Early Predictions for 2016 MLB Season

We have officially reached the point where we are closer to opening day than we are to the last game played in 2015!

I’m not sure about all of you, but I’m excited about the upcoming season. There are still a few good players to be signed, but it’s time to start analyzing the 2016 season.

AL East

Toronto Blue Jays (90-72)

After acquiring Tulowitzki and Price, the Jays went 43-28. Their offense is going to be one of the best in baseball.

Unfortunately, the Jays are going to allow a lot of runs as well. So, I’m predicting a lot of high scoring games.

They have Martin, Encarnacion, Donaldson, Tulowitzki and Bautista. I like the Jays to win 90 games.

Boston Red Sox (88-74)

Even as one of the worst teams, Boston a roster full of talent. Sandoval and Ramirez both had awful years but should bounce back. Price was a huge signing. He has a career ERA of 3.34 against the AL East.

The offense and pitching will improve this year and their young players are only going to get better with time.

Tampa Bay Rays (84-78)

Tampa is going to have the best pitching in the division like they always do. Chris Archer will fight for the Cy Young this year.

They’ve got the best back end of a rotation in baseball, and they’ll be getting Cobb back around the break. The offense concerns me.

With a great young outfield and Longoria playing, there is hope, but I’m not convinced you can depend on youth mixed with Forsythe, Morrison, Miller, etc. to stay in the hunt.

New York Yankees (82-80)

I like Tanaka and Pineda a lot, but there is no depth in their rotation. Tex and A-Rod should play well again. Beltran is still a solid player, but he’s getting older. I’m not sure that I trust him.

They Yankees are at a point that they could either be great (if everyone performs well) or terrible (if everyone plays below expectations together). I think 82 wins is a reasonable expectation for them.

Baltimore Orioles (79-83)

Baltimore is continuing to struggle after just missing the World Series a few years ago. They lost their best pitcher (Chen) and Tillman hasn’t lived up to expectations.

Waiting on prospects to make the leap into stardom isn’t going to cut it. They’re hoping they can get a lot out of their rookie Left Fielder.

This is going to be another high powered offense that needs to score more runs than the pitching staff allows.

AL Central

Kansas City Royals (91-71)

The Royals are still riding the high of winning 2015. Putting Dyson in the lineup is going to be special and give them a boost. The loss of Cueto isn’t an issue because he didn’t pitch well for them.

You should expect more of the same from Kansas City. The starters aren’t great, but with that offense and bullpen, I trust them to stay elite.

Detroit Tigers (85-77)

It’s hard to take your eye off of Cabrera and his battering mates. With VMart, Miggy, Upton, Martinez and Kinsler they’ll be a top 5 offense.

I think the pitching staff is going to surprise people this year. Verlander will be an all-star, and Zimmerman will be worth every penny they pay. I don’t love the starters after that.

Chicago White Sox (84-78)

I see the Sox as a poor man’s Tigers. I really like Abreu, Frazier, Cabrera and Eaton, but I’m not sure we can trust LaRoche, Garcia, or Saladino to carry their weight.

Dankswill be average. Rodon is still young. They’ll have great hitting, and I think Sale and Quintana could both fight for the Cy Young. But I don’t see them in the playoffs.

Cleveland Indians (82-80)

I really like the Indians- this team reminds me of the early 90’s. They’re not quite ready to compete, yet. They’ve got a great rotation that will only get better.

With a lot of young talent on the roster, this could be the start of a dynasty. For now, they’re close to .500.

Minnesota Twins (76-86)

Minnesota has one proven superstar (Dozier). At this point in his career, even Mauer isn’t going to scare opposing pitching staffs.

They’re pitching is average at best (Hughes had a 4.4 ERA and Santana had a 4.00 ERA).

Minnesota has great young talent, and Sano could hit 40 HR this year. But I can’t depend on that many unproven players to break .500.

AL West

Texas Rangers (86-76)

Having Hamels, Lewis, Darvish, and Holland could make this a special team, but I envision Darvish having a few problems as he comes back from Tommy John surgery.

I think they’ll search for a way to get Gallo more AB. This offense should be good- I see Odor taking a huge step forward.

They’re going to lead the division and could make some noise in the playoffs with a great mix of pitching, power, and speed.

Houston Astros (82-80)

The Astros will come back to earth just a bit this year. Correa will experience the sophomore slump; I’m not a fan of Gomez; and I think AJ Reed will be the starting 1B before the break.

The ‘stros are going to make a push, but fall just short of being in the playoffs. I like their pitching a lot, but don’t see McHugh or Fiers being quite as good as last year. Just a bit ahead of .500 seems reasonable.

Los Angeles Angels (81-81)

This team screams average to me. They have 2 truly good hitters. After Pujols and Trout, they don’t have much offense.

I like Richards a lot. Wilson should be solid. After the top 2, they’re pitching staff isn’t great either. Screaming average means you are average – 81 wins seems right.

Seattle Mariners (74-88)

Seattle had high expectations after signing Cano, but it hasn’t worked out. I don’t see it getting much better this year. Cano, Seager, and Cruz are the offense.

The pitching staff should be solid with Felix, Iwakuma and Walker. I see Walker taking a big step, but don’t expect too much from a team that is piecing a roster together.

Oakland Athletics (66-96)

The A’s could lose 100 games this season. Signing Hendereson Alvarez isn’t going to help them much.

