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MLB 2019 Season: Questions of the Future

avoiding elimination game drama

With Opening Day only three weeks away, fans and experts await the 2019 season of Major League Baseball. Spring Training will become a vital stage for all 30 franchises to test their 40-man rosters. It will also reveal what still needs work versus what will take care of itself with no problem. As with every season, there will be teams who have a tougher road ahead than others. But how they address these problems from here on out will carry over when the lights shine brighter.

2019 Season Questions: Will it Be Enough?

The headlines of this past offseason were all about the long-term deals. But not every big-time signing has fared well.

Manny Machado to San Diego: 10-year, $300M
2019 Season
Image Courtesy of sports.yahoo.com

Both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper have captured the attention of the baseball world as they dealt with free agency. Machado was the first to find a home for the 2019 season, in San Diego. Though the ticket sales will skyrocket, the Padres still have a lot of work to do. San Diego’s last outing was nothing short of depressing, with a 66-96 record and a lackluster offense. Their pitching and defense were nothing to write home about either. Yes, Machado can help with a lot of problems plaguing the Padres. But it all depends on if he’s willing to learn and become a team player.

Bryce Harper to Philadelphia: 13-year, $330M
2019 Season
Phillies reportedly set to make next move in Bryce Harper sweepstakes with face-to-face meeting. Image Courtesy of NBC Sports

Philadelphia has landed on everyone’s radar for the 2019 season. Bringing big acquisitions, like Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura, many are looking at the Phillies as the early NL East winners. Now Bryce Harper, their biggest signing, comes into 2019 with a World Series in mind, as does the rest of Philly. The current Home Run Derby king will bring a much-needed big bat to the Phillies. He also has McCutchen in the outfield with him, so he may be able to ramp up his prowess as a fellow outfielder. Hopefully, manager Gabe Kapler can steer this ship to not only a winning season, but also a playoff contender.

Nolan Arenado stays in Colorado: 8-year, $260M extension 
2019 Season
Arenado is poised to go down as one of the greats at third. (statliners.com)

The heartbeat of the Rockies team will not see free agency just yet. Nolan Arenado will be staying in Colorado just as things are now heading in the right direction. With their playoff runs getting deeper and deeper, the Rockies are becoming one of the teams to beat in the 2019 season. Hopefully, breakthrough players, Kyle Freeland and Trevor Story can replicate their 2018 success and more players follow suit in stepping up in the next campaign. Plus, they will have to take the fight to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West.

2019 Season Questions: Injuries a Concern?

2019 MLB Season
Salvador Perez behind the dish in 2017. (John Rieger, USA Today Sports)

New York Yankees pticher, Luis Severino, is currently dealing with a shoulder injury. Though New York’s best ace is down for the count, for now, there is no need to reach for the panic button at this point in time. The Yankees still have a formidable pitching staff, especially in the relief department. They just need to sign a free agent starter or make a trade to compensate. But they should get to work on getting least one more starting pitcher soon before another team beats them to the punch.

The Kansas City Royals, however, are certainly not as fortunate. Their star catcher, Salvador Perez, will not hit the field in the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. Along with the sharp decline since their 2015 World Series run, the Royals will have to construct a rebound season without their best player. Is the Royals’ season over before it can even begin? Too soon to call, but it may very well be even bumpier than last season.

2019 Season Questions: Slump or Stardom?

Two of many young faces that garnered attention from the league ended their debut seasons as MLB’s Rookies of the Year.

2019 Season
Shohei Ohtani (Image Courtesy of USA Today FTW)

The AL winner, Shohei Ohtani, took the league by storm last season. LA Angels stood in awe at his abilities to pitch, bat, and field. The Los Angeles Angles ought to use Ohtani wisely and burn out the young player so quickly. A rare talent should be more a long term investment than a short term one. If approached and paced correctly, Shohei could be a superstar for the Halos for years to come.

Meanwhile, NL winner, Ronald Acuna Jr. is looking to finish what he started in 2018. Acuna finished the last outing with a .293 batting average (second among NL Rookies), along 26 home runs (best among NL Rookies) and 64 RBI’s (third among NL Rookies). As the Atlanta Braves look to defend their division pennant, Acuna will be a vital role in this goal. As long as the young outfielder continues to learn, stardom is almost certain for him.

 

Featured image courtesy of USA TODAY Sports
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