2017 MLB Season Predictions

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LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 25: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs smiles after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during their exhibition game at Cashman Field on March 25, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cubs won 11-7. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Opening day is right around the corner. The smell of baseball is in the air. There’s a long way to go and a lot of ball to be played before we inevitably reach October, but it’s never too early for some good old-fashioned prognosticating. In that spirit, the Last Word on Baseball editorial staff brings you our 2017 MLB season predictions. Enjoy.

2017 MLB Season Predictions

National League Champion

Sean Couch: San Francisco Giants

The general consensus may be that the Cubs are going to dominate the National League in 2017, but the Giants are going to be the team to beat. The Giants still have a great starting rotation (with two aces), the best catcher in baseball, a powerful lineup, and a reformed bullpen. The Cubs will likely be the favorite of many, but the loss of Aroldis Chapman could hurt them more than they realize. It may not be an even year, but the Giants are going back to the World Series.

John Jackson: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs lost key players in Chapman, Jason Hammel, and Dexter Fowler. They tried to make up for it with acquisitions of Koji Uehara, Wade Davis, and Jon Jay. They may take a step back from their 103 regular season wins in 2016, but the talent is still there in the Windy City.

Will Cheney: Los Angeles Dodgers

The loss of Fowler will hurt the Cubs more than some are letting on. The Dodgers were able to retain their core, while filling a hole at second base with Logan Forsythe. Look for the Dodgers to knock off the Cubs in the NLCS.

Brandon Murphy: Chicago Cubs

The pitching staff should show some regression, and their defense in the outfield isn’t spectacular. However, that doesn’t change what this young group of talent was able to accomplish last season. Plus, Theo Epstein and Co. will do anything to fix whatever problems arise during the season. This team is loaded. After no World Series appearences for 108 years, expect Chicago to make its second consecutive trip.

Paul Harvey: Chicago Cubs

Chicago’s offense may be even better this season. Javier Baez and Addison Russell still have room to grow, and it would be unwise to expect Jason Heyward to post another abysmal season in 2017. The bullpen could be a cause for concern, but Chicago has the talent and experience to overcome any obstacles.

Josh Greenberg: San Francisco Giants

The Dodgers are improved and the Cubs return much of their championship squad, but the Giants will knock both off on their way back to the Series. San Francisco was a bullpen away from besting Chicago in the NLDS last season. With Mark Melancon closing out games this season, they won’t have that problem again, though the recent loss of Will Smith does hurt.

American League Champion

Sean: Cleveland Indians

Last year, the Indians stormed through the postseason and went all the way to Game 7 of the Word Series, where they lost to the Cubs by a single run. The tribe won’t be denied in 2017, thanks to a healthy starting rotation and the addition of Edwin Encarnacion.

John: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox were World Series contenders last season after taking the American League East title with 93 wins. While they lost an important bat in David Ortiz, they gained an ace in Chris Sale. Last year, they were first in the majors in offense and ninth in pitching. Sale can really give the team a boost in an area that could use improvement.

Will: Cleveland Indians

Cleveland could’ve gone without making any moves and still would’ve been the favorite in the AL Central. The addition of Encanarcion and the possibility of a full season with Michael Brantley makes the Tribe an easy pick to repeat.

Brandon: Houston Astros

The Astros pitching staff had a tough 2016. Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, and Collin McHugh all had setback seasons, which could result in Houston making a deal for a starter by the trade deadline. But this mixture of young stars and crafty veterans, plus arguably the best bullpen in baseball, will bring the Astros to the top of the dreaded American League West and into the World Series for the first time since 2005.

Paul: Boston Red Sox

Boston is primed for October, after the acquisition of Sale. David Price‘s health is a concern, but the offense has enough pieces to be special this season.

Josh: Boston Red Sox

Though the retirement of Ortiz created a leadership vacuum, this team still has the firepower to out-hit just about anyone. The highly-underrated acquisition of Mitch Moreland will improve the infield defense and allow Hanley Ramirez to focus entirely on hitting. If that rotation stays healthy (admittedly, a big question mark already), Boston could run away with the American League.

World Series Champion

Sean: Cleveland Indians

The Indians will win their first World Series since 1948.

John: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs were simply dominant last year, and things shouldn’t be very different this year. In a series with the Red Sox, Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and John Lackey should be able to edge out Sale, Price, Rick Porcello, and whoever the Sox choose for a fourth starter (Steven Wright, Drew Pomeranz, or Eduardo Rodriguez). World Series experience should also be a plus for the Cubs.

Will: Los Angeles Dodgers

While Cleveland will be looking to make up for last year, the Dodgers boast one of the deepest rosters in the game. Kenley Jansen, specifically, will be a major factor when the Dodgers win the 2017 World Series.

Brandon: Houston Astros

A hard fought series will go to Houston, with the Astros bullpen weathering the storm of the Cubs lineup in close games. The Astros will win their first championship in franchise history, and Chicago will go back to being favorites to win it all in 2018.

Paul: Chicago Cubs

Cubs in six. Chicago’s experience will pay off, as the Cubs complete back-to-back championship seasons. Baez will win MVP after a masterful series at the plate and in the field. Boston’s pitching staff will keep the series close, with many tightly contested outcomes.

Josh: Boston Red Sox

In a seven game series, the Giants won’t be able to stand against a pitching staff of Sale, Price, Porcello, and either Wright or Rodriguez. If the Red Sox take leads late into games, Tyler ThornburgCarson Smith, and Craig Kimbrel will end things in Boston’s favor.

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