CHISportsNation

With Spring Training just days away, prediction season is upon us. The Chicago Cubs look to defend their first World Series in 108 years, as they look to repeat and capture their 4th World Series in franchise history. However, other World Series contenders such as Boston, Cleveland, and Washington have each had positive offseasons.

 

AL East Predictions 

1. Boston Red Sox 94-68

2. Toronto Blue Jays 85-77

3. New York Yankees 83-79

4. Baltimore Orioles 81-81

5. Tampa Bay Rays 77-85

AL East outlook: After capturing the AL East division crown last season, the Red Sox have only improved with key additions such as Chris Sale and Tyler Thornburg. A talented young lineup featuring Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Andrew Benintendi will surely look to be at the top of the league in runs scored yet again. The Jays have not improved whatsoever, and the New York Yankees seem to be a key player or two away from contention. Their strong farm system has the potential to lure opposing teams to possibly send key players the Yankees’ way. The Orioles continue to lack the starting pitching necessary to compete, and the Rays are still rebuilding.

AL Central Predictions 

1. Cleveland Indians 97- 65

2. Detroit Tigers 81-81

3. Kansas City Royals 79-83

4. Chicago White Sox 72-90

5. Minnesota Twins 70-92

AL Central outlook: With 4 teams unlikely to compete in 2017, the Indians have a sensational chance to run away with the Central. The Tigers can’t seem to decide if they’re going to rebuild or not. Kansas City still has their solid core that is just one year removed from winning the 2015 World Series. However, they clearly don’t possess the starting pitching needed to return to the Playoffs, especially after the tragic death of Yordano Ventura this offseason. The White Sox have finally committed to a rebuild, but as long as guys such as Quintana, Abreu, and Robertson are in Chicago, the Sox will avoid the cellar. The White Sox won’t necessarily be looking to win this year, because this season will be used as development for their prospects. After a terrible season a year ago, Minnesota has held on to Brian Dozier and will head into the 2017 season with a similar roster to the 2016 Twins.

AL West Predictions

1. Houston Astros 93-69

2. Texas Rangers 87-75

3. Seattle Mariners 85-77

4. Oakland Athletics 74-88

5. Los Angeles Angels 72-90

AL West outlook: In these standings, I am predicting that Houston will acquire Jose Quintana at some point this season, as they look to finally edge out the Texas Rangers. Texas looks to return to the playoffs(and to actually win a game this time). Mariners GM, Jerry Dipoto, has had an extremely busy offseason, making several trades to ensure that his team will compete for the division this year. I expect both the A’s and Angels to be bottom feeders in the West yet again.

NL East Predictions

1. Washington Nationals 96-66

2. New York Mets 90-72

3. Atlanta Braves 80-82

4. Philadelphia Phillies 76-86

5. Miami Marlins 74-88

NL East outlook: The Washington Nationals made a huge splash by acquiring Adam Eaton from the White Sox in December. The Nationals have failed to be a force in the playoffs in recent years, and they’ll look to change that this year. The Mets have practically the same roster, so I expect them to return to the Postseason. The Braves are an intriguing team to me, as they enter a new ballpark with a bright future. Atlanta should see a great deal of improvement from their team as they look to take a big step in 2017. Similar to the Braves,  the future-looking Phils should also be able to take a big step this year. That leaves the Marlins, who lost their star ace to a boating accident, and have seen their franchise set back a few seasons.

NL Central Predictions

1. Chicago Cubs 95-67

2. St. Louis Cardinals 90-72

3. Pittsburgh Pirates 81-81

4. Milwaukee Brewers 75-87

5. Cincinnati Reds 64-98

NL Central outlook: I see the NL Central as a 2 team race this year. The Central offers the defending champs and the always dangerous Cardinals. With the addition of Dexter Fowler, the Cardinals will look to challenge the Cubs this season. The Pirates are a lost team without a direction as of now. The Brewers should show some improvement this year because of their strong farm system starting to creep into the majors. I see the Reds being the MLB’s worst team in 2017 because their team is years away from competing, and they have an extreme deprivation of pitching.

NL West Predictions

1. Los Angeles Dodgers 92-70

2. Colorado Rockies 85-77

3. San Francisco Giants 85-77

4. Arizona Diamondbacks 74-88

5. San Diego Padres 69-93

NL West outlook: Because they managed to re-sign both Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen, I see the Dodgers once again winning the very predictable West. I think the Rockies will be MLB’s most improved team, and they will compete for a playoff spot all year long. The Giants added Mark Melancon to tape together a bullpen that fell apart in the NLDS in 2016. Other than that, the Giants didn’t do much.  Neither the Diamondbacks or Padres made any substantial improvements to thier rosters, so they will finish at the bottom of the division again.

WORLD SERIES PREDICTION: INDIANS OVER CUBS IN 6 GAMES 

The Indians look very strong entering the 2017 season with the addition of Edwin Encarnacion. They will also have Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco back from injury. If they had had those two for the World Series, this could be being talked about as a repeat.

Photo: Getty Images

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