Point/Counterpoint: Who will win the World Series?

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 07, 2015 5:00 AM

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Major League Baseball’s Opening Day has come and gone, and in honor of summer being right around the corner, three DI staffers debate the preseason favorite to win the fall classic.

Los Angeles Dodgers

As of Monday, the official Las Vegas World Series odds had the Washington Nationals at 6-1. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers are right on their tail at 8-1.

LA made a number of changes before the 2015 season designed solely at winning the World Series.
The Dodgers brought in shortstop Jimmy Rollins, second baseman Howie Kendrick, and catcher Yasmani Grandal via trades. LA also signed pitcher Brandon McCarthy, a free agent.

These changes were made by new President of Baseball )perations 38-year-old Andrew Friedman. New General Manager Farhan Zaidi joined Friedman in an off-season overhaul that will attempt to bring a World Series trophy to a team that has won the last two NL West titles.

Friedman is best known for his work with the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The Rays had experienced eight losing seasons in their eight years of existence as a team before hiring him.

He rebuilt the team in three years, taking the Rays to the postseason for the first time in franchise history in 2008 and advancing them all the way to the World Series.

The LA roster retains “The Claw,” Clayton Kershaw. Last season, Kershaw was the first pitcher since 1968 to win the NL MVP. He also earned his third Cy Young award in four seasons.

Oh, by the way, he led the league in wins (21), ERA (1.77), WHIP (0.857), strikeouts per nine innings (10.8), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.7). The dude is a beast. Look for Kershaw, Friedman, Rollins, and the rest of the Dodgers to be headed well into October this fall.

Josh Hicks

Washington Nationals

This is the year for Bryce Harper to return. This is the year he hits tape measure home runs out of Navy Yard. This is the year he becomes the leader in the clubhouse. This is the year of the Nationals.

Or could it be this year that Ian Desmond takes the Nationals into an October celebration with ski goggles atop his head?

But that could also be Max Scherzer, the star pitcher, the $210 million man who signed on to anchor an already stellar rotation, in which five pitchers finished in the top 26 in the league in ERA last season. Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, you name it, the Nationals have the arms to shut anyone down.

Look at the rest of the division, too — the Braves and Phillies are rebuilding, and the Marlins, despite Giancarlo Stanton likely hitting close to 400 bombs this year, and Mets won’t be a factor in the race for the division.

Washington isn’t without motivation, either. The early exits from the recent playoff runs should be enough to sting the Nationals, especially losing last season’s series to eventual champion San Francisco.

The pride of Washington, D.C., the Nationals are without a doubt the team to beat in the National League and, when it really matters, in October.

Ian Murphy

Chicago White Sox

With the season finally underway, the questions are starting to flow about who is going to be the top dog in the MLB. 

Teams such as the Washington Nationals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are topping the power rankings all over the Internet and have the résumés to prove it.  But there is a team out that might surprise the baseball “experts.”

The Chicago White Sox had a busy winter, acquiring Emilio Bonifacio, Melky Cabrera,  Zack Duke, Dan Jennings, Adam LaRoche, Jeff Samardzjia, David Robertson, and J.B. Shack, just to name a few.  

White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn addressed every area of the team that needed to be fixed, adding a solid starter in Samardzjia, a good releiver in Jennings, power hitters in Cabrera and LaRoche, and Robertson as the closer.

These changes to the roster come after finishing fourth in the AL Central last season finishing with a 73-92 record.

The moves made by the White Sox organization was a shock to many in baseball and took the team from looking like it was in last place to contending for the AL Central and possibly more. 

With Detroit getting up there in age and Kansas City losing ace James Shields, the White Sox may just sneak up to the top only having to worry about Cleveland, which should have a good year as well.

The familiar Cub-fan slogan, “this is our year,” may be passed over to the White Sox as the little team that could aims for the top. 

Rod Engblom

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