Another grouping of teams that certainly inspire hope amongst their fans, and intrigue to analysts.
1. Tampa Bay-A ridiculously talented roster. Speed, power, pitching, defense, a great manager, this team has it all. The real questions are not whether this team can compete, but whether the right guys will break out, and will the youth have enough maturity to put it together over the course of a long season in a tough division. Evan Longoria is an absolute stud at the hot corner. As is Carl Crawford in left field. Carlos Pena strikes out too much, but he brings an almost guaranteed 30 homers and 95-100 RBI's. Ben Zobrist is a star in the making, and this team is solid everywhere. If B.J. Upton ever reaches his potential, this team would be scary good. Shields, Garza, Price, Sonnastine, Wade Davis and Jeff Niemman are a solid group. Rafael Soriano is the key here, if he can solidify the bullpen, Tampa might be able to catch the Yanks and Sox.
2. That other team in the Sunshine State. A new stadium coming, and a bright baseball future as well? Hanley Ramirez might be the best all-around player in the game. Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco are a great young 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. Leo Nunez will be saving the games, which has to be better than Kevin Gregg. Guys like Cody Ross and Cameron Maybin bring potential, and Dan Uggla the power (assuming he isn't traded). A few holes, and the won't catch the Phillies, but maybe a wild card?
3. Atlanta Braves. Get those tomahawks ready folks. A solid outfield with Nate McClouth, Heyward if he wins the job, Melky Cabrera and Jordan Schaefer hanging around as the fourth outfielder. We all know Chipper's health woes, Yunel Escobar is a good one, can't say for Martin Prado or Troy Glaus. Brian McCann is the best catcher in the National League I'd say. The rotation is very good, with Hudson and Hanson being supported by Jurrjens (assuming his MRI was negative) and Kawakami and Derek Lowe. A wild card berth might be hard to come by if the injury bug sets in.
4. The cuddly Cubbies. Yes, I know they were a disaster last year. Reports are that Carlos Zambrano and Geovany Soto have both lost some weight and are looking good. Derrek Lee had a resurgence last year, and if that continues and guys like Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano are healthy, this team could hit the ball. Marlon Byrd is a good signing. When Ted Lilly gets back, the rotation will be looking good. Carlos Marmol is a bit of a question mark, but if he is doing a good job then the Cubbies might win enough games to challenge St. Louis.