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J.P.’s Column: MLB Season Preview

     During the recent World Baseball Classic, many new players were exposed to the baseball world, such as Nicaragua’s 21-year-old Duque Hebbert, who struck out three MLB superstars in one inning in a game against the Dominican Republic, and was immediately offered a minor league contract by the Detroit Tigers. Also, Japan’s Lars Nootbaar’s Instagram following went up by over 1 million during the tournament.

     Based on spring training and MLB rule changes, the 2023 MLB games were expected to be quicker, which they have been. Games have averaged at two hours and 38 minutes, much shorter than MLB games in the past.

     The regular season has commenced with a few highlights: the hometown Rays have been very hot, starting the season with a 17-3 record. The reigning National League champion Phillies are struggling and are 9-12 as of April 22nd, 2023, the Brewers and Braves are off to solid starts, while the defending World Series champion Astros have been mediocre at best. It will be interesting to see who pulls away as the season goes on, and whether a playoff race will stay tight down the stretch.

     So far, there hasn’t been much that has shocked people in this new MLB season, besides a few good teams and players struggling out of the gate. Despite previous successes, underdog stories in the World Series have been a trend as of late, making predictions rather difficult.

     It’s only a few weeks into the 2023 season, and anything can happen. Teams that have struggled can turn it around, or teams that started hot could go into a slump. Baseball is very unpredictable. Hopefully we’re in for another incredible MLB season.

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