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3 teams that will make it back to the playoffs

By: Amelia Parreira

With opening day finally under our belts, it’s difficult not to start making some early-season predictions. Here’s a look at the teams that not only deserve a spot in postseason play, but can certainly make it happen if they play their cards right.

Chicago White Sox (Record as of 4/10/16: 4-2)

White Sox

It’s early, but a 4-2 record from the White Sox might be the start of a playoff trip for the up-and-down franchise. The 2005 World Series champions reached the ALDS in 2008, but has not had the best of up following those years. In the past three years they did not reach past fourth place in the AL Central.

However, the Sox pushed some improvement into their roster throughout this year’s spring season. Head coach Robin Ventura and the rest of the staff made some significant moves in both offense and defense, as both were lacking over the last few seasons.

One of the main keys to a better White Sox record is third baseman Todd Frazier, who has showcased his power as the 2015 Home Run Derby winner while hitting 64 home runs over the past two seasons. Frazier is only bound to make an even greater appearance this year.

The White Sox recently agreed to a minor league deal with former Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez after competing with three other teams for the 31-year-old right-handed starter. Keeping an average ERA of 3.82 over four seasons in the majors, Gonzalez is likely to come to the majors shortly into the season to keep the White Sox defense up to par.

The Sox made another interesting move by signing shortstop Jimmy Rollins to a minor league deal. Though Rollins is 37-years-old and struggled for the Dodgers in 2015, he had a strong spring training to earn him a second spot in the batting order. Rollins has proved to be legendary in the past and has found a good chemistry with the White Sox.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Record as of 4/10/16: 2-4)

Angeles

Once again, it’s early, but this time that means don’t worry about the Angels poor start.

Though the Angels aren’t perfect on defense, they have a powerful offensive lineup. Of course, one of the most obvious key players is centerfielder Mike Trout. Trout led the Angels in 2015 with a 0.299 batting average, 41 home runs and 172 hits. There’s no doubt that this powerhouse will do great stuff again this year.

With Albert Pujols still capable of making big contributions, Kol Calhoun coming off a big 2015 season, and C.J. Crom and Ji-Man Choi providing steady at bats in the lineup, the Angeles are just too dangerous to not get to the playoffs.

Their rotation led by Garrett Richards, who led the team with 15 wins and 176 strikeouts last in 2015, will need Hector Santiago and their bullpen, anchored by the aging and diminishing Huston Street, to step up to make a serious run at a World Series.

Washington Nationals (Record as of 4/10/16: 3-1)

Nationals

The National fell apart last year and missed the playoffs, but their offseason was spent rebuilding the team’s chemistry and early they look a lot better.

Their pitching is the main season. The Nationals epic duo of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg is definitely ones to look out for. Scherzer was visually better with the Detroit Tigers before coming to Washington but he was incredible last year and now that he’s settled in, in the National League he should be even better. Strasburg was one of the top pitchers in the league by the end of last season. Together those two can work wonders.

Their offense may not be the best, but they do have a game-changer in reigning MVP Bryce Harper. He is an unstoppable machine and it’s frigtening to think that at only 23-years-old he could be even better this year.

They’ve fallen short of the World series a few times, and maybe they do again, but they should be back to being one of the league’s elite team this year.

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Amelia Parreira

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