First for San Diego?
On paper, the San Diego Padres are salivating, with Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis and Juan Soto. The Californian franchise has also recruited Xander Bogaerts (Boston) this season. Last year, the Padres reached a milestone, reaching the league final for the first time in 25 years and knocking out favorites like the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. San Diego also has a good range of pitchers (Darvish, Musgrove, Snell, Wacha). With all these stars, the Californians are the favorites of the season and are aiming for the first title in their history. They have so far lost two finals (1984 and 1998).
Houston aims for the double
The best team in recent years. The Houston Astros were champions in 2017 and 2022, and runners-up in 2019 and 2021. They will now try to retain their title. What hasn’t been done in MLB since the New York Yankees in 2000. The Texans saw the departure of Justin Verlander, their star pitcher (read below). But the team looks great, with Jeremy Pena, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve (injured, he will miss the start of the season) and Yordan Alvarez. And the Astros made a great acquisition, bringing in José Abreu, the star of the Chicago White Sox, MVP of the season in 2020.
La star Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani has already started his year in a very good way. With Japan, he won the World Baseball Classic and was voted MVP. Ohtani is a fabulous player, comfortable with a bat and a ball. Impossible in baseball in theory. Last year he hit 34 home runs and had 15 pitching wins. He plays for the Los Angeles Angels, alongside Mike Trout, another superstar, formidable hitter and three-time MVP of the season. Only downside: the two men hold the Angels alone. The team has not seen the play-offs for nine years. Will the “Angels” fly to heaven this year?
Justin Verlander and his new colors, those of the NY Mets. (R. Matay/USA Today Sports/Reuters)
Verlander: new brilliance at the Mets?
40 years old, 18 MLB seasons and still dashing. After winning the World Series with Houston in November, Justin Verlander, one of the league’s top pitchers, has taken on a new challenge, signing with the New York Mets. His arrival expands the group of pitchers of the New York franchise, which includes Max Scherzer, another MLB star (on the other hand, Jacob deGrom left for the Texas Rangers). Last year, the Mets were among the leaders of the Championship, before quickly disappearing in the play-offs. An odd to avoid this season. New York sets out to conquer the World Series, which has been fleeing it since 1986.
The Yankees want to break the series
The New York Yankees are a landmark in US sports. 27 World Series victories! But the last date from 2009… In their ranks, the Yankees have a jewel: Aaron Judge, who hit 62 home runs last year. It’s not the MLB record (although some think otherwise). Judge was also the star of the offseason: at the end of the contract, he was announced for a time in San Francisco, before finally extending with New York (for nine years and 360 million dollars). At his side, he will have Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, Gerrit Cole or Carlos Rodon. Impressive.