First off, welcome to 2017 and a new season ahead. What a roller coaster 2016 actually was when we look back at it. We had everything from team changes, new teams, upsets, records broken, and a ton of other things.
The Yankees returned to the top of the league for the first time since 2011. The Yankees had a lot of things go right from, Mike Ilyadis resurgence on the mound with an 18-6 record, the acquisition of Zach Kean who had a 30-100+ season with a .590 batting average, Sophomore Michael Murray II with 8 wins on the hill and 16 homers, and Alen Kalic with his consistent batting numbers and also picking up 7 wins on the hill. It makes sense that these guys got to the top last year finishing 44-13 in the regular season and a sweep in the World Series in 5 games.
But it wasn’t all about the Yankees last year. The Pirates had a lot of highlights. 11 year vet, Anthony Gadani, hit his 200th home run in 2016 and a grand total of 20. His most since 2008 as a member of the Dodgers. Anthony Lavalley won his fifth CY Young award in eight seasons with an 8-2 record and sub two ERA. Lavalley also passed a few top home run leaders on the all-time list. Kyle Girgenti came a long way from his first two seasons to be third in the league in hits and also hit 14 out of the park in 2016. The Pirates remained the two seed in the league from June to the end. But despite their seed and achievements for the year, they would fall in an upset in the LCS to the underdog Mariners.
The Mariners were the one team all year that was a huge question mark. So much excitement coming into the season with NWLA and HFWB ace, Jimmy Cole. Jimmy did well in the beginning of 2016 and was coming in hot after a 2-0, 2015 World Series performance. But the injury bug struck the Mariners early and Jimmy had season ending surgery on his elbow. This left Cory Schoonmaker and Pat Lasch’s 2016 campaign, a constant up hill battle. Cory wasn’t really around as much despite this was his first full season played since 2013. Pat Lasch was really the leader with the squad who had his best all-around offensive year hitting .425 with 13 homers. Pitching in his third full season of pitching displayed that he has come a long way pitching and is only getting better and was the secret to the M’s success when he was on his game. They had to also deal with some player attendance problems. They had a lot of promise with CJ Sohl and David Vannatten despite Sohl’s LCS performance on the hill against Anthony Gadani. The two were good but lacked consistency. But the team prevailed and took advantage of the Pirates circumstances in the playoffs and advanced to their first World Series in franchise history. This was also done in their inaugural season as well.