Daily Archives: March 16, 2017
Sports Illustrated said it in 2014 and it might just turn out to be true. The Houston Astros have had 2017 circled on their calendars for a while now and they’ve set themselves up well. Houston enters 2017 with a really good young core of position players supplemented with some strategically placed free agents and trade acquisitions and a pitching staff that certainly has some question marks but has the potential to be excellent.
The Astros seem to following the blueprint of the reigning world champion Chicago Cubs, who built their roster around young hitters like Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras, and supplemented things with pitchers from outside the organization like Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, and Aroldis Chapman.
It is, obviously, a good strategy if you can do it right, as well as a relatively new one. For the better part of the last decade, teams like the St. Louis Cardinals have tried to build homegrown pitching staffs and cobble together a lineup from high priced free agents. Only truly deep organizations can do what the Cubs have and what the Astros are attempting.
But Houston is off to a great start. Their lineup is beyond deep and led by some genuine superstars. Their rotation, meanwhile is the wild card. It could be great, it could really hold them back, and either way, I’d be shocked if it didn’t include a very big addition before the team plays on August 1st.
Se the projected lineup and read the rest of this post, with a projected rotation too, over at Off the Bench here.
The National League East is a mix of the haves and the have-nots, though not to the extreme that was 2016, when 3 of the teams were in the depths of their rebuilds, while two appeared to be blossoming into title contenders. 2017 figures to be a repeat for many of the teams as the biggest offseason deal inched one title contenders closer to the World Series (on paper).
It’s a division that is hallmarked by excellent pitching, though Jose Fernandez‘ flamboyance will be sorely missed. The Mets and Nationals each have a stable of Aces at the major league level, while the Phillies and Marlins have young guys that show serious promise, and the Braves have the most impressive group of pitching prospects that anyone in the game appears to have ever seen. It’s an interesting division that constitutes a cross-section of all that baseball has to offer right now.
- Washington Nationals
- New York Mets
- Atlanta Braves
- Miami Marlins
- Philadelphia Phillies
It’s the Nationals’ division to lose, really….
Read the rest of this post and see our in depth breakdown of the division at Off the Bench here.
The AL West is one of baseball’s most interesting divisions. It features baseball’s best player, its most talented shortstop and top two second basemen, its batting champ, its least enjoyable team to watch, its second most annoying closer, and King Felix.
For the last two seasons, the West has been won by the Texas Rangers, who ran away with things again in 2016 with an AL best 95 wins. Texas is deep, with a strong lineup, a good, young core, and a solid starting staff, but the rest of the division is doing their best to catch up. Well, except for the A’s.
Seattle finished second in 2016 and made 14 trades this offseason, more than any team ever has in one winter. Houston finished third but made a couple big moves and is right in its window for contention. The Angels still have Mike Trout and no pitching. The A’s have….Khris Davis?
This is going to be a fun division to watch all summer because its likely to be very competitive. Three teams have are going in to 2017 with well founded confidence and I think they’ll be jockeying for first right up until the end.
- Houston Astros
- Texas Rangers
- Seattle Mariners
- Los Angeles Angels
- Oakland A’s
I’m going bold here….
Read the rest of this post, and see our in depth breakdown of the division, at Off the Bench here.
The 2017 season is a critical for not only the Kansas City Royals, but also for first baseman Eric Hosmer. It’s his final year prior to hitting free agency, and he’s already built an impressive resume with his seventh big league season on the horizon.
After all, not many players can say that they’ve won three Gold Gloves (in consecutive years), appeared in an All-Star game (and took home MVP honors) and played in two World Series. Oh, and one of those trips to the Fall Classic ended with a bunch of champagne in his eyes.
While Hosmer claims to have never mentioned wanting a 10-year contract, it sounds an awful lot like something his agent, Scott Boras, would be asking for. He’s notoriously been one to set an exorbitant price for his clients, and someone eventually buckles more times than you’d think.
But will an organization buckle for someone like Hosmer? He’s put together a great resume thus far, but the journey into free agency this past winter for two reigning home run champions in Mark Trumbo and Chris Carter showed us that teams aren’t quite valuing players the same anymore.
And honestly, if one concerning trend continues into this season, it’d be surprising if Hosmer gets offered anything close to a 10-year deal.