2016 Record: 89-73 • 3rd AL East
O/U on Wins: 84.5 • Under
Moving In: C Wellington Castillo • P Vidal Nuno • OF Seth Smith
Moving Out: C Matt Wieters • DH Pedro Alvarez • UT Steve Pearce • P Vance Worley • P Yovanni Gallardo • P Tommy Hunter
Key Player(s) in 2017: P Kevin Gausman and P Dylan Bundy. The pitching starved O’s will need both former first round picks to be both healthy and consistent in order to compete for a playoff spot. If both can give solid contributions than the O’s could definitely challenge for top spot in the East. Gausman set career highs in 2016 by making 30 starts, throwing 179.2 innings and punching out 174 batters, all despite beginning the season on the DL with tendinitis in his shoulder. Entering his fifth season, the O’s will look for Gausman to pick up where he left off in the second half of 2016 (8-6/3.10 ERA) and continue to strive toward unlocking his true potential.
Potential Breakout: P Dylan Bundy. The former 3rd overall pick has battled injuries throughout his short career but if he can stay healthy, Bundy could finally reach the potential that the O’s and baseball fans have been waiting for. Early indications show that Bundy will not have an innings limit imposed on him this season which could either mean a new career high in starts and innings pitched or a possible breakdown.
Top Prospect: C Chance Sisco • Age: 22 • MLB ETA: 2017
First Round Draft Miss: 3B Billy Rowell over Pitchers Tim Lincecum and Max Scherzer.
Fantasy Stud: 3B Manny Machado. 2016 Stats: .294/.876/37/96/6.7 WAR in 640 AB
Money’s Man Crush: Machado’s skill set. A perennial MVP candidate with Gold Glove defense.
2017 Prediction: 3rd AL East
Boston Red Sox
2016 Record: 93-69 • 1st AL East
O/U on Wins: 90.5 • Over
Moving In: P Chris Sale • P Tyler Thornburg • 1B Mitch Moreland • OF Junior Lake • 2B Josh Rutledge
Moving Out: DH David Ortiz • 2B Yoan Moncada • 1B/3B Travis Shaw • P Clay Buchholz • P Junichi Tazawa • P Koji Uehara • C Ryan Hanigan • IF Aaron Hill • P Michael Kopech
Key Player(s) in 2017: 3B Pablo Sandoval and P Tyler Thornburg. A slimmer and healthier Panda will look to make good on his 5yrs/$95 mil contract after a dismal 2015 and injury derailed 2016. If Sandoval regains his approach at the plate, he could give the Red Sox another weapon in an already loaded lineup. As for Thornburg, the Red Sox traded for him to (hopefully) be their 8th inning set up man. Last year, the Red Sox used Junichi Tazawa, Brad Ziegler, Robbie Ross, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly in that role, all to mixed or negative reviews.
Potential Breakout: OF Andrew Benitendi. The newest member of the Killer B outfield has rocketed up the depth chart since being drafted 7th overall in 2015. Benitendi got his feet wet in 2016 and showed some glimpses of what he’s capable of. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him become a 20/20 player at the MLB level. Benitendi is currently considered one of, if not the favourite to win Rookie of the Year in the American League.
Top Prospect: 3B Rafael Devers • Age: 20 • MLB ETA: 2018
First Round Draft Miss: Kolbrin Vitek (20) over Christian Yelich (23) in 2010
Fantasy Stud: Mookie Betts • 2016 Stats: .318/.897/31/113/9.6 WAR in 672AB
Money’s Man Crush: The Killer B’s (Betts, Benitendi, Bradley Jr) in the OF. Although as a Blue Jays fan, just saying that kills me.
2017 Prediction: 1st AL East
New York Yankees
2016 Record: 84-78 • 4th AL East
O/U on Wins: 83.5 • Under
Moving In: P Aroldis Chapman • 1B/0F Matt Holliday • 1B Chris Carter • UT Reuben Tejada • P Jon Niese
Moving Out: C Brian McCann • 1B Mark Teixera • P Nathan Eovaldi • DH Billy Butler • 0F Dustin Ackley
Key Player(s) in 2017: P Luis Severino. The Yankees will need Severino to pitch like his 2015 self, where he showed glimpses of dominance over the 2016 version that didn’t earn a W as a starter, if they have any hope of making the playoffs for the first time in 5 seasons. Severino will also need to impress in the rotation in order to stay a starter long term. Despite being committed to him for a whole season as a starter, the Yanks may eventually move him to the pen if he continues to struggle with consistency.
Potential Breakout: OF Aaron Judge. the 6’7 Judge is equipped with both a cannon for an arm, and light tower power, but he’ll need to change his approach at the plate and cut down on the strikeouts in order to make an impact in 2017. If he can do that, there is a good chance he could challenge for the Rookie of the Year.
