The Cubs should collect another National League pennant in October, according to an analysis of the top 100 fantasy player projections for 2017. The American League will be much tighter. The Indians are the favorite, but Baltimore and Boston will battle for the American League East crown.

On the other end of the scale, Atlanta, Philadelphia, the Angels, A's, Padres, and Minnesota will continue in a rebuilding mode. As great as Mike Trout is, he is the only LA player on many projections. The Phillies have none.

The analysis is so simple it is brilliant. Scan a few fantasy projections, find and average players into rankings, and viola.

The teams with the most players in the top 100 are deemed the best. The fact that the World Series teams are selected to repeat this year is an anomaly. The system is usually not nearly that accurate. There is no accounting for injuries. Consequently, Max Scherzer and David Price were valued highly over the winter before their injuries were revealed.

Avoid Harper

History suggests many of these projections are overblown. For instance, those of us who wasted first round draft picks or paid premium prices for Bryce Harper last year, are likely not to do the same for a .240 hitter with average power. Regardless of Harper’s results, many fantasy “experts” still rank him as a top 10 player. Go figure.

By the way, Trout is the highest rated player is nearly every poll. Trout doesn’t steal many bases, but he does everything else extremely well.

One of the most up-to-date lists of fantasy previews is at MLB.com. It is in flux, particularly in the 90s. Pitching could be a problem in the NL East. The Mets have Jacob DeGrom returning from right elbow surgery.

Max Scherzer will attempt to pitch with a broken bone in his pitching hand and Stephen Strasburg is always a post-All Star game injury risk. Miami will score some runs, but the pitching belongs in Double AA.

Without further ado, the projected order of finish for each team is listed below. The number next to the team indicates the number of players it has in the fantasy baseball top 100 of various projections.

Projections

The Rockies have seven of the top 100 fantasy players and should win the NL West. The Giants, Dodgers and Diamondbacks should follow in that order. The Cubs will run away in the central division, with the Brewers in second place. The Mets and Nationals are a toss up in the East, depending on which team avoids the injury bug.

The Mariners should walk away with the American League West crown and challenge the Indians for the flag. The Tigers are primed for a wild card bid. The Orioles and Red Sox will go down to the wire in the East, with the Blue Jays ready to pick up the slack should either falter.

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