The 2016 MLB season ended in a way no season had ended in 108 years, with the Chicago Cubs on top as the World Series Champions. After a long offseason of free agency and a couple blockbuster trades, Spring Training is finally right around the corner. With that, we have a an idea of what every team’s roster will look like come Opening Day, which means that we can finally do what us fans love to do in making predictions so that by the time October rolls around, we can turn to our friends and say, “I told you so”.
National League Division Winners
East- Washington Nationals
Expect Bryce Harper to have a much anticipated bounce back season, and adding Adam Eaton showed us all that the Nats are in win now mode.
Central- Chicago Cubs
It would be hard to believe that someone could take the Central crown away from the Cubs this season. We hope to get a full season out of Kyle Schwarber, and the addition of Wade Davis will fill Aroldis Chapman’s spot in the 9th.
West- San Francisco Giants
The Giants’ prevalence in this decade may be over, but adding Mark Melancon in the back of the bullpen to pair with the Giants’ rotations gives them a great chance to end the Dodgers streak of four straight NL West titles.
Wild Card 1- St. Louis Cardinals
Adding Dexter Fowler to replace Matt Holliday makes the Cardinals a littler young and a whole lot more athletic. Expect them to make some noise as they usually do.
Wild Card 2- Los Angeles Dodgers
It’s tough to keep this team out the playoffs with the depth of pitching they have, along with young superstar Corey Seager. Clayton Kershaw in a one game playoff? Yes please.
American League Division Winners
East- Boston Red Sox
Adding Chris Sale to the already talented roster of the defending AL East Champs makes this a no brainer. The dominant pitching, paired young superstars all over field will make Sox fans quickly get over Big Papi’s retirement.
Central- Detroit Tigers
The Tigers had a bit of a down season last year, but expect guys like Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and Jordan Zimmerman to all have bounce-back seasons and bring Detroit into playoff contention.
West- Texas Rangers
A full season of Yu Darvish paired with Cole Hamels gives the Rangers a nasty two-headed ace. Jonathan Lucroy is also back for another season, giving the Rangers a great chance to repeat as AL West champs.
Wild Card 1- Cleveland Indians
It’s hard to keep the defending AL pennant winner out of the playoffs, but it will be interesting to see how Terry Francona uses Andrew Miller and Cody Allen out of the bullpen during the regular season. The Indians are hungry for some more playoff action.
Wild Card 2- Seattle Mariners
After falling short of a wild card spot last season, the Mariners spent the off season adding pitching and outfield depth to their roster. Adding the likes of Drew Smyly, Yovani Gallardo, and Jarrod Dyson, this may be the year that the Mariners get back to the postseason for the first time since 2001.
Manager of the Year (MOTY)
National League- Bruce Bochy
The addition of Mark Melancon gives Bochy a solid man in the back of his bullpen. With this acquisition, Bochy can move other pieces around in the bullpen to bridge the starters and the closer more effectively, on the road to capturing the NL West crown and the MOTY award.
American League- Brad Ausmus
After missing the playoffs last season, expect Ausmus to get his veterans back on track this season and win the Central division over the defending American league champion Cleveland Indians.
Rookie of the Year
National League- Dansby Swanson
The former #1 overall pick logged 129 at bats last season, leaving him one at bat short of qualifying for rookie status in 2016. Now, in 2017, he will get the chance to play 160 games at shortstop, and if his numbers are anything like his 2016 sample, expect him to run away with it.
American League- James Kaprielian
Who? The Yankees 2015 first round pick out of UCLA likely won’t break camp in the big leagues, with the likeliest option being that he starts 2017 in AA. However, with the Yankees pitching staff filled with injury-prone and unproven pitchers, expect to see Kaprielian well before September call-ups.
National League- Madison Bumgarner
If the Giants want to make a deep run in 2017, they’ll need Mad Bum to be the dominant pitcher we know he can be. After a somewhat down year with only 15 wins, expect him to come into 2017 and flirt with 20 wins all while keeping his ERA down in the 2.7s.
American League- Chris Sale
Expect a big season out of Sale in his first stint in Boston. The dominant southpaw will, for the first time in his career, have run support and expect him to take full advantage of it in 2017.
Most Valuable Player (MVP)
National League- Bryce Harper
Despite a very much a down season for the young superstar, look for Harper to put up similar numbers to his 2015 campaign and take home the league’s Most Valuable Player award for the second time in three seasons.
American League- Mookie Betts
After a monster season in 2016, and finishing second in the MVP voting, expect Betts to continue to grow as a player and take home the hardware as the AL’s best player. Betts will lead his Red Sox teammates to the playoffs and onward.
National League- Washington Nationals
With Harper returning to MVP form and the other pieces the team has to offer, the Nats can reach their first world series since moving to Washington. Things are looking up for the Nationals.
American League- Boston Red Sox
With a rotation that features two aces along with the reigning CY Young award winner, it is going to be tough to hit against the Sox. Putting with their high powered offense into the mix makes it hard to imagine that the Sox don’t make it back to Series as long as everyone stays healthy.
World Series Champion- Boston Red Sox
As long as everything goes as planned in Boston, they’ll win 100 plus games, and the city of Boston will have another ticker tape parade come October/early November.