Opening Day Blog

Photo courtesy of Department of Defense

Photo courtesy of Department of Defense

Isaac Gomez, Staff Reporter

The jets flying overhead, a sold-out crowd, and the banners being raised. Opening Day is truly magnificent. Everyone wonders how well their team will do, all hoping for the same outcome: a World Series championship ring.

I’ll be talking about the teams in the Midwest, the teams that are close to Iowa. Giving my predictions for their seasons, updates, and my thoughts about MLB news.

I’ll first talk about the highly popular Chicago Cubs. Last year they were able to win the division by six games which was eleven and a half games less than 2016. For the most part, they were in second place before the all-star break, but they were able to pull through and win the division for the second straight year. When they made it to the playoffs they just couldn’t match up against the Dodgers; they just weren’t playing well in the NLCS.

This year I see them either winning the division by one or two games or getting into the Wild Card. The Brewers are a strong and competitive team that shouldn’t be taken lightly. With the addition of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, the Brewers are ready to compete against the Cubs. With the Cubs losing Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester getting older, and not signing Wade Davis; I don’t see them being as dominant as years past.

The Minnesota Twins came out of nowhere last year. They went from a 100 loss season in 2016 to an 85 win season and the second wild-card spot. This year I see them getting either the first or second Wild Card spot. The Indians will still dominate the AL Central, leaving the  Twins to get the Wild Card. Former Kernel, Byron Buxton, is a speedy defensive center fielder will need to have a good year. Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano will provide the power in the lineup and Buxton will have to even out the lineup. The Twins were able to pick up Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb who should definitely help with their pitching. With Ervin Santana and the young Jose Berrios, Alex Cobb will be a perfect fit.

The AL Central isn’t a strong division, with three out of the five teams in the middle or beginning of a rebuild, this is the perfect opportunity for the Twins to take a division title or secure a Wild Card spot.

Now moving to the Royals, my team, they had a memorable run, and that will forever be in our minds. Ever since we resigned Alex Gordon, he has had horrendous hitting numbers. Sure his defense is one of the best in the league, but he needs to have a good hitting year. Which also applies to Jorge Soler, who was traded from the Cubs for Wade Davis last season, which hasn’t benefited us at all. I believe if they had kept Wade Davis, they would’ve made it to the Wild Card. Their bullpen is worse than last year. Kelvin Herrera has assumed the role of the closer again even though last year he struggled as a closer. And the starting rotation is hoping for a bounce-back year, and hoping Jakob Junis has a similar or better year from last year. Ian Kennedy was looking sharp in Spring Training and everyone is hoping that he carries that through the season.

With the addition of Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, and signing Mike Moustakas, they definitely balance out the lefty-righty ratio. They aren’t very expensive players but, they are still reliable hitters. They looked good in Spring training too; they hit for power and contact. Whit Merrifield in my opinion is one of the best all around players. He hit nineteen home runs while stealing a league leading 34 bases. He also has a good glove and can play in the outfield and infield. He hit .288 and was a strong leadoff hitter. I’m hoping he is able to have an even better year, and hoping Mike Moustakas can also have the same power as last year where he broke the team record for home runs (38).  I don’t think the Royals get enough credit, many people have said they will have a ninety loss season but I see them having a .500 record.

The Chicago White Sox’s future is already playing, now it’s just a matter of when they are going to compete. With the trade of Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox for the number one prospect (Yoan Moncada). They have other young prospects and now they just need to wait for them to adjust to the big leagues. There is no rush for them, with the Indians and Twins in their prime by the time the White Sox are ready to compete, the Indians and Twins will probably be past their prime.

They are hoping that Jose Abreu will continue to crush it in the big leagues. He definitely doesn’t get enough attention but that guy can down right rake! He can be someone for the young players to look up too because in four years he has batted over .300 for two of the four. And the other years he batted .293 and .290.

The Cardinals are in an interesting position, I don’t know if they are able to compete with the Brewers and Cubs but I think they are able to compete for the Wild Card. With the addition of Marcell Ozuna and Greg Holland, I feel like they are fully in it. Rather than being half in and half out, I think they have made enough moves to show their fan base that they are in it to win it. But I don’t know we’ll their starting rotation will do, their ace Carlos Martinez will have to carry the staff. With the addition of Holland that means they sent their top prospect Alex Reyes to the sixty day disabled list.

With Jose Martinez emerging into an all star, I feel like their lineup can be good, not as good as the Cubs or Brewers but it’s good enough for them to compete with other teams.

Now the grind begins for all the players who all have the same goal but only one team can win it. The best of the best will compete for the MVP and Cy Young award, and the up and coming stars will fight for the Rookie of the Year award. Defensive specialist will show their hard work with the Gold Glove award and the true defensive players will show their work with the Platinum Glove Award.

This season is already proving to be a very interesting year with wacky stories and plays. Now we just sit back and watch the best sport in the world for 162 days.