Leading Off…What Drei Said in 2016
In the Junior Circuit…
“ Boston has a good mix of veterans along with some up and comers in Mookie Betts and Xander Bogarts and the addition of David Price to their rotation should help them contend in the east…”
“ Cleveland has a pretty formidable rotation of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. Will off-season additions Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, Juan Uribe and Marlon Byrd, players not exactly in their prime make a difference ? Having said that, I still feel Cleveland is ready to challenge for the division.”
“The Astros, last season’s biggest surprise, is ready to make more noise this season. A full season with Carlos Gomez certainly can’t hurt the lineup. The Mariners, picked by many last season to represent the Junior Circuit in The Fall Classic after an 87 win campaign in 2014, regressed last season, something that could be of concern in Houston with expectations being higher. The M’s strength is still pitching, led by Felix Hernandez. I expect the Mariners to bounce back and be the sleeper in this division….”
Last season saw Drei pick the AL Central Division winner correctly, while the Blue Jays would take the wild card and Drei’s sleeper from last year, the Seattle Mariners, would see their playoff hopes diminish on the 2nd to final game of the season. Last season’s picks also saw Drei picking Toronto over Seattle in the ALCS.
Drei’s AL Outlook for 2017…
The AL East will once again be the toughest division to fully grasp. Boston, with the addition of Chris Sale to their rotation, is everyone’s favorite to win the East. The Blue Jays, coming off 2 straight ALCS appearances, have lost some offensive firepower with Edwin Encarnacion heading to Cleveland but they still boast a formidable rotation. The rest of the division is capable of claiming one of the two WC spots.
The Tribe came within one game of bringing the city of Cleveland it’s second championship in a 5 month stretch. While The Tribe made it to the Fall Classic on the strength of their rotation, they’ve added some offensive punch by adding Edwin Encarnacion from Toronto.
After surprising many in 2015, the Astros somewhat regressed last season, starting off 15-28 before finishing off with a respectable 84 wins. The Astros, led by Jose Altuve, are being picked by many to win the AL West. With the teamwide so-called “sophomore jinx” now out of the way, this could very well be their year they take over the west. Seattle has a pretty formidable lineup themselves especially the heart of the order, where Cano, Cruz and Kyle Seager combined for a total of 95 home runs last season. Felix Hernandez by his standards had an off season last year but is expected to lead the rotation once again.
Boston over Houston
Cleveland over Boston
Toronto over Seattle
Toronto over Cleveland
Last season I picked Toronto to win the ALCS with Seattle being the surprise team. While I may not have these two meeting in the ALCS this time around, though the Jays may be a little thinner from last years team, it’d be too easy to go with everyone’s favorite’s between the Red Sox and Indians, though both teams made some impressive off-season moves, especially Cleveland. So, if all goes according to form here, a rematch of last year’s ALCS will be in order.