The MLB regular season is ready to get rolling in 48 hours, and all the major publications are putting out their picks for this year’s division and World Series Champions – including right here on NEOSI.
Yes the Indians, who surprised everyone last season, won’t be sneaking up on anyone in 2017, but that’s not stopping ESPN from saying it’s 100 percent unanimous the Indians will win the AL Central.
The Tigers are probably the consensus No. 2 team in the AL Central, and if it takes only 85 or 86 games to win the division, sure, they could take it, but the Royals are just one season removed from winning 95 games. They’ll need bounce-back years and good health from Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain, plus much better numbers from Eric Hosmer, and somebody to step up in the rotation to replace Yordano Ventura, and the bullpen has to replace Wade Davis and … well, you never know. — David Schoenfield
Now as far as the World Series goes, ESPN likes the Indians to avenge their game seven loss over the Cubs and bring a title back to Cleveland.
Here’s what the site has to say about the Tribe winning the title.
No team has an easier path to the postseason than Cleveland, with four division rivals that might struggle to win 75 games in any other division. When they get there, they’ll have just about the best postseason roster you could build on a budget: three hard-throwing, top-of-the-rotation starters; two bona fide relief aces; and a loose, imaginative manager who has shown the perfect balance between steadiness and urgency in October. — Sam Miller
For the record, 10 of 25 of the experts at ESPN pick the Indians to be celebrating at the end of October with a World Series title.