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The Blueprint

MLB 2017 Division Predictions

by Gary Perry, Staff Writer

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Trees are starting to bloom. The weather is starting to heat up and so is the 2017 baseball season. A lot of teams made some key moves to their rosters this offseason. Edwin Encarnacion moved to the Indians. The Nationals picking up catcher Matt Wieters, after losing All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos, and also out fielder Adam Eaton to upgrade the lineup. So how is the league going to shape out this year with a lot of players finding different homes?

NL West

San Francisco Giants (97-65)
Offense: A-
Pitching: B
Bullpen: B

The Giants are looking to rebound this year after going down early in the NLDS last season. Expect them to get back into the playoffs this year and maybe go deeper into the playoffs.The Giants are the favorites in this division this year, and rightly so. This team is a force to be reckoned with the depth they have.

Los Angeles Dodgers (84-78)

Offense: A
Pitching: B+
Bullpen: C+

The Dodgers are a team that can be really good. They have a lot of good bats in their lineup with Adrian Gonzalez, Jacob Turner, and Corey Seager just to name a few. But the question with Dodgers is do they have the bullpen to shut the door late in the game. I don’t think they’ll be able to overcome that bullpen obstacle, and if they do they’ll have a tough time in the postseason. But who knows, the good thing about baseball is that you never know who could step up and have a great season.

Arizona Diamondbacks (80-82)

Offense: B-
Pitching: C+
Bullpen: D-

The Diamondbacks… another team everyone is expecting to break out each year with a very talented young lineup this coming year. The thing that sets worries on them are the bullpen. Fernando Rodney was good three seasons ago and hasn’t been in that shape since then with the Rays. Zack Greinke will look to get back to his original form and they also have some young starting pitchers. They have a good lineup, but that will only get you so far.

Colorado Rockies (74-88)
Offense: A-
Pitching: D+
Bullpen: C

The Rockies have a lot of power in their lineup with Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, and Carlos Gonzalez all hitting over 25 Home Runs last year. But the pitchers the Rockies have just won’t get the job done plain and simple.

San Diego Padres (63-99)

Offense: C
Pitching: D+
Bullpen: F

This team is scary bad. They do have some upcoming prospects for years to come on the brightside. But this year will be a tough one to watch for any Pardes fan.

AL West

Houston Astros (96-66)
Offense: A
Pitching: B+
Bullpen: B

Bold prediction? Sure, but what else are predictions for. The Astros are coming off a season where the just missed the playoffs and went 84-78. Looking at the lineup that the Astros have this year with Josh Riddick, Bryan McCann, Carlos Correa and centerpiece Jose Altuve who add power to his game last year making him a true 5 tool player last season. And oh yeah, not to mention, Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers who will give out the same thing each outing 6 innings and 2-4 runs. Sounds like a winning team to me and I’m all in!

Texas Rangers (88-74)

Offense: A
Pitching: B
Bullpen: B-

Texas made the playoffs last year, but loss in a heartbreaking way to the Blue Jays. But this year is going to be a good one for Manager Jeff Banister and his guys. They have a solid lineup led by Adrian Beltre, Jonathan Lucroy, and Mike Napoli. Pitching isn’t too much of a worry either for the Rangers with Cole Hamels, Tyson Ross and Yu Darvish. If Yu Darvish and Tyson Ross stay healthy this year it’ll be a tight AL West race.

Seattle Mariners (84-78)

Offense: C+
Pitching: B+
Bullpen: B-

Seattle is another hit or miss team. They could take off and get a wildcard spot or they can also tank and be a bottom tier team. They have too many unproven players in their starting lineup for my liking such as Daniel Vogelbach, Mitch Haniger, Mike Zunino (who only hit 207 last year in 164 at bats). But the good news is if these unproven guys take off the Mariners should have no problem getting at least a wildcard spot with pitching depth.

