MLB 2017 Predictions

 


The Super Bowl is in the books, and spring training is around the corner. It’s time to take a look at what’s in store for this baseball season. As Bryce Harper stated in 2016, he wants baseball to be fun again. 2017 looks to have plenty of fun in store. There will be competition, players will have better seasons, and the MLB will be more interesting.

My Predictions

AL East

Boston Red Sox 92-70
Toronto Blue Jays 88-74
New York Yankees 87-75
Baltimore Orioles 80-82
Tampa Bay Rays 69-93
The Red Sox did lose David Ortiz, but they picked up Chris Sale in the offseason. The front office performed well in the offseason. The rotation looks better, the bullpen is alright, and their lineup is still good. The Blue Jays are still going to be good. However, the loss of Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders made it clear that they won’t be a playoff team. Despite signing Kendrys Morales, this team doesn’t include a true superstar. The Yankees went young and are looking better, but it will take time for them to return to the playoffs. The Orioles rotation is falling apart again as if it was glued together with marshmallow fluff. Also, not having Matt Wieters in the lineup renders the O’s mediocre for this season. Meanwhile, the Rays won’t get much better. Despite a good rotation, they need big hitters to compete in the East.

AL Central

Cleveland Indians 92-70
Detroit Tigers 89-73
Kansas City Royals 81-81
Chicago White Sox 78-84
Minnesota Twins 63-99
The Indians signed Edwin Encarnacion and will definitely stay on top because of that. Cleveland didn’t do much else in the offseason, which could hurt their chances in the playoffs. The Tigers and Royals didn’t do much either, but one or both of them could have a bounce back seasons. It won’t be enough to top the Tribe, though. The White Sox are heavily leaning on young talent to carry the team, which isn’t a safe bet. The Twins are in the process of rebuilding their team, so short term success isn’t a priority this year for Minnesota.

AL West

Texas Rangers 94-68
Houston Astros 91-71
Seattle Mariners 86-76
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 76-86
Oakland Athletics 65-97
The pundits predicting an October devoid of the Rangers are simply wrong. Their lineup is almost as good as last year, despite losing Mitch Moreland and Ian Desmond. Josh Hamilton is working his way back to full strength, and Jurickson Profar is due to make a big contribution this year. The rotation is just as good as last season’s, if not better. The Astros could also be a significant contender, with an improved lineup and bullpen. The Mariners and Angels also made some smart moves that will put them in the picture this year. However, neither team will be able to top Texas or Houston this year. Meanwhile, the Athletics are in a rebuild and will dwell in the basement of an otherwise competitive division this year.

NL East

Washington Nationals 93-69
New York Mets 90-72
Miami Marlins 87-75
Atlanta Braves 67-95
Philadelphia Phillies 65-97
The Nationals haven’t done much this off-season, but they haven’t lost much. With a little fine-tuning, they could be as good as they have been recently. The Mets should also be playoff material, as they’ve put together a good lineup and still have one of the best rotations in the league. The Marlins have also improved. They have a good young lineup and their rotation has a lot of depth. Although Jose Fernandez sadly passed away, they added Jeff Locke and Edinson Volquez to maintain strength in their rotation. Meanwhile, the Braves have a nice balance of old and young, but it will take a couple of years for them to rebuild. They have made notable improvements to their lineup with the addition of Bartolo Colon and Brandon Phillips. The Phillies have also made some good moves in the offseason, but nothing that will put them in contention. Neither team will compete this year, but they are making smart moves for their future.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs 96-66
St. Louis Cardinals 93-69
Pittsburgh Pirates 85-77
Cincinnati Reds 74-88
Milwaukee Brewers 72-90

The Cubs made some nice finishing touches in the off-season. Despite losing Jason Hammel, their lineup’s still good enough to be a World Series contender. The Cardinals are also poised to make a run this year. Their lineup lacks a true star, but young talent should help them improve, along with new outfielder Dexter Fowler. Their rotation is also looking a lot better for 2017 with Lance Lynn returning. The Pirates lack a good rotation, although their lineup is still decent. Without good pitching, they will not be a playoff team. The Reds are going to be alright, but need to trade away the older guys and rebuild if they want any chance at a pennant in the near future. The Brewers are already rebuilding, so don’t expect much from them in the near future.

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers 90-72
San Francisco Giants 88-74
Colorado Rockies 85-77
Arizona Diamondbacks 79-83
San Diego Padres 63-99
The NL West will be a tight division with no clear leader. The Dodgers are the favorites, but they have flaws in the bullpen as well as in the lineup. The San Francisco rotation looks good, but the lineup could struggle. It’s also an odd year, which takes away the only argument that Giants fans have been making in recent years. That gives the Rockies the chance to sneak into contention. Colorado features a powerful lineup which takes advantage of the fact that they play in a hitters’ park. Their rotation needs some work, but with a veteran mentor, the young rotation will look a lot better and the Rockies could contend. They are one team that will help make baseball fun again, along with other teams like the Marlins, Astros, Mariners, Angels and Yankees. Their unique experimental style is making the game interesting. Signing a guy like Jason Hammel, Jered Weaver or Doug Fister may help. The D-Backs are a young team that I expect to improve in 2017. In a few years, they could contend. Meanwhile, the Padres are just the Padres. They’ve hit rock bottom in a terribly executed rebuild and may have one of their worst seasons ever. Signing veterans short term back then didn’t work out, and it’s causing bigger problems now. San Diego lost professional sports when the Chargers left.

2017 MLB Playoffs

In the NL, the Cardinals will be a lot better. They will challenge the Cubs for the throne. Once the Cubs win that series though, they’ll have an easy path to the World Series. The Nats, Mets and Dodgers are nowhere near as good as their NL Central rivals. In the World Series, I think the Cubs will be the favorite, but the best team doesn’t always win the World Series. For that reason, the Cubs won’t repeat. Instead, the young talent of the Astros will surprise the Cubs. Chicago’s North Side features a good young team, but the Astros have more young talent, and that lead them to a World Series title.

 

Featured image courtesy of USA Today

 

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