Here is a look at some teams that I think will have a chance at going all the way to the World Series this year.
Led by a potent lineup of Mike Lowell, Derek Lee, Adam Dunn, Victor Martinez, Eric Byrnes and last but not least Vladimir Guerrero, this offense should be lighting up the scoreboard every night. The pitching isn't too bad either with Jake Peavy, Jon Garland and A.J. Burnett in their starting rotation. They should be the favorites to win the Brock division this year.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers finished 2nd last year with a 80-82 record but Adrian Beltre looks primed for a breakout season to lead his team into October. He has a good supporting cast with Shawn Green and Gary Sheffield to back him up in the lineup. They also have a rising star in Chase Utley who will have many years ahead of him at 2nd base. The starting rotation is led by Olympic gold medalist Ben Sheets and lefty Oliver Perez.
Minnesota finished with the same record as the Dodgers but finished in 4th place in the tough Aaron Division last year but things seem to be looking up in the twin cities this year. David Ortiz' .316 average and 43 homeruns from last year could be topped this year as he will in the middle of a strong lineup. Carlos Lee and Hideki Matsui will be able to provide protection for Big Papi as they both could hit over 30 homeruns this season. The Twins also have maybe the best starter in the league, Johan Santana to pitch every 5th day.
Montreal could have 8 players hitting more than 20 homeruns this season, led by Todd Helton, who is a lock to hit over .300 also. Their defense is superb with gold glovers from Helton at 1st, Brett Boone at 2nd, Orlando Carbera at short and Scott Rolen at 3rd. The pitching staff will definitly be able to stop rallies from relying on the defense behind them. Their bullpen is anchored by Francisco Cordero, who saved 36 games for them last year.
After an upset loss in the 1st round to Anaheim last year Philadelphia moved into Yankee Stadium and look to put the past behind them in 2004. It does help that you have the batting champion from last year, Albert Pujols (.381 and 56 HR's), to lead the charge, and of course Miguel Tejada at short and Eric Chavez at 3rd base. The pitching staff should be helped by not playing in the thin air of Coors Field as Freddy Garcia, Jeff Suppan and Brad Penny look to lead the rotation.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals who come off a World Series loss to Arizona look to be just fine with Jim Edmonds, J.D. Drew and Jeremy Burnitz in the outfield. The infield isn't too bad either with Paul Konerko at 1st, Placido Polonco at 2nd, Edgar Renteria at short and Vinny Castilla at 3rd. Their pitching staff has a good blend of righties and lefties, led by Jake Westbrook, Woody Williams and Odalis Perez. The only problem is that they play in maybe the deepest division, Aaron, along with the Phillies and the Twins.