In 2020, we saw an MLB season like no other: Shortened season, no fans, and neutral playoff locations. There were also player breakouts such as Randy Arozarena in the playoffs, Kyle Lewis, Ian Anderson, and many more. Now the 2021 season is less than a week away and things are starting to get back to normal. These are some of the storylines to follow in the 2021 MLB season.
Can the Rays stay a top team in the AL?
Last year the Tampa Bay Rays were the team that came out of the AL. They ended up losing in six games in the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers after Kevin Cash’s questionable move of benching Blake Snell — who ended up leaving Tampa Bay in the offseason. The Rays still have Tyler Glasnow and Randy Arozarena (who is eligible for Rookie of the Year). Many experts are predicting that the Yankees will win the East, but the Rays will be a close second. It will be interesting to see how this season pans out.
Will the White Sox live up to the hype?
The Chicago White Sox have been one of the most talked about teams this offseason. They already have the stars on offense with reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu, and budding superstar Tim Anderson. They have a certified ace in Lucas Giolito, but to be honest, the rest of their rotation has been shaky. It will help tremendously that they added Lance Lynn to that rotation though because he eats innings and will easily get you 200 a season. Last, but definitely not least, Chicago added arguably the best closer in baseball in Liam Hendricks. Even in all the good, the loss of Eloy Jiminex a few days ago was a brutal blow. A lot of experts have predicted the White Sox to come out of the AL or at least make it to the ALCS.
Can Shohei Ohtani both pitch and hit for a full season?
When Shohei Ohtani came over from Japan and signed with the Los Angeles Angels everyone was excited to see the player who pitched and hit. So far in his MLB career we have been able to see him hit. While he’s hit, he’s been a stud. Ohtani hits for power and is a threat around the bases. Include him with Trout and Rendon and that is one scary lineup! He’s only thrown 53.1 innings since coming over in 2018 and in those innings, it hasn’t been pretty. Ohtani has a career 4.39 ERA and has 30 walks to only 66 strikeouts. He only hit in 2019 and threw 1.2 innings last year as he was coming back from Tommy John surgery, so the health of his arm is a big question.
All of these are great storylines to watch in this upcoming season, but there are many more not mentioned above. Ke’Bryan Hayes is going to have his full rookie season this year, the Dodgers vs the Padres in the NL West, and the possibility of the Mets getting over the hump with the additions of Carrasco and Lindor by winning the NL East and competing for the championship. So much to look forward too and only a week left before this all starts!