Home > Uncategorized > 2016 MLB predictions: divisions, awards, the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle

2016 MLB predictions: divisions, awards, the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle

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Now that I’ve published what I consider to be the possible high and low points for every team, let’s keep the guessing game going with a look into what will happen by the end of this season.

Because you know how good I am with predictions.

American League East

1. Toronto Blue Jays (No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs)
2. Boston Red Sox (4)
3. New York Yankees
4. Tampa Bay Rays
5. Baltimore Orioles

Toronto’s offense is unmatched. But with Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada and a strong bullpen, the Jays are much more than a bunch of bats. The Red Sox so desperately want to make up for last year’s failure, and they will to a point. David Price cures a lot of ails, but how far that team goes really hinges on the well-being of Clay Buchholz and their aged stalwarts.

American League Central

1. Cleveland Indians (3)
2. Detroit Tigers
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Minnesota Twins
5. Chicago White Sox

I’m assuming Michael Brantley has no further problems with his repaired shoulder. That pitching staff should be the best in the division. Detroit should hit a ton, and its new bullpen looks nice. I have them just below Cleveland because I don’t trust Anibal Sanchez to stay healthy, and the starters behind him in the rotation are a mystery. And no, I will never learn my lesson about doubting the Royals. I’m a stubborn person, OK?

American League West

1. Houston Astros (2)
2. Texas Rangers (5)
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Oakland A’s
5. Los Angeles Angels

Houston seems to be the clear choice here as long as all of its youngsters play to their potential. The Rangers could take this division if Yu Darvish is the Yu Darvish we remember once he returns around midseason. I think that’s unlikely, however.

National League East

1. New York Mets (3)
2. Washington Nationals (4)
3. Miami Marlins
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Philadelphia Phillies

Same standings breakdown as in 2015. But this should be a terrific battle at the top from start to finish. The Nats will be better this year. I’d just feel more comfortable with Bartolo Colon and Steven Matz in the No. 4 and 5 spots in my rotation than Tanner Roark and Joe Ross.

National League Central

1. Chicago Cubs (No. 1 seed in the NL playoffs)
2. St. Louis Cardinals (5)
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Milwaukee Brewers

Maybe we’re getting carried away with the Cubs as we did with the Nationals 12 months ago. But, damn, they sure look good on paper. Bad luck could be the only thing that sidetracks them … but this is the Cubs we’re talking about here. Also: I’m not betting that the Cardinals will miss the playoffs until it happens. It hasn’t since 2010.

National League West

1. San Francisco Giants (2)
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. San Diego Padres
5. Colorado Rockies

I’m confident that the Giants will get the 2014 editions of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. It’s tough to leave the Dodgers and D’Backs out of the postseason, but the National League is so top-heavy, with at least eight teams that can legitimately contend for a World Series. Both of those squads have big question marks about their starting rotation after their No. 1s. The Dodgers will probably fill any deficiencies at the trade deadline, but for now, I don’t think that is a playoff team.

American League Awards

AL MVP: Carlos Correa. Runner-up: Mike Trout

Correa is already one of the 10 best everyday players and doesn’t turn 22 until September. He’s the most important bat on a team that should have October dreams. Mike Trout is Mike Trout.

AL Cy Young: Chris Archer. Runner-up: Carlos Carrasco

I don’t think having Carrasco here a bold choice. He is that good. Oh, Archer’s great too. I don’t have the guts to make Carrasco my outright winner, so I went with an already-established ace.

AL Rookie of the Year: Byron Buxton. Runner-up: Blake Snell

Yes, Buxton is still a rookie. Why not take a chance on all of that raw talent?

AL Manager of the Year: Terry Francona. Runner-up: John Farrell

If the Indians win the Central (and barring a completely shocking surge from another team in the AL), Francona is going to be pick here.

National League Awards

NL MVP: Bryce Harper. Runner-up:  Anthony Rizzo

Too obvious? Well, tough. That’s going to be a trend with these award predictions on the NL side.

NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer. Runner-up: Clayton Kershaw

I told you these are going to be pretty obvious. Because whenever anyone does one of these posts, they want to be correct about something, right?

NL Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager. Runner-up: Trea Turner

Based on what he did last season and his role this year, Seager should be clearly ahead of the rookie field. Meanwhile, how long will the Nats put up with Danny Espinosa and Stephen Drew at short? My guess is: not long.

NL Manager of the Year: Dusty Baker. Runner-up: Bruce Bochy

Following a very tumultuous year, Dusty will deserve this if he gets the Nats back into the playoffs. Speaking of which …

The Playoffs and World Series

AL Wild Card: Red Sox over Rangers (Price over Hamels)
NL Wild Card: Nationals over Cardinals (Scherzer over Wainwright)

ALDS: Blue Jays over Red Sox in 5; Astros over Indians in 4
NLDS: Cubs over Nationals in 4; Mets over Giants in 5

ALCS: Astros over Blue Jays in 6
NLCS: Cubs over Mets in 5

World Series: Cubs over Astros in 7
World Series MVP: Dexter Fowler

Not that I believe Fowler is going to have an MVP-type season. But just for a week, it would be a pretty great story if a man who was all but gone from the Cubs in February, played a supreme role in their most important playoff series in more than 70 years and their first championship since a full five years before Harry Caray was born.31crh2l7uxl

The Cubs are a safe pick to finally get that brass jewel-encrusted ring, but there’s a reason for that: This team has the fewest flaws and concern areas of any in the league. The lineup is just a bunch of tough outs. The starting staff has elite arms at the front and plenty of depth. The bullpen could use a bit of a pick-me-up, but it is by no means weak. Save some horribly bad, unforeseen injury luck, the Cubs should be playing into late October. Facing the Astros, it will be a glorious showcase of some of baseball’s premier stars for the next decade.

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