It’s time for the 2016 MLB Season to start, and many people have their predictions as to what might happen this season. Some are considered normal, some crazy, and some will be bold. Here are my bold predictions for the 2016 MLB Season.
1. The San Francisco Giants will finish their dynasty this year with a World Series Ring
It’s an even number year, so it means the Giants are a contender this season. The difference between this season and the three seasons the Giants had won the World Series is that for the first time they are viewed as a favorite to win with the additions of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. With these two pitchers to go along with Bumgarner and the brilliant manager in Bruce Bochy, the Giants look like your best bet to win the World Series.
2. The Cubs will not win the NL Central
It almost seems like a forgone conclusion that the Cubs will win the division and people are claiming they can win it all. I’m a bit skeptical due to the large additions made to the team. Those include John Lackey, Jayson Heyward, and Ben Zobrist. These players are great individual talents, but can they gel quickly enough to thwart the St. Louis Cardinals or the Pittsburgh Pirates? They should make the playoffs, most likely as a Wild Card team, but a division title seems a bit unlikely.
3. The Boston Red Sox will not make the playoffs
The Red Sox were one of the busier teams this offseason with the additions of Craig Kimbrel and David Price. Getting such talent should put them in a position to make a deep playoff run this October right? Wrong. The Boston Red Sox, while loaded with talent, have too many question marks surrounding their team. Their biggest question mark is on Pablo Sandoval and his weight issues. Not only has Pablo Sandoval come to Spring Training in worse shape than he’s ever been in, but there are questions to both him and Hanley Ramirez on where to they play on the field. With those questions and the tough division that is the AL East, it seems unlikely that the Red Sox will even make the playoffs.
4. A Relief Pitcher will win the AL Cy Young Award
A Relief Pitcher has not won a Cy Young Award since 2003 when Eric Gagne did it in the National League. What makes the 2016 campaign similar to that season? The answer is Wade Davis. Widely regarded as the best relief pitcher in baseball, he is not the current closer for the Kansas City Royals. He has proven how valuable relief pitching has become leading the Royals bullpen to 2 straight world series. With an ERA of 0.94 last season, winning the Cy Young Award is not out of the question.
5. The Mets will regress from last season
The Mets, since its inception in 1962, have often been viewed as a mediocre franchise. Last season however may have been the turning point in their conquest to be the better New York team, and many view the additions of Neil Walker and Asdrubel Cabrera as improvements to their team. To put it bluntly, they aren’t. David Wright is a year older and coming off of Spinal stenosis surgery, Asdrubel Cabrera has been regarded as the worst defensive shortstop in the league, and Neil Walker’s offensive and defensively productivity is no different than Daniel Murphy. Whether it’s before the World Series, or trying to make the playoffs, the Mets will struggle.
6. Manny Machado will sweep a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger and the Hank Aaron Awards respectively
A quick newsflash, Manny Machado is really good at everything. Everything on a baseball field he does with excellence. With a refined approach to hitting, he’s no longer swinging at anything that comes his way, he’s become an excellent power threat, and has always been the best defensive 3rd baseman in the league. This is the year where all of that comes together as Machado will be showcasing his hitting skills, and defensive skills challenging Mike Trout for the best player in the AL crown.
7. Neither the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Arizona Diamondbacks will make the playoffs
After acquiring Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, the Diamondbacks appeared to have the pitching necessary to complement their all-star hitting. The Dodgers have to deal with issues on the field with losing Greinke and off the field with Yasiel Puig. One team looks poised to make a playoff run and the other looks poised to struggle for most of the season. While Shelby Miller is a solid addition, the Diamondbacks have not addressed the major issues involving their bullpen, similar to the Dodgers. Both teams may look good on paper, but without a functioning bullpen, it’ll be very difficult to beat the best teams in the NL as they all are equipped with good bullpens.
8. Yasiel Puig will be traded
Talent can get you through the door, and no one can deny the talent Yasiel Puig has shown. Whether it’s the great arm, power, speed and ability to make contact with the ball, many consider Yasiel Puig a complete talent. The Dodgers have been able to deal with his antics off the field because he’s produced. This year, I feel however will be similar to last year. Inconsistent, and injury plagued. While the Dodgers were able to deal with Puig before, that was only because he was producing. If he doesn’t produce this year like in years past, expect a move to be made by the dodgers getting rid of the Cuban Star.
9. The Texas Rangers will win the AL Pennant
It seems like baseball has forgotten the winner of the AL West was the Rangers. They’ve also forgotten the Rangers were a game away from beating the Blue Jays. And that was without Yu Darvish. The Japanese pitcher will be back on the team soon enough, and while the pitching staff is formidable as it is with Cole Hamels, Derek Holland and Martin Perez, the addition of Yu Darvish can take it over the top. If the Rangers can remain healthy, and possibly gain an arm for the bullpen, the Rangers can be the biggest threat coming out of the American League.
10. Mike Trout will have a 10+ WAR Season
This isn’t exactly a bold prediction as Mike Trout is considered the best player in the game. Now WAR is a confusing statistic as it determines how much better you are compared to an average replacement. Mike Trout has 1 season where he’s 10 Wins better than a replacement and I expect him to have another season where he’s 10 wins better. This should be expected from Trout considering the lack of talent the Angels display and it’ll be necessary if the Angels want to have any chance at the playoffs. Don’t be surprised if Mike Trout goes above and beyond even my expectations.