By: Chandler Ragsdale
Hello, baseball fans! This will be the first edition of my power rankings for the 2017 season. I will also answer one question per week that a fan (just like you) sends into me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. So, be sure to send me your questions and comments!
“Will Manny Machado (BAL) make a run at AL MVP?”
Answer: Manny Machado is hands down one of the best third basemen in all of baseball, and he’s already seemed to claim that title in the AL alone. He’s the complete package, and he has the potential to win a gold glove or silver slugger award in 2017. However, one of these awards is all that I see him winning this season. The reason I say this is because of who he’s having to compete against for AL MVP. Mookie Betts (BOS) is going to be the star of this Red Sox lineup in 2017, and he has the potential to live up to the hype just like Machado. What makes Mookie’s case stronger at the moment though, is the fact that he has a better team around him. The Red Sox lead the AL in runs scored last season. Boston’s lineup will produce more chances for Betts to pile up the RBI’s than Baltimore’s will do for Machado. Not to mention, Betts gets to play at Fenway half of the time, and the Green Monster has become his friend recently, and this doesn’t seem to be slowing down. So in the end, I see Machado being awarded as the best third baseman in the AL, but not the best player overall.
1. Chicago Cubs- The Cubs are still holding their place as the best team in baseball in the early going here in 2017. They just took a series from the Dodgers, and are still seeming to be in championship form. All of their young players are just continuing to learn and get better as they mature, and that statement alone is scary. Kyle Schwarber is making his presence felt, and Addison Russell is probably tired of being somewhat overlooked because of all of the other great shortstops in the game right now. Their pitching is still there, and it’s looking like the sky’s the limit for the Cubbies this season.
2. New York Mets– The Mets are off to a decent start so far this season, and are currently leading the NL East. They’ve shown a little inconsistency at times this season, and that’s my biggest concern for them moving forward. With the pitching staff that they have, they can become such a powerhouse and challenge the Cubs in the NL. Yoenis Cespedes has been raking to start the season, and this is a really good sign for the Mets. However, other players, such as Jose Reyes, haven’t been able to buy a hit so far this season. If this lineup can help balance each other other out, and the bullpen can close out games, the Mets will be one of the best teams in baseball.
3. Baltimore Orioles- The Orioles have looked like we thought they would so far in 2017. They have a very good ball club, and have only lost two games so far. One of which was just a poor outing altogether against Boston, where they threw the ball around in the 7th and 8th innings. They have been doing enough to win, and closer Zach Britton just notched his 53rd consecutive save. They have a complete team, but this lineup needs to pick up their starting pitchers more. Dyland Bundy pitched a great game the other night, but the O’s failed to give him the run support that he needed. As they start to click more and more, this team will grow stronger and stronger, so watch out American League.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks- This may surprise some people, and this team has surprised me as well. I did predict that they would improve this season, but right now they are leading the NL West, and have already beaten the Giants 4 times so far this season, which is a big statement for this team to make. Taijuan Walker helps this pitching staff a lot, and A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt are more than valid candidates to lead this lineup. Not to mention that this team has also already swept the Cleveland Indians. However, we will really see what this team is made out of when they play the Dodgers this weekend in L.A.
5. Detroit Tigers- Man have the Tigers looked good so far. Right after I was about ready to write them off due to their age, they have proven me wrong through these first 9 games. Michael Fulmer is continuing to show us what he can do, and boy can he bring it. He’s becoming a great complement to Justin Verlander, and he is showing the potential to become a very good pitcher. We all know that the Tigers can hit, and that hasn’t changed too much. Miguel Cabrera is off to a slow start for his standards, but when he comes around, this team can give Cleveland a run for their money in the AL Central.
6. Houston Astros
7. Washington Nationals
8. Boston Red Sox
9. Cleveland Indians
10. Cincinnati Reds