Can the Cubs Do it Again?
Now that they’ve broken baseball’s longest standing curse, there are plenty of people wondering if it’s going to be another hundred years before the Cubs capture a World Series title. This seems highly unlikely. The team is relatively young and last year’s roster remains intact (for the most part). Power-hitting prospect Kyle Schwarber is expected to fill the hole left by the departure of center fielder Dexter Fowler. Aside from that, there are few question marks this year. Have no fear Wrigley Field faithful! The Cubs should definitely contend again in 2017.
Baseball’s New Loveable Losers
The Cleveland Indians have taken over as major league baseball’s longest suffering franchise. They’re on a roll with four consecutive World Series losses dating back to 1954. The last time the Indians emerged victorious in a Fall Classic, Harry Truman was President and the cost of a new car was just over $1,200. But there’s reason to be optimistic. Like the Cubs, the defending American League champions are a young team with an intact roster. In fact, they look even better this year with Andrew Miller anchoring the bullpen and Edwin Encarnacion signed as a DH. Carlos Santana will take over for Mike Napoli (lost to free agency) at first base and the transition should be seamless. Not only is Santana a decent fielder, but he reached career-high marks in nearly every offensive category last year. The Tribe will almost certainly have another good run in 2017.
Pujols Securing His Legacy
With sixteen years of major league service behind him, Albert Pujols has distinguished himself as one of the greatest hitters of a generation. This year, he is poised to join the 600 home run club—a milestone reached by only eight other players before him (three of which have been linked to steroids). Another 100 RBI campaign will tie Pujols with Alex Rodriguez for the most seasons reaching the century mark (14).
Beltre’s Quiet Ascension to Greatness
One of the best players no one ever talks about, Beltre needs 58 more base hits to join the 3,000 hit club. Barring a major injury or statistical collapse, he should also reach 600 career doubles and 1,500 runs scored. Those numbers compare favorably to every third basemen currently in the Hall of Fame. Additionally, Beltre will be going for his sixth Gold Glove—a feat matched by only six other players at his position.
The Ageless Wonder
In November, right-hander Bartolo Colon signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves worth over $12 million. It will be interesting to see if he has anything left in the tank. At forty-three, the Dominican control specialist is the oldest player in the major leagues. 10 more wins in 2017 will tie him with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal. 15 victories will move him into the top fifty of all time behind Cooperstown incumbents Vic Willis and Bob Gibson. Colon is a savvy player and has developed a sense of humor about himself that is contagious. It’s fun to root for the old guys!