The 2012 Major League Baseball season is underway, with opening games taking place in Tokyo, Japan before we get into full swing stateside this coming week. There have been a lot of changes this year, especially with several big, MVP candidate level players changing teams and shaking things up a bit. The power corridor of the last decade between Philadelphia, New York and Boston doesn’t look as frightening as it once did, with big moves coming out of Los Angeles and Detroit, and with the Texas Rangers still tasting blood, the American League is more wide open than ever.
For most fans of baseball not from New York, it comes down to beating the Yankees. Pedigree and history don’t count for anything in this day and age, and the Yankees aren’t winning anything this year – except maybe a nice gift pack from AARP – this team is old!
Derek Jeter is 38, Mariano Rivera is 42, A Rod is 37. Mark Texeira is entering his mid 30′s. I don’t know how old Joba Chamberlain is, but he sure is fat!
For my part, the team that improved the most is the Los Angeles, Anaheim Angels. Anytime you can add a player like an Albert Pujols, who batted .299 with 27 homers and 99 RBIs in what was statistically his worse year, you have given your ballclub a chance to compete. Pujols will likely be the MVP if he returns to form, adding an AL MVP to the three NL one’s already on his mantle.
The Detroit Tigers went for the same strategy, adding slugger Prince Fielder to the middle of their lineup. Fielder is also an MVP candidate, and his is 5 years younger than Pujols, however his numbers are just a notch below Pujols, and that stadium up in Detroit is not friendly to hitters like Fielder.
The two best teams heading into the season, and my prediction for the 2012 World Series sees the Texas Rangers return for their third world series in a row, this time to face off against the Philadelphia Phillies. Texas is hoping for a little of the hype around Yu Darvish to come to fruition and put them over the top, but the bottom line is Philadelphia has better pitching. Barring the injury bug tearing up some of the talent, it will be the Philadelphia Phillies that win it all based on them having the strongest pitching in MLB. Enjoy the season!