ESPN expert predictions: Which superteam will rule baseball?

Might not be this week or next week, but eventually. For the first time since , a pair of win teams squared off in a World Series, which made plenty of history in its own right. Only 18 thoughts about baseball in As we already detailed with the Cubs, there are reasons to be hesitant about picking a repeat champion. American League

National League

Updated after every game.

These were not moves made with the future in mind. In , New York Yankees teammates Roger Maris became the first and still only teammates to each hit 50 home runs in a season.

With Giancarlo Stanton joining forces with Aaron Judge, it seems plausible that New York can again have a pair of 50 home run hitters. Stanton has generally had a hard time staying on the field throughout his career.

Yes, he played in all games in and hit 59 home runs. Remember, he struck out times during the season. So, while the power is undeniable, there are holes to exploit. Neither the Cubs or Astros came out of nowhere to win the World Series. But both of those teams made the leap from contender to champion when they cut down on the strikeouts. But they put more balls in play. Sometimes that means a slight dip on home runs, at least from individual players. But when the season ends, Maris and Mantle will still be the only teammates to top 50 home runs.

Winning the World Series is strange. No champ since the Boston Red Sox had to deal with as much of that as the Cubs in A team in that big a market breaking a year drought was just too big to ignore. It clearly had an impact in the early weeks and months of The World Champions from all failed to make the playoffs the year after a championship.

Heck, only one of those teams even had a winning season after a World Series. But as ugly as was at times for the Cubs, they ended up being significantly more successful than the four champs before them. Chicago not only made the playoffs, but won a series.

And we're moving on. Chicago will enter the year more focused. But when it comes down to it, we give a slight edge to Chicago to regain the National League pennant. It lines up quite well for Arenado. But what about batting average? Arenado has never led the league in that category.

But his batting average has steadily increased every year since breaking into the bigs. The big leap came between and , when he went from. That kind of average can lead the league on its own.

Arenado will certainly be a prime contender in that category if he keeps on improving. While the prestige of the win has dipped, the game winner is still a fairly common occurrence in baseball.

Those were the strike-shortened years of and Expect to see that change in The pitchers understand that and so do their managers. Everyone also understands that having a great bullpen is now vital towards contending. Bullpens are not new by any means. But in bygone years, teams tended to focus on having a strong final innings. Now, teams like the Yankees are building bullpens to hold leads for innings.

On top of that, recent postseason struggles will make managers more inclined to ease the inning loads of guys like Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Corey Kluber. In , professional baseball got its first glimpse of Tebow. We say this for two reasons. One is that Tebow got better as the season got going. But he became more comfortable in as the season got going.

Yes, New York improved as a team. But this team is still dependent on a lot of injury prone players. Tebow draws fans to the park. Finally, we have a direct quote from New York general manager Sandy Alderson, saying that Tebow will make it to the majors. In , look for that to become a reality. It would be 55 years before Houston would see its first World Series championship.

As we already detailed with the Cubs, there are reasons to be hesitant about picking a repeat champion. But one of the big reasons is that while offseasons for World Series champs can be busy in terms of media appearances, they can be light in terms of actually improving the team.

The Marlins will trade both J. Realmuto and Christian Yelich by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Heck, both guys could be gone before the regular season starts.

The Marlins have to make these deals count. Derek Jeter and company have taken a ton of criticism much of it deserved but you know Jeter understands the value of young, controllable talent. I like going out on limbs. Byron Buxton will finish second. We will marvel at both guys all season. The Twins pulled off an epic variation of that turnaround in , going from losses in to 85 wins and a playoff spot last summer. So which last-place team in has the best chance of playing meaningful games in October ?

The Phillies are the pick here. Alex Reyes will remind everyone why he was the odds-on favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year award before he underwent Tommy John surgery. Ambitious Rockies hoping for baseball's next lethal bullpen.

Pretty sure everyone in Houston — players included — would revolt if the Astros let him leave town. Might as well end the thought of that possibility sooner than later.

Ronald Acuna will become your favorite player this spring if you watch a lot of spring training baseball. The Braves' rookie outfielder is so much fun to watch. And Shohei Ohtani will be a lot of fun to watch in Anaheim.

Ramirez, then, yeah, the Angels could be really darn good. Expect a two-way highlight reel with Shohei Ohtani.