The 2016 MLB season was a fun one, to say the least. We saw the end of a 108-year World Series drought broken by the Chicago Cubs. We saw the retirement of a few all-time greats, like David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, and even Vin Scully. Mike Trout took home the MVP honors after yet again cementing his status as the game’s best player.
While it may seem tough to top the 2016 season, things are going to be even more interesting in 2017. Here are ten reasons why 2017 will be a great year for Major League Baseball.
2017 MLB Season
10) Baseball is back!: Mark it down on your calendars; Sunday, April 2nd will begin the regular season. While the matchups aren’t exactly the most exciting (Yankees-Rays and Giants-Diamondbacks), we can all smile at the fact that we can get back into the habit of watching some ball every day.
9) Adrian Beltre’s pursuit of 3,000 career hits: Somehow, Adrian Beltre, a likely Hall of Famer, has gone criminally underrated for most of his career. The third baseman owns a .286 career average and has collected 1,571 RBI’s throughout his 19-year career. The 37-year-old sits just 58 hits away from the milestone, and he should be able to get it before the All-Star break.
8) The youth movement in the Bronx: Whether or not you follow the Yankees, it’s clear to see that something special is brewing in New York. There are seven Yankees prospects on MLB.com’s top-100 prospect list. Gleyber Torres, just 20 year’s of age, is the No.3 prospect in the game, while Clint Frazier is 24th. Along with Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge, a new core looks to take New York by storm in the near future.
7) Another season of Mike Trout: Consider this; Mike Trout has had a legitimate case to take home MVP honors in each of the last five seasons, he’s been that good and he’s only getting better. He’s just 25 and only beginning to enter his prime. Even if his production were to become average, he’d still be one of the best players of all-time and it’s hard to argue that. You can once again expect big things from the face of a team with no direction.
6) The continuation of the Cubs dynasty: It all started in 2015 when the Cubs made it to the NLCS. The drought ended the very next year when they finally took home the World Series victory. This is the new norm for baseball; the Cubs are the best team in the sport, and it’s just the beginning. With reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant, Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, and a load of youthful impact players, the North Side and its fans should expect a lot of success in the future.
5) The Miami Marlins: At first this may seem like an odd addition, especially so high on the list, but it is certainly warranted. But, after the baseball and sports world went silent when star Jose Fernandez passed away, the Marlins were hit the hardest. The Marlins finished with a dismal 79-82 record, but they hung around in the Wild Card race for most of the season. You can bet that this Marlins team will hit the field this season with Fernandez in mind. If you don’t think so, take a look at Dee Gordon’s home run from the end of last season. “If you all don’t believe in God, you better start,” Gordon said.
4) The age of the shortstop: Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Addison Russell, Xander Bogearts, these are just a few of baseball’s brightest young stars. They all just so happen to play the premium position of shortstop and are all under 24. These youngsters are not only just starting their careers, but they are extremely talented. Their rise is similar to the 1990’s and early 2000’s, when Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, and Alex Rodriguez took over the league. All are .300 hitters and elite defenders. Get ready, baseball fans, we’re witnessing the next golden age of shortstops.
3) A full season from Giancarlo Stanton?: There’s a question mark here. There has to be. Stanton is without a doubt the strongest man in the game, as the majority of his are absolute moonshots. However, his career has been hampered by injuries. A full season from the 27-year-old would make the Marlins that much more fun to watch, and everyone can root for Stanton, who is one of the game’s elite talents. It’s truly a treat to watch Stanton play, as baseball hasn’t seen someone with as much power since the days of Barry Bonds.
2) Super-rotation in Beantown: As if it wasn’t already obvious, the Boston Red Sox have the best rotation in the AL East and the entire American League. You know it’s a strong staff when David Price is the third option. He’ll be behind reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and of course, the huge offseason trade acquisition, Chris Sale. This is baseball’s best rotation since the short-lived Washington Nationals super rotation of 2015.
1) Will the Cleveland Indians get back to Fall Classic?: Oh, so close. That was the crushing motto for the Cleveland Indians after they blew a 3-1 lead in World Series to the Chicago Cubs. The Indians should be able to again recapture the AL Central crown after the offseason addition of slugger Edwin Encarnacion and full seasons from Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco. However, the Boston Red Sox will be out for revenge with a revamped rotation and extremely potent lineup. The road to the World Series won’t be as easy this time around for the Tribe.