Looking Ahead to the 2017 MLB Season – Part 2
In case you haven’t read it, here’s Part 1. It’s not required, but you’ll get an idea of what these are about.
Onto Part 2!
The Killer B’s of MLB
As the trio of Pittsburgh Steelers stars is covered through the NFL playoffs, let’s look at Major League Baseball’s own group of B’s. The Red Sox have quite a trio themselves when considering Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. Adding popular breakout candidate Andrew Benintendi, not to mention Blake Swihart and Brock Holt to the mix makes Boston a hive for dominant players whose names happen to start with the same letter. The disappointing end to their 2016 season and proceeding to 2017 sans-David Ortiz are a couple challenges this talented group must face. Boston has some contractual decisions to make in the coming years, but look for them to keep as many pieces of this dynamic and astoundingly young core as they can.
Are the Phillies Up to Something?
I saw the Phillies agree to a contract for 1-year/$9 million with OF Michael Saunders a couple days ago. My initial reaction was to question this strange move by a team clearly in the midst of a rebuild. Philadelphia finished 71-91 last year, and the Phillies definitely don’t look primed to unseat the Nationals as Division Champs. Then, I thought about it more. This is the same team that recently relieved Boston of 1 year of Clay Buchholz’s services, and the Dodgers of Howie Kendrick’s for the same low commitment of 1 season. With these moves, the Phillies now stand to enter 2017 with a roster comprised of a few promising young prospects, a lineup with plenty of 20+ home run pop, and a few seasoned veterans to round out the group. In a division shared with the likes of the Marlins and Braves, this could lead to a surprising run in 2017. Speaking of the Braves…
Old Guys Rule
The Braves look like they’re doing what Philadelphia’s doing, but with veteran players who are very seasoned. Barring any changes before Opening Day, they’re slotted to have 3/5 of their starting rotation and 3/8 of the defenders behind them enter the season over 30 years old. Recently signed starting pitchers R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon are 42 and 43 years old respectively. Their closer will also happen to be closer to 35 than 30. What’s strange is the Braves acquired Dickey, Colon, Jaime Garcia, Matt Kemp, Tyler Flowers, and Jim Johnson all since the start of 2015. The exception is Nick Markakis who they signed just before that season. It’s really not a bad group to have on a roster, although I would’ve liked to see Atlanta be a little more aggressive as they prepare to Christen a new ballpark. However, this could end up being like what I think Phillie has brewing. This isn’t a ringing endorsement for either team in 2017 by any means, but I wouldn’t be completely astounded to see the Braves or Phillies still competing in September.
Thanks for reading, and look out for Part 3!
Photo taken from Flickr Creative Commons. Keith Allison’s photo can be seen here.