5 MLB Teams Who Are Way Better Opening Day 2013 Than 2012

Zak SchmollAnalyst IApril 1, 2013

5 MLB Teams Who Are Way Better Opening Day 2013 Than 2012

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    Today is the day (or yesterday was the day for two teams). Major League Baseball has finally returned from hibernation, and we are certainly ready for a new season of action.

    However, I bet that some of us are little bit more excited than others.

    Some teams made some significant improvements this winter, and it is going to be exciting to see what they will be able to do in 2013.

    Five teams stood out much more than others, though, and that is what I want to talk about today.

    All statistics from Baseball Reference.

5. Cleveland Indians

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    I had a hard time putting the Cleveland Indians on this list because they traded away Shin-Soo Choo, who was arguably their best player.

    However, they brought in Drew Stubbs in return, who provides an intriguing combination of power and speed. They also signed free-agent stolen base machine Michael Bourn as well as underappreciated run producer Nick Swisher.

    Bringing Brett Myers back into the starting rotation will be interesting, and I want to see if Scott Kazmir is able to bring back any of his former prowess.

    This team has a lot of question marks right now, but they have made a lot of changes that should make them better than they were in 2012.

4. Atlanta Braves

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    If baseball success were determined by the number of five-tool players on a team, the Atlanta Braves would be right near the top.

    This winter, the Upton brothers both moved into Atlanta to join another very athletic outfielder in Jason Heyward.

    Justin moved in via trade while B.J. was a free agent, but both of them are 30-30 threats and should add a different dimension to the lineup.

    Assuming that the division remains a three-team race with the Braves, Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies, the Braves will be grateful that that lineup is as loaded as it is.

3. Seattle Mariners

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    The Seattle Mariners recognized that their lineup needed help. Last season, they scored 619 runs, which ranked them last in the American League and the fourth lowest in all of baseball.

    Bringing in Kendrys Morales from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was a step in the right direction. After missing all of 2011, he came back in 2012 to hit 22 home runs and drive in 73 runs. He will look to improve on that performance this season.

    Also, Michael Morse is certainly capable of hitting 30 home runs, and that type of production would be welcome as well.

    This team still has a long way to go, but actually having some power in the middle of the lineup will make a big difference.

2. Kansas City Royals

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    Every season, I say that the Kansas City Royals have to get better, but this year I think they have the best chance they have ever had.

    The main reason for this is that since Opening Day 2012, they have added four high-quality arms to the rotation.

    Most importantly, in what was probably the second biggest trade of the winter, James Shields and Wade Davis made their way from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Midwest.

    Ervin Santana came over in a great trade from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Jeremy Guthrie re-signed after going 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA last season after the Royals brought him in midway through last season.

    Pitching has always been the biggest weakness for the Royals, but these moves have most likely handled that problem and made the team substantially better.

1. Toronto Blue Jays

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    I bet that you never saw this one coming. The Toronto Blue Jays made several major acquisitions over the winter.

    Most importantly, they were at the center of a blockbuster with the Miami Marlins that was highlighted by the acquisitions of Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson.

    Then, they continued their shopping in the National League East and brought in Cy Young Award-winning knuckleballer RA Dickey from the New York Mets.

    Obviously, the Toronto Blue Jays are serious about competing in the division immediately. We will see if their investment pays off given all the competition they will be facing.

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