Since the site has been overtaken by Opening Day starter announcements, here’s one more: C.J. Wilson will get the Game 1 assignment for the Rangers.
A year ago at this time Wilson was a reliever trying to convince the Rangers he should get a chance to join the rotation and now he’s the Opening Day starter for the defending American League champs, which speaks to just how impressive he was last season (and also to Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies, of course).
Wilson went 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA in 33 starts despite being exclusively a reliever since mid-2005. He struggled to consistently throw strikes at times, leading the league with 93 walks in 204 innings, but racked up 170 strikeouts and held opponents to a .217 batting average while serving up just 10 homers in 850 plate appearances.
Wilson gets the nod over Colby Lewis, with Brandon Webb, Tommy Hunter, and Derek Holland expected to fill out the rest of the rotation (assuming that Webb is healthy by Opening Day). Texas’ starter on Opening Day last season is actually still on the roster, but Scott Feldman went 7-11 with a 5.48 ERA and is struggling to come back from knee surgery.
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central
Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?
As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East
The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.
There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.
Here’s how each team breaks down:
New York Mets