The defending division champs from last year, the L.A. Dodgers will have to fight for their title against the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks, (sorry Padres fans, there is always next year!) Each of the teams that I listed has something special about them. The Giants have a great pitching staff with “Tiny Tim” Lincecum and Matt Cain. The Rockies have a great offensive team with an array of power and speed with players ranging from Todd Helton to Troy Tulowitzki. The Diamondbacks are a team on the rise with some great players such as pitcher Dan Haren and outfielder Justin Upton. In my opinion, the NL West will be the second-hardest division to win, right behind the AL East. My pick to win the NL West is the Giants. With Lincecum leading one of the best rotations in baseball, along with power hitters such as the “Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval, the Giants have the advantage over the Dodgers.
Playoff predictions Picking the playoff teams for this year was extremely challenging…
1. New York Yankees
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card)
I know it’s a bit strange that I would pick the Rays over the Boston Red Sox for the Wild Card. However, I think the Rays will play much better than they did last year and surprise most of us.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. San Francisco Giants
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Colorado Rockies (Wild Card)
For the NL Wild Card spot, I thought the Rockies would reach the playoffs. With players o such as Ian Stewart and Ubaldo Jimenez on the rise, I think that they have a solid chance to make the playoffs again under 2009 Manager of the Year Jim Tracy.
I think this year will be one of baseball’s best. 2010 has already been filled with exciting games and there are a lot more to come!