As many people are still covered with this winter’s snow, Major League Baseball is prepping for spring training.

Spring training games start the first week of March, so there is still some time until fans are graced with their first taste of baseball.

As pitchers and catchers have been reporting as early as Feb. 18, whether it is Florida or Arizona, MLB fans are primed and ready to get over this winter and see what’s in store for the upcoming season

Teams have improved rosters, players are returning from injury or suspension and new prospects are looking to make an impact on their respective teams.

Teams like the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres have made some moves in this offseason that could make a difference in their teams.

AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez

AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez

Boston with the pick-ups of veterans Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval could make an impact this year.

Also, with their “splash” in the Cuban free agent market in Rusney Castillo, the Red Sox hope to see some positive contributions out of him, along with their up-and-coming prospects like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.

Those are things to look for, but one thing to be concerned about is the lack of a “number one” pitcher in the rotation after average transactions of pitchers like Rick Porcello and Wade Miley, and who knows what Clay Buchholz the Red Sox will get this year.

Similar to last year, the Dodgers should continue to contend for a championship with the additions of Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins, and the removal of Matt Kemp from the roster.

Yasiel Puig’s continued development will be fun to watch as he turns into a more mature talent. The pitching rotation will also be interesting to watch with arguably the best regular season pitcher in all of baseball, Clayton Kershaw.

The San Diego Padres made some transactions this offseason with the acquisitions of Justin Upton, Wil Myers and Matt Kemp in their outfield and Will Middlebrooks in their infield, all who should give the lineup a bit more fire power.

With the recent addition of James Shields, Padres fans can look forward to him impacting the rotation.

   Roster previews are one thing to look for, but it is important to keep an eye on the players coming back from injury and suspension.

Most notably, all MLB fans are keeping an eye on Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) returning from his PED suspension.

The Yankees will be looking for this 39-year-old third baseman, who is taking a big chunk out of the salary cap, to make contributions, primarily on the offensive end. It will be interesting to see if A-Rod will be able to hit and produce consistently.

For players returning from injury like Matt Harvey (elbow), Prince Fielder (neck) and Victor Martinez (knee), it will be interesting to see how they bounce back.

Specifically Harvey will be interesting to see because he is a complete year out from his surgery in early 2013.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Tommy John surgery victims from this past season will have to wait until midseason for a possible return, like promising young pitcher Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins.

Likely to start the season on the disabled list, Miguel Cabrera’s recovery from ankle surgery will be something to keep an eye on, specifically  when he will actually be able to make an impact during the season. He has been cleared for “non-impact” activities as of earlier this week, so his progression will be something to watch.

Another big aspect of spring training is the sneak preview of the future of baseball programs, the prospects.

For the newly acquired member of the Boston Red Sox, Rusney Castillo, it will be interesting to see if he can have the same impact as other Cuban players like Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu.

The “number one” prospect, Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs, will be fun to watch to see if he will make the major league roster after his outstanding offensive numbers last year in the minor leagues, who also led pro-baseball with 43 home runs.

Many label this prospect as “MLB-ready.”

Twenty -two-year-old pitcher Noah Syndergaard for the New York Mets won’t make an impact right away, but his minor league manager Wally Backman said, “His stuff is probably Cy Young-caliber stuff when he can command all of his stuff.”

A player with this kind of upside will be much anticipated by fans and people around the league.

Spring training is where the scouts and coaches will get a sense of what these prospects will produce in the MLB.

Jeff Lunn can be contacted at

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