My 2016 Major League Baseball predictions

You know, it’s been some time since I’ve posted something other than a book review, author feature, or a Top 10 list. I’m soon going to have some news about my own writing, but this is not that post.

The 2016 Major League Baseball season starts today, and I figured it was a good time to put my predictions for the year down in writing somewhere. That way at the end, we can see how right or wrong I was. These predictions are simply which teams I think will make the playoffs and an overall World Series winner. I’ll do my Top 10 Playoff Teams with predictions in October when we get there, so don’t expect playoff match-ups now.

Okay, let’s go division by division, starting where I lay my loyalties:

 

The American League East

Last year, the division was won by the Toronto Blue Jays, and I think they’re going to be about as strong as they were last year. They made it to the ALCS, and I think that experience is going to help them through the year. My team, the Boston Red Sox, are significantly improved over last year, and I believe they’re going to be a contender and will at least get one of the two AL Wild Cards. I think the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees will also be in the mix, keeping the division close along the way, but the Tampa Bay Rays will be at the bottom.

Prediction: Toronto and Boston both make the playoffs, with Boston winning the division by a game or two.

 

The American League Central

I’m calling this one a lock before the season even begins. The Kansas City Royals are going to win the division again, though I don’t think by as large a margin (and thus as early) as they did last year. They’ve retained most of their players, and they’ve got two back-to-back outstanding World Series appearances (and last year’s victory) under their belt. They’re one of the most fundamentally sound teams and will continue to do all those little things to win. Their biggest competition this year is the Cleveland Indians. The Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers aren’t strong enough to knock out the Royals.

Prediction: Kansas City wins the division, and Cleveland gets the second Wild Card spot.

 

The American League West

This was a surprising race in 2015, with the Houston Astros leading the way for most of the season until a stumble at the end that gave it to the Texas Rangers. This year, that won’t happen. As for the other teams—the Los Angeles Angels, the Oakland A’s, and the Seattle Mariners, I just don’t see them beating the impressive young energy of the Astros.

Prediction: Houston takes it.

 

The National League East

Forget the Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, and Philadelphia Phillies. In fact, there’s suspicion that several National League teams are deliberately tanking this year in order to rebuild with high draft picks. I don’t know if that’s true, but the New York Mets have perhaps the best pitching rotation in all of baseball right now. Last year, the Washington Nationals were predicted to win it all but collapsed in August. I think new manager Dusty Baker is a tremendous course correction for them, but will it be enough to catch the Mets? I don’t think so.

Prediction: New York wins it handily, but Washington gets the first Wild Card spot.

 

The National League Central

This was the strongest division last year, with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago Cubs having the top three records IN ALL OF BASEBALL. It’s still going to be a three-way race between them, but not all three of them will make the post season. I think the Cubs have had the most improvement, thanks to GM Theo Epstein, and will be loose all season thanks to Manager Joe Maddon. The Cardinals lost a little in their rotation with John Lackey going to Chicago. The Pirates are also a great, energetic team, but I don’t think it’s their year. But I know that all three of these teams will beat up on the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers.

Prediction: Chicago wins the division, and St. Louis takes the second Wild Card.

 

The National League West

This is the most interesting for several reasons. It’s an even year, so that helps the 2010-2012-2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. Last year’s leader, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a high payroll, but with a new manager and without Zack Greinke, they may not be as strong. The Arizona Diamondbacks, with the addition of Greinke, makes them stronger. So it’s going to be a tight race between those three teams (and not the Colorado Rockies or San Diego Padres).

Prediction: Los Angeles, but only by a few wins.

 

World Series Winner

I’m going with the conventional wisdom and the sentimental favorite. Everyone wants the Chicago Cubs to win, and they’ve got the most complete pieces to do it—all the way from the front office and manager to the rotation and starting lineup, and down to the bullpen and bench. And even if I’m wrong, they certainly won’t be goats.

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