2017 MLB Preview : American League

Trout 560x280With the meteoric rise of the Chicago Cubs over in the National League, the American League spent most of 2016 trying to catch up. Then, when the season finally ended, the AL decided to cause a ton of controversy by selecting Mike Trout as the AL MVP and Rick Porcello as the AL Cy Young. Both men had incredible seasons but these were both pretty surprising selections based on what other players did too.

Mike Trout won the AL MVP but was playing on a team that finished 12th in the American League, 4th in their own division, and posting a 74-88 record. He did put up some nasty numbers, hitting 29 Home Runs, 100 RBI, 32 Doubles, 30 Stolen Bases, and 116 Walks on a .315 Batting Average. This has been done a few times in the past but and there are plenty of guys who failed to win the MVP. In 2000, Preston Wilson, for example, hit 31 Home Runs, 121 RBI, 35 Doubles, and 36 Stolen Bases and was not even in the running for the MVP that year. Matt Kemp did the same and went home empty-handed.

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Then, it was announced, that the latest American League Cy Young winner would be Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello. He finished the season with a beautiful stat line that was tough to compete with. He had a 22-4 record with a 3.15 ERA in 223 Innings. He threw 189 strikeouts with only 32 walks in 33 games. His numbers were sweet enough to mask the low totals in other areas. Justin Verlander, the Detroit Tiger Ace, threw an insane 254 strikeouts and finished with a 16-9 record, 3.04 ERA, and only 57 walks.

When you break it down, Justin Verlander had a lower ERA giving up less hits, runs, earned runs, WHIP, and Hits per 9 Innings Pitched than Rick Porcello. The Detroit Tigers had a relatively worse hitting lineup than Boston too. We get it, that 22-4 record is beautiful and the fact that Boston got to the postseason equals Cy Young, but it was not a guarantee until it was announced. In other words, we agree with Kate Upton on this one.

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But that was last season and it is time to move on. Unless you really want to continue talking about who got screwed in 2016, let’s jump right into the upcoming 2017 season preview instead, adding in our predicted records for the year in parenthesis.

AL East

1. Boston Red Sox (98-64)

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Head Coach: John Farrell

2016 Record: 93-69

2017 Team MVP: Mookie Betts, RF

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Chris Sale, LHP

Projected Rotation:

  1. Chris Sale
  2. Rick Porcello
  3. David Price
  4. Drew Pomeranz
  5. Eduardo Rodriguez

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  2. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  3. Mookie Betts, RF
  4. Hanley Ramirez, DH
  5. Mitch Moreland, 1B
  6. Jackie Bradley Jr, CF
  7. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
  8. Sandy Leon, C
  9. Andrew Benintendi, LF

2. Toronto Blue Jays (86-76)

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Head Coach: John Gibbons

2016 Record: 89-73

2017 Team MVP: Josh Donaldson, 3B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Aaron Sanchez

Projected Rotation:

  1. Aaron Sanchez
  2. J.A. Happ
  3. Marcus Stroman
  4. Marco Estrada
  5. Francisco Liriano

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Devon Travis, 2B
  2. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
  3. Josh Donaldson, 3B
  4. Jose Bautista, OF
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH
  6. Russell Martin, C
  7. Justin Smoak, 1B
  8. Ezequiel Carrera, OF
  9. Kevin Pillar, OF

3.Baltimore Orioles (84-78)

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Head Coach: Buck Showalter

2016 Record: 89-73

2017 Team MVP: Manny Machado, 3B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Kevin Gausman, RHP

Projected Rotation:

  1. Kevin Gausman
  2. Chris Tillman
  3. Ubaldo Jimenez
  4. Wade Miley
  5. Dylan Bundy

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Adam Jones, OF
  2. Manny Machado, 3B
  3. Chris Davis, 1B
  4. Mark Trumbo, DH
  5. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
  6. Welington Castillo, C
  7. Seth Smith, OF
  8. J.J. Hardy, SS
  9. Hyun Soo Kim, OF

