With pitchers and catchers ready to report for Spring Training and another MLB Opening Day just around the corner, the Athlon Sports 2012 Baseball Annual slides home in time to provide the preseason analysis and predictions craved by fans of the national pastime from coast to coast.
We take a lap around the big leagues in "15 Things to Watch in 2012," examining Los Angeles' newest Angel, Albert Pujols; the Miami Marlins makeover, with a new stadium, logo, manager and roster; MLB's new, long-overdue HGH testing policy; and the possibility that 2012 is finally closing time for 42-year-old Yankees icon Mariano Rivera.
"Short Hops" takes a look at the lighter side of a day at the ballpark — with random ruminations from the "Most Interesting Men in the World" who make baseball what it is, John Mayberry's attempts to make a move on Pirates of the Caribbean starlet Antoinette Nikprelaj and the "Calendar of the Weird," which chronicles oddball occurrences from 2011. In "Penny Wise, Dollar Foolish," we decide whether the free-agent contracts signed by Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, C.J. Wilson and Co. were investor home runs or expensive swings-and-misses.
This year's magazine also includes the following feature stories:
"Curse Buster" — After breaking the Curse of the Bambino with two World Series titles in Boston, can Theo Epstein work his magic on the North Side of Chicago and lead the Cubs to their first world championship since 1908?
"On the Rise" — The Washington Nationals are building around two No. 1 overall pick phenoms, ace Stephen Strasburg and slugger Bryce Harper, but those aren't the only reasons to be optimistic about baseball in the nation's capital.
"Trading Frenzy" — A look at the five best short-term deals made at MLB's trade deadline and the five best long-term deadline deals, including the Mark Teixeira trade that changed the course of the Texas Rangers' future by bringing Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison to Arlington.
This year's edition also includes a team-by-team preview of all 30 clubs, with rosters, stats and schedules as well as a look at the farm system. We also present our predictions for the 2012 American League and National League division races, playoffs and World Series, as well as MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year.
Finally, we run down the obscure events that had never happened until 2011 — highlighted by Evan Longoria hitting a playoff berth-clinching walk-off home run in a non-play-in game on what was arguably MLB's most exciting final day of any season.
Athlon Sports' Baseball Annual is the most complete preview available today. Order your copy now!