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Ball ParksThe highlight of Managers every year.  A day that bring new hope and reshapes teams for years to come.  Championships can be won this day or a team can be set back with but a couple of bad picks. 

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STANDINGS


WESTWLWPGB
47180.7230.0
36290.55411.0
31340.47716.0
24410.36923.0
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38270.5850.0
34310.5234.0
31340.4777.0
30350.4628.0
CENTRALWLWPGB
38270.5850.0
36290.5542.0
34310.5234.0
26390.40012.0
EASTWLWPGB
32330.4920.0
30350.4622.0
29360.4463.0
24410.3698.0




NEWS


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Midwest Division Preview

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Last year: 77-85,4th Place

Trade/Draft Additions:  Kodai Senga, Henry Davis, Brayan Rocchio, Miguel Rojas, Michael Grove, Orlando Arcia, Sonny Gray

Trade Departures:  Bo Naylor, Josh Naylor, Christopher Morel

After a disappointing 2023 the Dodgers are back and ready to challenge for the division title.  Manager Toth has brought in reinforcements to the starting pitching staff in the form of Sonny Gray and Kodai Senga to team up with Dodger veterans Shohei Ohtani, Clayton Kershaw, and Nathan Eovaldi.  This should be one of the better rotations in the league.  The bullpen is sufficient led by closer Camilo Doval.

You can bet the Dodgers offense scores plenty of runs this year led by Shohei Ohtani.  Juan Soto, Kyle Tucker, Cody Bellinger, and Corbin Carroll are featured in one of the best outfields in the league.  The infield is should provide defensive consistency along with average offensive production 

Most likely scenario: Although off to a slow start, the Dodgers recover and take the division.  Manager Toth gambles at the deadline and brings in a couple extra pieces and they make a run to the World Series.

Predicted record: 97-65, 1st place

2. Chicago Cubs

Last year: 92-70, 2nd place

Trade/Draft Additions:  Johan Rojas, Jordan Wicks, Mason Miller, Joey Brito, Julian Merryweather, Hoby Milner, Alexander Canario, Parker Meadows, Seth Lugo, Bryce Elder, Elias Diaz, Justin Turner, Logan O’hoppe, Ian Happ, Bo Naylor, Josh Naylor, Christopher Morel

Trade Departures:  Charlie Morton, Jose Quintana, Keegan Thompson, Nestor Cortes, Mike Tauchman, Wilson Contreras, Marcus Semien, Sonny Gray

The Cubs were one of the most active teams in the offseason.  Through their many trades and draft picks, they have been able to add picks and veterans that will lead them to the playoffs again.  The pitching staff is the strength of the team led by Brandon Woodruff, Tyler Glasnow and Bailey Ober.  The bullpen is one of the better ones in the league led by Devon Williams.

The Cubs infield is also strong led by Austin Riley and Josh Naylor on the corners.  1 ranged Nico Hoerner mans the shortstop position while the resurgent Gleyber Torres is at second.  In the outfield, manager Blewett 1 ranged Johan Rojas takes up the centerfield spot flanked by a combination of Ian Happ, Brandon Nimmo, Alex Verdugo, and Christopher Morel. 

Most likely scenario: The Cubs have another solid season, but can’t produce quite enough offense to take the division.

Predicted record: 90-72, 2nd Place

3. Cleveland Indians

Last year:  93-69, 1st place in division

Trade/Draft Additions:  Tanner Bibee, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Zack Gelof, Taj Bradley, Heston Kjerstad, Marco Luciano, Ronny Mauricio, Abner Uribe

Trade Departures:  None

The defending division champ Indians were fairly quiet in the offseason.  The team has had a plethora of high draft picks and the quality shows on the overall roster.  This years version of the team features Adley Rutchsman at Catcher along with Matt Chapman, Wander Franco, Zack Gelof, and Yandy Diaz in the infield.  In the outfield, Michael Harris holds down center field with a combination of Steven Kwan, Josh Lowe, and Matt Wallner in LF and RF.  Francisco Alvarez, Kebryan Hayes, and Christian Encarnacian-Strand provide bench strength.  The rotation is solid with Tarik Skubal and first round pick Tanner Bibee taking the top positions.  The Bullpen is average and led by closer Alexis Diaz.

Most likely scenario:  Given the amount of young depth on this team, Manager Thome could easily trade a couple of pieces for upgrades.  However, I expect the Indians to trade for draft picks at the deadline and try to load up on more young talent in the draft.

Predicted record: 85-77, 3rd Place

4. Texas Rangers

Last year: 81-81, 3rd  place in division

Trade/Draft Additions:  Edouard Julien, Sal Frelick, Ceddanne Rafaela, Austin Wells, Jonathan Aranda,

Trade Departures:  None

The Rangers have declined in win totals every year since their last division title in 2021.  Although some reinforcements have been brought in, I would expect that trend to continue in 2024.  This team still has some star power behind Mike Trout, Max Fried, and Corbin Burnes. Charlie Blackmon is also still around, however his production continues to decline as he ages.  In the infield, the Rangers have two of the best young shortstops in Ezequiel Tovar and CJ Abrams to go along with draft pick Edouard Julien and veterans Ty France, Ezequiel Duran, and Tom Murphy.  After Burnes and Fried, lefties Cole Ragans, Chris Sale, and righty Shane Bieber round out the rotation.  The bullpen is solid led by closer Evan Phillips.

Most likely scenario:  Manager Tony watches the box scores closely. By the deadline, he makes the difficult decision to trade off a few starters for future draft picks to try to jump start the rebuilding process.

Predicted record: 70-92, 4th place



5/5/2024
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