Of course it’s always an advantage to do the predictions column four days into the season. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that will help me.
I will forever be trying to duplicate my 2014 touts, but doubt I can do it. Those picks were so good, folks on twitter were claiming I cheated and post-dated them. Hey, everyone should know that can’t be right; I barely know how to use a computer, much less pull off that kind of scam.
Anyway, here are my 2017 touts (with the admission I have a few-day head start in this case).
AL East winner: Boston Red Sox
That lineup just never quits, and though they’ll miss David Ortiz (how could they not?), it looks good enough to make up for the pitching questions.
AL Central winner: Cleveland Indians
Easily the class of the American League, with Edwin Encarnacion added and all their starting pitchers back.
AL West winner: Texas Rangers
I may regret this after seeing how good the Astros looked to start. But until proven otherwise, I’ll stick with Texas.
AL Wild Cards: Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles
The Jays have a great rotation, and the Orioles are pretty darned good at everything else.
NL East winner: New York Mets
Even with the late-spring injuries, the rotation looks better than anyone else’s.
NL Central winner: Chicago Cubs
They’ll have Kyle Schwarber for the year, and their pen looks better now than it did to start their 2016 championship season. Double history possible.
NL West winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
That depth is just too much to ignore.
NL Wild Cards: Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants
The Nats have co-MVP candidates in Trea Turner and Bryce Harper, and the Giants’ pitching looks tough, as usual.
World Series: Dodgers over Indians
Twenty nine years is enough for L.A. Maybe they can bring back Vin Scully for the finale.
- Carlos Correa. It’s too easy to pick Mike Trout, the perennial prohibitive favorite. Correa looks primed for a big year.
- Manny Machado. It’d be too easy to pick Trout second, too. One of these days he’ll finish out of the top two. Machado is the best defensive player in the game, and folks seem to care about that now.
- Mike Trout. OK, I admit it, the guy is Willie Mays. Or Mickey Mantle. One of the two.
- Trea Turner. Jayson Werth picked teammate Turner to win MVP, and even if it was only to get under Bryce Harper’s skin, we like that choice.
- Yoenis Cespedes. Wow, was he ever great in spring training. Maybe even better than his car collection.
- Corey Seager. He basically missed spring training, so he might get off to a bit of a slow start. But then watch out.
AL Cy Young
- Justin Verlander. He has it all back together, without the 100-mph pitch. He — and his fiancée — are determined to win after the figure they were robbed last year. (They had a point.)
- Yu Darvish. Forget that first game. He has lots of incentive as a free agent after the year.
- Danny Duffy. Terrific stuff. Also, I feel bad for goofing and saying the Royals don’t have an ace in last week’s team rankings. My bad.
NL Cy Young
- Noah Syndergaard. It’s too easy to pick Clayton Kershaw. So why not this guy? Has the repertoire, and the social media game.
- Clayton Kershaw. Might be the best pitcher since Sandy Koufax. Or Lefty Grove. One or the other.
- Carlos Martinez. He looks extra relaxed after getting his contract done.
AL Rookie of the Year
- Andrew Benintendi.
- Jharel Cotton.
- Mitch Haniger.
NL Rookie of the Year
- Dansby Swanson.
- Hunter Renfroe.
- Robert Gsellman
[graphiq id=”5lOEZjAxrDL” title=”Mark Trumbo Career Home Runs and RBI” width=”800″ height=”598″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/5lOEZjAxrDL” ]
Most Home Runs: Mark Trumbo/Edwin Encarnacion.
Highest Batting Average: Jose Altuve.
Most Stolen Bases: Jarrod Dyson.
Most Wins: Chris Sale.
Most Strikeouts: Justin Verlander.
Best ERA: Danny Duffy.
Comeback: Justin Upton.
Surprise: Francisco Liriano.
Bust: Albert Pujols.
Most Home Runs: Bryce Harper/Kris Bryant.
Highest Batting Average: Corey Seager.
Most Stolen Bases: Trea Turner.
Most Wins: Jake Arrieta
Most Strikeouts: Noah Syndergaard.
Best ERA: Clayton Kershaw.
Comeback: Andrew McCutchen.
Surprise: Robbie Ray/Taijuan Walker.
Bust: Adam Wainwright.