Top Prospect: OF Clint Frazier • Age: 22 • MLB ETA: 2018
First Round Draft Miss: SS Cito Culver (32) over Pitchers Aaron Sanchez (34) and Noah Syndergaard (38) in 2010.
Fantasy Stud: C Gary Sanchez. 2016 Stats: .299/1.032/20/42/3.0 WAR in 201 AB
Money’s Man Crush: The bright future of the Baby Bombers (Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier and Gleybar Torres). See above comment in regards to the anguish it causes me to write that.
2017 Prediction: 4th AL East
Tampa Bay Rays
2016 Record: 68-94 • 5th AL East
O/U on Wins: 75.5 • Over
Moving In: C Wilson Ramos • 0F Colby Rasmus • P Cory Rasmus • P Nathan Eovaldi • OF Mallex Smith • P Jose De Leon
Moving Out: 2B Logan Forsythe • SS Alexi Ramirez • P Kevin Jepsen • 1B/0F Richie Shaffer
Key Player(s) in 2017: P Chris Archer. Archer posted his worst season in his career in 2015 when he went 9-19, with the only bright spot being that he punched-out 233 batters. It’s really a no brainer here to say that any Rays success will hinge on Archer’s performance. He the de facto ace, as well as being a veteran and leader in the locker room. The Rays obviously still believe in him as they were reluctant to part with him via trade in the offseason despite having more than one offer on the table.
Potential Breakout: P Blake Snell. The 2015 Rays minor leaguer of the year had some decent success in his debut. Snell made 19 starts and went 6-8 with a 3.54 ERA and 1.61 WHIP while adding 98 strikeouts in 89 innings in 2016.Snell will need to cut down on both the walks and hits if he is to continue get success in the MLB. It should be interesting to see how he adapts now that teams have had more exposure and tape on him.
Top Prospect: SS Willy Adames • Age: 21 • MLB ETA: 2018
First Round Draft Miss: SS Tim Beckham (1) over 1B Pedro Alvarez (2), 1B Eric Hosmer (3) and C Buster Posey (5) in 2008.
Fantasy Stud: 3B Evan Longoria. 2016 Stats: .273/.840/36/98/3.8 WAR in 633 AB
Money’s Man Crush: Kevin Kiermaier. Not sure what to love more, his glove in CF, his wheels on the base path or those eyes.
2017 Prediction: 5th AL East
Toronto Blue Jays:
2016 Record: 89-73 • 2nd AL East
O/U on Wins: 86.5 • Over
Moving In: DH Kendrys Morales • UT Steve Pearce • P JP Howell • P Joe Smith • C Jared Saltalamacchia • P Mat Latos • P Brett Oberholtzer • P TJ House • P Lucas Farrell • C Juan Graterol
Moving Out: 1B Edwin Encarnacion • OF Michael Saunders • P Brett Cecil • P Joaquin Benoit • P RA Dickey • P Scott Feldman • C Dioner Navarro
Key Player(s) in 2017: 2B Devon Travis. Snake bitten or injury prone, these are the two terms that have been floating around Devon Travis since he saw his (impressive) 2015 debut ended after a month with a shoulder injury. Despite returning to play in 101 games in 2016, Travis was still nagged by his shoulder injury as well as having his post season cut short with an injury to his knee. When healthy, Travis has proven to be one of the better, young 2B in the game. He plays average to above average defense at 2B and has excelled at the plate. The Blue Jays will need Travis to play in as many games as possible in order to keep all glove, no bat, Ryan Goins out of the lineup.
Potential Breakout: P Marcus Stroman. The Stro show entered 2016 with ace intentions following a remarkable September and post season run in 2015 after returning from ACL surgery. Unfortunately for Stroman, his 2016 was marred by an inconsistent first half that saw him routinely get pounded once the opposing lineup saw him for a 3rd time. Even though he did look to turn a corner post all star break, Stroman will need to cut down on the amount of solid contact that he surrenders. This might be difficult considering that he is a groundball inducing machine. Stroman definitely has the drive and stuff to have a big breakout but he’ll need to keep control of his emotions and remain composed when he does struggle in order to limit the damage.
Top Prospect: 3B Vladmir Guerrero Jr. • Age: 17 • MLB ETA: 2019
First Round Draft Miss: Deck McGuire (10) over C Yasmani Grandal (11) and P Chris Sale (12) in 2010
Fantasy Stud: Josh Donaldson. • 2016 Stats: .284/.953/37/99/7.4 WAR in 577 AB.
Money’s Man Crush: Defense on the left side of the infield featuring perennial Gold Glove threats 3B Josh Donaldson and SS Troy Tulowitzki
2017 Prediction: 2nd AL East