THE SANTA CLARA
April 7, 2016
New York Mets
The Mets have the best rotation in the MLB, and that essentially ensures them a playoff spot. And with a full year of Yoenis Cespedes, their lineup will do plenty of damage as well.
Washington’s one of the most talented teams in Major League Baseball. But they faded down the stretch last year, and while they should make the playoffs, they lack the composure to win a World Series.
Giancarlo Stanton will keep on blasting home runs and the Marlins will keep missing the playoffs.
Atlanta did nothing this winter to suggest they’d improve after last year’s disappointing 67-95 season.
The Phillies were the worst team in baseball last year, and in the midst of a rebuild, they won’t do much better in 2016.
San Francisco Giants
With the addition of Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto to go along with Madison Bumgarner, the Giants’ rotation rivals the Mets. Matt Cain and Jake Peavy still have to prove themselves, but the upside is there.
Denard Span will shore up an already solid outfield, and if Brandon Belt, Matt Duffy and Joe Panik all continue to improve, San Francisco may have one of the deepest lineups in baseball.
The Giants do have some aging arms in the bullpen. Closer Santiago Casilla is 35, and while still effective, he started his decline last year. Lefty Javier Lopez showed no signs of fading, but at 38, he may fall fast. Expect San Francisco to pad up their bullpen at the deadline.
After missing the playoffs last year, the Giants can’t be considered the team to beat in the National League. But no team will want to face them in the playoffs, especially when Bumgarner can win a series by himself.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers built their team around two aces, and with the loss of Greinke, they’ll say goodbye to the playoffs.
With the addition of Greinke to an already strong core, the Diamondbacks should continue to improve. But they’re not ready for the playoffs just yet.
San Diego Padres
San Diego wasn’t very good last year, and after losing Craig Kimbrel and Justin Upton, they’ll be even worse.
The Rockies had the worst pitching staff in the league last year. This year won’t be any better, which guarantees another last place finish.
The Cubs are stacked. Their young core will get even better, and with the additions of Jason Heyward and John Lackey, they’re almost too good to lose. This fall, we may see Donald Trump become the President of the United States and the Cubs win a World Series. What is happening?
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals always seem to make the playoffs, and with the return of Adam Wainwright, they’ll remain among the elite of the MLB.
The Pirates will be in contention for that final playoff spot, but they’ve yet to prove they can win the big games. This year will be no different.
The Reds were terrible last year, and this team isn’t any more promising. Expect Cincinnati to sell off their veterans at deadline.
Unless Ryan Braun resorts back to HGH and hands it out to all his teammates, the Brewers will have another last place finish.
Boston Red Sox
On paper, the Red Sox are title contenders. David Price and Craig Kimbrel should shore up the pitching, and Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts will continue to improve. Expect Big Papi and Co. to deliver a fourth championship to Boston.
Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto lost David Price, but they still have the best lineup in major league baseball. If Marcus Stroman can develop into an ace, expect the Blue Jays to bring the World Series back to the Great White North.
Baltimore will have to rely heavily on its offense to win a significant amount of games. Expect the Orioles to be in contention for the final playoff spot, but fall just short.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays always seem to be overachieving, and this year should be no different. They’ll win more games than they should, but they simply lack the talent to win the division.
New York Yankees
The Yankees outrageous spending is finally catching up with them. Their roster is littered with expensive, aging players like Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Five years ago this team could win a title, but they won’t come anywhere close in 2016.
The Astros finally emerged from the bottom of the standings last year, and there’s no reason to think they won’t return to the playoffs. The real question is if their young core is ready for a World Series. Cy Young Dallas Keuchel should be just as dominant, and Carlos Correa could win MVP.
The Rangers were one of the best teams in baseball down the stretch last year, and with a full year of Cole Hamels, they’ll surely secure a wild-card spot.
Los Angeles Angels
As long as the Angels have Mike Trout, they’ll always be in playoff contention. But Anaheim didn’t do enough to keep pace with the Astros and Rangers, and should come up just short again.
The Mariners have the talent to compete in the West, and if King Felix returns to his Cy Young form, they could even make the playoffs. But that hasn’t happened in 14 years, so I’ll have to see it to believe it.
There won’t be a Moneyball sequel about the 2016 A’s. At best, this team defies the odds and reaches fourth place. Oakland won just 68 games last year, and their offseason moves inspire little, if any, confidence that the A’s can return to the postseason.
Oakland will look for Sonny Gray to build on his strong season, but the rest of the rotation is nothing special.
With the return of Jed Lowrie and additions of Yonder Alonso and Khris Davis, the lineup should improve. Khris Davis hit 27 HR last year for the Brewers, and will look to provide Oakland with a power bat they’ve desperately lacked since trading Yoenis Cespedes.
Oakland should improve its win total from a year ago, but the rest of the division is simply too talented.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals won the division by 12 games last year; it’s a given that they’ll make the playoffs. But without an ace, Kansas City will have a tough time defending its championship.
Chicago White Sox
Don’t be surprised to see the White Sox in the playoff hunt. The addition of Todd Frazier should help an already solid lineup, and Chris Sale could win the Cy Young.
Detroit should bounce back from its disappointing last place finish in 2015. Bringing in Justin Upton and Jordan Zimmerman makes this team relevant again, but they’ll miss the playoffs for the second year in a row.
If the city of Cleveland ends its title drought this year, the Indians’ contribution will be cheering on the Cavs. The Indians have been mediocre these past two years, and this season will be no different.
The Twins somehow finished in second last year, but they’ll be returning to the cellar of the AL Central. Minnesota has a long way to go before they see the playoffs again.
World Series: Red Sox over Cubs
ALCS: Red Sox over Royals
NLCS: Cubs over Giants
NL MVP: Yoenis Cespedes
NL Cy Young: Jake Arrieta
NL ROY: Corey Seager
Al MVP: Carlos Correa
AL Cy Young: David Price
AL ROY: Jose Berrios
Contact Andrew Slap at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.