It’s finally here: Spring Training 2017
The long wait is over, after the Cubs make history in 2016… I can’t wait to see what 2017 has up it’s sleeve for us this season. Will the Phillies and Braves dig their way of the basement? Probably not, but there is a glimmer of hope for both clubs with the emergence of both Dansby Swanson and Odubel Herrera as potential long term building blocks. How will the Royals and the Marlins fair in their first full seasons after losing their aces in 2 separate tragic accidents? Do the Red Sox finally have a starting staff that can perform well in October that is now centered around Chris Sale? And above all else, who will reach the promised land in 2017 and take home the World Series crown? Here are some Predictions:
AL Comeback player of the Year: Michael Brantley/OF/CLE
Recovering from a tough Shoulder injury, It’s no secret that Brantley can play, but it seems like it’s been forever since he’s been healthy. If the old Michael Brantley comes back to form like we all faintly remember, hands down he will take home this award with ease… but we never know with him if he can manage to stay on the field long enough to make the impact needed.
NL Comeback player of the Year: Matt Harvey/RHP/NYM
The Dark Horse.. Does this even need a caption? If he can regain his poise and confidence from 2013, and shake the injury bug… look for the Mets to potentially sneak the NL East crown away from the Nationals.. That division is gonna continue to be a 2 team race for years to come..
AL Rookie of the Year: Andrew Benintendi/OF/BOS
Coming off a solid August call up performance, Benintendi looks to be primed and ready for his first full big league season with Boston. Hitting close to .300 during this short span,`he has produced at every stop along the way in his career, and is showing no signs of slowing down in 2017. With Andrew being protected by guys like Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Hanley Ramirez, look for him to find comfort in his role as a contact to average power hitter in an already strong line up.
NL Rookie of the Year: Alex Reyes/RHP/STL
Another August call up last season, Reyes was seemingly a man among boy during his 46 IP last fall, posting a 1.57 ERA in 12 games (5 starts) with a 4-1 record. Reyes, who will likely win a couple Cy Young awards before its all said and done, has a bright future ahead of him… And it all begins in 2017. Topping out at 101 in the fall, look for this gun slinger to show off his big arm all year.
AL Cy Young Award: Corey Kluber/RHP/CLE
When you say Cy Young, the first thought for most is “The most Dominant pitcher in baseball” but, this is not the case here. Kluber, is a top 10 pitcher in the game right now for different reasons. After a rough start to his 2016 campaign, he turned it all around and led Cleveland to their first World Series appearance since 1957. Going 13-3 since July 1st including the postseason, look for the boosted offense with Brantley and Encarnacion to provide enough run support to win 20 games this season if he stays healthy.
NL Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw/LHP/LAD
When healthy, there is no denying this man. He won 12 of his 16 decisions in 2016, If the dodgers bullpen improves this season he will be your first 20 game winner of the 2017 campaign. 28 and in his prime, look for Kershaw to remain the most dominant pitcher on the planet for another 3-5 years.
AL MVP Award: Mike Trout/OF/LAA
Honestly, this should not be a surprising pick to any of you reading this. Having seen him play in person, Stats do not do him justice. Baseball IQ is through the roof, stack that with passion and the ability to flat out play the game, if he stays on track he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer with ease. A career .306 hitter, he was 1 HR shy of hitting 30 HR, swiping 30 bags and having 100 RBI. The man is a walking highlight reel.
NL MVP Award: Kris Bryant/3B/CHC
I say they both repeat, here’s why. They both possess this attitude that writers and fans love. The hustle and respect for the game is what sets them apart, when you’re in the bigs, everyone can play. Bryant’s power and ability to drive in runs for a team that gets on base a ton, will push him to the top of the mountain again in 2017. Look for him and Trout to both run baseball for the next 10 years.
It’s finally here fam, Let’s get back to business.