For some reason I was dumb enough to undertake the entire task of doing an MLB Preview. I will be going through each division, AL and NL in same post, and then have a fourth, separate Playoff Preview.
Pretty much all my research was done via Sports Illustrated’s MLB Preview edition and my own knowledge of these teams. Bear in mind I spent 11 months of 2016 in a foreign country that doesn’t understand the game. Alright, let’s have fun!
This is a tough division to predict, for a winner anyway. While the Los Angeles Angels of Orange County and Southern California have addressed some glaring weaknesses, their depth and injury history is not too favorable, and will keep them at the bottom of this division with Oakland.
The A’s aren’t awful for what they are, but that’s the problem. When your major acquisitions are Matt Joyce, Rajai Davis, and Trevor Plouffe in 2017, you aren’t looking to win much. As always their strength will be in their pitching staff, but that won’t be enough to carry a lackluster lineup anywhere.
The trouble with picking this division is you have an improved Mariners team, a talented Astros team coming off a down year, and a Rangers team which had some overachievers last season. So who shows up?
The Astros added Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Josh Reddick to a team which is loaded with good, young talent. However, they’re staff, especially the starters don’t have many innings under their belts, and will be asked to step it up this year. Fatigue might be an issue down the stretch.
The Rangers had a great season last year, but then got swept by recent playoff nemesis the Toronto Blue Jays. While the team hasn’t added much, their rivals have improved. When you add Mike Napoli and he is already slated to be a starter, you need to take another look at your team.
The Mariners are probably most improved in the division. I know that’s hard to argue with the Astros upgrades, but Seattle made a lot of smaller moves to shore up their depth, and weaknesses. They have the lineup, and an improved backend of their rotation, so they are serious contenders.
While Seattle looks a lot better, I still have to give this division to the Astros. I think the veterans they added will help the younger guys return to their 2015 form. However, I think the Mariners end their playoff drought and snag a Wild Card spot.
This might be the least exciting division from a standings viewpoint, as I think 2017 will end the same way 2016 did. Actually exactly. The Padres are still, confusing I guess? Their strategy seems to change by the day. While I like the Diamondbacks, and think they’ve made some good improvements, they still can’t eclipse the others.
I would cover the Dodgers but do I need to? Honest question. Other than the Cubs, I’m not sure anyone has as many young, talented players at pretty much every position, as well as proven MLB commodities. It’s insane.
The Giants have done what they always do, made a few small moves to improve some weak spots, and add some depth. I feel like even if their newcomers don’t pan out they just call up a 14th round pick and they get insane performances. Like them or hate them, they’re sustained success is impressive.
The Rockies looked good last year, and added some talent, but not enough to pass the Giants. Although, if they maintain the trajectory they’re on they have a good chance in the next couple seasons, I just don’t think 2017 will be that year. prove me wrong though Colorado!
The Dodgers take this one easily, and once again the Giants snag a Wild Card spot.