As Opening Day nears, here are the ‘x-factors’ for all 30 MLB teams in 2017.
Spring has nearly officially sprung on the calendar, and MLB Opening Day for 2017 is on the horizon. Optimism surely reigns for most of the teams in both leagues right now, with or without that positivity actually being realistic.
For each team the performance of certain players will dictate wins and losses one way or another, and for better or worse. A myriad of things determine who those key players will be, and previously unknown names do emerge.
As the weather warms and Opening Day nears, here is an x-factor for all 30 major league teams in 2017.
Arizona Diamondbacks: SP Shelby Miller
The Diamondbacks went all-in heading into 2016, including the trade to acquire Miller from the Atlanta Braves for a package that included 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson. Apart from giving up too much to get him, Miller also posted a 6.15 ERA over 20 starts for Arizona amid a finger injury and a stint in Triple-A last season.
It really can’t get worse for Miller than it was in 2016, and the pitcher that posted a 3.27 ERA from 2013-2015 presumably still exists. Somewhere toward the good end between 2016 and the previous three seasons would probably satisfy the Diamondbacks this year, and if Miller can become a legit No. 2 starter behind Zack Greinke the team could enjoy a bounce back season.