Baseball 2016 by Alex Nino
June 16, 2016
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2016 National League Contenders as We Roll Along by Alex Nino
As we delve further into the 2016 baseball season, the true World Series contenders start to stand out. Now, the last time I checked, no one has ever won a championship in the month of June or July, and the trade deadline will certainly elevate a few lucky teams to contender status, but as of right now, here is how the top of the food chain shapes up.
Current Manager of the Year front runner Dusty Baker has been a much needed breath of fresh air in our nation’s capital. The lasting image of the 2015 Nats was of closer Jonathan Papelbon strangling Bryce Harper in the middle of the game, confirming the dysfunction within that talented clubhouse. The 2016 Nats on the other hand, can be seen at the top of the NL East standings on the back of defending NL MVP Bryce Harper and the 175 million dollar arm of Stephen Strasburg. No dysfunction here, and if they can keep it up, a deep October run is in their future.
San Francisco Giants
It’s an even year, which can only mean one thing: here come the Giants. General manager Brian Sabean has done it again, as his newest additions have been nothing short of outstanding. Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija have provided the much needed rotation stability behind Madison Bumgarner. Denard Span has lead off the scrappy offense to an incredibly hot start. The bullpen is in its typical lockdown form. Take all of that along with Buster Posey playing like Buster Posey, and you’ve got a team determined to win its fourth title in the last seven years.
New York Mets
The Mets are the class of New York for the second consecutive year. The defending National League champions are looking the part, using the same exact formula that got them to the fall classic. In the starting rotation, Jacob Degrom, Noah Syndergaard and the emerging Steven Matz have more than made up for the struggling Matt Harvey–who is bound to return to his usual dominant form sooner or later. Yoenis Cespedes is proving the doubters wrong as he continues to mash at an MVP level and closer Jeurys Familia has yet to blow a save. All of this along with the incomparable Bartolo Colon have the Mets on the fast track towards the playoffs.
After one of the hottest starts in the history of baseball, the Cubs have left no doubt who the best team in the league is currently. The lineup, led by Anthony Rizzo, puts runs on the board like there’s no tomorrow and Jake Arrieta is still in his Cy Young form. To name each one of their young studs would take a while, proving that they are far and away, the most talented club around. A lot can change over the course of a year, and looking at the Cub’s history, it’s almost guaranteed to. As of right now though, they are the clear team to beat.