NL West is expected to be top division as Padres, Dodgers are teams to beat
by luke servello, staff writer
This MLB offseason wasn’t the most exciting, but a few trades altered the landscape of the league heading into the 2021 season.
The league as a whole is deep this year, and a number of teams can make a run at October glory. Here are my top five teams heading into the 2021 season
5. The Chicago White Sox
There is no doubt that the White Sox are the team to watch this year in the Windy City after the Cubs decided to basically enter a partial rebuild.
However, this is more about the talented lineup the South Siders are bringing back and less about whom they acquired in the offseason.
Sure, Lance Lynn was a nice addition and will be a good number three or four starter for them.
But Eloy Jimenzez, Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson are all guys who could represent the American League in the All-Star Game. I think there’s a real chance 2018 first-round pick Nick Madrigal breaks onto the scene in a big way.
Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel are a heck of a one-two punch at the top of their rotation. No matter how you slice it, this is a good team top to bottom.
4. New York Yankees
Jameson Taillon was one of the more underrated pickups in the offseason.
The Yankees pitching has famously struggled in the postseason in recent years, so having another solid starter at their disposal is big for them.
However, Taillon is far from a sure thing, as he is coming off of his second Tommy John surgery.
Same goes for their other starting pitching acquisition Corey Kluber, who pitched just eight games in the last two seasons combined.
The Yankees’ talented lineup puts them in the top five, but their starting pitchers needs to stay healthy in order for championship No. 28 to come to the Bronx.
3. Atlanta Braves
The Braves are basically running back a team that reached Game 7 of the American League Championship Series last year. Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna are both legitimate MVP candidates.
Freeman could become the first player to repeat as MVP in either league since Miguel Cabrera did it in 2012-2013 with the Tigers.
Charlie Morton is also a nice addition to the rotation and should provide good depth as well as veteran leadership.
2. San Diego Padres
Make no mistake about it, the San Diego Padres won the offseason by adding Joe Musgrove, 2020 Cy Young finalist Yu Darvish and 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell.
Their lineup is young and loaded with Fernando Tatis, Trent Grisham and Manny Machado all poised for big years, among others.
The Dodgers will be a tough team for them to get through, but the Padres could easily win the whole thing.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
During the offseason, the rich got richer. Trevor Bauer was probably the hottest free agent commodity this offseason, and the World Series champs went out and got him.
Not to mention the Dodgers bring back virtually their entire lineup and get David Price back after he opted out of the 2020 season.
Between aces Walker Buehler and Trevor Bauer, I fully expect the NL Cy Young winner to be a Los Angeles Dodger.
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