Los Angeles Angels (81-81)

Offense: B+
Pitching: D
Bullpen: F

Well the good news is that they probably have the league MVP in Mike Trout who hit for a .315 Batting Average and 29 Home Runs last year. Unfortunately Mike Trout can’t pitch like he can hit because that’s what the Angels need. To put things in perspective here they are putting their faith in a closer who had a 6.45 ERA last season in 26 games. These guys are going to score a lot of runs, but also give up a ton.

Oakland Athletics (72-90)

Offense: D
Pitching: C-
Bullpen: D

It’s pretty bad when only one person on your team batted over 300 the past season. The A’s have a lot of rebuilding to do in the future and I don’t see how they are going to get it out of the minor league system either. I don’t know how A’s President Of Baseball Operations Billy Beane is going to do it, but he has a history of putting together a winning team out of outcast. Maybe he has a trick up his sleeve.

NL East
Washington Nationals (98-64)

Offense: A
Pitching: B-
Bullpen: B-

The Nationals are at a point where it’s World Series or bust. This team has so much potential it’s unbelieveable. Bryce Harper, who is looking to rebound after a season where there were speculations that he was playing injured, looks as good a new in spring training so far. If they the Nationals can stay away from the injury bug they will go a very long way into the postseason. And you can’t overlook the Nationals pitching staff which consist of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Tanner Roark who have to be one of the best 1-2-3 punches in the league. Now the Bullpen doesn’t have a proven closer, but it looks like Shawn Kelley or Blake Treinen will get the job both who were good last year out of the pen.

New York Mets (91- 71)
Offense: B+
Pitching: A+
Bullpen: C+

The Mets have the best pitching in the league hands down. They have 3 starters in Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom and Matt Harvey who could all be potential Aces on any other team. The Mets really don’t have a weak spot. They are either average or above average in every aspect in their game, but so are the Nationals and I think they have a slight edge over them. It’ll be a 2 team race in this division.

Miami Marlins (84-78)
Offense: B+
Pitching: D
Bullpen: D+

The Marlins are still suffering of the loss of Jose Fernandez who tragically died in a boating accident last year. The Marlins took a huge blow with losing him on and off the field. Unfortunately they have to move on from their former ace, because while they are still searching for the one pitcher to lead their rotation, the competition continues to get tougher, especially in this division. Foruntley their offense should keep them above 500 this season led by Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich.

Atlanta Braves (81-81)
Offense: C+
Pitching: C
Bullpen: D-

The Braves had an okay offseason picking up Knuckleballer R.A Dicky, Outfielder, Matt Kemp. They went 68-93 last season in their last season in Turner Field

Philadelphia Phillies (73-89)

Offense: C-
Pitching: D
Bullpen: D

The Phillies are rebuilding so that’s some good news for fans. Unfortunately they will not stand a chance of virtually getting into playoff talk this season. They simply have a lineup that is not capable of contending. Maybe in a couple years.

AL East

Boston Red Sox (93-69)

Offense: A
Pitching: A-
Bullpen: B-

The Red Soxs are young and talented with one of the best Outfields in the league hitting wise with Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi. They also have one of the best rotations in baseball. They will be a team to watch this year. But they are playing in a very deep division.

Toronto Blue Jays (89-73)

Offense: A
Pitching: B
Bullpen: B

Toronto has a very deep team, like last season, and they really didn’t make any moves. Loss in the ALCS last season to the Cleveland Indians just one step short of the world series and they’ll look to get back to what there and take the next step to the World Series. I would like to see them get some help in the bullpen, but their offense will pick up the slack when needed.

