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Fan’s perspective: Five things to expect from the 2011 MLB season
Spring is right around the corner and that means one thing - the 2011 baseball season is almost here. While baseball fans across the United States anxiously countdown the days until the first pitch, it felt like the right time to share the five things to expect from the upcoming season.
Ramirez will be entering his fifth year in the majors and is coming off a disappointing 2010 season where he saw a drop in just about every statistical category. As a result, Ramirez and the Florida Marlins dropped off the radar.
The Marlins were busy during the off-season bring in some talent on the mound and a bat to make up for the depart Dan Uggla(notes). Ramirez knows he will need to take more of a leadership role and be the spark to keep the offense going. You can expect a MVP season from Ramirez who will remind the rest of baseball why he is the best in the game aside from Albert Pujols(notes).
2) The New York Yankees Won't Make the Playoffs
The Yankees enter the 2011 baseball season with several questions on their pitching staff and have key players fighting off Father Time. For starters, the Yankees were unable to bring in any big arms to help bolster a questionable lineup. The success of this team is going to rely upon Phil Hughes(notes) and A.J. Burnett(notes).
Another potential problem for the Yankees is that they will have a hard time trying to find the same level of production from their star players, like Jorge Posada(notes), Mariano Rivera(notes), and Derek Jeter(notes). When it is all said and done, they will not have enough juice to make the playoffs for the second time in four years.
3) The Emergence of a Small Market Team
Just about every year baseball fans see a small market team who their own against the big boys and make a serious run at a playoff berth. In 2011, you can expect to see the Baltimore Orioles put some heat on the top dogs in the AL East.
The Orioles have added some power with their bats and have some young talented pitchers. They are going to be a team who shows the biggest improvement over their 2010 record of 66-96.
4) Legitimate Triple Crown Threat
The last time baseball fans saw a Triple Crown winner was Carl Yastrzemski, who earned the honor in 1967 with the Boston Red Sox. He led the way with a .321 batting average with 44 homeruns and 121 runs driven in. There are two players who are going to make a serious run at this rare feat in 2011.
Miguel Cabrera(notes) of the Detroit Tigers and Albert Pujols. In 2010, Cabrera was in the top three in each category, but career years by Josh Hamilton(notes) and Jose Bautista(notes) kept him from the award. Pujols, who is entering the final year of his deal, had the top spot in homeruns and runs driven in. He will need some help in the batting average category to take home the Triple Crown.
5) The Albert Pujols Media Circus
The moment the self-imposed deadline came and went without a new deal for the St. Louis Cardinals' slugger, Albert Pujols, the writing on the wall became clear. The 2011 baseball season is going to be a complete media circus.
Maybe even along the same lines as 'The Decision' by LeBron James or the hostage situation run by Carmelo Anthony. This is especially disheartening for the baseball fans considering Pujols has gone on record saying he did not want this to be a distraction. How can it not? Every road trip he takes, reporters will be speculating if it could be his next home.
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