By Jamie H. Vaught
As you know, the spring training in Florida and Arizona has already arrived with the exhibition games now underway.
So that means the 2016 major league baseball yearbooks are out in full swing with feature stories, preseason predictions, top prospects, statistics and team profiles/schedules as well as brief previews of college baseball.
According to Athlon, the top two playoff teams in the National League will be the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs with the Giants going to the World Series. In the American League, the Toronto Blue Jays and the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals will battle in the league championship series, with the Blue Jays winning the AL title.
In college baseball, Athlon has U of L at No. 2 in its preseason Top 25 behind top-ranked Florida. The Cardinals are loaded as they have four preseason All-Americans on the list as well.
Lindy’s has the Washington Nationals, who has a new manager in veteran Dusty Baker, winning the National League with superstars Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer leading the D.C. club. The yearbook has the Cubs and the Arizona Diamondbacks as NL’s wild-card teams. The AL champion will be the Blue Jays.
Sporting News likes the Giants and the Cubs in the NL championship series with SF heading to World Series. Boston and Kansas City are SN’s choices for AL championship series with the Red Sox advancing and capturing the 2016 World Series title. In college baseball, Florida and Louisville are also the preseason choice for No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
None of the yearbooks are expecting a banner year for the Cincinnati Reds, who are rebuilding after dumping several stars for financial reasons.
Third-year skipper Bryan Price’s club will likely finish either fourth or fifth in the extra-tough Central Division which has playoff contenders Cubs, St. Louis and Pittsburgh with all three teams finishing with the best MLB records in 2015.
And don’t forget Lexington native and former UK star Andy Green, who is beginning his first year as the skipper of the San Diego Padres.
This should be an exciting season for baseball lovers.