Baltimore Orioles (83-79)
Offense: A-
Pitching: C+
Bullpen: A

The Orioles loss All-Star Catcher Matt Wieters to free agency this past off season, but their offense won’t miss a beat with so many weapons. Chris Davis, Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo, Adam Jones and JJ Hardy in the middle of the projected lineup. I would not be surprised to see this team in a wildcard spot, like last season, but unfortunately they will not be going deeper than that without making a move to get a true ace in their rotation.
New York Yankees (80-82)
Offense: B
Pitching: C-
Bullpen: A+

The Yankees have some big powerhouses in their projected lineup with Chase Headley and Matt Holliday as a DH. But the Yankees will have a tough time surviving in this heavily favored offensive division. If they can make a move or two to get a pitcher they will contend for a playoff spot.

Tampa Bay Rays (65-97)
Offense: D
Pitching: C
Bullpen: C-

The Rays are in a rebuild phase and are to the point in it where they should be a winning team in about 2-3 seasons. Until then this team will have trouble filling in seats.

AL Central

Cleveland Indians (97-65)
Offense: A
Pitching: A
Bullpen: B+

The Indians came so close to their first world series title in 68 long years. Unfortunately they fell short of the title as they took the Cubs to 7 games and loss 8-7 in extra innings. The Indians looked to have it in the bag when they went up 3-1 in the series but lost 3 straight games. The Indians just got better over the offseason to with picking up arguably the best player on the market in Edwin Encarnacion to add to their powerhouse lineup. There really isn’t a weak spot on this team and I’d be surprised if they didn’t make it back to the Fall Classic.

Kansas City Royals (91-72)
Offense: A-
Pitching: B
Bullpen: C+

How about the year the Royals had last season huh? After winning their first world series in 30 years in 2015 they really failed expectations in 2016 with a even 81-81 record. But they should bounce back this year. This team is way to talented to do anything like that again.

Detroit Tigers (84-78)
Offense: B
Pitching: B+
Bullpen: D+

The Tigers just missed the playoffs last season going 86-75. Their Ace, Justin Verlander, got back on track last season and put up some vintage numbers. But the Bullpen that this team carries is going to be the death of them. Unless they make some moves during the offseason to tighten that up they’ll just miss the playoffs.

Chicago White Sox (80-82)
Offense: B-
Pitching: C
Bullpen: C

The White Sox should be contenders in the next couple years with some prospects coming up to help there pitching. But until then they won’t be a team to watch really.

Minnesota Twins (67-95)
Offense: C-
Pitching: C-
Bullpen: C+

The Twins have a very young team. Which is a good thing because in a couple years they will have tons of experience in the league. If they keep these guys together they might have something to work with in about 2-3 seasons.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs (104- 58)
Offense: A-
Pitching: A
Bullpen: A

The Cubs are coming off their first World Series win last season, and they a virtually bringing the same team back this season. They won 103 games season and continued their dominance into the postseason. Look to see the Nationals and the Cubs in the NLCS this year.

St. Louis Cardinals (89-73)
Offense: B-
Pitching: B
Bullpen: B+

The Cardinals have a team that could possibly overachieve this season. With a stuller starting lineup and an above average bullpen to go with it the Cardinals should be the Cardinals and make it to the wildcard round or at least contend for a spot.

Pittsburgh Pirates (86- 76)
Offense: B+
Pitching: B
Bullpen: C

The Pirates have a good team, unfortunately they are in a very tough division and maybe in a couple years they’ll make it deep into the playoffs but the Pirates are just too weak in this division right now.

Milwaukee Brewers (72-90)
Offense: D+
Pitching: C
Bullpen: D

There’s isn’t a lot to say about this team. The only bright spot they have, right now, is Ryan Braun and Junior Guerra. Unfortunately this is Baseball and two people can’t carry a team. The Brew Crew definitely have some work to do time for a rebuild.

Cincinnati Reds (60-102)
Offense: C
Pitching: D-
Bullpen: C-

This team will need a miracle to even come close to being a 500 ball club this year. Led by the Canadian Joey Votto this team is young and maybe in the upcoming years they will be a force to be reckon with, but right now it’ll be tough to watch. Close your eyes Cincinnati fans it’s going to get ugly.

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MLB 2017 Division Predictions