Looking Ahead to the 2017 MLB Season – Part 1
It’s almost certain the 2016 MLB season will stand out in the future as one of the most significant in the history of the game of baseball. To keep it brief the Chicago Cubs, David Ortiz, and Jose Fernandez left marks on the game that won’t be matched in my lifetime at least. The Cubbies shattered their once apparently eternal curse, Big Papi treated Red Sox Nation to an all-time farewell, and José Fernandez left fans, friends. and family everywhere all too soon.
Even with Spring Training over a month away, it’s time to focus on what the upcoming season has to offer. I won’t be making any specific predictions, as much as I’ll try to point out certain things that I am anticipating for the new season. John Fogerty’s Centerfield is already playing in my head – and how great is that song, right?
Anyway, onto Part 1!
San Diego Staying in San Diego
It’s perhaps a little strange to be starting with this, but it’s all part of the gimmick. The Padres have lacked some luster for quite some time. They acquired a bunch of players (I wouldn’t go so far as to call James Shields and Matt Kemp “talent”) a few years ago after years of mediocrity. Well, they’re still mediocre. Credit must be given where it’s due, however, and the Padres must be commended for remaining loyal to the fanbase. The Chargers saw no issue in abandoning a city whose only other major sports franchise has two over- .500 seasons and 0 postseason appearances in the last 10 years. The Padres were located in the same city as Philip Rivers since 2004 and had no qualms about staying there.
Dear Giancarlo, Please Get Well
When’s the last time Giancarlo Stanton played an entire healthy season? A quick glance at Baseball Reference would imply that the masher formerly known as Mike was last at his best in 2014 when he reached a career high in games played (144), tied his home run mark for a season (37), and finished 2nd in MVP voting. Since then, Stanton has appeared in a total of 193 games, and has left a lot to be desired beyond his raw power. The guy won the Home Run Derby in 2016, with 2015’s champion Todd Frazier a distant runner-up/afterthought. The point is, Stanton can rake. Even when he’s not at 100% he’s arguably the most powerful hitter in either league. So here’s to Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton getting back to peak form and sending dozens of souvenirs to bleacher seats the Marlins can never seem to fill.
Core Four 2.0
The Yankees put themselves in a good situation heading into the new season. They’ve finally shed some weight (except CC Sabathia’s) as they all but forced A-Rod into retirement and Mark Teixeira’s brutal ’16 campaign was enough for him to call it a career. Enter the new Core Four: Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Clint Frazier. Not that these guys will all necessarily live up to the Hall of Fame caliber that the former Four displayed (this Sox fan sure hopes they don’t), but it’s likely that at least 2 of these 4 hyped prospects become perennial All-Stars. Gary Sanchez is the definite and deserving favorite to lead the way into Yankee stardom, although I would say any of the other 3 could potentially outperform him. 2017 could be a big season for the future of the Yankees as the Bronx becomes accustomed to some new faces. If all goes well for the Bombers, they’ll cash in on a few years of developing/acquiring young talent. It was long overdue, but hey, they finally got around to it.
That’s all for now! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for Part 2.
Photo taken from Flickr Creative Commons. gFiskjr’s photo can be seen here.