By: Chandler Ragsdale
30. San Diego Padres- They still haven’t recovered from going all in two seasons ago and coming out empty handed.
29. Cincinnati Reds- Joey bats remains as the only bright spot left for Reds fans to cling to…and it gets even worse when they realize that he can’t pitch for them either.
28. Milwaukee Brewers- “How many draft picks can we get for Ryan Braun?” Will be the only thing in question for Brewers fans this season.
27. Oakland Athletics- What new experiment will Billy Beane try next?
26. Minnesota Twins- I know it’s cold in Minnesota, but hopefully that won’t stop their bats from warming up in 2017.
25. Atlanta Braves- New ballpark, new players, new team?
24. Seattle Mariners- King Felix and Robby Cano aren’t getting any younger.
23. Tampa Bay Rays- The runt of the AL East.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks- It’s hot in the desert, but maybe not as hot as Zack Greinke was after their failed season in 2016.
21. Colorado Rockies- Maybe they’ll pitch in 2017?
20. Chicago White Sox- A fine mediocre season, again.
19. Los Angeles Angels- Mike Trout can’t do everything.
18. Miami Marlins- They will be trying to rebound after the tragic death of Jose Fernandez.
17. New York Yankees- They’ll be moving on from old stars to young ones.
16. Philadelphia Phillies- They’ve been at the bottom of the league for awhile now, but they move up a spot or two every season it seems.
15. Kansas City Royals- They’ve sold almost everyone who helped them win it all in 2015, and also they lost Yorando Ventura tragically in a car accident.
14. Detroit Tigers- Miggy and J.D. Martinez will continue to lead the team, but they won’t get past Cleveland in the AL Central.
13. Houston Astros- Fans in Houston will be optimistic again in 2017 that this will be the year that the team plays up to their full potential.
12. Toronto Blue Jays- A wild card team that is always poised for a postseason run.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates- If Andrew McCutchen continues to regress, who will step up to lead the team?
10. Texas Rangers- A lot of talent, but they’ll need to control their emotions and focus in the big games.
9. St. Louis Cardinals- They always seem to compete every year despite the circumstances.
8. San Fransisco Giants- Mad-bum and Buster Posey make for a dangerous combination.
7. Baltimore Orioles- They’ll be right in the thick of things again in 2017.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers- They’ve kept their key players, and they’ve figured out how to beat the Giants.
5. Washington Nationals- This team has been expected to go to the World Series the last two seasons, and they haven’t been able to pull it off. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are both superstar arms that they have at the front of their rotation, and they have one of the best players in baseball in their outfield in Bryce Harper. I put this team at five simply because, on paper, you can’t help but not. They need to stop underachieving however and live up to the hype in 2017.
4. Cleveland Indians- They took the Cubs right down to the wire last season in the World Series. This team is now going to be fully healthy, and they’ll be able to play with a new found confidence this season. If they would’ve had everyone in the postseason, there’s no telling what this team might have been able to accomplish. Danny Salazar is one big name that will be coming back in 2017 ready to go. So we will see if the Indians can go all the way and lock it in this time.
3. Boston Red Sox- The Red Sox had a good regular season in 2016, but they basically got embarrassed in the postseason by Cleveland. It didn’t help that former manager Terry Francona was in the other dugout and executed an almost flawless gameplay on this club, but they also didn’t have a lot of clutch pitching. They went out this offseason in order to fix that and they got, if you haven’t heard, ace Chris Sale. Yes the absence of Big Papi needs to be filled, but free agent signing Mitch Moreland will help fill that void some. The addition of Sale however is what puts this team over the top, and has them eyeing great things in 2017.
2. New York Mets- The reason I have the Mets so high is because of one simple word, pitching. Their starting rotation alone includes Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler. Having Jeurys Familia to close games out doesn’t hurt either. If they remain healthy throughout the whole season, this team has the potential to set records with their pitching. Not to mention they still have Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, and Jay Bruce in their outfield. If this lineup can produce 3 or 4 runs a game, then there’s no reason that they shouldn’t take the NL East and be one of the best teams in baseball.
1. Chicago Cubs- The defending champions have no reason to be taken out of this spot. From top to bottom they have the best lineup in baseball, and now that they’ll have Kyle Schwarber back for a full season makes them down right scary for opposing pitchers to face. They countered losing Aroldis Chapman by adding Wade Davis, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all, being that they’re both elite closers. Losing Dexter Fowler hurts them yes, but this lineup is too good to not produce. This definitely takes a lot of pressure off of their starters, and they can already pitch well against some of the best lineups that baseball has to offer as it is. Overall, I definitely see the Cubs being dominant again in 2017 and potentially repeating as World Series Champs (something they haven’t done since 1907-1908).