A total of 15 Major League Baseball teams get ready for the season in a fairly tight radius surrounding Phoenix.
For baseball fans living in or visiting the Phoenix area, there’s simply no better time of year than springtime!
Here are the teams you can watch in Arizona’s Cactus League and where to see them.
Los Angeles Angels – Tempe, AZ
The Angels started adding to their roster leading up to the trade deadline in 2017, and they kept up those improvements throughout most of the winter.
The end result is that they have a new-look team surrounding Mike Trout, who is still the best player in baseball by just about any metric. Look for the additions of Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, Zack Cosart, and Ian Kinsler to turn this solid team into a legit contender in 2018.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Scottsdale, AZ
The addition of outfielder J.D. Martinez boosted the Diamondbacks to a Wild Card Game win last season, but his departure for the Boston Red Sox leaves a big hole in the middle of their lineup heading into this season.
The current plan to fill that hole is Steven Souza, but depth is going to be an issue in the bullpen here as well.
Chicago Cubs – Mesa, AZ
The Cubs failed to return to the World Series last season when they ran into an outstanding Dodgers team in the NLCS, and their effort to get back this year will largely hang on the arm of Yu Darvish, who they signed away from LA this offseason.
Unfortunately, Darvish will likely be sliding into the spot vacated by current free agent Jake Arrieta.
Cincinnati Reds – Goodyear, AZ
While the odds of the Reds becoming a serious contender this year aren’t great, this is a team that is filled with exciting players to watch.
Luis Castillo and Raul Iglesias are two of the most exciting young fireballers taking the mound this season, and speedster Billy Hamilton has the potential to steal any base at any time.
Cleveland Indians – Goodyear, AZ
Much like the Cubs, the Cleveland Indians came up just short in their effort to return to the World Series last fall.
The dominant pitching staff that has powered the Indians over the past few seasons will be back in full force this year, but they will be without hitters Carlos Santana, Jay Bruce, and Austin Jackson.
Colorado Rockies – Scottsdale, AZ
With stud hitters like Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado coming back for another season in Coors Field, the Rockies expect to remain one of the most intimidating offenses in all of baseball.
The question here is whether or not they have the pitching staff to seriously compete with some of the best teams in the national league. Of course, when you play half of your games in Colorado, it makes sense to prioritize the ability to hit the ball really far.
Chicago White Sox – Glendale, AZ
With one of the worst records in the majors at last year’s trade deadline, the White Sox decided to pack it in and fully commit to rebuilding. What that means for this year’s team is that you are going to see stud hitter Jose Abreu surrounded by a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of.
But there is still plenty of talent throughout this organization, so watch out for which guys take advantage of opportunities in Arizona this spring.
Kansas City Royals – Surprise, AZ
As a kid growing up I used to watch the Royals during Spring Training in my home state of Florida, but they made the move to Arizona in 2003.
Free agency was brutal for the Royals this year with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas seeking bigger deals elsewhere, but the emergence of second baseman Whit Merrifield is one bright spot worth watching in 2018.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Glendale, AZ
The Dodgers came up just short of winning the World Series last fall, and aside from losing Yu Darvish to the Cubs in free agency, they are basically bringing back the same team again this season.
Look for them to remain one of the absolute best teams in baseball, and make sure you show up early to spring training in order to get autographs from the ridiculous number of all-stars on this rosters.
Milwaukee Brewers – Phoenix, AZ
The Brewers had a respectable campaign in 2017, but needed to add some significant pieces to their solid core in order to have a chance in 2018.
Fortunately for Milwaukee residents, that is exactly what they did when they acquired Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Jhoulys Chacin. Their offense looks really good on paper, so the thing to watch here is how well their pitching staff looks this spring.
Oakland A’s – Mesa, AZ
Remember those commercials about how “Chicks dig the longball?” Well, that must be what Billy Beane and David Forst were thinking while putting together this lineup filled with sluggers like Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Matt Chapman.
They also added Stephen Piscotty in right field for even more pop. If you are heading out to see the A’s in spring training, make sure you don’t miss batting practice!
San Diego Padres – Peoria, AZ
The Padres were one of the absolute worst teams in baseball last year, and they aren’t going to be a whole lot better this year. However, they did make an effort to improve by bringing in guys like Eric Hosmer, Chase Headley, Freddy Galvis, and Tyson Ross.
Any exciting spring surprises this spring will likely come from young players, so make sure you bring your depth chart.
San Francisco Giants – Scottsdale, AZ
Just about everything that could go wrong for the Giants did last season, but they are bringing back a strong core that got a whole lot better over the winter.
The additions of veterans Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, and Austin Jackson should do a lot to improve the offense, and pitching has never been a problem for the Giants since Madison Bumgarner arrived.
Seattle Mariners – Peoria, AZ
The Mariners surprised a lot of experts by finishing third in the AL West last season, but they will have to do a lot better to keep pace with the other teams in their division this year.
The additions of Dee Gordon and Ryon Healy should add some excitement to the offense, but the player that has people in Seattle really excited is James Paxton.
Paxton was putting together a career year before getting hurt last season, so if he can regain his pre-injury form, he could be the dominant force that leads the M’s back to the playoffs.
Texas Rangers – Surprise, AZ
The Rangers missed the boat when they failed to sign pitcher Yu Darvish, so they are entering spring training with a pretty glaring hole in their pitching rotation. With Carlos Gomez and Andrew Cashner also heading for greener pastures, it looks like the Rangers could be a few rocky months away from a complete rebuild.
The one bright spot to watch here is third baseman Joey Gallo, who can hit the ball a country mile when he is able to make contact.