They’ll end up trading their best pitcher (Gray) and only have Butler and Reddick as consistent hitters.

This team is rebuilding, and it’s going to be a while. Enjoy seeing Billy Burns steal bases; that’s how this team will entertain fans.

NL East

New York Mets (89-73)

The Mets had a great year in 2015. After resigning Cespedes, they have a shot at doing it again. They’ll need Duda to step his game up and Conforto is going to have to be consistent.

They may have the best rotation in baseball, and they have a great bullpen. While Cespedes and Duda drive runners home, the pitchers are going to be shutting offenses down.

Washington Nationals (88-74)

The Nats have a well-balanced line up and some great pitchers. Joe Ross is going to have a coming of age year this season.

The offense is going to produce again. They’ll take advantage of beating up on the weakest division in baseball.

Baker has experience leading teams into the playoffs. If he doesn’t ruin any arms, they’ll be serious contenders.

Miami Marlins (78-84)

Miami could surprise people this year. They’ve got great young talent. Fernandez should be an ace again, and Chen has great numbers against the NL East (3.99 ERA with 2 career shutouts).

I’m not sure that I can fully trust Bour, Realmuto or Hechavarria in 2016. And you can’t count on the pitchers beyond the top 2. They won’t compete for the division, but could be close to .500.

Atlanta Braves (63-99)

The Braves are clearly rebuilding mode. Freeman is the only all-star on this roster. Markakis, Peterson, and Inciarte should have solid season. Teheran may return to form.

Their #2 starter was a #4 guy in Baltimore last year. That doesn’t bode well for winning many games. Expect the Braves to be close to losing 100.

Philadelphia Phillies (58-104)

Philly will be one of the worst teams in the league this year. They don’t have a single current all-star on the team. They don’t have any established pitching.

And their best established hitter on the roster may be Herrera or Galvis, which isn’t saying much.

They could make this division the first to have two 100 game losers in the same division since 2002.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs (100-62)

The Cubs are going to be the hot pick- Arrietta’sCy Young, stealing Heyward, adding Zobrist. They’ve got great young talent mixed with the perfect veteran presence.

What’s more, they’ve got a great deal of versatility from their players. They’re going to be a special team this year. I think it’s fully possible that they eclipse 100 wins.

St. Louis Cardinals (90-72)

The Cardinals lost Heyward to the Cubs. His defense is going to be a significant loss for the team. But, they are getting Wainwright back who pitched 28 innings last year.

Wacha and Garcia (won every game that he got 3+ runs of support last year) will regress. They’re still a great team, but they won’t outplay the Cubs.

Pittsburgh Pirates (84-78)

2016 is the year the Pirates play closer to average than great. Alvarez is gone and took almost 20% of the teams Homerun total.

I like Cole and Liriano, but I’m not sure the change of scenery will help Niese or Vogelsong.

They are going to have to play small ball to be a great team again, but they’ll benefit from beating up on the Reds and the Brewers.

Cincinatti Reds (73-89)

They’re a team who just doesn’t have it right now. It’ll be fun to watch Hamilton run wild this year.

There seems to be an interesting mix of inexperienced players trying to learn from veterans, but it’s not a team that will be truly competitive.

Phillips is old, Suarez and Duvall have never played a full season. I just don’t have much faith in them.

Milwaukee Brewers (61-101)

There aren’t many teams that have less talent than the Brewers. They have two offensive weapons and two pitchers that have the potential to do well this season.

It’s going to be a long season in 2016 depending on the likes of Gennet, Davis and Carter to help Braun and Lucroy. Most Brewers fans won’t be able to name half of the roster this year.

NL West

San Francisco Giants (93-69)

The Giants are going to have a big year. They’ve got the usual suspects on offense; adding Span as a veteran presence should help them.

They’ve also added Cueto and Samardzija who will have bounce back years in the pitcher friendly park.

At worst, San Fran is going to be a Wild Card, at best; they’ve got the best record in the NL.

Los Angeles Dodgers (90-72)

Losing Greinke is going to hurt the Dodgers a lot, but they’ve added Kazmir and Maeda who could actually make up the difference and then some.

The bullpen is going to be better than people expect. I like Turner a lot as a full time player.

They’re going to push the Giants for the division, and could surprise people in the playoffs.

Arizona Diamondbacks (86-76)

I’m not on the hype train. Sure, they added Greinke and Miller and they’ve got Pollock and Goldschmidt, but what about the rest of the team? The lineup is going to be pretty boring beyond those two.

The pitching and all-star hitters they have offer the chance to compete in the division, but ultimately, I think they’ll fall just short.

It’s going to hurt them being in one of the tougher divisions in baseball.

San Diego Padres (70-92)

The Padres were a disappointment last year. Shields had his worst year since 2010 and Cashner had his worst year yet. Justin Upton is gone, and they’re stuck playing Melvin (BJ).

There isn’t going to be much offense. So the only hope for a good year will be in the rotation where Shields, Cashner, and Ross need to have a great season.

Colorado Rockies (62-100)

The Rockies don’t have a rotation. Their starters just aren’t good enough to compete. They only won 68 games with Lehmahieu and Arenado having career years.

I don’t see Lehmahieu repeating. Arenado would compete for MVP if on another team. Reyes is aging, and the Rockies are trying to trade some of their best players.

It’s going to be a long season, and not one that anyone will enjoy. Colorado can only hope to avoid 100 losses.