Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) Follow @stokes_hunter21
Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter Follow @mlbreports
There is parity in the American League and their is a growing distance between the good and the bad clubs in the National League.
One could argue that the top 6 teams (NYM/CHC/SF/WSH/STL/PIT) in all of the Majors reside in the NL right now, and you then you can counter that by saying they have the 6 worst squads as well (PHI/ATL/MIL/CIN/SD/COL).
The funny thing about this whole ordeal is that the AL is absolutely going to cream the NL in Interleague this forthcoming season. On a 12 year win streak already, I am predicting a 175 – 125 W – L for the games between both leagues. The AL speedbags the National League in my view.
Last year, the American League held a 167 – 133 mark over the National League so that prediction up there is not foreign by any means.
The American League East is the best Division in baseball again – and could see all clubs challenge the .500 or better barrier. I am giving the Blue Jays the advantage over the Red Sox based on the Interleague clubbing they are going to dish out to the NL this year.
Toronto has 4 games against both the Phillies and D’Backs, while they play the Dodgers, Giants, Rockies and Padres for 3 games each. I am fully expecting them to reel in 14 wins during their Interleague schedule.
New York has 4 tilts versus the Mets and Rockies, with 3 game sets against the Dodgers, Rockies, Padres and D’backs. I think this may be tough sledding versus their NY counterpart this season. I believe they will have the worst record vs the NL out of the 3 top AL East clubs.
Boston plays 4 games versus the Braves and Giants, while they also will faceoff versus the D’backs, Rockies, Padres and Dodgers for 3 games each. The Red Sox should also tally a decent record in their Interleague, however I like the offense better for the Blue Jays in translation vs the NL.
I say this aspect of the AL Race is the deciding factor. Give me the Jays and their offense – over the suspect Boston offense, and the aging Yankees squad, who needs repeat performances from Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira again, after all 3 had renaissance 2015 campaigns.
Adding Mark Trumbo helps HRs, but hurts the OBP and Strikeouts. Wild Card’s will be Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy if they can resurrect their offense prowess. Adding Dexter Fowler and Yovani Gallardo helps, but in a tough AL East, they will falter.
Tampa Bay will just not spend enough or trade enough for an offense difference maker. I love their starting pitching, yet their Bullpen and offense will be their undoing. Tough negotiation out of the AL East. Will not win 80 for first time since 2008.
Detroit has closed the gap in the AL Central, however the Royals doling out cash for Alex Gordon to return, and adding Ian Kennedy – actually has them a better squad to start the 2016 season – than they were to start the 2015 year.
Count on them to pickup another great pitcher at the midway point with the amount of prospects they have in the system.
No doubt the Tigers will be better, and should challenge for a Wild Card spot all year. I highly suspect injuries may derail their season again. It would not surprise me if they made the playoffs, but I am just worried about their age.
Cleveland hasn’t added enough players in my view, and I think Michael Brantley‘s injury will stunt their season out of the starting blocks.
Minnesota is a decent upcoming squad, but I think losing Torii Hunter on the field, and in the clubhouse, coupled with some pending sophomore slumps will see them in the basement of the AL Central. Having said this, they will still be near .500. Byron Buxton needs to emerge for them to reach the mark.
The White Sox will bludgeon some clubs with their offense but still not sold on their Starting Staff after Chris Sale. Team as constructed doesn’t reach .500 in my view.
Houston has depth everywhere and will hit enough HRs – and miss enough bats to win the AL West. George Springer and Carlos Correa should emerge as a superstars and MVP candidates this season.
Seattle was lucky enough to have Hisashi Iwakuma fall into their lap. Hate the CF/LF/SS/C combination of players and that will cost them a playoff spot.
Love the Adam Lind pickup, and wish they would spend to sign Ian Desmond or Dexter Fowler.
Texas’s brass should really have been more proactive with Yu Darvish coming back from Tommy John Surgery. Throw in the Derek Holland factor, having only started 13 Games in 3 years, and I think they will miss Gallardo this season.
Prince Fielder, Shin-soo Choo and Mitch Moreland all came back to put up impressive numbers in 2015, but can they replicate the production again? I am not sure. Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar will need to emerge if they make the playoffs again.
The Angels have strong depth in pitching but their offensive worries are a concern. It sucks too because they have improved their team defense as well. Arte Moreno should be bucking up cash to bring in a Dexter Fowler to shore up the OF.
Hate their second base situation and Catching for offense, but it wouldn’t matter if they added another productive OF. With plenty of cash coming off the books, they should go over the Luxury Tax Threshold for one year.
