After witnessing the Chicago Cubs end their 108-year World Series drought after downing the Cleveland Indians in an epic game 7 in 2016, fanatics have begun to speculate about what chaos will ensue during the next season.
With the first pitch of the 2017 MLB season flamed down the dirt strip and across home plate, it’s with great pleasure to announce that baseball is officially back in action! It’s hard to tell if 2017 can top the excitement that came in 2016, but between breakout players and rising statistical leaders, anything is possible.
The baseball hotheads at Fanatics decided to dive into Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) projections for the 2017 season. Read on to see what promises and pitfalls lie ahead in the regular and postseason showdowns!
The Boston Red Sox are favored to win the AL East, a not-so-bold prediction, but the Sox have their expectations set high for their newly acquired left-hand flamethrower – Chris Sale. Sale, a former pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, put on quite the performance during his debut after striking out Starling Marte in the first inning. The projections go on to predict that the Tampa Bay Rays will trail the Boston-based squad and arrive in the postseason as a Wild Card team.
After experiencing the epic showdown of last season’s World Series grab, it’s safe to assume that both the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians will perform accordingly to reach postseason gameplay once more. Although the rematch would attract less hype, it would be historic to witness the Indians break their 69-year championship drought as well.
The Houston Astros are anticipated to win the AL West with 93 wins, placing hope in the hands of their newest pitcher, Charlie Morton, as well as one of baseball’s superstars, Jose Altuve. Additionally, the rivalry between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals will grow as both clubs are expected to finish with the same record (87-75). Not to mention, Nats seasoned slugger (Bryce Harper) and Mets super-pitcher (Noah Syndergaard) aren’t exactly on the best terms after their latest social media feud.
Three out of the four Wild Card teams all ranked with the lowest percentage of moving forward, with the exception of the Nationals inching out their division rival by 0.1 percent.
The Astros will shock hardcore fanatics with how far they’ve come this season but will fall to the defending American League champs – the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately, a rematch of last year’s World Series contest is not predicted to happen again as the Los Angeles Dodgers are set to knock the Cubbies out of the ballpark. The SoCal-based group is expected to continue their National League dominance by claiming their fifth consecutive division title. Deep pockets and young talent are the fuel to fire behind the success of these Hollywood hotshots.
Drum roll please … and the projected winner of the 2017 World Series Championship is none other than the Los Angeles Dodgers (16.3 percent). Although the Indians will not go down easily, the numbers simply are not in their favor with a 14.4 percent chance of breaking their drought.
Here’s to the Future
While predictions are fun to cast, there’s no telling what will happen during the 2017 MLB season. One thing is for certain though: fans will show up to cheer on their favorite team no matter what. Head over to Fanatics.com now to stock up on the latest fan gear and apparel your team has to offer!