2016 MLB Season Preview

mlb-teams-1024x768Major League Baseball opening day is just days away and excitement for the season is tremendous. The 162-game season will begin on April 3rd and not end until October 4th. Due to the length of the season, it is one of the more difficult sports in which to predict which teams will come out winners or losers. After trades and free agent acquisitions, many teams have a new look and here’s how I see things shaking out across the league this season.

AL EAST

Boston Red Sox: 85-77

Toronto Blue Jays: 83-79

New York Yankees: 82-80

Tampa Bay Rays: 78-84

Baltimore Orioles: 72-90

The AL East is wide open, as it seems to be almost every year. Boston added big names to its roster and seems to  have a legitimate chance to contend this season. Toronto and New York also have the pitching and enough bats to contend for the AL East title. Tampa Bay has strong starting pitching in Chris Archer but the rest of the team is pretty weak. Baltimore struggles in a lot of stages of the game and probably won’t do much this season.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox: 82-80

Kansas City Royals: 79-83

Cleveland Indians: 77-85

Minnesota Twins: 74-88

Detroit Tigers: 74-88

The Kansas City Royals won the American League pennant last season and the World Series. They lost starting pitcher Johnny Cueto to San Francisco in free agency. I think despite some drama surrounding the White Sox with the departure of their 1st baseman Adam LaRoche, they can still surprise people and win in a weak division. Cleveland just doesn’t have the roster to remain competitive all season. Minnesota has potential as many of their top prospects are being developed into MLB-ready players but the development will take a few more years. Detroit is starting to fall off their winning ways and, with the exception of Miguel Cabrera, the team isn’t very good.

AL West

Houston Astros: 90-72

Texas Rangers: 84-78

Los Angeles Angels: 82-80

Seattle Mariners: 73-89

Oakland Athletics: 70-92

Last season, the Astros proved that their prospects have developed and are ready to win as they controlled the AL West for most of the season. The Rangers traded for starting pitcher Cole Hamels and their late season surge resulted in the AL West title. The Angels finished only three games back from first place last season and one game back from second place. This season, the three-way race for first place of the AL West will continue, but ultimately Houston is too talented not to come out on top. Second place is a coin flip. Either Texas or Los Angeles have the ability to finish second and play in the wild card playoff game. Seattle and Oakland both have a small core of good players, just not enough to compete in such a strong division.  

NL EAST

New York Mets: 89-73

Washington Nationals: 86-76

Miami Marlins: 76-86

Atlanta Braves: 66-96

Philadelphia Phillies: 62-100

The two-team race for the NL West will continue in 2016 between the Mets and Nationals. Washington has one of the best players in the world in Bryce Harper. In my eyes, he’s the most electric player in baseball and always seems to back up all of his talk off the field with his play on it. The Mets have one of the most elite pitching staffs in baseball and should cause trouble to almost every MLB lineup this season. Yoenis Céspedes is New York’s power hitter and I think the Mets will be too much for Washington to keep up with this season. Miami is young but is nowhere close to being relevant in the division. Atlanta and Philadelphia are two of the worst teams in baseball.

NL CENTRAL

St. Louis Cardinals: 98-64

Chicago Cubs: 95-67

Pittsburgh Pirates: 82-80

Milwaukee Brewers: 64-98

Cincinnati Reds: 63-99

According to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, the Chicago Cubs have the best odds of winning the World Series at 4-1. The next closest are the Dodgers, Astros and Mets at 10-1. I don’t believe the Cubs will win their division, nevermind a World Series championship. The Cubs have a very impressive roster and most definitely are a playoff team. They just have been given expectations much too high by so many people that the unnecessary pressure to win only makes it harder to do so. On top of that, they also have the pressure of not having won the World Series since 1908. Every year, St. Louis seems to win 85+ games and is atop the NL Central, and I see the same happening in 2016. Pittsburgh has the chance to be a good ball club in 2016, but with the powerhouses of Chicago and St. Louis, I don’t believe they will be able to keep up. Milwaukee and Cincinnati fall under the same category as Atlanta and Philadelphia in that their teams are pretty weak and shouldn’t have much success this season.  

NL WEST

San Francisco Giants: 101-61

Los Angeles Dodgers: 88-74

Arizona Diamondbacks: 78-84

San Diego Padres: 72-90

Colorado Rockies: 61-101

Lastly, we finish up with the NL West. My pick to win the World Series is the San Francisco Giants. I think their pitching staff is better than the one I raved about in the New York Mets. They are one of the better fielding teams in the league and manager Bruce Bochy has proven he can lead this team as he’s won three championships. Los Angeles is a playoff team and should do well this season, led by one of the game’s best pitchers Clayton Kershaw. With the highest payroll in baseball, Los Angeles has very high expectations to meet this season. It will be interesting to see how the team plays under new manager Dave Roberts. Arizona is another team with a small core of very good players and not much else around them. Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt make up that small core for the Diamondbacks and will have to carry their team all season to be successful. San Diego lacks talent all over the diamond and Colorado is my pick to have the worst record in baseball.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s