The 2017 MLB season is just 4 days away, containing this much excitement is unhealthy, so I've decided to give out my predictions for the upcoming season. I'll pick who I believe will win each division, who the wildcard teams will be, and the season award winners. Of course my 2017 World Series Championship pick as well. I'll release the NL first than the AL, the World Series pick will be in the AL edition of my predictions.
NL West Division Champ: San Francisco Giants
If it wasn't for having the worst bullpen in all of baseball last season, the Giants probably would've been NL West champions last year. Unfortunately for them that was not the case and the Dodgers took advantage of the Giants struggles capturing their 4th straight division title. Well, that all comes to an end this season. Giants have great starting pitching and the addition of Mark Melacon to their bullpen should help tighten up the end of ball games. Neither the Dodgers or Giants added any big pieces to their lineups this offseason, except for the addition of second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers, so it's not like their squads have had a ton of turnover. However, new season means everyone's healthy and when healthy I just think the Giants are just flat out the better team.
NL Central Division Champ: Chicago Cubs
Only way the Cubs don't win the central is if they're decimated by injuries throughout the course of the year. I don't mean one or two guys go down, I mean like some real half the roster out, worst luck ever type shit. The Cubs curse is broken, the monkey is off their back, the black cat is dead, and the Cubs dynasty has just begun. Now that all that bad mojo is out of the way these studs can play loose and let it rip. When players play with that attitude it usually pays off with incredible showing in the regular season. In the postseason they'll need to drop that loosey goosey shit and get back to win or die mode. They'll find their switch and it'll benefit them greatly in the long grind of the MLB season. With the Pirates beginning to crawl back into their hole of irrelevancy, the Cardinals seem to be the only true threat to the Cubs, and I just can't buy into the Cardinals being able to win enough games this year to dethrone the Cubbies.
NL East Division Champ: New York Mets
Something about having starting pitching depth that never ends and is filled with filthy arms that makes me keep believing in this Mets team. I know they can't score runs, they live and die by the homerun ball, they can't stay healthy, yet they're always right there in the hunt come late September. Last year even after being cursed with injury after injury they somehow managed to piece together a good enough regular season to get into the wildcard game. That to me speaks volumes. Now with all their pitchers healthy, a healthy lineup, and another year of experience under their belt I believe this will be the year the Mets assert themselves as a juggernaut in the NL East.
Wildcards: Los Angeles Dodgers and St.Louis Cardinals
Yeah I know, what about the Nationals, and I'll get to that, but first I'll explain why the Cardinals and Dodgers are getting into the postseason. Cardinals will get in solely because they're the Cardinals and they're too damn good of an organization to miss the postseason back to back seasons. An early blow to their rotation with Alex Reyes being out, however I believe they'll be able to manage since they have Lance Lynn, Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez to still hold the rotation together. The lineup this year should be just fine with Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Matt Adams, and newly acquired Dexter Fowler leading the way. Cardinals were down last year, but they won't be out for much longer. As for the Dodgers them and the Giants will be neck and neck all year for the division, so regardless of who wins the division, I believe both teams get into the postseason. The Nationals are just a team I don't trust. They added Adam Eaton to improve the lineup, although I don't think it's enough. Matt Wieters can't replace the offensive production that Wilson Ramos brought last year and the pitching staff I have no faith can stay healthy and consistent throughout the 162 game season. Also, I don't believe it's the healthiest club house in the world, hard to be when one guys ego is bigger than the entire organization. That's exactly why I have the Nats being left out of the postseason this year and exactly why I have the Dodgers and Cardinals playing in October for a spot to get into the real deal.
NL Rookie of the Year: Dansby Swanson
Dansby Swanson played a little bit last season, however he did not go above 130 AB's, so technically he's still considered a rookie in the eyes of the league. Swanson hit .300 last year, showed off a little bit of power, all the while flashing a great leather at shortstop. Swanson has it all, he'll be an easy favorite to win the NL ROY, in my estimation he'll probably run away with the award like Corey Seager did last season. The competition doesn't seem like much right now, but typically a dark horse emerges pretty early on in the year. Dansby Swanson will continue the trend of outstanding young shortstops flooding into our league.
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
Easiest prediction of the year by far. Clayton Kershaw is by far the best pitcher on the planet and many would consider him the most valuable player in all of Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, he can only play 1 in every 5 games for the Dodgers, or else he'd be by far the most valuable. Kershaw is basically a guranteed win when he takes the mound, his ERA last year before he went down with injury was a 1.69, which is unheard of. Expect more of the same from Kershaw this year as he struts towards his 4th Cy Young award.
NL MVP: Corey Seager
Seager won the NL ROY by a landslide and a half last year, he was actually highly considered in the MVP voting as well, finishing 3rd. If he builds on last year's amazing start to his career they'll have no choice but to name him MVP of the NL. Seager is going to have to carry an offense that doesn't have much pop to it besides him, an aging Adrian Gonzalez, and Justin Turner. If Seager can lead the Dodgers to a playoff spot, which I believe he will, while putting up comparable numbers to last year, he's got the award in the bag. If he can hit 30+ bombs, have an average of .310+, and drive in 85 RBI's from the lead off spot there's no way you can deny him what he's rightfully earned. Kris Bryant followed his rookie year up with an MVP award, let's see if Seager can do the same.