The DeMatha Stagline

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The DeMatha Stagline

The DeMatha Stagline

Students show off some of the awards the brought back to Hyattsville from Myrtle Beach on the 2023 Music Trip.
Music Trip 2024
April 15, 2024

MLB season preview


After an exciting 2023 Major League Baseball season that resulted in the Texas Rangers lifting the Commissioner’s Trophy, the DeMatha community will be looking forward to Opening Day of the 2024 season on Thursday, March 28. Many fans in the DMV are intrigued about what the Orioles can accomplish this season, while simultaneously disgusted at the idea of watching the Nationals for another season. With that, I will give my analysis and standing predictions for the season. 

NL East

1. Atlanta Braves: The Braves are looking to have a repeat from last season. Even though their 104-win season was cut short by the Phillies in the Division Series, they have a lot to look forward to going into next season with Ronald Acuna Jr. coming off an MVP-winning season and acquiring veteran pitcher Chris Sale and outfielder Jarred Kelenic in trades. Oh and did I mention that their entire lineup will be returning? As a squad last season, they smashed a record-setting 307 homers and batted .276, and I’m positive that going into the 2024 season production won’t slow down.

2. Philadelphia Phillies: I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw the Phillies in a similar situation as last year. Even though they did not have any highlighting moves this off-season besides resigning Aaron Nola to a 7-year contract, the team still has guys like Bryce Harper and Trea Turner who can make an impact on any given night.

3. New York Mets: The Mets are an interesting case. They have a load of talent but weren’t able to perform anywhere near what anyone thought they would last year. Steve Cohen wasn’t able to sign any huge names this offseason but brought in some guys like Sean Manaea and Luis Severino to complete their rotation. Harrison Bader is looking to lock down defensively in the outfield and they are going to need bounce-back seasons from several other guys if the team wants to be competitive.

4. Miami Marlins: Miami might have made the playoffs last season but it doesn’t look like the postseason is going to be in the cards for this team coming into the 2024 season. They were pretty much nonexistent in the free agent market and need more depth in the pitching rotation, especially since their ace Sandy Alcantara is going to be out for most of the season due to Tommy John surgery.

5. Washington Nationals: It’s looking like there’s going to be another losing season in Washington. If so, it would be the fifth consecutive losing season for them. This roster last year wasn’t capable of winning and it’s most likely going to be worse this year, especially since the front office made no moves that are going to impact the team’s success. Last year the Nats were 21st in hitting and 27th in pitching overall, and after another poor year from Corbin and the official retirement of Stephen Strasburg, the rotation is in shambles aside from Josiah Gray.

NL Central

1. Chicago Cubs: In such a weak division, I see the Cubs taking the top spot. Although their lineup on paper isn’t the greatest, they brought in Shōta Imanaga from Japan who will most likely lead this rotation with Justin Steele who finished with 16 wins with a 3.06 ERA. With a strong middle infield with Dansby Swanson and Nico Horner, it might come down to the wire in the central late into the season 

2. St. Louis Cardinals: Along with several other teams, the Cardinals had a disappointing 2023 season, only winning 71 games. They made sure to have a presence in free agency though by acquiring pitchers Sonny Gray and Lance Lynn. But the biggest question for this team is going to be if Nolan Arenado can bounce back after a supposed “down year,” batting .266 with a 2.5 WAR.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates are looking to have a breakout year finally. In the off-season, they made a lot of 1-year deals, signing reliever Aroldis Chapman and 1st baseman Rowdy Tellez. In addition, the amount of young talent this team has in the minors is mind-blowing with #1 overall pick Pual Skenes and top 2nd baseman prospect Termarr Johnson. The team already has many statement names on its roster like closer David Bednar, 3rd baseman and defensive wizard Ke’Bryan Hayes, and switch-hitting outfielder Bryan Reynolds.

4. Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers are in for a lackluster season. They have lost key guys such as Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, and even lost their now-former manager Craig Counsel. They were able to sign 1st baseman Rhys Hoskins to a 2-year deal, however I expect this team to do little next year.

