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Major League Baseball Season Preview

By Jon Painter
On April 1, 2017

Photo courtesy of: http://blackathlete.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Major_League_Baseball.svg_1.png

The Major League Baseball regular season gets underway this Sunday, April 2, with six teams kicking off the year in a three-game set. On Monday, April 3, the rest of Major League Baseball opens play on Opening Day. The defending World Series Champions, the Chicago Cubs, start the season Sunday night in St. Louis against their division rival, the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cubs are once again the major storyline this season. Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon is likely to bat lumbering slugger Kyle Schwarber in the leadoff spot. The fact remains the same that the Cubs are loaded with talent and likely to repeat as National League Central champs.

Predictions

National League East: New York Mets – 92-70

The Mets return a starting rotation with the stuff and velocity to completely whip opposing batters. Led by Noah Syndergaard and a healthy and rejuvenated Jacob deGrom, these pitchers will lead the Mets back into the postseason.

National League Central: Chicago Cubs – 98-64

The Chicago Cubs essentially return the same team that won the World Series last year and expect to have a healthy Schwarber for the whole season. No other team in the National League Central can match up with the Cubs' firepower on offense, defense and pitching.

National League West: San Francisco Giants – 93-69

Last season, the Giants managed to make the postseason despite having a revolving door at the closer position. If you remember, this team took the eventual World Series Champs to the brink in last year’s divisional playoffs. But 2017 will be different, as manager Bruce Bochy has his closer in free agent signee Mark Melancon.

NL Wild Card 1: Los Angeles Dodgers – 91-71

NL Wild Card 2: Washington Nationals – 89-73

American League East: Boston Red Sox – 95-67

Despite the retirement of the legendary slugger David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox return a strong, right-handed-heavy line-up with Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts poised to pound the Green Monster that towers left field at the legendary Fenway Park.

Pitcher Chris Sale, formerly of the Chicago White Sox, has slightly changed the hue of his uniform with his move to Boston in hopes of leading a starting rotation backed by a strong offense, which should be more than enough to get Boston back in the postseason.

American League Central: Cleveland Indians – 97-65

The Cleveland Indians won the American League last year with timely hitting and wipeout pitching from their starters and core relievers. This year they have added slugger Edwin Encarnacion to that lineup and are hoping former All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley returns to his true form. This team will be able to hold off any challenges in the division from the Royals or Tigers and repeat as champs of the Central.

American League West: Houston Astros – 94-68

The Houston Astros have a team that is filled with young talent and have added a great mix of veterans this offseason in catcher Brian McCann and designated hitter Carlos Beltran. If the bearded lefty Dallas Keuchel returns to CY Young form, this team will be making major noise this season. Last year the Texas Rangers owned the Houston Astros in head-to-head matchups; if the Astros can figure out the Rangers, then the AL West crown belongs to Houston.

AL Wild Card 1: Seattle Mariners – 90-72

AL Wild Card 2: Toronto Blue Jays – 88-74

World Series:  Giants over Red Sox in seven games.

Awards

AL MVP – Mike Trout - Angels

AL CY Young – Aaron Sanchez – Blue Jays

NL MVP – Corey Seager – Dodgers

NL CY Young – Clayton Kershaw

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