There’s less than 50 days until pitchers and catchers report for the 2017 MLB season, and less than 75 days until the first spring training game. Opening Day is less than 100 days away, but who’s counting? With the majority of big name free agents off the board, it’s time to look ahead to each team’s potential heading into 2017. In order to do that, we will examine each team by using a few factors that will help place them in the 2017 MLB Rankings.
Leading up to the start of the season, The Game Haus will take an in-depth look at all 30 MLB teams. As with most rankings, the initial placement is largely subjective and will be updated as the season progresses. For now, teams will be evaluated on the following:
- 2016 Finish
- Team Outlook: Offensive / Defensive / Pitching
- Off-Season Moves / In-Season Trade Opportunities
- Potential Impact / Wild Card Player(s) in 2017
- Strength of Division
Each week, we’ll count down a series of teams until we reach the preseason pick for 2017’s World Champs. This week, we’re starting with “The Rebuilding Bunch”.
All logo images courtesy of MLB.com.
30. San Diego Padres
2016 Record: 68-94
Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t very positive for the Padres heading into 2017. A recent series of “Win Now” moves had the Padres acquiring players like Matt Kemp and Craig Kimbrel, only to trade them away a short time later. The good news is that the Padres acquired young talent including Manny Margot and Javier Guerra from the loaded Red Sox prospect pool. It’s never a message a sports fan wants to hear at the start of a season, but it looks like the Padres are committed to a successful long-term rebuilding strategy.
29. Minnesota Twins
2016 Record: 59-103
2016 probably isn’t a year the Twins want to dwell on, but it sure was fun watching a second baseman smack 42 home runs. Brian Dozier was about the only bright spot of the 2016 season. Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton both under-performed against expectations. However, both were top prospects and should improve with additional at-bats. Barring some unforeseen breakout by the rookies, it would be fair to assume that 2017 should be similar to last year’s campaign. Ideally, some of the recent changes to the front office will accelerate the rebuilding process and get the Twins heading back in the right direction.
28. Cincinnati Reds
2016 Record: 68-94
“Everything must go” might as well be the tagline for the Reds front office. Franchise staples like Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton have continued to hold down the fort for Cincinnati, but even their days with the Reds appear to be numbered. All that effort has definitely netted several nice players. This includes Anthony DeSclafani who had a respectable 2016 and should continue to improve going forward. The Reds will likely continue their fire sale heading into next season, and given the prospect hauls traded at last year’s deadline, they should be very active in 2017.
27. Oakland Athletics
2016 Record: 69-93
Besides Sonny Gray, there isn’t much to get excited about for the Athletics. The A’s are still waiting on a few of their top prospects to surface, but there are only two currently playing in Triple A, so the wait could be significant. Most of the A’s trades have helped them acquire strong talent, but unlike the Reds, there isn’t much left to trade. The team did get a small breakout power display from Khris Davis who hit a very impressive 42 home runs last year. However, with the market saturated with power bats, the A’s may not find a market for him.
26. Chicago White Sox
2016 Record: 78-84
”Rebuild Mode” engaged. No more Chris Sale, no more Adam Eaton, and no more throwback jerseys cut to ribbons. While it’s fair to assume that 2017 will be a down year for the Sox, many around the league felt they cleaned-up at the winter meetings. They acquired a boatload of prospects from two strong systems. And with trade rumors swirling around Jose Quintana, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn may not be done yet. White Sox fans may be a bit disappointed this year, but can rest easy knowing how bright the future looks.