4. New York Yankees (82-80)

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Head Coach: Joe Giradi

2016 Record: 84-78

2017 Team MVP: Gary Sanchez, C

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Masahiro Tanaka, RHP

Projected Rotation:

  1. Masahiro Tanaka
  2. Michael Pineda
  3. CC Sabathia
  4. Chad Green
  5. Luis Severino

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Brett Gardner, OF
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF
  3. Gary Sanchez, C
  4. Matt Holliday, DH
  5. Starlin Castro, 2B
  6. Didi Gregorius, SS
  7. Chase Headley, 3B
  8. Greg Bird, 1B
  9. Aaron Hicks, OF

5. Tampa Bay Rays (76-86)

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Head Coach: Kevin Cash

2016 Record: 68-94

2017 Team MVP: Evan Longoria, 3B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Chris Archer, RHP

Projected Rotation:

  1. Chris Archer
  2. Jake Odorizzi
  3. Alex Cobb
  4. Matt Andriese
  5. Blake Snell

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Kevin Kiermaier, OF
  2. Brad Miller, 2B
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Corey Dickerson, DH
  5. Matthew Duffy, SS
  6. Colby Rasmus, OF
  7. Steven Souza, OF
  8. Logan Morrison, 1B
  9. Curtis Casali, C

AL Central

1. Cleveland Indians (95-67)

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Head Coach: Terry Francona

2016 Record: 94-67

2017 Team MVP: Edwin Encarnacion, DH

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Corey Kluber, RHP

Projected Rotation:

  1. Corey Kluber
  2. Carlos Carrasco
  3. Danny Salazar
  4. Trevor Bauer
  5. Josh Tomlin

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Carlos Santana, 1B
  2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
  3. Francisco Lindor, SS
  4. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
  5. Jose Ramirez, 3B
  6. Michael Brantley, OF
  7. Tyler Naquin, OF
  8. Lonnie Chisenhall, OF
  9. Yan Gomes, C

2. Detroit Tigers (87-75)

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Head Coach: Brad Ausmus

2016 Record: 86-75

2017 Team MVP: Miguel Cabrera, 1B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Justin Verlander, RHP

Projected Rotation:

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Jordan Zimmermann
  3. Michael Fulmer
  4. Daniel Norris
  5. Anibal Sanchez

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. J.D. Martinez, OF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. Justin Upton, OF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. Tyler Collins, OF
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

3. Kansas City Royals (80-82)

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Head Coach: Ned Yost

2016 Record: 81-81

2017 Team MVP: Jorge Soler, DH

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Danny Duffy

Projected Rotation:

  1. Danny Duffy
  2. Ian Kennedy
  3. Jason Hammel
  4. Nate Karns
  5. Travis Wood

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Alcides Escobar, SS
  2. Mike Moustakas, 3B
  3. Lorenzo Cain, OF
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
  5. Jorge Soler, DH
  6. Alex Gordon, OF
  7. Salvador Perez, C
  8. Brandon Moss, OF
  9. Raul Mondesi, 2B

4. Chicago White Sox (69-93)

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Head Coach: Rick Renteria

2016 Record: 78-84

2017 Team MVP:

2017 Cy Young Candidate:

Projected Rotation:

  1. Jose Quintana
  2. James Shields
  3. Carlos Rodon
  4. Miguel Gonzalez
  5. Lucas Giolito

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Charlie Tilson, OF
  2. Yoan Moncada, SS
  3. Melky Cabrera, OF
  4. Jose Abreu, 1B
  5. Todd Frazier, 3B
  6. Brett Lawrie, DH
  7. Avisail Garcia, OF
  8. Omar Narvaez, C
  9. Tim Anderson, 2B

5. Minnesota Twins (66-96)

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Head Coach: Paul Molitor

2016 Record: 59-103

2017 Team MVP: Brian Dozier, 2B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Ervin Santana

Projected Rotation:

