MLB Questions Coming Into The Season

Trying to solve the biggest mysteries of the upcoming season

Are the Colorado Rockies for real?

From top to bottom, the Colorado Rockies easily boast one of the best lineups in the MLB.

Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and DJ LeMahieu welcomed the two-time All Star, Ian Desmond, this past offseason to produce the scariest infield baseball has seen since “Tinkers to Evers to Chance”. In the outfield, Charlie Blackmon is quietly blossoming into a five-tool player. After hitting .324 with 29 home runs, manager Bud Black announced he wants Blackmon to steal more bases. Carlos Gonzalez is still doing CarGo things (aka hovering around .300 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI’s). Young’un David Dahl is looking to add onto his monster rookie season (.315 in 63 games). As impressive as their roster is, the Rockies are ostensibly complete.

There are two components to a baseball match: hitting and pitching. Unfortunately for the Rockies, the latter is yet to be found in Colorado.

Currently, no Rockies pitcher won more than 14 games last season. Or had an ERA below 3.50. There is a lot of hype about young pitcher Jon Gray, but until the Rockies add strong arms to their rotation, they are going nowhere.

Will the Chicago Cubs repeat?

Last season, the Chicago Cubs led the MLB with 103 wins en route to their first World Series ring since Morgan Freeman was seven. This season, their roster shows promising signs of a repeat. The team is compiled with a Cy Young winner (Jake Arietta), future Cy Young winners (Jon Lester and/or Kyle Hendricks) future MVP’s and All Stars (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Addison Russell). Jesus, currently their main problem is figuring out where to put Kyle Schwarber! A conundrum teams yearn for.

However, no, they will not win the 2017 World Series.

It is becoming more and more difficult to repeat as champions. The already intense competition is rapidly increasing from either young stars (New York Mets) or teams splashing around free agency (Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians). Teams are hungrier now more than ever to win a championship. Make no mistake about it, the Chicago Cubs can easily win 95+ games and no one would bat an eye if the 2017 MVP and/or Cy Young winner (s) play for the Cubbies. But a second consecutive ring is too much to ask for.

Will Adrian Beltre’s age ever catch up to him?

Adrian Beltre is 37 years old and has been active in the league longer than my 18 year old brother has been alive.

Like fine wine, Beltre has aged beautifully. In each of the past seven seasons, he has been voted 15th or higher in the MVP race, while being selected to four All Stars. He is coming off, arguably, one of his best seasons. In 2016 he turned 37, and then proceeded to hit 32 home runs score 104 RBI’s.

It is understandable why one would dither selecting a 37 year old player in a fantasy draft. However, I am exhorting you to look beyond his age (Hey, age is just a number, right?) and draft this inexorable monster that will continue to headline the MLB this season.

Which Bryce Harper will we see in 2017?

Fans are (rightfully) ambivalent towards Bryce Harper. Two years ago, the 2015 National League MVP finally congealed himself into the five-tool- “next big thing”-player Sports Illustrated predicted back in 2009. Each statistical category was better than the next. 42 home runs. .330 batting average. 99 runs batted in. He was on track to be the next dominant hitter of baseball.

Then 2016 rolled around.

By Mr. Average Joe’s standards, Bryce Harper had a fine ’16 campaign. However, Bryce Harper is not “Average Joe”, he is Bryce Harper. Duh. Harper keeled his ’15 season over with a dismal .243 batting average and a mere 24 home runs. Not MVP stats.

So which Bryce Harper will show up in 2017? The 2015 MVP or the 2016 schmohawk? Unlike your local weather stations, there are no forecasters in the MLB due to the impractically of predicting what will happen. However, I did some research and if you take away Harper’s 2015 season, here are some interesting facts:

  • Bryce Harper has never hit over .274.
  • Bryce Harper has never hit over 24 home runs.
  • Over the past four seasons (again, excluding 2015), Bryce Harper has, on average, hit for 59 RBI’s.
  • 2016 was not Harper’s only down year. Harper followed up his Rookie Of The Year season by only hitting 13 home runs and scoring 32 RBI’s in 2014.

I will let you decide what to make of all of this.