With less than a three weeks until Opening Day 2018, teams across Scotland are eagerly preparing for action. Last season saw the League Champions trophy return to Glasgow for the first time since 2008, and the first title for the club since the Glasgow Baseball Association (GBA) split to two teams in 2014.
The Galaxy look to be just as dominant as they were in the 2017 season. But will we see a repeat from the Galaxy behind the dominant pitching of veteran Luke Powell; will previous champs, the Edinburgh Diamond Devils, reclaim the thrown; or will a new champion be crowned?
Here we will take a look at each team across Baseball Scotland and where they rank in this seasons Pre-Season Coaches Poll.
Edinburgh Cannons: #6
The Cannons start off the season under new management and lacking one of their key players and ace, Jason Derr. Derr, who was also the previous President of Baseball Scotland, has decided to retire from the sport after giving many years of service to advancing the sport across all of Scotland. This vacancy leaves unanswered questions in the pitching staff that might have season long affects for the team. First year manager George Noulas will certainly be working hard to get his team prepared for Opening Day. The Cannons open away to defending league champions Glasgow Galaxy.
Glasgow Comets: #5
The Comets have arguably the best hitter across Scotland in their line-up. John Nelson hit a record setting 8 homeruns last season, winning him the league awards for Silver Slugger and Most Valuable Player. Nelson is in his second season as the manager of the Comets and is hoping to improve on last seasons fifth place finish. They have lost some depth in the bullpen so what they lack on the mound, they try to make up for in firepower at the plate. The Comets open the 2018 season with an away game to Aberdeen. The two clubs finished fifth and forth respectively in 2017, so should be a good first test for each club.
Edinburgh Giants: #4
2017 was a rough year for the Giants finishing in sixth place. It just seemed to be one of those off years where a few key hits or outs here and there, and they were looking at a top half of the table standings. The 2017 season also saw the Giants getting a few rookies a lot of valuable game time, which will greatly benefit the team as they head into the new season with a bit more experience under their belts. Manager Paul Convoy, who over for Jason Derr as President of Baseball Scotland, has been lead an active off-season training schedule despite several snow days that hindered the ability to train properly. The Giants look to make a climb up in 2018 from their sixth-place finish in 2017. The Giants open with an away game to the Devils, the first Edinburgh Derby of the year.
Edinburgh Diamond Devils: #3
Managed by veteran Bret Griffin, the Devils are always a formidable opponent. Over the last 5 years, the Devils have won 4 league titles and finished runner-up once. Pitching and hitting has been the key to their success. This season they return with one of the deeper bullpens across the league but have lost a couple players at key positions. Getting new players trained to fill these gaps will have been a priority for the team as they hope to continue their success in 2018. The Devils first game is home to the Giants.
Granite City Oilers: #2
The Granite City Oilers saw some success in 2017 but fell short on several occasions, seeing a fourth-place finish. This was the first season back for the Oilers since the 2014 season, and a definitive improvement upon their sixth-place finish then. Manager Stephen Evans has added a few key players to the roster including a true number two pitcher in the bullpen. With these additions to the club, the Oilers seemed to be poised and ready to make a push for the title but must first get past the Devils and Galaxy if they hope to see success. The Oilers first game is home to the Glasgow Comets, a rivalry in the making.
Glasgow Galaxy: #1
2017 Baseball Scotland League Champions. What more could you say for an introduction in the post-season? The Glasgow Galaxy won the league title for the city of Glasgow for the first time since 2008. It is also the first title for Glasgow since the GBA split in 2014. Luke Powell will return to the mound for the Galaxy as their ace, hoping to replicate the same success he saw in 2017. This season will likely be challenging for the club, not because they lost any players, but because all teams will be looking to knock off the defending champs. Galaxy open with a home game to Edinburgh Cannons at Tollcross Park.