2016 MLB Regular Season Predictions

Here are my predictions, division by division:

AL East:

  1. Toronto Blue Jays- 90-72
  2. Boston Red Sox- 86-76
  3. Baltimore Orioles- 84-78
  4. New York Yankees- 83-79
  5. Tampa Bay Rays- 79-83

In the tightest division in baseball, the Blue Jays come out on top due to their potent lineup and the presence of reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson. The Red Sox are much improved in the pitching staff with the additions of David Price, Craig Kimbrel, and Carson Smith to go along with their high-upside young hitters like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts the . However, the Orioles, with an underrated lineup and the assumed addition of Yovani Gallardo, will finish with a better record than the aging Yankees, who, in spite of their excellent bullpen, will not have healthy enough production from A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, or Carlos Beltran to contend. The Rays, meanwhile, may just be the best last-place team in baseball this year, and could even contend for the playoff if all breaks right.

AL Central:

  1. Kansas City Royals- 93-69
  2. Cleveland Indians- 85-77
  3. Detroit Tigers- 82-80
  4. Minnesota Twins- 79-83
  5. Chicago White Sox- 78-84

A division thought to be tightly packed next year, the AL Central contains the best team in the American League and defending World Champions, the Kansas City Royals, who look poised to repeat as division champs. The Cleveland Indians house the AL’s best rotation, led by 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, yet their offense will cause them to fall just short of the playoffs. Detroit has improved its offense and bullpen via the additions of Justin Upton, Francisco Rodriguez, and Justin Wilson, yet its starting rotation outside of Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Verlander remains highly questionable. The Twins, while a young team on the rise, were quite lucky last year, and thus regress to the mean due to growing pains. Finally, the White Sox, in spite of the additions of Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie, still have massive holes at shortstop, right field, DH, and the back end of their rotation that will lead to their last place finish.

AL West:

  1. Houston Astros- 92-70
  2. Texas Rangers- 87-75
  3. Seattle Mariners- 81-81
  4. Oakland Athletics- 77-85
  5. Los Angeles Angels- 75-87

The AL West houses two major World Series Contenders, the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. Houston, powered by its star position players Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer, as well as reigning Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and newly acquired closer Ken Giles, will win their first division title as an American League team. The Rangers, with perennial MVP candidates Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre as well as two aces in Cole Hamels and the returning Yu Darvish, are also a strong bet for the playoffs. The Mariners, while much improved in the offseason, are still a ways away from contention. The Athletics are the most nameless team in the American League, aside from ace Sonny Gray, and failed to improve their offense outside of trading for Khris Davis. And finally, most surprising of all, the Angels, in spite of having the modern day Mickey Mantle and face of baseball Mike Trout on their team, will finish with the worst record in the American League due to their lackluster lineup outside of Trout and Pujols, questionable and injury-prone rotation, and nameless bullpen that lost one of its best relievers in Trevor Gott.

NL East:

  1. New York Mets- 91-71
  2. Washington Nationals- 87-75
  3. Miami Marlins- 79-83
  4. Atlanta Braves- 67-95
  5. Philadelphia Phillies- 65-97

The worst division in baseball houses the defending NL pennant winners, the New York Mets, who are poised to repeat as division champions with their incredible young rotation and the return of Yoenis Cespedes. The Nationals will bounce back due to the added support around reigning MVP Bryce Harper in leadoff man Ben Revere and postseason hero Daniel Murphy as well as strong seasons by ace Max Scherzer and free agent-to-be Stephen Strasburg. The Marlins will inch closer to contention with fully healthy seasons from Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez and the addition of new manager Don Mattingly. The Braves and Phillies, meanwhile, are in continuing rebuild mode, with hopes to contend in the coming years due to the rise of their plentiful young prospects.

NL Central:

  1. Chicago Cubs- 100-62
  2. St. Louis Cardinals- 85-77
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates- 84-78
  4. Cincinnati Reds- 69-93
  5. Milwaukee Brewers- 64-98

The NL Central was the best division in baseball last year. However, the Cubs improved so drastically that they will be considered the team to beat in baseball this year and your World Series favorites, with established young superstars Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and ace and reigning Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, as well as veterans like Jon Lester and new additions Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, and John Lackey. The Cardinals and Pirates, however, lost quite a bit of talent in free agency, and thus will have down years, but still remain in Wild Card contention. The Reds and Brewers, however, will continue their respective rebuilds, with the Brewers possibly having the most barren roster in all of baseball before its prospects ascend.

NL West:

  1. San Francisco Giants- 92-70
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers- 88-74
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks- 84-78
  4. San Diego Padres- 74-88
  5. Colorado Rockies- 70-92

This division has majorly improved in the offseason, especially in the cases of San Francisco and Arizona. The Giants added a second ace behind Madison Bumgarner in Johnny Cueto, as well as top-tier third starter Jeff Samardzija and center field dynamo Denard Span, and will likely have a return to health for star Hunter Pence to supplement baseball’s strongest infield and superstar catcher Buster Posey. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, grabbed ace Zack Greinke on the free agent market and traded for a strong #2 in Shelby Miller to supplement the NL’s second best offense and best defense in 2015, led by stars Paul Goldschmidt and AJ Pollock. However, the Diamondbacks will fall just short of the postseason due to the Dodgers’ unreal position player depth and the presence of all-world ace Clayton Kershaw and Rookie of the Year frontrunner Corey Seager, along with new rotation additions Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda. The Padres and Rockies, meanwhile, are both caught in between contention and rebuilding, with the Padres’ attempted free agent frenzy in 2015 having not paid off and the Rockies’ never-ending search for consistently good pitching.

Postseason Projections:

AL Wild Card- Rangers over Red Sox

ALDS- Royals over Rangers, Astros over Blue Jays

ALCS- Astros over Royals

NL Wild Card- Dodgers over Nationals

NLDS- Cubs over Dodgers, Giants over Mets

NLCS- Cubs over Giants

World Series- Cubs over Astros

Postseason Award Predictions:

AL MVP- Carlos Correa, Houston Astros

AL Cy Young- Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

AL Rookie of the Year- Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

AL Manager of the Year- John Farrell, Boston Red Sox

AL Comeback Player of the Year- Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers

NL MVP- Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

NL Cy Young- Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

NL Rookie of the Year- Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

NL Manager of the Year- Dusty Baker, Washington Nationals

NL Comeback Player of the Year- Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants







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