by Brittany Bell
Photo Courtesy of Pexels.com
Hang tight, baseball fans! The 2017 Major League Baseball (MLB) season is upon us! Another season of dingers, bean balls, sliding collisions and, of course, outrageous games that lead to one final champion in October (congrats, by the way, Cubbies). So, without further ado, let’s preview the upcoming MLB season.
Let’s start with the hometown favorite, the Red Sox. Last year, the Sox celebrated David Ortiz’s final season with one hell of a September… that ultimately lead to a disappointing October. Though the Sox seemed primed to win Ortiz a ring for his final season, the team ultimately fell flat in the postseason. Ouch. But this year is a new year and the Red Sox have plenty to look forward to.
First off, their pitching staff is straight fire. Perhaps the biggest acquisition they made in the offseason was left-handed pitcher (LHP) Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox. Last year, Sale posted a 3.34 ERA with 9.25 K/9 to 1.79 BB/9. Yep, with stats like those Sale is poised to be an ace for the Sox (Red, this time). Unfortunately, however, Sale will be starting the season on the injured reserve list (IR)... tough break for the Sox. But Boston still is ready to pick up where it left off in 2016, with the return of vets like Dustin Pedroia and breakout rookie Mookie Betts. It will surely be an exciting season for Bostonians.
Now onto the World Series Champions: the Chicago Cubs. In case you forgot, the Cubbies ended a 108-year drought after winning the 2016 World Series (for all you non-mathematically inclined people, that means the last time they won was in 1908 and Night At the Museum star Theodore Roosevelt was still president). The Cubs are primed to make yet another playoff run with possibly the best pitching staff in the MLB—Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks are all back and ready to go. Plus, now without the underdog status and the “Billy Goat Curse” weighing them down, Cubs fans are in for a fun season.
Onto the World Series runners-up, the Cleveland Indians. Headed by former Red Sox Manager Terry Francona, the Indians came out of nowhere, like the Cubs, to head into the World Series blazing hot and ready for a championship victory. However, the Indians fell, quite literally, one inning flat of winning. To combat this, they just signed some of the biggest bats in the MLB. Of those, Edwin Encarnación, is probably the biggest name, a middle-of-the-order boomer who will add some more depth to the team’s hitting squad. In addition, the Indians will get Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar (two of their best pitchers) back from the IR after they were out for much of the postseason last year. The Indians are coming into 2017 HOT, HOT, HOT!
Besides these three, there are other teams to keep an eye on. The San Francisco Giants are always a threat and are poised to make yet another deep run into the postseason this year. They have some great pitchers and a good lineup. Another team to watch is the Washington Nationals–Bryce Harper’s rookie contract is set to expire in a few years, so it’s “now or never” for the Nats. They also are home to the defending NL Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer. Lastly, the LA Dodgers are worth a watch, considering they have one of the MLB’s best pitchers, Clayton Kershaw, and a promising young shortstop, Corey Seager.
So there it is, baseball fans. My take on the 2017 MLB season and who and what to watch for. But hey, I’m human, and there could always be some dark horses that come out of nowhere and shock us all. But that’s the fun in baseball: you never know what you’re gonna get on a 3-2 count.