With Opening Day 2015 in the history books, baseball season is officially underway. If fans aren't busy watching their favorite teams, they're glued to Sony video game consoles enjoying MLB 15: The Show, the best baseball simulation around.
We covered many aspects of the game. Now it's time to talk about the best teams. There are many talented squads out there, as well as some that need to show improvement over the course of the season. That said, if you want to put runs on the board and strike out opposing batters, make sure you select one of the following MLB teams.
Even with several injured players on the sidelines (all eyes are on Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon as fans await their return), this team still has one of the best lineups in baseball, and it's bound to pay off as you send balls out of the park. Players like Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez still know how to make a difference, and quality defense will keep opponent scoring to a minimum. Barring further injuries, the Nationals may win it all come playoff time.
The winner of last year's National League Central division did a little shuffling in the off-season to set up more of a powerhouse lineup, which suggests a late season run. Leading the charge is Jason Heyward, who already proved to be a peak performer in the team's season debut with three hits. Other players, like John Mozeliak, are sure to make an impact as the season goes on as well. Plus, they have a great home field, which could provide an advantage when it comes to drilling home runs.
This team had its fair share of up-and-downs last year (Justin Verlander in particular), but this year holds some new promise for the Tigers, with a killer lineup that includes David Price and Shane Greene. A lot of money went into the club, and it may pay off as the team leads the charge towards scoring runs over the course of the season. These Tigers are fierce.
Even though Howie Kendrick is long gone, the Anaheim Angels still have a lot going for them, including new acquisitions like C.J. Cron and Matt Joyice, along with the returning Albert Pujols. The team made a huge dent in the AL West last year, and we expect big numbers this season as well. Thanks to a strong bullpen with hitting and defensive strategy, and plenty of power players, these Angels could ascend to baseball heaven.
San Francisco Giants
Things got a little bumpy for the Giants when it came to spring training, and the lack of Hunter Pence in the lineup (currently, at least) is a little questionable. Regardless, the Giants may repeat their playoff success. Returning players like Matt Cain and Angel Pagan are sure to make a difference, and there are rotation options aplenty when it comes to picking a team apart and maintaining the lead.
It's been a while since we've seen the Orioles make some noise in the playoffs, but this could be a big year for the Baltimore squad. Returning favorites like Matt Wieters and Manny Machado will add some power, and the pitching team looks to be the best in years. Defense should also play a strong role, between the likes of Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette.
Talk about a team that hasn't seen the playoffs in a while – the Mariners haven't been there since 2001! Nevertheless, there's always time for a great return, and 14 years later it could finally happen. Between the always-reliable King Felix, Nelson Cruz and Taijuan Walker, this team already gained momentum in spring training, and appears set to achieve a winning season this summer. Similar to all teams, stability and defense are two keys to success.