Baseball is back and it’s time to give out my predictions for the 2017 season. The new year officially kicks off with three games Sunday, April 2. Followed by a full slate of games on Monday April 3.
The Chicago Cubs went into last season as the team to beat and they disappoint. Chicago snapped it’s 108 year drought by defeating the Cleveland Indians in a thrilling 7-games series. It was the icing on the cake of one of the more entertaining postseasons in recent memory.
Now the attention is turned to this year and who will finish on top. According to the oddsmakers, the odds on favorite are the Cubs and Boston Red Sox. Both teams have the bets odds to win it all at +450.
Future odds are a great source to help make educated projections on where teams will finish. I also like to look at the regular season win totals for every team. Speaking of future odds, now is a great time to check out the MVP odds and Cy Young award odds.
Accurate predictions also requires spending a lot of time breaking down the offseason moves. You also want to look at individual players and their expected performance.
I’ve included my predictions on where each team will finish in the standings below. I also give out my early season playoff predictions. Be sure to check out my MLB handicapping guide if you plan on betting baseball this year.
2017 Baseball Projected Win/Loss Records & Division Standings
The Red Sox are the clear-cut favorite to win the AL East. While Boston lost the heart and soul of their team in David Ortiz, they are absolutely loaded with talent. The Red Sox have one of the best lineups in baseball and bolstered their starting rotation with the offseason addition of ace Chris Sale. Giving them a potent 1-3 combo with Sale, David Price and reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello.
As you can see, I have Toronto a distant 2nd behind Boston, but still in the mix for a playoff spot. With that said the Blue Jays are a dangerous team. The loss of Edwin Encarnacion is big on paper, but I don’t think it hurts them as much as others. The offense should be just fine. The big question is the starting pitching. If it exceeds expectations, they will be right there with Boston.
The Yankees went into rebuilding mode last year and nearly made the playoffs. New York is no longer an aging team full of past their prime stars. The Yankees are a young team that will be in the mix, but likely come up short.
I don’t like picking the Orioles this low in the standings. Regardless of what the roster looks like on paper, Buck Showalter gets this team to perform at a high level. I just don’t trust the starting pitching enough to pick them ahead of anyone but the Rays, who are in clear rebuilding mode.
The Indians should have no problem repeating on top the AL Central. Cleveland won 94-games last year without star outfielder Michael Brantley. They also had a bunch of injuries to their starting rotation. The return of Brantley and addition of Encarnacion should have the offense producing. The big question is the health of the pitching staff. If they avoid any major setbacks, this could be 100-win team with the starters and bullpen they have. I’m lower expectations just a little, but this is clearly one of the best teams in the American League.
The big question is whether anyone else in the division can push Cleveland or compete for a Wild Card. The two likely candidates are the Royals and Tigers. After back-to-back World Series appearances and winning it all in 2015, Kansas City went just 81-81. Detroit was slightly better at 86-75. I believe the Tigers are the more complete team and if anyone threatens for a playoff spot it will be them.
As for the White Sox and Twins, both of these teams are in rebuilding mode. Chicago figures to take a step back from their 78-win season, while Minnesota shows some minor improvement.
The AL West could provide the best race of any division this season. The Rangers took home the title last year with a surprising 95-win campaign. The amazing thing with Texas, is they had a mere +8 run differential, which is what you would expect from a sub-.500 team. While I don’t think the Rangers are that bad, they likely aren’t as good either.
I have them finishing 3rd behind the Astros and Mariners. I give the slight edge to Houston, but there’s not a lot that separates these two teams in my eyes. I believe both are headed to the postseason.
It’s hard to just count out the Angels, considering they have the best player in the game in Mike Trout. The thing is, they have done a terrible job of building a contender around him. Los Angeles could surprise, but chances are they will disappoint once again. That leaves the A’s, who are one of those teams that despite how bad their roster looks somehow find a way to compete.
I don’t think there will be any disagreeing that the NL East is a two-team race between the Nationals and Mets. You could make a strong case for either side to win the division. My big thing is the uncertainty around New York’s pitching staff. If 100%, they are legit World Series contender. If they struggle to stay healthy like last year, they figure to give way to Washington.
That’s not to say the Nationals won’t win the division, even if the Mets staff is healthy. I think Bryce Harper is a man on a mission this year and my favorite to win the NL MVP. I also think the Nationals pitching staff is a lot better than it gets credit for.
It’s anyone’s guess how the other three teams finish up. The Marlins have some nice young players in the field, but I question their starting pitching. I like Atlanta a little more than Philadelphia, but both are in clear rebuilding mode.
It’s really remarkable what the Cubs were able to do last year. It’s a lot harder than people think to open the season as the favorite to win it all and live up to the hype. Chicago’s only real significant loss was Dexter Fowler. The amount of young talent on this roster is ridiculous and the starting staff is somehow underrated.
I just don’t see the Cubs suffering a hangover from last year’s title. I have them winning the division by a comfortable 7-games over the Cardinals. With that said, don’t sleep on St Louis. They signed Folwer away from Chicago and are in better shape than they get credit for. If the starting pitching holds up, they could push the Cubs for the division crown.
Pittsburgh is another team that has the potential to make things interesting. The Pirates certainly have the talent to be a contender. Let’s not forget, just two seasons ago, the Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates all won 97+ games. Milwaukee is a sneaky team that could pass Pittsburgh if they stumble. As for the Reds, they could be looking at a 100 loss season.
Most expect the NL West to be a 2-team race between the Giants and Dodgers. While I agree that those are the two best teams in the division, I think Los Angeles is the clear favorite. In fact, I have the Dodgers finishing a full 8-games in front of San Francisco.
Not to take anything away from the Giants, but the Dodgers have just as strong of a starting staff as SF. Not to mention the best pitcher in the game in Clayton Kershaw. Where LA gains the separation in my eyes is on offense.
The Diamondbacks and Rockies are going to fight it out for 3rd place, but neither figures to be a serious factor. The Padres on the other hand will be in competition with the Reds for the worst record in baseball.
MLB Postseason Predictions: Playoff Projections & World Series Winner
|WORLD SERIES WINNER|