MLB Spring Training is Finally Here
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Major League Baseball is back as full squads are reporting to Spring Training. While some teams have already reported as of Friday, September 17th, others will not arrive until Sunday, the 19th. With a new season comes a variety of teams welcoming some new players. This offseason included many trades and free agent signings that will have a large impact on the outcome of the 2017 season.
Perhaps the biggest acquisitions was left-handed pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox. Sale will be joining an already talented rotation including David Price and Cy Young Award winner, Rick Porcello. In seven years as a member of the Chicago White Sox, Sale had a low 3.00 ERA, with 74 wins and 1,244 strikeouts. In the past five years, he won at least 11 games per season, including two 17 win seasons in 2012 and 2016. It is not doubt that Chris Sale is an elite pitcher in the league, and it will be interesting to see how the Red Sox’ rotation shapes out with all of their talent.
Another large signing was first baseman Edwin Encarnacion to the Cleveland Indians. Encarnacion was a powerful force in the middle of the Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup in the past few years, and will certainly help the Indians make another run in the coming seasons. Encarnacion has hit over 30 home runs in the past 5 seasons, including 42 home runs in 2012 and 2016. The Indians will certainly benefit from one of the best power hitters in the league.
One more player that will help their new team in a big way is Dexter Fowler, who joined the St. Louis Cardinals, division rival of his former team, the Chicago Cubs. Fowler certainly played a big role in the 2017 Cubs’ World Series championship run, so there is no doubt he will contribute greatly to the Cardinals. Fowler is a very diverse player that covers lots of ground with his speed in center field and will hit for both average and power. In 2016, Fowler his .276 with 48 RBIs and 13 home runs out of the leadoff spot. Dexter Fowler switching teams within the NL Central will definitely impact the situation within the division.
These three players, along with many others that will be meeting their new teammates at their Spring Trainings within the next couple days, will change the playoff picture for the coming 2017 season and impact the success of their respective teams. Which players have the biggest influence is something we will have to wait to find out, but it should certainly be an entertaining year in the MLB.