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Baseball is back with superstars in different places

By Travis Politakis

After a long and eventful offseason, the 2019 MLB regular season is here. The offseason was full of superstars finding new homes such as shortstop Manny Machado and right fielder Bryce Harper.

Players like Mike Trout signed record breaking deals with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reaching up to $426.5 million. Fans will finally be able to see if these players live up to the hype.

The 2019 season will also feature powerhouse teams like the 2018 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers being among the league’s best. Teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers are expected to pose as contenders with newly added players and young generational talent.

The Red Sox have the best odds at +600 to repeat as World Series Champions in 2019 and there is no reason the believe that they will regress in 2019. The Red Sox lineup is stacked with elite hitters such as reigning MVP Mookie Betts. The right fielder batted .346 in 2018 with 32 home runs and 80 runs batted in, earning himself an All-Star Game bid and an MVP trophy.

The Red Sox also have big time talent in their lineup such as JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. Boston’s pitching staff is among baseball’s best with ace Chris Sale who pitched his way to a 2018 All-Star bid with a 2.11 ERA and a 12-4 record. Boston has experienced talent to go along with Sale on the pitching staff such as David Price, Matt Barnes and Rick Porcello who helped Boston earn a World Series title in 2018.

Another American League team that can make a run for the World Series in 2019 is the Houston Astros. The Astros are hungry for revenge after getting knocked off last season by the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. The Astros won the World Series in 2017 and were looking to repeat as champions before getting eliminated by Boston. Astros third baseman is eager to get another shot at Boston.

“After watching the Patriots win and with the Red Sox beating us last year, there’s no other city that I would like to beat more this year than Boston,” said Bregman.

The Astros are a very talented team with superstars such as Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and Justin Verlander who all earned a trip to the All-Star Game in 2018.

Springer has established himself as one of the best outfielders in baseball, hitting .265 with 22 home runs and 71 runs batted in during the 2018 season. Altuve is still playing at an elite level, batting .316 with 13 home runs and 61 runs batted in during the 2018 season. Houston also has one of the best pitching staffs in baseball consisting of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Lance McCullers. Houston has the second best odds to win it all in 2019.

A new team that will be on the winning side of things in 2019 is the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies showed flashes in 2018, before an epic collapse in September finishing with an 80-82 record. The Phillies however, added the biggest name in baseball of Feb. 28. The Phillies signed superstar right fielder Bryce Harper to a 13 year $330 million dollar contract.

Harper is a four time All-Star, a 2015 MVP, a home run derby champion and a rookie of the year. Harper brings a big bat to the Phillies lineup and is a franchise piece for Philly.

“It certainly is a franchise altering move for the organization. Adding him to this lineup with Rhys, Cutch, Segura and Oduber Herrera will make us a hard team to beat,” said Phillies manager Gabe Kapler in a postgame interview on Feb. 28.\

Harper brings excitement to the city of Philadelphia. Ticket sales have gone up exponentially, merchandise sales have been at an all time high and the city of Philadelphia is buzzing. The Phillies even sold out spring training tickets.

Other than Harper, the Phillies have very talented pieces. During the offseason, the Phillies also acquired All-Stars JT Realmuto, Jean Segura, David Robertson and Andrew McCutchen who bring leadership, hitting and tremendous gloves in the field.

First baseman Rhys Hoskins is also expected to have a big year as he provides a big bat behind Harper in the lineup. Philadelphia also has an outstanding pitching rotation with All-Star Aaron Nola, former World Series Champion Jake Arrieta and experienced pitchers such as Nick Pivetta and Zach Eflin. It will be interesting to see how Philly does with the new look lineup.

Another team who can do some damage in 2019 is the New York Yankees. The Yankees are a franchise with a winning history and they most certainly can live up to the expectation in 2019. The Yankees have the most powerful hitters in the league with All-Star outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, both of which have won home run derby’s in their career.

Judge batted .278 with 27 home runs and 67 runs batted in, leading him to his second career All-Star game in 2018. Stanton also hit for a .266 batting average and a mammoth 38 home runs.

The Yankees are also talented in the infield with Greg Bird, Luke Voit, Didi Gregorius and newly acquired Troy Tulowitzki, who is a former All-Star. New York also has a solid pitching staff with All-Star Luis Severino and CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka.

The Yankees massively upgraded their bullpen in the 2018 offseason adding elite talent such as Adam Ottavino, James Paxton and Zack Britton to go along with Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances. The Yankees look to knock off historic their rival Boston Red Sox in 2019 and win another title.

Travis Politakis can be reached at travis.politakis@theminaretonline.com

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