By Steven Urena
Hop on The Urena Express for the pre-Spring Training rankings…
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Whether you are a Dodgers fan, Giants fan, or Padres fan there is no denying the depth, talent, and versatility of the 2021 group. This starting rotation is impressive.
- New York Yankees: Gerrite Cole is ready to make a run at his first Cy Young award. You can expect Cole to give you a really good chance to win every time he takes the mound. The supporting cast isn’t bad either. Jameson Taillon, Corey Kluber, and Luis Severiano are all capable of having great bounce back years. If this rotation is hot, watch out.
- Washington Nationals: I really like the Nats starting rotation. Do they jump out of the page? No, but in baseball I love consistency. They have two flamethrowers in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg and two crafty lefties in Patrick Corbin and Jon Lester (yes, that Jon Lester who I still believe has another good year in him).
- San Diego Padres: Why not? If their horses fire on all cylinders they are going to give the Dodgers and the rest of the MLB a run for their money. Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Dinelson Lamet look to follow up dominant seasons. Chris Paddack and Joe Musgrove are at the back of the rotation but very capable of giving the Padres a chance to win every game they start.
- New York Mets: Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaad can be scary in the playoffs. New York is the city that never sleeps so don’t you dare sleep on this Mets team.
- Los Angeles Dodgers: You didn’t think I would put someone else at #1 did you? Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, AJ Pollock, Will Smith, Gavin Lux and two great bats off the bench in Edwin Rios and Chris Taylor. BOOM.
- New York Yankees: If the injury bug does not visit the Bronx Bombers this year, this lineup can be a nightmare. I like DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Standon, Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez. There are a lot of tough outs there and a lot of pop.
- Toronto Blue Jays: Call me crazy but I like this lineup. The Jays already featured young studs in Bo Bichette, Vlad Guerrero Jr, and Cavan Biggio. In the offseason, the Jays added George Springer and Marcus Semien. This lineup features power, speed, and lots of potential.
- Three teams will duke it out for the fourth spot: San Diego Padres, New York Mets, and the Houston Astros. All three teams have the star power. All three teams possess a well balanced attack. All three teams are right up there with the best. They need a little more depth and they need their young stars to breakout.
- Los Angeles Dodgers: No brainer.
- New York Yankees: Yes, I do believe the Yanks are the second best team in baseball. The Yanks underachieved last year and are out for blood this year.
- Upset in the NL: Padres, Mets, or Nationals. Anything can happen. That’s the beauty of baseball. The playoffs in the NL will be a dogfight.
- Upset in the AL: Twins or Astros. I don’t see the Yankees losing the AL pennant. The Twins have a chance because, as far as talent goes, they are right behind the Yankees. The Astros have a chance because they have experience and they have a garbage can sized chip on their shoulder.
Best Players heading into 2021
- Pitchers: Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom, Shane Bieber, Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer, Luis Castillo, Clayton Kershaw, Aaron Nola, Lucas Giolito, Jack Flaherty.
- Infield: Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Jose Ramirez, Fernando Tatis Jr (sorry, a 143 game career is not enough for me to put him at #1), Jose Abreu, Freddie Freeman, DJ LeMahieu, Pete Alonso.
- Outfield: Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna Jr., Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, George Springer, Marcell Ozuna.
Individual Player Awards
- NL MVP: Juan Soto
- AL MVP: Mike Trout
- NL Cy Young: Walker Buehler
- AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole
- NL ROY: Ian Anderson
- AL ROY: Nick Madrigal
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