2017 MLB Predictions
I’ve been working on editing and getting my shoulder blog ready to be launched on the website, but all I can think about is getting this season started and watching some actual baseball. I’ve been reading a lot of spring training news, some of which is important, and most of which is talking up future prospects that have inflated spring training stats. In trying to see the forest through the trees, here are my predictions for the upcoming season. Enjoy!
AL East- Boston Red Sox: I think this will end up being the best division in baseball, and it houses who I think will win the World Series this year. The front runner has to be the Boston Red Sox, but keeping their pitching staff healthy will be the make or break point. I think the Blue Jays/Orioles/Yankees will all be in the picture come August and September, but the Red Sox will eventually run away with the Division.
AL Central- Cleveland Indians: With the White Sox trading away Chris Sale, and the Tigers and Royals not doing a whole lot to better their clubs, I think the Indians are the clear choice to win the Central, and will do so by the second week in September. Adding the power stick of Edwin Encarnacion will make up for the loss of Mike Napoli and then some. Michael Brantley is healthy and looking good to earn comeback player of the year honors. And it sounds like the front office staff banned drones from the team facilities, so Trevor Bauer will keep his throwing hand intact. Bottom line; the Indians are one of the best teams in baseball.
AL West- Texas Rangers: This is a tough division to pick a winner. All teams made notable acquisitions and all lost key contributors. I think the Astros will put up a good fight and definitely score a lot of runs. The Angels, to me, feel like a team that is beginning to run on the fumes of bad contracts and are relying on one star to carry the load. The Mariners, well, I’m not impressed with what they’ve done to build a team around Robinson Cano. I feel the Rangers have the best young talent with the best veteran leadership, and they will eventually clinch in the final week over the Astros.
AL Wild Card- #1 Baltimore Orioles #2 Houston Astros.
- Baltimore will win in a close battle with Zach Britton actually getting a chance to earn the save this time around versus wasting away in the bullpen as he sees their lead dissipate.
ALDS: #1 Boston Red Sox vs. #4 Baltimore Orioles #2 Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers.
- Boston will complete the 3 game sweep and move on in convincing fashion behind the dominant pitching and the bat of the eventual Rookie of the year, Andrew Benintendi.
- Cleveland will win this series 3-1, with the only loss coming in walk-off fashion in a pitcher’s duel between Yu Darvish and Corey Kluber in game one in Arlington.
ALCS: #1 Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians
- In a rematch of the 2016 divisional series, The Red Sox will squeak out a comeback game 7 win to clinch the American League pennant. A healthy Chris Sale and David Price will each notch 2 wins, and Mookie Betts will win ALCS MVP with 3 go-ahead-RBI’s in true Big Pappi fashion.
NL East- Washington Nationals: This is a tough division to break down. The Braves and Marlins have been status quo for a few years now, and they haven’t made enough noise in the off-season to boost their rosters. I do think Dansby Swanson will eventually be the center piece of a good Braves team in the future though. The Mets will give the Nationals the most grief, splitting the season series, but the Nationals will take advantage and dominate the Braves and Marlins all year, clinching the east with a week and a half to go in September.
NL Central- Chicago Cubs: This pains me to say, but it’s hard to argue against the Cubs. The other teams in the central, including my beloved Reds, all made good off-season moves to better themselves in the future…well maybe not the Brewers. The Cubs rotation, depth of batting order, and backing from all the new found “Cubbies Fans”, make them a shoe-in to win the division. (I know this is going to irritate all the “true” Cubs fans, but you have to admit, there’s no more room on that bandwagon.)
NL West- Los Angeles Dodgers: Behind the best season ever from a starting pitcher in Clayton Kershaw, including a perfect game in San Francisco against the rival Giants, my pick here has to be the Dodgers. The Giants and Rockies will put up a good fight, but will eventually fall short in a three way race in the final week.
NL Wild Card- #1 San Francisco Giants #2 Colorado Rockies.
- Soon to be crowned NL MVP Nolan Arenado will have 4 RBI’s on two HR’s, but the Giants will get a late RBI single from Brandon Crawford to bury the Rockies and move on to face the Cubs.
NLDS: #1 Chicago Cubs vs. #4 San Francisco Giants #2 Washington Nationals vs. 3 LA Dodgers.
- The Cubs will struggle to get the bats going in games one and two, but they will still manage to leave San Francisco with a win, only to win the next two at Wrigley in convincing fashion. Cubs 3-1
- Kershaw will come back in game 5 for his second win of the series, silencing all the critics who say he can’t perform in the playoffs. The Nationals will give it the “old college try”, but lack the pitching depth to advance. Dodgers 3-2
NLCS: #1 Chicago Cubs vs. #3 LA Dodgers.
- What should be a good series turns out to be quite a snoozer with the Cubs launching 12 homeruns in a 4 game sweep of the Dodgers to advance to the World Series with a chance to defend their crown. The media gets back to speed with the Kershaw bashing as he gives us 7 earned runs in his only start of the series.
World Series: Chicago Cubs vs. Boston Red Sox
- Many people say the 2016 series can never be topped, but this 2017 series comes close. Games 1-4 end up lacking offense, but they make up for it with dominant pitching performances. Tied at 2-2, the Cubs break out of their slump and take game 5 in Chicago, thanks to long balls from Rizzo, Bryant, and Schwarber. Game 6 in Boston ends in epic fashion with a walk-off HR from Xander Boegarts in the 11th This will set up a classic game 7 with two of the historically “cursed teams” in MLB history. Chris Sale and Jake Arrieta come back on short rest for their 3rd starts of the series and duel it out for 7 innings. The drained Cubs bullpen can’t maintain and give up back to back homeruns to the BoSox in the 8th to clinch the title.
World Champs: Boston Red Sox
AL MVP: Francisco Lindor
AL Rookie of the Year: Andrew Benintendi
AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber
Manager of the Year: Jeff Banister Texas Rangers
NL MVP: Nolan Arrenado
NL Rookie of the Year: Dansby Swanson
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
NL Manager of the Year: Barry Larkin, after Bryan Price is fired as Reds manager and Larkin leads the Reds to a 60-21 second half record.