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The drought is over – after 108 years the Chicago Cubs are World Series champions. What many thought would never happen in their lifetime did and it’s entirely possible that this team will win it all again sooner rather than later.
While the Cubs will attempt to become the first MLB team to win back-to-back World Series since the New York Yankees in 1998-2000, there will be no lack of those in pursuit. In the American League, Cleveland will look to shed the mantle of longest championship drought (68 years) by getting back to the Fall Classic and erasing the memory of last year’s painful Game 7 loss.
But the Indians will have to contend with Boston, which made the big move in acquiring former Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, as well as Texas and Houston, among others.
In the NL, the Los Angeles Dodgers remain a threat with a healthy Clayton Kershaw fronting a deep rotation and last year’s NL Rookie of the Year, Corey Seager, now headlining the offense. Washington will once again try and get over the NLDS hump but figure to face plenty of resistance in the NL East from the Mets, who could boast baseball’s nastiest rotation.
The Giants came up short in an even-numbered year for the first time since 2010, but revamped their bullpen and won’t concede the NL West to the Dodgers without a fight. And while the Cubs appear to be the class of the NL Central yet again, don’t expect St. Louis or Pittsburgh to merely roll over and let the defending champs coast back into the playoffs.
As baseball has shown us in recent years, anything and everything can happen over the course of a 162-game season. For Athlon Sports’ complete, in-depth look at the season be sure to get your copy of the 2017 Baseball Preview magazine, available on newsstands everywhere and for purchase online.
Here’s a look at how Athlon sees this season playing out, from the standing in each division, to major award winners and our World Series prediction.