The Santa Clara
April 6, 2017
There is very little optimism surrounding the Athletics going into the 2017 season. Bright spot Khris Davis is hoping to build off a 42-home run year, while Marcus Semien is looking to follow up his own power display from a year ago. The biggest achievement the A’s can look forward to this year is if ace Sonny Gray can return to his former self after an injury-plagued 2016. But no matter how well Gray pitches, the A’s will still fall woefully short of the playoffs. It’s going to be a rough year for Oakland.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have the scariest line-up in recent memory. Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts are certain MVP candidates. If Pablo Sandoval can harness his bat from his days in San Francisco and Andrew Benintendi swings the bat the way he is capable, the retirement of David Ortiz will not hurt as bad. On the other side, newly acquired ace Chris Sale leads a powerful staff with David Price and reigning AL Cy Young Rick Porcello. If the Red Sox put it all together, they are the favorites in the AL.
Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve are the best middle infield combination in the entire league. A full year of Alex Bregman and international acquisition Yulieski Gurriel in the same line-up as George Springer and steady vet Carlos Beltran can form one of the most potent offenses in the MLB. Dallas Keuchel will certainly bounce back from a disappointing 2016, while intriguing, young talents Joe Musgrove and Lance McCullers round out a pitching staff with loads of potential. The Astros certainly have the pieces to be contenders in October.
New York Yankees
Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird are the new faces of the Yankees organization and they are just a few of the potential superstars that have made the MLB roster from the strongest farm system in the league. Tanaka is reliable at the top of the rotation, and the inconsistent, but extremely talented Luis Severino is a strong candidate for a bounce-back year on the mound. If the Yankees can take the lead into the 8th, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman are as dominant as it gets out of the bullpen. Expect to see phenoms Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier in the big leagues sooner than later, and at that point the sky is the limit for the Bronx Bombers.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are absolutely loaded. A full year of reigning NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager should scare the entire league and if wild-card Yasiel Puig returns to form it will add another weapon to a strong line-up. On the mound, Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen lead a dominant pitching staff. The Dodgers can match-up with absolutely anyone.
San Francisco Giants
Everyone is back for the perennial winners down in the Bay, plus late season additions Matt Moore and Eduardo Nunez. Look for Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence to lead the charge as usual, while Joe Panik is a prime candidate for a bounce-back year at second base. And new closer Mark Melancon should stabilize an otherwise shaky bullpen. Expect to see the Giants in October.
2017 has the potential to be the year that the Nationals finally make a deep playoff run. Bryce Harper is a sure bet to have another MVP caliber year and Max Scherzer will look to repeat as NL Cy Young. Daniel Murphy and electric youngster Trea Turner form a lethal double play partnership. Washington has all the pieces to represent the NL in the World Series.
The Cubs have the best infield in the league—anchored by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Addison Russell and Javy Baez are just reaching their potential, and the World Series champs also welcome back one of the best hitters on the planet in Kyle Schwarber. Not to mention their MLB-best pitching staff is virtually unchanged. The Cubs are in a strong position to defend their title.