2016 MLB Divisional Predictions
It is now a week into the Major League Baseball season and everyone has been able to see his or her respective teams play some ball. With that being said it is now appropriate to make some predictions about where teams will finish in their divisions after seeing first week performances.
We’ll start with the American League first and the Central Division. The last few years the division has been very weak with the Kansas City Royals dominating with a World Series Championship ring and a runner-up finish in 2014. The offseason was good to the Central and every team has improved while the Royals stayed the same. The White Sox added pitching in Matt Latos and offensive power in Todd Frazier but their bullpen has to many problems to close ballgames. For the Tigers, It all depends on health. If guys like Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera can stay healthy they will be back in their winning ways. The Twins are still in rebuilding mode and are a couple years away from doing anything relevant.
The division winner will be the Cleveland Indians; Manager Terry Francona has done a great job developing talent like Jason Kipnis and Corey Kluber. The team also added veterans like Mike Napoli, Marlon Byrd and Juan Uribe to mentor the young players on the club. If they can mesh well together the division is theirs to lose.
Let’s move out West. The Seattle Mariners have King Felix and Robinson Cano but not much else and need to bring in a few more pieces before they can contend. The Rangers are the same way. Their young talent like Roughned Odor has developed into a superstar but the team needs more star power.
Speaking of star power, you have the two remaining teams in the division: The Anaheim Angels and the Houston Astros. I would take the Angels any day of the week just look at Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, but once the postseason hits they can’t get it done which gives the Astros the win. They played the World Series Champs to five games in the ALDS have a solid core of defense players and one of the top pitchers in the American League, Kid Kuechel himself, Dallas Kuechel.
The American League East is all the Toronto Blue Jays. For what they don’t have defensively they make up with their offense. Have arguably the best 2–5 in all of baseball with the Bringer of Rain-Josh Donaldson- Joey Bats- Jose Bautista- Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzi. Let’s also not forget phenomenal young pitching with Marcus Stroman (shout out to Mike Stud) at the front end of the rotation with Roberto Osuna closing it out. Rays, Red Sox, and Orioles can’t put up the runs to take them down. The Jays are my pick to win the World Series. Sorry your final season has to get spoiled, Big Papi.
Shifting over to the National League.
Start out in the Central. The toughest division in the league. If this were last week, I would tell you the Cubs have it in hand but with Kyle Schwarber going down for the rest of the season with an ACL injury it is time for the Cardinals and Pirates to emerge victorious. I think it will be the Cardinals this year. Adam Wainwright is back and healthy and the rest of that pitcher staff is lights out. Pitching wins games and championships.
The West no question goes to the Giants. It’s an even year so they will be in the World Series. As long as Madison Baumgarner remains the ace and bats like Hunter Pence and Joe Panik can get the bats going, they’re unbeatable. Everyone knows they can already play some defense. Arizona only has pitching and relies too much on Paul Goldschmidt for everything else. Dodgers are inconsistent and lost the best 1–2 pitching duo when Zach Grienke left.
The East is the weakest of them all. The Marlins, Phillies and Braves are all in rebuilding stages leaving the division in the hands of the Washington Nationals and Bryce Harper who will make the game of baseball fun again with his crazy home run and fielding antics at the young age of 22.
By: Nick Couzin (@ncouz)