The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

MLB Heats up With Season on Deck

AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall

As spring begins to bloom around the country, the 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams have begun their spring training in Arizona and Florida in preparation for 2024 Opening Week. Games start on March 21 in Seoul, South Korea, with the first ever Seoul Series between the Dodgers and Padres. The rest of the 30 Major League teams will kick their season off a week later on March 28, and there seems to be many marquee matchups throughout opening weekend. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the clear-cut World Series favorite, due to their acquisitions of superstar and reigning MVP Shohei Ohtani as well as fellow Japanese phenom pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who will likely make his MLB debut in Seoul. The Dodgers will look to make a deep run with the most talented roster in the sport, hoping to win a second World Series in four years. Though Ohtani cannot pitch in 2024 as he recovers from a Tommy John UCL surgery, he will be a crucial piece of a high-powered offense, next to former MVPs Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts.

The Dodgers will face the San Diego Padres, who are looking to build off a lackluster 2023 season that saw high expectations after a deep playoff run in 2022. The Padres will look to reload in 2024 after losing superstar Juan Soto to the New York Yankees, but the returning core of Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis Jr., Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish should put them in contention for a Wild Card spot in 2024.

Both the Dodgers and the Padres will have to contend with the young Arizona Diamondbacks, coming off a dream run to the World Series, where Zac Gallen and company finished runner-up to the Texas Rangers. As the rebuild ends and their young stars continue to make waves in the show, the Diamondbacks should return to the MLB playoffs, threatening to make another deep run.

The remaining 28 teams will start their journey through their seven-month season on March 28. The Atlanta Braves, coming off an exceptional 2023 regular season and 2022 World Series, are projected as the second-highest favorite, trailing only the Dodgers. After winning a league-high 104 games in 2023, the Braves, led by reigning MVP Ronald Acuna, Matt Olson and Cy-Young candidate Spencer Strider, will look to get their revenge against the Philadelphia Phillies, who upset them in the 2023 NLDS. The Phillies are expected to grab a Wild Card spot, but it would be a titanic feat for them to topple the Braves and win the division. 

Rounding out the talented NL East division, the New York Mets look to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 postseason and 2023 regular season, where, despite having the highest payroll in the league, they failed to build a playoff roster that could compete with their division rivals. Likewise, the Miami Marlins look to continue their rebuild in hopes of a potential Wild Card spot, due to the expanded playoff format that started in 2023. Viewers should look for Miami to compete with the Mets for the third spot in the NL East and a potential playoff spot.

In the NL Central, the St. Louis Cardinals look to rebound from last year’s disappointing regular season with a trip to the playoffs over the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers, who are close at their heels. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds are rebuilding, with young rosters that have the pieces to stay competitive in the Central. Fans should look for the Cubs or the Cardinals to battle for the division pennant through September.

In the American League, the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers will face stiff competition in the AL West. The Seattle Mariners look poised to return to the playoffs for the second time since 2002 and the Houston Astros have not lost a beat since losing to the Rangers in seven games in the ALCS. The Astros added all-star reliever Josh Hader from the Brewers to a star-studded roster that has reached seven straight championship series, with two World Series in that span. The Astros are expected to keep up their dominance in the West and be one of the best teams in baseball, with the Rangers trailing right behind them. 

The AL East is expected to once again be the best division in baseball, with a strong possibility that all five teams could finish above .500 and compete for the three Wild Card spots. The Yankees added superstar Juan Soto to an outfield that already has former MVP and slugger Aaron Judge, who is looking to rebound from an injury-riddled 2023. The 27-time champions will face a dogfight from the 2023 AL East champion Baltimore Orioles, whose young core — led by Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson — will be one of the best in the league for years to come. Number one prospect Jackson Holliday may make the opening day roster, and, in the offseason, the O’s traded for Brewers’s former ace Corbin Burnes, which bolsters an already-impressive, World Series-caliber roster.

Rounding out the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays each form great teams that have the potential to get hot and make a charge for a Wild Card spot. Three teams from the East made the playoffs last year, and barring any unexpected injuries or poor play, it is likely to happen again in 2024. Fans can expect teams in the east to play meaningful baseball through October. 

Rounding out the American League, is the disappointing the AL Central, which was one of the worst divisions in baseball history in 2023, will likely remain that way this season, with only one team making it to the playoffs. The Minnesota Twins, fresh off of their first playoff win since 2002, are the favorites to repeat in 2024, but the pesky Cleveland Guardians will keep the divisional race close through 162 games.

On paper, the Chicago White Sox have the most talented roster in the division, and one of the best players in all star centerfielder Luis Robert, though injuries and inconsistent play will likely continue to plague them throughout the season. The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers have very young rosters that have the potential to make some noise, and it will be interesting to see if the clubs can sustain success for the entire season.

MLB fans can expect many fireworks from the summer to the fall as the MLB season gets into full swing. The Dodgers and Braves remain heavy favorites through spring training, but anything can happen in baseball once the calendar hits October.

More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Colgate Maroon-News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *