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2017 MLB Predictions and Wagers

April 2, 2017

Welcome to the 2017 Major League Baseball season! The Rays have already vanquished the Yankees, but it’s not too late for me to write about what I think/hope is going to unfold this season, so here are my 2017 predictions:

AL EAST

1. Boston Red Sox
2. Toronto Blue Jays
3. New York Yankees
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Tampa Bay Rays

Thoughts: Losing David Price for an indefinite amount of time hurts, but it’s still hard to imagine anyone but the Red Sox winning this division. There aren’t many teams that don’t envy Boston’s loaded lineup and the addition of Chris Sale to the rotation is monumental.

The Blue Jays have a solid, if unspectacular rotation and while the lineup will miss Edwin Encarnacion, Kendrys Morales isn’t a bad replacement. They have holes at 1B and LF, but the Jays should compete for a Wild Card spot.

The Yankees are an interesting team. They unloaded at the All-Star break last year and still managed to stay in the playoff race until the last week or so, all while arguably establishing the best farm system in baseball. They should have some growing pains this year, but they should also hover around .500. This team could be scary good in a couple years, especially if/when they sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado (or both! GASP!) after the 2018 season.

The Orioles will probably make the Wild Card game because I’m wrong about them Every. Single. Year. Their lineup is solid and their bullpen is absurdly good, but Ubaldo Jimenez is currently listed as their #3 starter. UBALDO JIMENEZ.

The Rays have a formidable rotation if everyone stays healthy and pitches to their potential, but that’s been a challenge of theirs in recent years. With the exception of Evan Longoria and Kevin Kiermaier, the lineup features a group of players that would be battling for roster spots on a lot of other MLB teams.

AL CENTRAL

1. Cleveland Indians
2. Detroit Tigers
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Minnesota Twins
5. Chicago White Sox

Thoughts: The Indians rival the Cubs for the easiest route to the playoffs. Cleveland made it all the way to extra innings of Game 7 of the World Series last year, despite missing multiple significant pieces for lengthy periods of time. All the starters are presumably healthy, plus The Tribe adds Edwin Encarnacion and a full year of Michael Brantley to the roster, and Andrew Miller and Cody Allen really shorten the game from the bullpen.

The Tigers are good enough to take second in this division, but I do not think they will be part of the Wild Card race in September. The lineup still has a solid, aging core, but the Tigers have little depth and look like they will be trotting out Jacoby Jones and Tyler Collins in their Opening Day lineup. The rotation is pretty questionable outside of Justin Verlander/Michael Fulmer and the bullpen remains a problem.

The Royals annual championship runs appear to be over. Danny Duffy emerged as an ace last year, but the tragic death of Yordano Ventura has left K.C. with a rotation of guys that will need to overachieve to keep this team relevant.

The Twins are still in transition: they have a number of good, young position players that are still developing at the major league level, but the rotation isn’t going to keep them competitive. Brian Dozier wants to be a lifelong Twin, but the organization is probably better off trading him for future building blocks.

The White Sox are all in on a rebuild, so they are going to be bad this year and it’s going to get even worse when they trade Jose Quintana and David Robertson, with Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier also possibly on the market. On the plus side, the White Sox crushed the offseason and the future looks bright.

AL WEST

1. Houston Astros
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Texas Rangers
4. Los Angeles Angels
5. Oakland Athletics

Thoughts: It pains me to predict the Astros as winners of the AL West, but the recent injury to the Seattle’s Drew Smyly has me concerned. Houston’s lineup is absolutely loaded – they are going to score a ton of runs. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are both serious threats for AL MVP. The rotation doesn’t look particularly scary, especially if ace Dallas Keuchel’s 2015 Cy Young run was an anomaly. I really like Joe Musgrove and Lance McCullers has filthy stuff, but can’t seem to stay healthy.

I love the Mariners lineup – they added Jean Segura to compliment an absolutely nasty middle of the lineup. Jarrod Dyson, Mitch Haniger, and Danny Valencia are interesting additions that could make Seattle’s offense one of the best in baseball. The Mariner rotation is filled with question marks. Can Felix Hernandez return to ace status? Can James Paxton stay healthy and live up to the immense expectations? Can Seattle overcome the injury to Smyly with Ariel Miranda and Yovani Gallardo starting 40% of their games for the first six weeks of the season?

The Rangers should make the AL West an interesting three team race for most of the season. They have a pretty loaded lineup but their success largely depends on how far Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels can take them. The rotation is really lacking behind those two and Darvish is no sure bet to survive a full campaign.

