Well folks, here we are! The 2017 season has arrived (today is Opening Day in fact, so I realize I’m a bit late on this.) I debated all offseason on whether to do a predictions post, but in the end, and by the end I mean about 4 minutes ago, I decided why not? So, here goes it, my prognostications for this year:
- Boston Red Sox – They’re loaded. Having David Price banged up to start the year won’t help, but picking up Chris Sale will, as he historically has dominated the division.
- Toronto Blue Jays – Balanced and potent. They should be in the picture.
- Baltimore Orioles – Talented and consistent, and Buck Showalter will keep them relevant.
- New York Yankees – Could easily finish higher. 2-5 in this division could end up anywhere.
- Tampa Bay Rays – Should be competitive, but an overall lack of offense will likely keep them at a distance by September.
- Cleveland Indians – Like Boston, they’re loaded and hungry. Will the 69-year World Series drought come to an end?
- Kansas City Royals – Injuries decimated them last year. If healthy, they should contend.
- Detroit Tigers – Getting older, but don’t count them out just yet.
- Minnesota Twins – Imploded last year but they have lots of youth and talent. If they can gel, they can finish higher.
- Chicago White Sox – Finally in a needed rebuilding mode and seem to be doing it right. Some feel there’s still enough there to be competitive all season, but it could be a rough year on the south side, especially if the long-rumored trade of Jose Quintana actually happens.
- Houston Astros – Good talent mix up and down and they’re ready to win. Dallas Keuchel is the key cog in their rotation. If he bounces back, it’ll be a huge plus for them.
- Texas Rangers – Solid, though may need to find an arm or two. Should be in the race all season.
- Seattle Mariners – Could be a sleeper team. Balanced lineup, little gray area on their pitching staff, but they feel ready to win this year.
- Los Angeles Angels – Should be better if they stay healthy but not quite ready to challenge the division.
- Oakland Athletics – The rebuild continues.
- Washington Nationals – Will we see the Baker Effect part II? Lots of pressure for this team to advance in the playoffs. They have the roster to do so.
- New York Mets – The most formidable starting rotation in the bigs, but they must stay healthy. If they do, this team could be extremely dangerous.
- Miami Marlins – Talent to be competitive, but depth and potential emotional hangover from the tragic death of Jose Fernandez will be factors.
- Philadelphia Phillies – Continuing rebuild, but trending up. Could grab a few more wins than people expect.
- Atlanta Braves – Lots of people seem high on this team to finish middle or upper in the division. They still are likely a year away, but like the AL East, positions 2-5 could be in any order.
- Chicago Cubs – The defending World Champs are the best team in baseball, unequivocally. Sustaining that success now becomes the challenge, but this team has the depth, youth, flexibility and brains to do so.
- St. Louis Cardinals – Instantly better with the signing of Dexter Fowler, but losing Alex Reyes for the season was an unexpected blow. Still, there’s enough here to remain in the playoff picture.
- Pittsburgh Pirates – Arguably the best outfield in baseball and plenty of promise in the infield too. Will it be enough to climb back into the race?
- Milwaukee Brewers – Need pitching. Likely a mid-lower division finish looms.
- Cincinnati Reds – The full rebuild continues.
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Strong overall team and Dave Roberts proved in his first year as skipper he’s a trusted leader. If Rich Hill steps up to solidify their rotation, another division title awaits for these guys.
- San Francisco Giants – Picking up Mark Melancon was huge for them to bolster their bullpen, but a lack of big bats in their lineup could be a detriment. Still, a team of very good, dependable players will keep them on pace with the Dodgers all year.
- Colorado Rockies – Another potential sleeper team who could surprise. Pitching is always a question mark here, but there is a very potent lineup and solid defense that could enable this team to win.
- Arizona Diamondbacks – New managers always bring some new questions, but overall a lack of depth will be a major hurdle come the dog days of summer.
- San Diego – In rebuild mode.
There you go, folks. We’ll see how it shakes out as the season progresses and check in at the All-Star break to see how my semi-educated guesses are playing out. Enjoy the season!
Photo Credit: http://bsndenver.com/it-is-time-for-major-league-baseball-to/