2016 MLB Predictions

Crystal Ball

Over the past week and a half, 500 Level Fan has posted a preview of each of MLB’s six divisions.  Now it’s time to up the ante.  No more “previewing”.  It’s now time to “predict”.

As always, my predictions should not be wagered upon by anybody, because they will likely all be wrong.

The 500 Level Fan predictions will be split over two columns.  The first covers MLB predictions, including final standings, playoff results, award winners, and some miscellaneous categories.  The second will focus on the Blue Jays, with some individual and team predictions.

So sit back, read on, try not to laugh, and get ready to comment.

American League Predictions

East

1. Toronto

2. Boston

3. Tampa Bay

4. New York

5. Baltimore

Thoughts: Defending champs come back with the offense intact, a stronger bullpen, and a deeper rotation – what’s not to like?…..If David Price could make 60 starts I might go with Boston, but he only makes 30.  Not enough to overcome still employing Pablo and Hanley…..The big question in Tampa is can the Rays score enough?  With their rotation, they might not need many runs.…..The bullpen is great and there are intriguing arms in the rotation.  But how much longer can A-Rod, Beltran, Teixeira, Gardner and co. keep going?…..The best part about Baltimore will be seeing how many times Buck “Blanche” Showalter complains about the new dirt infield in Toronto.

Central

1. Cleveland

2. Kansas City

3. Detroit

4. Chicago

5. Minnesota

Thoughts: Cleveland could legitimately have four starters exceed 200 strikeouts, and with Kipnis, Lindor, and Gomes, the offense is underrated…..Kansas City can’t do it again can they?  With reclamation project Ian Kennedy in the rotation, and a bullpen that will be asked to throw a lot of innings again, it’s safer to say no.…..I think Detroit can still win the division, but they need a return to full health from a lot of key players, which might be too much to ask…..I was tempted to pick Chicago to finish first, but then I remembered what happened the last time Melky, Lawrie, and Navarro were teammates in Toronto…..Minnesota surprised last year, and will likely take a step back this year.  But the team is very good, and only a year away.

West

1. Texas

2. Houston

3. Seattle

4. Los Angeles

5. Oakland

Thoughts: If Darvish can come back and be a force, pairing

him with Cole Hamels will be the difference maker.  Rougned Odor is the real deal at 2B.…..I don’t foresee much of a regression in Houston, especially with Carlos Correa poised to become one of baseball’s best, but the rotation behind Keuchel might be shaky…..Seattle can contend for a Wild Card, but they need a lot of the black holes in the lineup to go away.  Above average years for Iannetta and Lind are crucial……They have the best player in the world now (Trout) and the best player in the world from 10-years ago (Pujols) but unfortunately not enough of a supporting cast.…..Oakland, as always, is a mystery.  Would anybody be surprised if they lost 100 or won 100?

Wildcards

Royals and Astros

Stat Leaders

HR – Jose Bautista, TOR

RBI – Chris Davis, BAL

Average – Jose Altuve, HOU

SB – Billy Burns, OAK

Wins – Marcus Stroman, TOR

ERA – Chris Sale, CHW

K – Chris Sale, CHW

Sv – Craig Kimbrel, BOS

Awards & Miscellany

MVP – Mike Trout, LAA

Cy Young – Chris Sale, CHW

Rookie – Byron Buxton, MIN

Manager – John Gibbons, TOR

Bounceback Player – Matt Wieters, BAL

Most Disappointing Player – Justin Upton, DET

First Major Player Traded – Sonny Gray, OAK

National League Predictions

East

1. Washington

2. NY Mets

3. Miami

4. Atlanta

5. Philadelphia

Thoughts: It’s a rebound year for the Nats.  Expect another huge year from Bryce Harper, and with Strasburg in a walk year, I think he dominates with Scherzer to form a potent 1-2 tandem…..Expect the Mets to battle for first right down to the wire.  With Cespedes back and a magical rotation, they are poised to do some October magic again……The Marlins aren’t as good as the top-2 and not as bad as the bottom-2.  There also might be a player revolt due to their asinine no facial hair policy…..They got a huge haul for Shelby Miller, but the Braves are still several years away……Philly has some nice pieces, but they haven’t quite finished tearing everything down.  The rebuild is still in progress.

Central

1. Chicago

2. Pittsburgh

3. St. Louis

4. Cincinnati

5. Milwaukee

Thoughts: The Cubs are the best team in baseball on paper, which is often hard to replicate on the field.  But they have a great mix of youth and veteran talent, and the right manager to guide them.  Cubs win!…..I fully believe in Gerrit Cole, and the Pirate outfield is arguably the best in baseball.  They are desperate to avoid another Wild Card appearance…..St. Louis is still good and will have Wainwright back for a full season.  But Molina is wearing down and the losses of Heyward and Lackey will hurt……Joey Votto is still Joey Votto, and the rotation has a lot of good looking young arms.  Sadly there isn’t a whole lot else…..The Brewers still have the best mascot in the game, so there’s that!

West

1. Los Angeles

2. San Francisco

3. Arizona

4. San Diego

5. Colorado

Thoughts: The Dodgers rotation is already decimated.  But they still have Clayton Kershaw, the lineup is solid, and they have a potential rookie of the year in Corey Seager.  They have enough for one more run……It’s an even numbered year, so the Giants will be good, but I’m not sold on either Cueto or Samardzija……Arizona was a busy team and will be much improved.  It will be a real battle between the top three teams…..The Padres are a mess….The Rockies are a bigger mess.

Wildcards

Mets and Pirates

Stat Leaders

HR – Bryce Harper, WAS

RBI – Paul Goldschmidt, ARI

Average – Paul Goldschmidt, ARI

SB – Dee Gordon, MIA

Wins – Stephen Starsburg, WAS

ERA – Clayton Kershaw, LAD

K – Clayton Kershaw, LAD

Sv – Jeurys Familia, NYM

Awards

MVP – Bryce Harper, WAS

Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw, LAD

Rookie – Corey Seager, LAD

Manager – Dusty Baker, WAS

Bounceback Player – Giancarlo Stanton, MIA

Most Disappointing Player – Johnny Cueto, SF

First Major Player Traded – Carlos Gonzalez, COL

Playoffs

American League

Wildcard Round – Royals over Astros

ALDS – Rangers over Royals, Jays over Indians

ALCS – Jays over Rangers

National League

Wild Card Round – Pirates over Mets

NLDS – Cubs over Pirates, Nationals over Dodgers

NLCS – Cubs over Nationals

World Series

In what might be the final year for both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion they leave the fans of Toronto with the best possible parting gift: a World Series title.

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