Season Outlook: Colorado Rockies

2017 Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Charlie Blackmon – Center Fielder
  2. DJ LeMahieu – 2nd baseman
  3. Nolan Arenado – 3rd baseman
  4. Carlos Gonzalez – Right Fielder
  5. Ian Desmond – 1st baseman
  6. David Dahl – Left Fielder
  7. Trevor Story – Shortstop
  8. Tony Wolters – Catcher

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Jon Gray
  2. Chad Bettis
  3. Tyler Anderson
  4. Tyler Chatwood
  5. Jeff Hoffman

Season Outlook:

We all know how dangerous the Rockies lineup will be in 2017, but the issue for the Rockies will be if their pitching staff can be at least decent. Nolan Arenado is a legitimate MVP candidate that provides sensational defense as well. Carlos Gonzalez, DJ LeMahieu, Ian Desmond, David Dahl, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon are all really good hitters. The only weakness in Colorado’s lineup is with catcher Tony Wolters who struggled offensively last season. Everyone besides Wolters are major threats in the Rockies lineup to do some serious damage against opposing pitching. Meanwhile, the Rockies pitching staff made some improvements last season led by young ace Jon Gray. Tyler Chatwood, Tyler Anderson, and Chad Bettis also improved in 2016. Jeff Hoffman is a highly regarded pitching prospect and it will be interesting to see how he does in his first MLB action in 2017. All of the Rockies starting pitchers are inexperienced, but they all have tremendous potential to improve even more for the Rockies next season. The major issue for Colorado last season was their bullpen which had a MLB worst 5.13 ERA. It seemed that they couldn’t close out games even if they had a big lead. However, the additions of Greg Holland and Mike Dunn this offseason should provide some more stability in the late innings. Also, closer Adam Ottavino was injured last season and he was a really good relief pitcher for the Rockies prior to his injury. If the pitching for the Rockies can improve especially with the bullpen then this is a very dangerous playoff contender. However, as good as the offense will obviously be, I’m not sure that the pitching will improve much considering that they play at the extremely hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Prediction: 3rd place in the NL West

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Season Outlook: Cleveland Indians

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Carlos Santana – Designated Hitter
  2. Jason Kipnis – 2nd baseman
  3. Francisco Lindor – Shortstop
  4. Edwin Encarnacion – 1st baseman
  5. Michael Brantley – Left Fielder
  6. Jose Ramirez – 3rd baseman
  7. Lonnie Chisenhall – Right Fielder
  8. Yan Gomes – Catcher
  9. Tyler Naquin – Center Fielder

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Corey Kluber
  2. Carlos Carrasco
  3. Danny Salazar
  4. Trevor Bauer
  5. Josh Tomlin

Season Outlook:

The Indians were just one win away from winning the world series last season and there is no reason to expect that they won’t at least make it to the ALCS in 2017. Cleveland had a decent lineup last season led by Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor. However, now that star left fielder Michael Brantley should play much more than he did in 2016 then this lineup becomes much better. Also, the Indians went against what they typically do in free agency as they gave out a massive contract to 1st baseman Edwin Encarnacion who hit 42 home runs for Toronto last season. Adding Encarnacion and a healthy Brantley to the middle of their lineup makes this team even better than it was last season. However, the pitching staff is clearly the strength of the Indians. Corey Kluber is one of the best pitchers in baseball and the rest of the rotation are all top of the rotation pitchers. Injuries to their starting rotation hurt the Indians late last season. However, if their pitchers can stay healthy in the postseason then this team could end up winning the world series in 2017. Also, the Indians bullpen is one of the best in the MLB led by Andrew Miller and Cody Allen who are shutdown relief pitchers that are outstanding at winning close games for Cleveland. It is difficult to find a weakness on this roster and they should win their division while also competing with the Red Sox to go to the world series in 2017.