  1. Ervin Santana
  2. Hector Santiago
  3. Kyle Gibson
  4. Phil Hughes
  5. Jose Berrios

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Brian Dozier, 2B
  2. Jorge Polanco, SS
  3. Joe Mauer, 1B
  4. Miguel Sano, 3B
  5. Max Kepler, OF
  6. Kennys Vargas, DH
  7. Bryon Buxton, OF
  8. Eddie Rosario, OF
  9. Jason Castro, C

AL West

1. Houston Astros (91-71)

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Head Coach: A.J. Hinch

2016 Record: 84-78

2017 Team MVP: Jose Altuve, 2B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Lance McCullers

Projected Rotation:

  1. Dallas Keuchel
  2. Lance McCullers
  3. Collin McHugh
  4. Mike Fiers
  5. Charlie Morton

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. George Springer, OF
  2. Alex Bregman, 3B
  3. Jose Altuve, 2B
  4. Carlos Correa, SS
  5. Carlos Beltran, DH
  6. Brian McCann, C
  7. Josh Reddick, OF
  8. Yulieski Gurriel, 1B
  9. Nori Aoki, OF

2. Texas Rangers (88-74)

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Head Coach: Jeff Banister

2016 Record: 95-67

2017 Team MVP: Adrian Beltre, 3B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Yu Darvish, RHP

Projected Rotation:

  1. Cole Hamels
  2. Yu Darvish
  3. Martin Perez
  4. Tyson Ross
  5. Andrew Cashner

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Carlos Gomez, OF
  2. Shin-Soo Choo, OF
  3. Adrian Beltre, 3B
  4. Mike Napoli, 1B
  5. Rougned Odor, 2B
  6. Jonathan Lucroy, C
  7. Nomar Mazara, OF
  8. Elvis Andrus, SS
  9. Joey Gallo, DH

3. Seattle Mariners (84-78)

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Head Coach: Scott Servais

2016 Record: 86-76

2017 Team MVP: Nelson Cruz, DH

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Felix Hernandez, RHP

Projected Rotation:

  1. Felix Hernandez
  2. Hisashi Iwakuma
  3. James Paxton
  4. Drew Smyly
  5. Ariel Miranda

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Jarrod Dyson, OF
  2. Jean Segura, SS
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B
  4. Nelson Cruz, DH
  5. Kyle Seager, 3B
  6. Mike Zunino, C
  7. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
  8. Leonys Martin, OF
  9. Benjamin Gamel, OF

4. LA Angels of Anaheim (78-84)

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Head Coach: Mike Scioscia

2016 Record: 74-88

2017 Team MVP: Mike Trout, OF

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Matt Shoemaker, RHP

Projected Rotation:

  1. Matt Shoemaker
  2. Ricky Nolasco
  3. Garrett Richards
  4. Tyler Skaggs
  5. Alex Meyer

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Yunel Escobar, 3B
  2. Kole Calhoun, OF
  3. Mike Trout, OF
  4. Albert Pujols, DH
  5. C.J. Cron, 1B
  6. Cameron Maybin, OF
  7. Danny Espinosa, 2B
  8. Andrelton Simmons, SS
  9. Martin Maldonado, C

5. Oakland Athletics (68-94)

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Head Coach: Bob Melvin

2016 Record: 69-93

2017 Team MVP: Khris Davis, OF

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Sonny Gray, RHP

Projected Rotation:

  1. Sonny Gray
  2. Sean Manaea
  3. Kendall Graveman
  4. Jharel Cotton
  5. Andrew Triggs

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Rajai Davis, OF
  2. Stephen Vogt, C
  3. Ryon Healy, DH
  4. Khris Davis, OF
  5. Matt Joyce, OF
  6. Marcus Semien, SS
  7. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
  8. Yonder Alonso, 1B
  9. Jed Lowrie, 2B