Rafael Devers is young. Very young. But his age doesn’t reflect how great of a ballplayer he is. Signed out of the Dominican just three years ago at 17, it hasn’t taken long for Devers to reach the big leagues. Just three years later, he’s mashing baseballs at the major league level. In 2013, he was praised by scouts for his offensive ability. In fact, Devers was considered the best left handed bat in that international signing class of 2013.
It’s been one of the main topics in baseball this year — the horrendous start the Chicago Cubs endured in the first half of 2017. The Cubs were the first team ever to win a World Series and then have zero players on the All-Star team the following year. Well, they did have one. Wade Davis, who was not a part of the World Series squad last year. Kris Bryant was almost voted in with the last fan vote, but was snubbed by Dodgers 3B Justin Turner. The Cubs hit a dismal .239 before the break, which ranked them 3rd to last in the entire big leagues. It was a downright miserable first half.
Watching Dallas Keuchel pitch is a treat. He’s a prime example of a control pitcher who relies on location and his off-speed pitches. This year he’s experiencing one of the best starts of his six-year big league career, leading the majors in both ERA and wins. According to statcast, Keuchel’s average fastball velocity this season is 88.6 mph. In an era where almost every pitcher in the big leagues throws 95 plus, how does the Astros ace endure so much success despite a lack of fastball velocity? Let’s examine.
This offseason, the Atlanta Braves acquired 43-year-old veteran Bartolo Colon from the New York Mets. Although he’s definitely on his last legs in the big leagues, Colon still has an innate ability to get outs and give his team a chance to win. Let’s take a look at what he could bring to the table on the mound for the Braves.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are clicking on all cylinders. From their starting pitching, to their bullpen, to their bats, they are getting the job done. When Andrew Toles went down just 31 games in with a season ending knee injury, their starting center field at the time, I’m sure there was some concern on who would replace Toles. Rookie Cody Bellinger was called up, unexpectedly. Well, the rest is history. Bellinger has put together a rookie campaign for the ages thus far, sitting second in the big leagues with 24 homers in just 58 games. Just like the Aaron Judge saga, no one could have predicted this type of performance from Bellinger. I’m sure no one could have guessed that two rookies would be leading the majors in home runs. Regardless, it’s been a treat to watch.
It’s no secret that the Houston Astros are on fire. They have won 10 straight games, including a sweep of in state rival the Texas Rangers over the weekend. They currently have 41 wins through just 57 games into the 2017 campaign. That puts them on pace for 116.5 wins as of right now, if they kept winning at such a rapid pace. Of course that probably won’t happen, since every team eventually loses. But it should be noted that Houston is just the fourth team since 2000 to win 40 of their first 57 games. The 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners hold the record for most wins in a single season at 116. Who knows, The Astros could match that. A lot of people are saying this is the team to win the World Series, but it’s way too early to make those type of predictions. But I can tell you that this team is extremely talented in all aspects of the game.
The New York Yankees have always built their team with seasoned veterans and star players. In the last few years, that methodology has changed for the Bronx Bombers. Brian Cashman has made some very interesting, and smart trades in the last year. The Yankees aren’t a World Series contender anymore. But they are building a team that could be sooner rather than later. Cashman made some intriguing trades last year — most notably the Aroldis Chapman trade, in which he acquired top prospect Gleyber Torres from the Cubs. Another eye opening move was the Andrew Miller trade to the Indians, where the Yanks acquired power hitting prospect Clint Frazier and lefty Justus Sheffield. Let’s take a look at these three prospects, who could be taking the field at Yankee stadium within the next few years.
The Braves currently have one of the best farm systems in all of the bigs, with many starting pitchers on their top 10 prospect list. But that’s not it. Led by top prospect and number one overall pick in the 2015 draft Dansby Swanson, the future is looking bright for Atlanta. Based on how they finished the 2016 season — winning 20 of their last 30 games, there is nothing but optimism in the Braves front office.
If you’re a fan of Major league baseball, you have heard the name Cody Bellinger. The 21 year old has made a splash in the big leagues so far, becoming a household name for Dodgers fans and helping LA sit among the best in the MLB with a 32 and 20 record.
The Toronto Blue Jays made some interesting moves this off-season. Most notably not re-signing All-Star slugger Edwin Encarnacion, and instead, bringing in Steve Pearce and Kendrys Morales to replace him. Regardless, they could have a player in their minor league system who could supplement the power source Encarnacion provided.
In December of 2016, news broke that OF Bryce Harper was reportedly seeking at least a 10 year, $400 million contract as a free agent in 2018. This kind of deal is almost completely without precedent — no player has ever signed a contract worth more than $325 million, and no player has ever signed for an AAV of $36 million.
The 2017 MLB Draft is just weeks away; a time where dreams will come true for many college and high school players. According to MLB pipeline, there could be three high school players picked within the top five. Headlining the high school ranks is Hunter Greene, a player who scouts have been drooling over thanks to a triple digit fastball.