Sunday, April 3, 2016

Opening Day Predictions

I always do these, sometimes the results are pretty spot on, usually not. I picked the Royals as a second place team last year, not too bad I guess. Here are my 2016 predictions:


1. Yankees
Of course I always predict the Yankees. Still, they technically were a playoff team last year and can still be quite good when healthy.

2. Blue Jays
No more David Price, and the offensive run they went on in last year's second half isn't really sustainable. Still an extremely talented team.

3. Red Sox
I don't like sleeping on the Red Sox - there is still a lot of dangerous talent on this team. And signing Price can certainly cause a big shift in power in the AL East.

4. Orioles
They had a pretty good team for a couple of years there, but weren't able to make much of it, and it looks like the window is starting to close for them.

5. Rays
With Joe Maddon gone it looks like they are sliding back into their "Devil Rays" ways.


1. Royals
They are a really solid team with no overwhelming strengths but are above average in every area.

2. Indians
I keep picking them highly each year, based on their manager and several talented young players. Hopefully one year I'll get it right.

3. Twins
Easy to forget that the Twins were in the Wild Card hunt into the last week of the season. They seem more like a team that will regress than build on that showing, but they're not pushovers anymore.

4. White Sox
They need to find another 14-year-old boy to replace the veteran leadership lost when Adam LaRoche's son was banned from the clubhouse and the whole team revolted.

5. Tigers
Not much left around Miguel Cabrera.


1. Astros
They're no laughingstock anymore - they are a young, dangerous team as the Yankees found out in October.

2. Rangers
They won the division last year, I'm not really sure how. A full season of Hamels and Darvish could actually make this pretty good team really great.

3. Angels
Easy to forget, but two years ago they had the best regular season record in the major leagues.

4. A's
Oakland always does OK with their low-budget teams, but it seems to have gotten harder for them to outsmart the competition over the last few years.

5. Mariners
Robinson Cano will bounce back, and they have two very good starting pitchers, but the rest of this team is unproven at best.


1. Nationals
There is a ton of talent on this team, and Dusty Baker should be a lot better at getting the most out of them than Matt Williams was.

2. Mets
Pinning all of your hopes on three young starting pitchers is a dangerous thing. If even one of them is hurt for a long stretch, this is a very ordinary team. Neither the offense nor the bullpen is particularly impressive. Still, based on the last couple of years, it seems certain that whatever team they trade Cespedes to mid-season will make the playoffs.

3. Marlins
Like the Mariners, they have a couple of really good players and a lot of unproven commodities. Fortunately for Miami, they play in a much weaker division.

4. Phillies
Philadelphia seems like they would be a candidate for a pretty short rebuild, and already have some solid pieces in place. A Wild Card run seems a bit improbable for 2016 but probably quite doable for 2017.

5. Braves
On the other hand the Braves appear to be in complete tear-down mode and would seem to be several years away from contention.


1. Cardinals
With all the hoopla over the Cubs this off-season, everyone forgets that it was St. Louis who actually won 100 games last year. All the Cardinals do, at least in the regular season, is win consistently, and should be picked to finish first until they prove otherwise.

2. Cubs
Everyone is jumping on their bandwagon this year, but do utilityman Ben Zobrist and perennial-disappointment Jason Heyward really make this a much better team than the one that was thoroughly dominated by the Mets last year?

3. Pirates
Very similar to the Mets - how well they do depends almost entirely on their pitching staff staying healthy and meeting their high expectations.

4. Brewers
Last year the Brewers finished 32 games out. Hard to rate a team like that higher than fourth place.

5. Reds
Bad as Milwaukee was last year, Cincinnati's record was actually four games worse.


1. Giants
In 2014 I wrote " It is an even-numbered year, isn't it? Time for another surprise World Series run." Seems silly not to pick them to win it all in 2016.

2. Dodgers
I guess this year we'll see if Don Mattingly was the reason this team couldn't get over the hump. My guess is that a lot of their players are not quite as good as their reputations.

3. Padres
Maybe their big acquisitions from last year just needed a season to jell. That's kind of what happened with the Blue Jays. I could see San Diego being very aggressive at the trading deadline in a similar way if they are in the hunt in July.

4. Diamondbacks
Signing Zack Greinke is nice but it doesn't turn a 79-83 team into a legit contender by itself.

5.  Rockies
It's been a long time since the Rockies made even a blip on the national baseball consciousness.