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We’re just a few hours away from the beginning of the 2017 MLB season. Coming off of one of the best seasons of baseball I’ve ever witnessed the hype is real.

My predictions for this coming season are going to be on point. Or at least something.

As a Chicago Cubs fan, last year was certainly one of my favorites. Along with that and visiting a few different stadiums and photographing baseball for the first time it was close to glorious. But will 2017 be just as glorious?

Well, we will see as I will set down my predictions for this season and the hopes of obtaining some more World Series winning merchandise!

I’ll start with the National League first and jump right into the East division. Teams included in this division include New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins.

And who will win this division?

I think there’s a little magic in Washington as the Nationals will and definitely need to be the number one team in this division. After years of being hyped as the best team in baseball and constantly disappoint. With Dusty Baker continuing to lead this team in his second year, the first in which he lead this team to conquer the division he’ll have to continue this and expand deeper into the playoffs. With the additions of some big names such as Joe Blanton, Matt Wieters, Adam Lind, Joe Nathan and Adam Eaton we will have to see if this is the year or just another one wasted.

As for the other teams in the division the Mets will definitely be the biggest thorn in the side of the Nationals, but I much like last year I believe fatigue and injury to their starting pitchers will hinder their growth. With no big splashes with players in the off-season, I think the Mets will have to have a little magic of their own to over come the Nats.

The Braves will be the best of the rest of the division with the Marlins suffering big time after their devastating lost of Jose Fernandez last summer. The Braves added an incredible list of players with R.A. Dicky, Bartolo Colon, John Danks, Jaime Garcia, Brandon Phillips, Kurt Suzuki and even Kris Medlen to name a few. Along with their new stadium the sky is the limit.

Oh and the Phillies? Well, without spending money like the Braves and Nationals went and did I doubt they will rise much in the standings. It’s looking like another rebuilding year, outside of a few free agent pick ups, they seem to continue to look to their farm system to bring them some wins.

As for some of the top stories to look for in this division, as I previously mentioned about the New York Mets pitching staff I suspect them to be well, suspect. I doubt with a starting line up of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Robert Gsellman that this staff will be great. They definitely will be good, but not great. Injuries have hurt them before and this year with the loss of the steadiness of Bartolo Colon I doubt they will be stronger. I’m not trying to take anything away from the talent of the arms, they are and will be one of the better rotations in the entire league, just fatigue will catch up.

The questions about the Washington Nationals are ever-growing as well. With the down year that Bryce Harper felt last year, I wonder if he’ll rebound or just fade off. Obviously he won’t just fade off and disappear from being one of the top players in baseball, but will he be the same player he was in the previous years or continue with what he was last year? It’s a contract year for him and it’ll be a stunning fantastic year for him, I suspect something about Dusty Baker had messed him up last year, or maybe the other teams just knew how to pitch him.

As for his teammate Daniel Murphy, will he be able to continue the unbelievable season he had last year? And my simple answer is yes. Simply because he continues to play in the same division as the Mets. His average might not be as strong, but he’ll still be the solid player.

I blasted the Mets rotation, I know the Nationals will be a good rotation and the Braves will just have to work out their kinks with a bunch of veterans in a new place. But what about the Phillies? With the addition of Clay Buchholz it will strengthen the overall starting line up but who are the rest of the pitchers? Jeremy Hellickson had a decent season last year with an ERA a little over 3 and will be the ace of this club. But for the average fan who the heck are Jerad Eickoff, Vince Velasquez and Aaron Nola? Eickoff who’s started 41 games in the majors had 33 of them last year, so this will be the year to find out if he’ll improve on his 3.65 ERA or well. As for Velasquez and Nola will they improve in their first big seasons last year? This is a young starting rotation and if they’ll make the Phillies a team this year they will need to pitch lights out.

The Braves have spent some money, they’ve brought in a lot of veterans and with their new stadium they have all the hype. But is the hype going to translate in a winning season?

And what about the Marlins? Will they have a season like last year or will they fall down into oblivion?

The Nats will win the division with the Mets and Braves coming 2 and 3 followed by the Phillies and then the Marlins.

Check in later for my review of the other divisions!

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