The 2017 Major League Baseball season is nearly upon us, and all around the sports world there is only one question on the minds of fans: who will win it all?
To help answer that question, we’ll be offering our predictions for which teams will make the playoffs in 2017, and which players will help them as they strive to get to the promised land.
* = Wild card team
1 Seattle Mariners
2016 Record: 86-76
Key Additions: Mitch Haniger, Jean Segura, Danny Valencia
Key Losses: Taijuan Walker
Just looking at this team’s lineup, they are loaded with guys that can absolutely rake. Whether you’re looking at Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, or Jean Segura, this team can hit the cover off the ball, and that’s a big boost. The question for the Mariners lies with their pitching rotation. Felix Hernandez is always a lock to pitch well if he’s healthy, but can a rotation with guys like Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton logging big innings fend off the Astros and the Rangers? We’re banking on yes.
2 Houston Astros*
2016 Record: 84-78
Key Additions: Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Charlie Morton, Josh Reddick
Key Losses: Doug Fister, Pat Neshek, Colby Rasmus, Luis Valbuena,
Everyone and their mother is picking the Astros to make the playoffs this season, and there’s an excellent reason why: this team is loaded with young talent and they’ve got a solid pitching staff. If they can add a guy to their rotation like Jose Quintana, they could be an absolutely lethal squad this season, and they’re rightly looked at as one of the favorites to make some noise come October.
3 Texas Rangers*
2016 Record: 95-67
Key Additions: Andrew Cashner
Key Losses: Carlos Beltran, Ian Desmond, Derek Holland, Mitch Moreland
The top of Texas’ rotation is largely solid, with Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels both capable of carrying the load for most of the season. The addition of Andrew Cashner was a smart one, but questions about the back end of the rotation and about the team’s bullpen definitely hamper them as they try to keep up with the loaded Mariners and Astros.
4 Los Angeles Angels
2016 Record: 74-88
Key Additions: Jesse Chavez, Danny Espinosa, Martin Maldonado, Cameron Maybin, Luis Valbuena
Key Losses: Jhoulys Chacin, CJ Wilson
The Angels are, without a doubt, an underachieving team, considering that they have the best player on the planet in Mike Trout patrolling their outfield. The team did make some moves to get better this season, but with questions around their pitching rotation, it will be a challenge to move up in an absolutely loaded division.
5 Oakland Athletics
2016 Record: 69-93
Key Additions: Rajai Davis, Matt Joyce, Josh Smith
Key Losses: Ross Detwiler, Danny Valencia
Unfortunately for Billy Beane and company, they don’t have the lineup to compete with the big dogs in what may be baseball’s toughest division. There are some solid bats like Khris Davis and Jed Lowrie in the mix, but for the most part, they can’t compete with the likes of the Mariners and Astros.
To further complicate matters, their pitching rotation is plagued with question marks, as Sonny Gray can’t stay on the field. Can Sean Manaea help lift that group? It’s doubtful, and so we’ve put them in the West basement.