The Angels are arguably improved over the 2016 version, but Mike Trout can’t carry this team to the playoffs himself. The Halos are starting Ricky Nolasco on Opening Day, so, yeah…

The A’s are similar to the Rays in that they have some upside in their rotation (but way less experience) and a lot of their everyday players would be bench players on most MLB squads.

AL MVP: Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
AL CY YOUNG: Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
AL ROY: Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox

AL Wild Card Game: Mariners over Blue Jays
AL Division Series: Indians over Mariners; Red Sox over Astros
ALCS: Indians over Red Sox

NL EAST

1. Washington Nationals
2. New York Mets
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Miami Marlins

Thoughts: If the Mets can keep their rotation healthy for the majority of the season, they can win this division. If they can’t, the Nats remain the team to beat and a return to MVP form from Bryce Harper and a full season of Trea Turner could be pretty imposing.

The Phillies might have the most underrated rotation in baseball, plus they have some young players that are producing at the MLB level. They won’t compete for a playoff spot, but they are getting closer.

The Braves are in a similar position, but maybe a year or two further away from contention. They cobbled together a rotation that should be decent enough to keep them out of the cellar of this division.

The Marlins have a great young outfield, but their rotation is borderline laughable – I’m not even sure if they have a legit #3 starter. It’s hard to imagine them not losing a ton of games.

NL CENTRAL

1. Chicago Cubs
2. Saint Louis Cardinals
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Cincinnati Reds

Thoughts: The Cubs still have the most complete roster in the game and should be the envy of every team in baseball – and they are going to be really good for a long time. I fully expect them to run away with the division again.

The Cardinals should be good enough to take second in this division, but I think they are a starter or two away from being a playoff threat.

You have to wonder what’s going on with Andrew McCutchen, but the Pirates could have an elite outfield and a solid young core of starters in Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow, and Jameson Taillon. Pittsburgh’s infield features no established stars though and the pitching staff is mostly unproven.

The Brewers are rebuilding and while they have some interesting players at the MLB level, they will not be contending in 2017.

The Reds are terrible and have no hope on the horizon either.

NL WEST

1. San Francisco Giants
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres

Thoughts: I think I’m in the minority on thinking that the Dodgers are a bit overrated. Clayton Kershaw might finish as the greatest starting pitcher of all-time, but I think the rotation behind him and Kenta Maeda is full of injury risks and question marks.

The Giants, meanwhile, have two legit aces (and one serious power threat!) in Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. Matt Moore is only 27 and is still capable of taking a big step forward and I think a lot of teams would be happy with Jeff Samardzija as their #4. The SF bullpen is shaky, but Mark Melancon should be a positive and the rest of the Giants roster is riddled with guys that play good baseball. It’s no coincidence this franchise has three titles since 2010.

The Diamondbacks and Rockies are both really interesting teams that could be a lot better than people are expecting. The D’Backs were a popular sleeper last year after acquiring Zack Greinke, but he bombed and then they lost superstar A.J. Pollock early in the year. I see a lot of potential across this roster – although Fernando Rodney in the closer position is frightening – and I wouldn’t be surprised if Arizona made a playoff push. The Rockies are in a similar position but they have already been crushed by injuries/ailments to a number of impact players. Even with the losses of David Dahl, Ian Desmond, and Tom Murphy, the Rockies lineup looks loaded and the rotation is as good as the Rockies have ever had.

The Padres should be the worst team in baseball. With the exception of Wil Myers, the rest of the roster is basically a AAA team.

NL MVP: Byrce Harper, Washington Nationals
NL CY YOUNG: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
NL ROY: Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres

NL Wild Card Game: Dodgers over Mets
NLDS: Cubs over Dodgers; Nationals over Giants
NLCS: Cubs over Nationals

World Series: Indians over Cubs

Finally, here is a list of all the wagers I currently have on the MLB season. I’m no pro, so I don’t recommend tailing any of these plays, but I like them enough:

Padres u66.5
Rockies o79.5
White Sox u69.5
Mariners o85.5
Marlins u76.5
Reds u69.5

MLB stolen base leader o62.5

Rockies -1.5 wins over Twins
Mariners -17.5 wins over Padres
Chris Sale -0.5 wins over Madison Bumgarner

Diamondbacks 80-1 to win World Series
Diamondbacks 100-1 to win World Series
Mariners 18-1 to win World Series
Rockies 35-1 to win World Series

Carlos Correa 12-1 to win MVP

HAPPY OPENING DAY!

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