5.  Cincinnati Reds: Despite this team winning 82 games and having a great second half in 2023, it was just a fluke. They had a bottom 5 pitching staff and it was a huge weak spot on their team. Considering they didn’t try and improve that aspect in the off-season, it will be tough for them in a hitting-friendly ballpark.

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers: What isn’t good about this team? The whole team top to bottom is stacked with talent, and with the biggest signee of this free agency in Shohei Ohtani, they are the World Series favorites. Not only did they sign Ohtani to the largest contract in North American sports history, but they also got another Japanese phenom, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, along with Tyler Glasgow, who has been a little injury-riddled the past few years but looked good last season posting a 3.53 ERA and a 1.083 WHIP. The team already has multiple guys that could be in the MVP race like Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks are looking to repeat their storybook World Series run this year. They’ve attempted to do that by going out and signing Eduardo Rodriguez to a 4-year $80 million deal. This is just one of the many moves they made this off-season, as they also got Eugenio Suarez and Joc Pederson to help out their power numbers. The one big thing that I wouldn’t be so confident in is the relief pitching. It wasn’t particularly good last season, and they didn’t make any improvements to it in the offseason. Despite that, I believe it won’t affect them too much going forward.

3. San Diego Padres: The Padres are hoping to get back into the playoff race. But will it happen? After losing Juan Soto and Josh Hader, the team is in a weird spot. They desperately need a primary 1st base option and need bullpen pitching if they want to compete. Despite anticipating another outstanding year from Fernando Tatis Jr., I don’t see the Padres being a threat in the NL playoff race.

4. San Francisco Giants: The Giants have been a mediocre organization for the past two years, declining drastically since their surprising 107-win season in 2021. Last year the team ranked 28th in overall hitting with an abysmal .235 team batting average. With their poor hitting, and them missing out on huge stars in the past like Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa, the Giants were determined to make a splash in this year’s free agent market. They did just that by signing Japanese star Jung Hoo Lee to a 6-year $113 million contract. The center fielder last year in the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) batted .318 in just 86 games. The Giants hope that he will give a spark to this offense along with Michael Conforto and Mike Yastrzemski.

5. Colorado Rockies: Colorado fans don’t have much to look forward to this season after winning an NL-low 59 games in 2023. Toung guys like Nolan Jones and Ezequiel Tovar are going to have to step up for the offense. On the pitching side, guys like Kyle Freeland and Cal Quantrill are going to have to respond differently considering both had a hard time getting outs in the high-elevation ballpark of Coors Field. At least they have the defending home run derby champion Elias Díaz.

AL East

1. Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles have a bright future ahead of them. Their young core of Adley Rutschman, Gunner Henderson, and Ryan Mountcastle will lead the charge on offense, while notable names such as Grayson Rodriguez and the newly acquired former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes will head the pitching staff. The only major blow to this team will be the absence of closer Félix Bautista, who will be out for the whole 2024 season due to Tommy John surgery.

2. New York Yankees: After having an underwhelming 2023 season, the front office made a ton of moves. Their biggest move was trading for perennial MVP candidate Juan Soto from the Padres. They also got guys like Marcus Stroman and Alex Verdugo to help with their pitching and hitting depth. The big thing for this team is if the players can stay healthy. Last year they missed a lot of time from key players such as Nestor Cortez Jr. and Carlos Rodon. If this team can stay healthy, they are more than capable of making a run.

3. Toronto Blue Jays: After barely missing the playoffs last season, the Blue Jays are looking for another strong season from their rotation. Last year they ranked 4th among all pitching staffs with team ERA of 3.78. Also, a guy on offense who they got in free agency that can make a big impact is Justin Turner. Although he is 39, he can still provide some pop to the lineup alongside Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.

4. Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays are in for a down year. Their former shortstop Wander Franco has been in legal battles since August, Tyler Glasnow left in free agency to the Dodgers, and their ace Shane McClanahan is going to miss the whole season due to Tommy John surgery. It’s looking like the production for both hitting and pitching is going to drop significantly, and their five-year playoff appearance streak looks to end this year.

5. Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox aren’t a bad team, they are just in a tough division that makes it hard for them to compete. Their overall team just isn’t good enough to compete for a championship. This year, guys like Masataka Yoshida or Triston Casas will have to take huge leaps to help Rafael Devers with the production, considering their poor pitching staff will give up a bunch of runs.

AL Central

1. Minnesota Twins: In such a bad AL Central division going into the season, I can’t see anyone else other than the Twins winning this division. The Twins aren’t the best team, as they lost guys like Jorge Polanco and Sonny Gray. However, other players like Carlos Correa and a healthy Byron Buxton are going to make a difference in the division title.

2. Detroit Tigers: Detroit is a sleeper team that people might want to look out for next year. They were able to fill the holes in their pitching staff by signing starting pitchers Jack Flaherty and Kenta Maeda. Adding those two next to a guy like Tarik Sklubal, who down the stretch was a top-10 pitcher in the league, could make Detroit a threat.

3. Cleveland Guardians: The Guardians have household names like Jose Ramirez and Emmanuel Clase, but the biggest part of their team right now might be their young core of pitchers. Tanner Bibee, Gavin Williams, and Logan Allen going into the season are going to be the factors in whether this team makes or breaks. One thing this team is mainly going to struggle with is hitting for power. Last year the team finished dead last in the league for total homers, only hitting 124 of them.

4. Kansas City Royals: The Royals surprisingly made a lot of moves this offseason. They signed hitters Adam Frazier and Hunter Renfroe, and they also got two bullpen arms in Seth Lugo and Will Smith. They also signed their superstar shortstop Bobby Whit Jr. to an 11-year $288 million deal, the largest deal in franchise history. Even with all these moves they still aren’t a good team. They’ll need to add more talent to pair with their franchise cornerstone.

5. Chicago White Sox: I can’t put into words how bad this team is. After being viewed as a future championship contender back in 2021, the team has crumbled in terms of talent and morale into one of the worst teams in the league. The only good thing going for this team right now is Luis Robert Jr. All they can hope for is getting a good pick for the 2025 draft.

AL West

1. Houston Astros: The Astros look more dangerous than last year’s team. The signing of Josh Hader officially completes the best bullpen in baseball with Ryan Pressly, Bryan Abreu. Don’t forget this team also has a ton of talent that can swing the bat. Guys like Yordan Álvarez, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, and even Jose Altuve who just resigned with the team on a 5-year $125 million deal, are the core of this daunting offense. Can Houston take back the title as the best team in Texas?

2. Texas Rangers: The Rangers this year are looking to repeat with back-to-back World Series titles. In order to do that, the organization hopes to have Jacob DeGrom 100% by August and find the same production Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Adolis García had last year. Another guy who will be interesting to watch is rookie Evan Carter, who only joined the team for their World Series run and so retained his rookie status in 2024.

3. Seattle Mariners: The Mariners improved every aspect of their lineup in the off-season. The only problem is that both the Astros and the Rangers are significantly better. The team is hoping for an MVP-caliber season from Julio Rodríguez, major production from new guys like Jorge Polanco and Luis Urías, and for Luis Castillo to lock down the ace spot.

4. Los Angeles Angles: The Angles are going to be a dumpster fire next year. They suffered a massive blow after losing generational talent Shohei Ohtani for nothing in free agency. With their other generational player in Mike Trout being injury-riddled, and Anthony Rendon just giving up after getting his huge contract, it seems like this team is going to have to start the rebuilding phase.

5. Oakland Athletics: I don’t think I can say anything remotely positive about this team. Everything from the ownership to the players to the stadium sucks. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they only managed to win 40 games this season. Everybody is just waiting for them finally to make the move to Las Vegas in a few years.

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