Prediction: 1st place in the AL Central

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Season Outlook: Cincinnati Reds

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Billy Hamilton – Center Fielder
  2. Zack Cozart – Shortstop
  3. Joey Votto – 1st baseman
  4. Adam Duvall – Left Fielder
  5. Scott Schebler – Right Fielder
  6. Devin Mesoraco – Catcher
  7. Eugenio Suarez – 3rd baseman
  8. Jose Peraza – 2nd baseman

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Anthony DeSclafani
  2. Brandon Finnegan
  3. Scott Feldman
  4. Tim Adleman
  5. Robert Stephenson

Season Outlook:

The Cincinnati Reds actually look like a worse team heading into 2017 than they were last season especially since the only MLB players that they signed this offseason were Scott Feldman and Drew Storen which aren’t exactly impact signings. The team also traded longtime 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips which definitely makes this a worse team in 2017. Cincinnati’s offense has Joey Votto as their best player and he is obviously one of the best players in the MLB. However, the issue is that the rest of the Reds offense is terrible besides left fielder Adam Duvall who was a pleasant surprise for Cincinnati last season when he hit 33 home runs and had 103 RBI’s. I’m not quite buying into Duvall yet since he had been a borderline minor league player until last season, so we’ll see if last year was a fluke or not. Either way, Votto and Duvall will have a tremendous amount of pressure on them to perform because the rest of the Reds lineup is filled with below average players. Even if Votto and Duvall have remarkable production in 2017, expect the Reds offense to be very bad. The Reds starting rotation looks even worse than the Reds lineup for the 2017 season as their number 1 starter appears to be Anthony DeSclafani who had a good year in 2016 with a 3.28 ERA, but he has been very inconsistent prior to 2016. This rotation is filled with young pitchers that have very little MLB experience, so don’t expect the rotation to be any better than last year. Cincinnati’s bullpen did add proven relief pitcher Drew Storen, but their bullpen still doesn’t look very good. Overall, this Reds team has uncertainty at basically every position except with Duvall and Votto, so expect this team to compete for the title of worst MLB team.

Prediction: 5th place in the NL Central

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Season Outlook: Chicago White Sox

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Tim Anderson – Shortstop
  2. Brett Lawrie – 2nd baseman
  3. Melky Cabrera – Left Fielder
  4. Jose Abreu – 1st baseman
  5. Todd Frazier – 3rd baseman
  6. Avisail Garcia – Right Fielder
  7. Cody Asche – Designated Hitter
  8. Geovany Soto – Catcher
  9. Charlie Tilson – Center Fielder

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Jose Quintana
  2. Miguel Gonzalez
  3. Carlos Rodon
  4. James Shields
  5. Derek Holland

Season Outlook:

The rebuilding is finally underway for the Chicago White Sox after they traded star pitcher Chris Sale and starting center fielder Adam Eaton this offseason. Chicago made their team worse for 2017, but they acquired some outstanding young prospects that will help them long-term. Jose Abreu will carry the offense for the most part and he is probably the future of the franchise for the White Sox. However, he isn’t the only good offensive player for the White Sox as they still have Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera in the middle of their lineup. Chicago has big needs at a few spots in their lineup like at shortstop, catcher, designated hitter, and center fielder. However, if Abreu, Frazier, and Cabrera don’t produce consistently then their offense could be terrible. Chicago’s starting rotation obviously isn’t as good after they traded Chris Sale. However, Jose Quintana is still a very good starting pitcher and the starting rotation looks average overall. James Shields, Carlos Rodon, and Derek Holland all could be good starting pitchers, but they just can’t be counted on to be consistent. Chicago’s bullpen doesn’t look great except for closer David Robertson and I bet that he will be traded at some point this season. Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, and James Shields could also be traded in 2017 and that would make this team really terrible. The White Sox starting rotation seems like their best hope to be able to compete in 2017, but it is still highly unlikely as they have a clear direction to rebuild now.

Prediction: 4th place in the AL Central

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Season Outlook: Chicago Cubs

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Kyle Schwarber – Left Fielder
  2. Kris Bryant – 3rd baseman
  3. Anthony Rizzo – 1st baseman
  4. Ben Zobrist – 2nd baseman
  5. Addison Russell – Shortstop
  6. Willson Contreras – Catcher
  7. Jason Heyward – Right Fielder
  8. Jon Jay – Center Fielder

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Jon Lester
  2. Jake Arrieta
  3. Kyle Hendricks
  4. John Lackey
  5. Brett Anderson

Season Outlook:

