Athlon Sports' 2017 baseball magazine delivers full MLB team previews, fantasy baseball insight, schedules, and predictions for every team. Click here to order your copy today or visit your local newsstand!
The World Baseball Classic is over and spring training is entering the home stretch, which means the 2017 MLB season is just around the corner. Final cuts will soon be made as teams determine their 25-man rosters before breaking camp in Florida and Arizona.
Once again, Athlon Sports’ 2017 Baseball Preview magazine has all 32 teams covered, including some candid analysis from scouts on the teams and specific players. These scouting reports are just part of the content that can be found in this year’s magazine, which is available on newsstands everywhere and online.
“I thought they’d be contenders, but boy, they just didn’t do anything. Big disappointment. The good news is their rotation should be a positive for them. Zack Greinke will be better, Taijuan Walker will help them, and Robbie Ray’s got a great arm. Shelby Miller had one of those years where everything that could go wrong did. He’s got the stuff to bounce back and be a solid starter once again. It’s hard to overstate how big the loss of A.J. Pollock was last year, so getting him back will be huge all the way around. They’ll miss Jean Segura at short, but Nick Ahmed can really catch the ball. The catching position provides little to no offense for them, and I really wonder how many times Paul Goldschmidt will walk. He just does not have a great deal of support. They’re definitely a long shot to make the playoffs.”
“They’re better than they’ve been in a long time. The pitching looks good enough, although it’s on the thin side, so they can’t afford an injury. But Jon Gray’s a horse, Tyler Anderson’s funky enough to be OK, Jeff Hoffman has a high ceiling, and Chad Bettis and Tyler Chatwood are serviceable. They’ve got a lot of good arms in the bullpen, too, and the deals for Mike Dunn and Ian Desmond show that they’re serious about winning now. Desmond’s a top-quality makeup guy, a winner, and he’ll fit wherever he plays. His numbers jumped up in Texas last year, and they’ll go way up at Coors Field. These guys are good enough to hit anywhere, though. Trevor Story knows how to put the ball in the air, and his power stands out at shortstop, even though he looks more like a third baseman. That’s Nolan Arenado’s spot, and he’s just amazing.”
“You’ve got to consider the Dodgers the favorites again, but the division should be better behind them, and you really have no idea what they’ll get after Clayton Kershaw in that rotation. There’s the usual logjam in the outfield corners, but that lineup has three exceptional talents. Adrian Gonzalez has one of the best swings I’ve ever seen, so good that he can compensate for some decline in bat speed by staying inside the ball so well and driving it the other way with power. Corey Seager is a batting champion in waiting; he has very advanced knowledge of the strike zone and tremendous bat speed. Joc Pederson’s got as much power as anybody in baseball, and he knows it. He’s a big swing and miss guy, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. He’s arrogant about his ability to hit, but that actually serves him well. He’s one of the most confident players in the game.”
“They could lose 120 games. Holy cow, that rotation is eye-poppingly bad. It’s a tryout camp over there. I guess if you want to be optimistic, you can look at the ceiling of some of their young prospects, like Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot and maybe Austin Hedges or Alex Dickerson. Wil Myers is their best player and maybe their only untouchable. If you can live with all the strikeouts, bad at-bats, and poor defense, Ryan Schimpf can change a few games with his power. Some people see Travis Jankowski as an everyday center fielder, but I can’t go there. He’s a good defender who can steal bases, but he’s a pure singles hitter — there’s no sting there at all. Renfroe’s the most exciting young player they have. He’ll look to launch, then make adjustments with two strikes. He can really throw and can run decent for a physical guy.”
“Age is always going to be a factor for the Giants, because they love to go with veterans, and with that you have health issues. They’re clearly short a run producer. If you’re not gonna hit home runs, you need to have speed. They do have some guys who can run, but they don’t manufacture a lot of runs and still tend to wait for homers. That said, their rotation ranks among the best you’ll find, with Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore. Jeff Samardzija has his moments, too, but he’s a teaser. He has the stuff to dominate and the athleticism to repeat his delivery, but at times he really struggles to do it. Mark Melancon makes them a lot better by settling the end of the game and allowing a pretty good group of setup guys to slot in behind him. That was their biggest problem last year, and they solved it with the right guy."