Spring training is the most exciting time of the year for baseball fans across the state of Florida. All of our favorite teams have reported to their winter homes and are ready to begin their 2018 campaigns. And no matter what team you root for, hope springs eternal in spring training.
There are 15 teams that make their spring training homes in Florida, and that makes this the perfect time of year to head out for a little baseball road trip. There are interesting stories and fierce position battles happening on just about every team right now, but we went through and picked out five teams that are going to be a little more exciting to watch than usual this spring.
New York Yankees, Tampa
The New York Yankees might be more popular in Tampa than the Rays are this time of year, and Steinbrenner Field is going to be really exciting this winter after the pinstripes came up just short of another World Series appearance in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year last season.
Following their loss to the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series, the Yankees doubled down on their young core by acquiring outfielder Giancarlo Stanton from the Florida Marlins for next to nothing outside Starlin Castro and the fact that they are willing to foot the bill on his massive contract.
Combining Stanton with sluggers like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez will make the Yankees one of the most frightening offenses in baseball for years to come.
On the pitching side, New York will look to build on the outstanding 2017 campaigns of Luis Severino and Michael Pineda with Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery rounding out what could be a six-man rotation for new manager Aaron Boone.
Washington Nationals, West Palm Beach
The Washington Nationals are not typically a team that generates a lot of headlines, but there will be quite a few reasons to head out to West Palm Beach this year. After cruising to a second consecutive NL East title last year, the Nats fell quickly in the playoffs, and that was enough to cost manager Dusty Baker his job.
Baker has been replaced by first-time manager Dave Martinez, who will take command of a team that should be a shoe-in to win a third straight division title. However, there has already been quite a bit of drama surrounding perennial MVP candidate Bryce Harper concerning his potential to hit the free agent market following the season.
With Harper apparently interested in testing those free agent waters, look for him to be out there putting on a show for the fans and racking up stats every chance he gets this year.
Houston Astros, West Palm Beach
When heading to West Palm Beach, you can actually kill two birds with one stone and check out the World Champion Houston Astros there as well. And while there haven’t been many changes with this Astros lineup, there is never a shortage of excitement when this offense hits the field.
Not only will the Astros be returning just about everyone from one of the best offenses in baseball, but they also beefed up their pitching staff by trading for Pirates ace Gerrit Cole during the offseason. Whether Cole can return to the promise we once saw from him remains to be seen, but the Astros are optimistic that he can be a valuable addition to their rotation.
New York Mets, Port St. Lucie
Despite their excellent starting pitching, the Mets probably aren’t going to be very good in 2018. But there is one guy to be excited about in Port St. Lucie this spring: Tim Tebow.
New York general manager Sandy Alderson made national headlines when he announced that he believed the former Florida Gators quarterback would eventually make the Mets major league roster. With that level of expectation, we can expect the Heisman Trophy winner to pull out all the stops in Port St. Lucie this year.
Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers
As if you needed another reason to plan a trip to see the Red Sox in Fort Myers this spring, they surprised the baseball world by inking outfielder J.D. Martinez to a $110 million five-year deal that should theoretically help them keep pace with the Yankees in the annual AL East arms race.
Martinez launched 45 home run for Detroit and Arizona last season, and he will be a welcome addition to a Red Sox lineup that was severely lacking in power in 2017.
Looking For A New Home Base?
The Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles, and Tampa Bay Rays all make their winter homes within a short drive of the Villages of Citrus Hills.
For baseball fans, making Citrus Hills your “home base” could be a “home run” (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).
In fact, Red Sox great Ted Williams called Citrus Hills home from 1988 until his passing in 2002. If it was good enough for the greatest hitter who ever lived, it might be good enough for you.
Request more information from Citrus Hills today, and don’t miss your chance to see these teams before they head north for the summer!