The Chicago Cubs are probably the best team in the MLB heading into 2017 as they are coming off of their first world series championship in 108 years. Also, the core of the team remains almost completely intact except for the loss of center fielder Dexter Fowler which is a big subtraction from last year’s team. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are the consistent offensive producers for the Cubs. However, Chicago’s lineup is so deep that they are projected to have Jason Heyward hitting 7th in the lineup despite being paid a $184 million contract prior to last season. Chicago’s offense is extremely dangerous, but their pitching staff might be an even bigger strength. Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, and Kyle Hendricks are three pitchers that could legitimately win the Cy Young award next season. John Lackey and Brett Anderson aren’t bad options at the back of the rotation either as they both have plenty of experience in the MLB. The Cubs pitching staff was very good in the postseason last season and expect Lester, Hendricks, and Arrieta to do the same thing in 2017. Chicago’s bullpen is a little bit different than last season as they traded for one of the top closers in the MLB by acquiring Wade Davis from Kansas City. Also, Hector Rendon and Koji Uehara are former closers that should be good setup men in the bullpen. The only weakness that the Cubs have is in center field with Jon Jay. However, I would be shocked if the Cubs don’t make a deep postseason run once again in 2017 because they have basically the same roster as last season.

Prediction: 1st place in NL Central

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Season Outlook: Boston Red Sox

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Dustin Pedroia – 2nd baseman
  2. Andrew Benintendi – Left Fielder
  3. Xander Bogaerts – Shortstop
  4. Mookie Betts – Right Fielder
  5. Hanley Ramirez – Designated Hitter
  6. Jackie Bradley Jr. – Center fielder
  7. Pablo Sandoval – 3rd baseman
  8. Mitch Moreland – 1st baseman
  9. Sandy Leon – Catcher

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Chris Sale
  2. David Price
  3. Rick Porcello
  4. Drew Pomeranz
  5. Steven Wright

Season Outlook:

Even with the retirement of future hall-of-fame designated hitter David Ortiz this offseason, the Red Sox might actually be a better team heading into 2017 than they were last season. Boston’s roster is one of the best in baseball as basically the only weakness that the team has is at the catcher position. Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, and Jackie Bradley have all been all-stars at some point in their career. Meanwhile, Andrew Benintendi is widely considered the number 1 prospect in the MLB right now and he is due to become a star player possibly in 2017. The Red Sox have perhaps the best lineup in all of the MLB and that alone makes them a dangerous team. Meanwhile, the Red Sox also have three of the best starting pitchers in the MLB with David Price, Rick Porcello, and newly-acquired Chris Sale. That trio is going to be difficult to go up against especially if Boston makes a deep postseason run. Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright aren’t bad options at the back of their rotation as well. Boston also has a dominant bullpen led by Craig Kimbrel and Tyler Thornburg as the late inning options. This team is outstanding in every key area and that is what makes this team not only the best team in the AL East, but also a serious world series contender.

Prediction: 1st place in the AL East

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Season Outlook: Baltimore Orioles

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Adam Jones – Center fielder
  2. Seth Smith – Right Fielder
  3. Manny Machado – 3rd baseman
  4. Chris Davis – 1st baseman
  5. Mark Trumbo – Designated Hitter
  6. Jonathan Schoop – 2nd baseman
  7. Welington Castillo – Catcher
  8. J.J. Hardy – Shortstop
  9. Hyun Soo Kim – Left Fielder

Projected 2017 Pitching Rotation:

  1. Chris Tillman
  2. Kevin Gausman
  3. Dylan Bundy
  4. Ubaldo Jimenez
  5. Wade Miley

Season Outlook:

There is no doubt that the Baltimore Orioles have one of the most dangerous lineups in all of the MLB as the only weakness in their lineup is Hyun Soo Kim. Manny Machado, Chris Davis, and Mark Trumbo in the middle of their lineup makes opposing pitchers shiver with fear. Trumbo hit 47 home runs, Davis hit 38 home runs, and Machado hit 37 home runs. Pretty much anybody in Baltimore’s lineup has the ability to make a major impact and the offense is certainly what will carry the Orioles in 2017. However, the Orioles pitching staff is what continues to hold the Orioles back. Chris Tillman is the team’s best starting pitcher as he went 16-6 with a 3.77 ERA last season. However, Tillman is injured right now and the issue is that there isn’t much consistency besides him. Gausman and Bundy have lots of potential, but they have yet to prove themselves for Baltimore. Also, Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez have been productive pitchers a few years ago, but they have both been terrible lately. The Orioles have an outstanding bullpen with Zach Britton, Brad Brach, and Darren O’Day in the late innings. However, the starting pitching for the Orioles hasn’t been good enough to give their bullpen a chance to close out games. The Orioles have the offense to be playoff contenders in the highly competitive AL East, but it is hard to see basically the same pitching rotation improving much in 2017.

Prediction: 3rd place in the AL East

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