Ah, spring, when every team has a chance and anything is possible over the course of 162 looming games.
We know, of course, that only a few teams will make the playoffs and even fewer will actually surprise this season. But we have identified five teams that should improve their records in 2017 and might even contend for a postseason spot in the process:
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Colorado Rockies (75 wins in 2016)
The Rox have always had the hitting to compete in the NL West, but they might actually have the pitching to contend for a wild-card spot in 2017. Don't count out a .500 season for Colorado.
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Houston Astros (84 wins in 2016)
The Astros' 84-win campaign was a disappointment, and expect them to bounce back in a big way in 2017.
While a 100-win season is probably is unrealistic, a 10-win improvement isn't out of the question for the team that should be considered the favorite in the AL West.
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Los Angeles Angels (74 wins in 2016)
The Angels aren't going to push the Astros at the top of the American League West, but they should be far more respectable in 2017. Like Houston, a pitching turnaround and some shrewd offseason moves could bring about a 10-win turnaround.
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Minnesota Twins (59 wins in 2016)
The Twins are not going to be a playoff team — let's get that straight off the bat. But they're not going to lose 100 games again in 2017 — no way, no how.
In fact, it'd be somewhat surprising if they lose 90 games in 2017. While every likelihood has them under .500 at the end of the season, a 15-win improvement is possible in the Twin Cities.
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Tampa Bay Rays (68 wins in 2016)
Perhaps the unluckiest team in baseball history last year, the Rays lost 13 more games than they should have, given their season run differential.
Tampa Bay is not only a contender to get back to .500 (its presumed record last year) in 2017, but given the talent its has on that roster, if the bullpen can solidify early, 90 wins is in play.
The Rays aren't going to be down for long — they could win 20 more games in 2017 than they did in 2016.