Opening Day is fast approaching. With pitchers and catchers reporting to major league camps across Arizona and Florida this week, baseball is officially back and for the first time since 2019, we have a full spring training ahead of us. The start of camp means a first chance to view stars such as Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander and Trea Turner in their new uniforms, and this year we’ll get to see MLB’s 2023 rule changes in action. To no one’s surprise, the reigning World Series Champion Astros are the team to beat heading into 2023. The Houston outfit will be looking to secure back-to-back World Series titles for the first time since the Yankees achieved the feat in the laste-90s. But can anyone knock the seemingly unbeatable Astros off their perch and stop them from laying their hands on the Commissioner’s trophy once again? Here’s our look at what to expect from some of the top contenders in the 2023 MLB season.
Astros the favourites to defend their title
The reigning-champion Houston Astros are the current favorites to take home the 2023 World Series title, but do they really have enough to repeat? The bookies would have you believing they do. Even in a loaded AL West, the Astros are priced as a two-dollar favorite to emerge as the division winner, so expectations are still sky-high at Minute Maid Park. Those wanting to bet on the 2023 MLB season should look across various US betting sites before they do. Having lost Justin Verlander this offseason, the Astros’ season will likely boil down to how well they can replace this era-defining pitcher. Their new-look top three of Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, and Lance McCullers possess all the necessary tools and should be more than formidable enough to mitigate his departure. Houston’s lineup looks to be even more lethal this season, signing 2020 AL MVP José Abreu to a three-year deal to shore up their lone hole at first base. Houston ended last season ranking second in the AL in isolated power and strike-rate. Michael Brantley’s return from a right shoulder injury that cut his 2022 season short is a welcomed sight. The Astros look poised to win the AL West for a sixth time in seven seasons and with it make a fourth trip to the World Series in five years.
New York Yankees the most likely to challenge Astros dominance
The New York Yankees last won the World Series in 2009, going more than a decade without even winning the American League pennant. For the most successful franchise in MLB history, short trips to the postseason have become the norm as of late and that is a trend the Yankees will look to buck. Thankfully for New York fans they have retained the services of MVP hitter Aaron Judge into this year while adding Cy Young candidate Carlos Rodon to a six-year $162million deal. This will give them the best possible chance to replicate their immense offensive output from last year while adding some much-needed depth to the dugout. Finding stability outside of Judge is a must, as Anthony Rizzo, Josh Donaldson, and Giancarlo Stanton need to provide some protection in the middle of the lineup. There’s a chance the Yankees claim one of the three wild-card spots with the AL East being such a deep division, but still, the Yankees have more than enough pieces to make a run into October. The Yankees had a very strong start to the season in 2022, followed by a slump in the second half that culminated in an ALCS defeat to eventual World Series champions Astros. If these signings are anything to go by, they are ready to end the drought.
New York Mets are the best of the rest
Over on the other side of town, the Mets at Citi Field have been making a lot of noise this offseason. The last two seasons, the Mets had the National League East title well within reach late in the season, and both times they let it slip away to the Braves. For the second straight offseason, the Mets responded to that disappointment by spending a bunch of money on very good players. They enter the year with a slightly improved and much more expensive roster looking to finally take home that elusive NL East crown for the first time since 2015. So far this Winter, the Mets have signed Justin Verlander, José Quintana, David Robertson, Kodai Senga, Omar Narváez, and Carlos Correa. Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, and Adam Ottavino have also been re-signed, which puts the Mets’ total outlay this offseason at $806.1 million; the most money ever spent by a team in a single offseason. Their intentions are clear, they’re here to win this year, and they have taken all the necessary steps to ensure they do just that. Having said that, the NL East was probably the most active division in the offseason for signings and the question remains whether they would have done enough to pose a credible threat to the Yankees’ or Astros’ World Series ambitions. At the very least though they will be competing for a divisional title.
San Diego hoping to silence the doubters
Given how complete San Diego’s roster is coupled with the fact they advanced to last season’s NLCS, it’s a bit surprising to see the Padres priced at only +1000. Sure, oddsmakers are still expecting a successful season with the Padres boasting the sixth-best odds to win the 2023 Fall Classic, but a +750 price tag is more in line with this team’s ceiling. The San Diego Padres lost the NLCS in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies, but three of the four losses were decided by two runs or fewer. While San Diego struck out on landing Aaron Judge, it dramatically improved its lineup depth with Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz. Keep in mind, San Diego is already making up for the Fernando Tatís Jr. suspension with perennial All-Star hitter Xander Bogaerts sliding in at shortstop. Tatís Jr. should be at peak form long before the playoff race, giving San Diego a lineup with multiple NL MVP candidates and excellent depth, with a strong rotation and excellent bullpen backing them. If there’s ever a time the Padres dethrone the Dodgers and claim the NL West regular season title, now’s the time, and past that, why not dream of a visit to the Fall classic?
Why Todd Graves Is Driven To Innovate Golfing Techniques and Inspire Future Athletes
When you look up the history of sports and how it changed over the years, you will find several influential public figures and athletes’ names at the top of unique inventions. After all, those who play the sport, also know what could improve and popularize it. Todd Graves is one of those individuals with a passion for golf and sports innovation.
He is an innovative thought leader and business expert with nearly 50 years of experience in the golf community. He practiced golf under the training and guidance of Murray “Moe” Norman, the world-renowned PGA golfer of the 20th Century. Norman was one of the most influential figures in the golf community with his unique techniques and innovative methods to approach the game.
His contributions and golf skills earned him the nickname of “Pipeline Moe”, mainly for his unmatched ability to hit one straight shot after another with the slightest deviation in the ball’s trajectory. As his protégé, Todd Graves vowed to be among the leading sports personalities and innovators in the golf space. He worked on the single-plane swing technique modeled by his mentor, Moe Norman over his professional career.
It is a technique that helps a golfer reduce strain on the lower back while increasing the consistency and frequency of making a solid impact with the ball. Before, it was limited in practice to highly experienced golfers with immense knowledge of kinetic movements and swinging techniques. Today, Todd Graves’ contributions have enabled the wide use and adoption of the single-plane swing method in the global golf community.
The pro golfer believes that innovation is a key component of progress and without progress, humanity could come to a standstill. Whether it is progress in the personal, professional, or sports world, every great athlete should strive for it and reach their maximum potential, according to Todd Graves. To bring new knowledge to a wider audience around the world, he recently partnered with Barry Morrow, who is a famous American screenwriter and film producer credited with co-writing the screenplay for the movie Rain Main (1988).
Graves partnered with Oscar-winning Barry Morrow to create a documentary on the life and achievements of the great pro golfer, Moe Norman. Through the documentary, Todd wishes to inspire athletes and motivate golfers to bring innovation to their gameplay. Todd Graves shares his drive for bringing innovation and catalyzing change in the sports world with aspiring athletes, pro golfers, and students.
Graves’s inspiration comes from his dedication to the advancement of sports science. He spent a better part of his career with kinesiology experts and sports scientists to discover intricate details involved in various physical activities, also including golf. He identified potential risk injuries, analyzed their occurrences, and gathered factual data with the help of scientists.
He aims to portray actual findings in his upcoming documentary and inspire young athletes to be more than participants in national and international competitions. Todd Graves stands as one of the most influential and inspirational figures in the golf community and has earned association with several famous personalities including Ben Hago, and Tiger Woods, among others.
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