CANTON,Ohio- Let the predictions begins! The 2017 MLB season is almost upon us. So, as I did last year, I’ll make my predictions for each division. And like last year, I will start in the N.L., I just can’t remember what division I did first last year. So, without further delay, here we go!
THE N.L. WEST-
LAST PLACE- This was an easy one for me. The San Diego Padres are, in my opinion, the worst team in major league baseball. I’ve looked up and down their depth chart and, even though they had more wins than the Minnesota Twins last year, I only recognize one good player. That player is Wil Myers. He’s a good first basemen and San Diego signed Myers to a six-year $83 million extension. In 2016 Myers hit 28 home runs, 94 RBI’s with a .259 AVG. Again, from the looks of it, Myers is the Padres only solid player.
I would be shocked if San Diego can make any noise whatsoever. Especially in a division that has the Dodgers and Giants in it. The Pitching and hitting leave a lot to be desired. I think the Padres will finish with 65 wins.
FOURTH PLACE- At first I was going to put the Colorado Rockies in this spot. But, on second thought, I think Arizona will finish above San Diego. I like A.J. Pollock in center and Paul Goldschmidt at first base. I used to think Fernando Rodney was a good closer, but he is no longer the closer he once was. Zack Greinke is no longer an ace in my eyes. On a title contending team, he would probably be a third or fourth starter. And his profile pitcher has always bothered me. He never smiles at all.
I only see Pollock and Goldschmidt as the bright spots when it comes to position players and pitching wise, I’m not a Greinke fan. I’ll pick the Diamondbacks to finish in fourth place with 70 wins.
THIRD PLACE- Yes, I’m picking the Colorado Rockies to finish Third. While they lack starting pitching, I like Greg Holland as a closer. I think the Rockies will be a fun team to watch. The position players that I like are Ian Desmond at first, D.J. LeMahieu at second, obviously Trevor Story as their shortstop, third basemen Nolan Arenado, center fielder Charlie Blackmon and Gerardo Parra. But, I have Colorado in third place mainly because I’m not sure if Trevor Story and the group can have another solid year this year and I’m not exactly impressed with their starting pitching.
Regardless of the division, I think the Rockies would finish third. Last year they finished with 75 wins. In 2017, I’ll pick Colorado to finish with 80 wins.
SECOND PLACE- Tough! That’s the first word that popped into my mind when trying to pick between the Giants and Dodgers. But, I’ve made my choice for second place and I’ll pick the San Francisco Giants to finish behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants have solid players from catcher Buster Posey to center fielder Denard Span. Hunter Pence is in right field. But the strength of San Francisco is it’s pitching. Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Matt Moore is decent and maybe Jeff Samardzija can find his old form.
Overall, I do think the Giants will earn a wild card. I have them reaching 88 wins.
N.L. WEST WINNER- The Dodgers have one of the best starting rotations in all of baseball. Clayton Kershaw is unhittable at times. Add Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias to the mix and that’s good. What if Scott Kazmir can be a solid fifth starter? Great pitching overall. They have solid position players as well. My biggest question is this. Can Yasiel Puig not be a distraction to the team. If he can stay on the straight and narrow, the Dodgers could very well dethrone the Cubs as the N.L. champions in 2017. Los Angeles will reach 93 wins.
The N.L. West could turn out to be extremely wild minus the Padres. But it would take a lot for the Rockies and D-Backs to give the Giants and especially the Dodgers and run for their money. Colorado and Arizona would have to come out of the gate fast and not mess up too much after the All-Star game and hope that the Dodgers and Giants really hit some bumps early in the season. Then, maybe this race for the N.L. West might MIGHT be tight at the end. But, I seriously doubt it!
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick broulis