The three American League teams that have been the most active in the offseason through trades and free agent signings will be the three favorites to win the three AL divisions in 2017.
The Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros have made big moves to address weaknesses on their roster.
When strong teams make solid additions, they have the makings to become great teams.
Obviously, the assumptions can be dangerous and it is possible each of the three teams will have disappointing results during the 2017 season, but the three appear to be the favorites.
Boston last season won 93 games even though they had one of baseball’s toughest schedules. During the offseason, their biggest move was the acquisition of Chris Sale the former ace with the Chicago White Sox. Now the Red Sox have Sale, David Price and current AL Cy Young holder Rick Porcello as their top three starting pitchers.
David Ortiz has left, but the fan favorite bat could be replaced by Andrew Benintendi at the plate and in left field. Pablo Sandoval returns from injury as well.
The Cleveland Indians won the AL Pennant this past season after winning 94 regular season games. The pitching rotation is strong with Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin and of course Trevor Bauer.
That pitching staff anchored by those five starters can keep opposing teams off the scoreboard, so new Indians acquisition Edwin Encarnacion can put runs up on the board for the offense. Michael Brantley will return healthy as well from injury, which will make for a huge one-two offensive punch for the Indians, with Encarnacion.
The Houston Astros disappointed many in 2016 after reaching the postseason in 2015. The Astros of course will have to overtake the Texas Rangers in the AL West, but with acquisitions made during the offseason, Houston could be the force out West.
Brian McCann was acquired to help shore up the catcher role and Carlos Beltran addresses the need for a strong DH. Nori Aoki and Josh Reddick have added much needed improvement in the outfield.
The pitching staff has the talent to be one of the league’s best. Adding Charlie Morton will help and Lance McCullers should be healthier this season. However, the staff has as its ace Dallas Keuchel the AL Cy Young winner in 2015.
Look for the Red Sox, Astros and Indians to contend and have a good chance of winning their respective divisions in 2017.