Parker’s Sports Corner: MLB Preview


The MLB season is already underway with the Padres vs. Dodgers series in Seoul, South Korea last week. Like I did at the start of the NBA season, I will be giving you eight things to watch for in the 2024 MLB season.

  • Can the Phillies Repeat the Magic yet again?

Like their division rivals in Atlanta, the Phillies had similar seasons the past two years. Both years included being 10 games below .500 in June, before turning that into a hot second half that catapulted them into a wild-card spot. In 2022, they upset their way to the World Series and finally got cold against Houston. In 2023, they got their way to the NLCS before getting cold against an underdog Diamondbacks team. Can they afford another cold start before turning it around in the second half and this time ending with a championship? Or will their early season struggles finally catch up with them?

  • The Reds’ Young Core

The Cincinnati Reds narrowly missed the playoffs last season, going 82-80 and missing the third wild card spot by just four games. This was mostly on the back of an exceptional core of rookies like Elly de la Cruz, Spencer Steer and Matt Mclain. Hopefully, this young core can avoid a collective sophomore slump and compete for an NL Central title.

  • The New-look Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers spent a record $944 million in free agency this off-season, more than double that of the next highest-spending team. Most of this was spent on acquiring Japanese superstars Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, as well as Tyler Glasnow from the Rays. These signings only adds to the Dodger’s star-studded core including Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts and Clayton Kershaw, making the Dodgers must-see T.V. every night. It will be interesting to watch how Yamamoto fairs after getting paid $300 million before throwing a single pitch in the MLB and if Glasnow can stay healthy for a full season for the third time in his nine-year career.

  • Can the Diamondbacks get back to the World Series?

The Diamondbacks have shown this off-season that they’re serious about getting back to the World Series for a second straight season. They built upon their hot October and promising core by signing players like Eugenio Suarez, Eduardo Rodriguez and Joc Pederson, while also re-signing a key piece in Lourdes Gurriel Jr. We’ll see if these moves can push them past teams like the Dodgers and Phillies once again.

  • Who will come out of nowhere for the Rays?

Last season, the Tampa Bay Rays won 99 games despite injuries to their top two pitchers, Tyler Glasnow and Shane McClanahan, as well as a seemingly career-ending scandal with their best position player, Wander Franco. This was on the back of career years from Yandy Diaz, Isaac Paredes and Zach Eflin. These are by no means household names, but this is what the Rays do every year — they take a group of players you’ve never heard of and turn them into an overperforming group that competes for an AL East title. The Rays always pull someone out of their hat, and this year should be no exception.

  • The Yankees

The Yankees are the biggest brand in baseball by a wide margin, and they have two world-class superstars: Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole. What makes them particularly compelling this year is their addition of Juan Soto, a former World Series champion and one of the best young players in the sport. This contract places significant pressure on the Yanks given Soto is on a one-year deal and may go elsewhere next offseason if the Yankees’ season doesn’t go according to plan.

  • The Orioles Young Core

Like the Reds, the Baltimore Orioles have a fantastic young core. They’re led by Gunnar Henderson, Kyle Bradish, and of course, Adley Rutschman, who is arguably the best catcher in baseball despite being a rookie last season. They won 101 games last season and the AL East division title over more veteran teams like the Rays, Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. The Orioles also have more young talent coming, as they still have the number one ranked farm system in baseball. This includes phenom Jackson Holliday, the number-one pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. Baltimore should be a treat to watch for years to come, especially after trading for one of the best pitchers in baseball in the offseason, Corbin Burnes.

  • Can the Rangers Repeat?

No team has repeated as a World Series champion since the Yankees in 2000, but the Rangers could be the next team to do it. They arguably have the best lineup, complemented by one of the best rotations in the MLB (especially if they’re able to resign free agent Jordan Montgomery). They even took home the trophy last year without pitchers Jacob Degrom and Martin Perez, so if they’re healthy and Montgomery is resigned, pairing these three with Nathan Eovaldi and Max Scherzer could give the Rangers a solid chance of repeat victory.

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