Although the baseball season is still a couple months away, it is never too early to start thinking ahead to the 2013 World Series. Several teams have already made moves to enhance their chances of being contenders this season. Which five teams are most likely to emerge as the world champions of baseball this season?
1) Washington Nationals
The Nationals were arguably the best team in baseball last season. The only thing that stopped them from going all the way to the World Series last year was the early benching of Steven Strasburg. Strasburg was benched due to an innings limit imposed on him as he continued his recovery from Tommy John surgery. In his absence, Gio Gonzalez emerged as another reliable arm in the rotation. If the pitching holds up, there should be plenty of offense to carry the team all the way to a championship.
2) Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays did the most this winter to improve their team going forward. They started by fleecing the Miami Marlins for all of their best players. Having Jose Reyes playing at shortstop will give them an outstanding defensive presence as well as as big bat in the lineup. Toronto also acquired R.A. Dickey from the Mets who was one of the best pitchers in the league last season. He will join Brandon Marrow in a starting rotation that is suddenly looking strong this season.
3) Anaheim Angels
Albert Pujols is not likely to start another season in a slump. Mike Trout is going to be ready to play from day one and the Angels pitching staff should be good enough to make the run support hold up. The Angels were one of the best teams after June 1st last season and are looking to keep their momentum going. If Jarrod Weaver stays healthy, they will have one of the best top of the rotation pitchers in the league.
4) San Francisco Giants
Who knew that Barry Zito would be able to find his winning form again? The Giants won 14 consecutive games that he started from August through the World Series. Combined with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, they have a rotation that is going to be hard to beat. Buster Posey will be itching to prove that his breakout season last year was not a fluke. Posey lead the Giants in home runs, runs batted in and batting average. If he can replicate those kinds of numbers, the Giants will not be giving up their title without a fight.
5) St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals aren't going to be a particularly talented team heading into the 2013 season. However, they seem to always find a way to get into the playoffs. Once they get in, they find the magic touch and go deep into the playoffs. In fact, it was shocking that they didn't manage to beat the Giants last season in the NLCS. If they do get in this year, it will be because of pitchers Lance Lynn and Adam Wainwright. Lynn won 18 games last season and Wainwright lead the team with 184 strikeouts. On offense, they will be looking to Carlos Beltran to hit over 30 home runs again this season.
This could be one of the most competitive seasons in recent baseball history. Several teams that have been afterthoughts in the league made moves to strengthen their rosters while traditional powers such as Boston and both New York teams are struggling to field decent rosters. This could be the year that we finally get to see the dream World Series match-up between the Washington Nationals and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Author Bio: Don Phan is a part time sports blogger and works full time for Fanatics, Inc. as a marketing associate. His company boasts a large selection of MLB fan gear for all 30 major league teams.