Posted on January 1, 2017 by Bryan Zarpentine

Houston Astros

ftw.usatoday.com

It’s New Year’s Day, and that means spring training is just around the corner (okay, maybe two corners). As we all know, spring brings hope and optimism for all 30 major league teams, but there will certainly be some teams more excited to get things started in 2017 than others. For one reason or another, here are the five teams around Major League Baseball that are most looking forward to the 2017 season.

Astros

The Astros have made made some bold moves this offseason, particularly on offense, where they’ve added catcher Brian McCann, DH Carlos Beltran, and outfielder Josh Reddick. Those three additions will join a lineup that already includes Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer, as well as a pair of rising stars in Yulieski Gurriel and Alex Bregman. The result is a bonafide murderers row lineup that figures to be among the most dangerous in baseball. With that kind of talent and depth in the lineup every day, you’d expect the Astros to be looking forward to the season a little more than most teams.

Indians

The Indians were just one game away from a world championship in 2016, and they’ll be eager to take another shot at winning the World Series in 2017. Not so long ago, the Royals came up short in the World Series only to return to the Fall Classic the following year and win it all, so Cleveland knows that getting back to the World Series is a realistic goal. Driving Cleveland’s optimism is the fact that their pitching staff wasn’t completely healthy during the postseason. If the Indians can keep their starting pitchers healthy all year, they’ll be heavy favorites in the AL Central, and perhaps in the American League playoffs as well.

Mets

Like the Indians, the Mets are a team that loves its chances of getting the World Series if their starting rotation is healthy. Matt Harvey missed most of last season, Zack Wheeler never returned from injury as expected, and both Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz pitched through injuries before being shut down late in the season. If those guys return to full health alongside Noah Syndergaard, the Mets have the kind of rotation that can carry them to the World Series, just as they did in 2015. It also doesn’t hurt that Yoenis Cespedes re-signed on a long-term deal, creating even more excitement for the Mets heading into 2017.

Red Sox

Boston has pulled off the most important transaction of the offseason (at least so far) by trading for Chris Sale, and that will certainly have them excited for a new season. The Red Sox already had a rotation with multiple Cy Young winners, not to mention a core of young, talented position players that would make nearly every team in baseball jealous. Add Sale to the equation and the Red Sox become (at least on paper) one of the top teams in baseball, and a team that’s looking forward to getting the season underway.

Rockies

Rather quietly, the Rockies have accumulated an intriguing collection of young starting pitchers to complement an already potent offense that has now added Ian Desmond to the mix. Colorado showed some tangible improvement last season, and the Rockies also hired an experienced and proven manager in Bud Black to take the reigns. Obviously, it won’t be easy to rise above the Dodgers and Giants in the NL West, but you have to think that the Rockies are eager to take their shot in 2017.

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