Oakland has too many average players across the board to compete in a challenging American League. Sonny Gray is the only exceptional player on the Roster. Plus I think Billy Beane/David Forst will flip a ton of veterans at the Trade Deadline.
I have seven teams collecting 90 wins or more in the Senior Circuit right now with the Cubs, Mets, Nats, Dodgers, Pirates, Giants and Cards all topping the list.
The Mets have the best pitching staff in the Majors, and are also coming back with their second half offense. Neil Walker aptly replaces Daniel Murphy. Asdrubal Cabrera is a better option offensively than Ruben Tejada or Wilmer Flores.
Travis d’Arnaud and David Wright should play more games than they combined for in 2015. Zack Wheeler comes back to make the rotation even stronger. The Mets are going to pulverize the Braves and Phillies all year.
Washington has had a horrific winter – losing out on several acquisitions. They should not stop trying. Pick up Fowler…Yes I have said this several times in this article so far, but this team needs to supplant the eventual Jayson Werth injury.
The Nats Starting Pitching will still be fine, plus I highly think that Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg both challenge for the NL Cy Young Award this year. Dusty Baker will get the best out of the entire roster. They have to beat up on all other teams in the Division besides the Mets. Play .667 ball in those 57 games.
Miami could win 85 games or lose 85. It all depends on the backs of Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton playing healthy all year. They must be within earshot of a playoff spot in July – otherwise the management may trade everyone.
The Marlins are a lot like the Diamondbacks, with the two of them being just below the top tier of the National League. The Fish may have the best offense in the Division, but will need the #3 through #5 starters to have unexpected performances to make the playoffs a possibility.
Atlanta, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, San Diego and Colorado are all in developmental years – and should take full advantage of a sellers market in July – by trading down everything not nailed. Who cares if all 6 may lose 100 games.
The Cubs have so much depth that they should be able to withstand a couple of sophomore slumps from the likes of Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez. The latter two may be used a trade bait for a dominant starter from Tampa Bay – like an Alex Cobb or Jake Odorizzi.
Chicago is the best team on paper, and could spend a few more dollars from trades or acquisitions yet. This should be their year to shine. 100 wins is not out of the question.
St. Louis has enough depth and youth to maintain a playoff spot all year. If they resided in the NL East or NL West, I may have picked them to win the Division still.
Adam Wainwright and Mike Leake will adequately replace John Lackey and injured Lance Lynn. Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty for full years should offset the loss of Jason Heyward. Lots of strength, and they know how to win.
Pittsburgh is being punished for being in a tough division, and with not opening up the pocketbook. It will catch up to them in 2016. Love the OF and INF, but hated the Neil Walker for Jon Niese trade, and they should not deal Mark Melancon away.
Internal improvements from Gregory Polanco, Jung-Ho Kang, and the next level for Starling Marte may turn out to be the difference on them earning a playoff berth for a fourth straight year. I say they just miss the postseason.
The Giants have the best 1 – 8 lineup, and a Starting Rotation that will eat so many innings up – that their Bullpen will nail down a ton of victories. Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez are all in contract years. Expect the best.
Bruce Bochy just knows how to cultivate talent. Denard Span was such a brilliant pickup. It serves as great protection for Angel Pagan. Span is a great leadoff hitter when healthy- and is a massive upgrade to an offense who was #1 in team Batting Average last year anyway.
Arizona is going to be a great story all year. If they can somehow sign Howie Kendrick I may give them another 1 or 2 wins on the season. They could just as easily switch places for 2nd in the NL West with the Dodgers.
Los Angeles keeps trying to cover up their weaknesses with volumes of players. Yasiel Puig may make or break the entire year based on his motivation. Losing Zack Greinke may come back to haunt them in the short term.
A lack of Bullpen help so far, and a Starting Staff riddled with injury concerns is a tough way to go through a whole year. The rest of the Division caught up with their primary advantage the last few years, and that is going to cost them.
I hope the club pulls the trigger on some midseason deals if in contention. Dave Stewart and Tony La Russa have shown a penchant for going for it, so it may come down to how they do (transactions wise during the year) that will determine their playoff fate.
Based on all of these factors, here are the win total predictions we are currently running with.
Everyone who reads this article should use the template for their own predictions in the Spring. If you have more than 2430 Games for wins, your prognostications are flawed.
Also, you must have the American League and National League with their Interleague totals affect the bottom line.
If the American League has 1240 wins, than the National League will have 1240 Losses.
AL East (Division Record, 418 – 392, .516 )
Toronto Blue Jays 88 – 74 (AL East Winner, #3 Seed)
Boston Red Sox 86 – 76 (AL #1 Wild Card, #4 Seed)
NY Yankees 85 – 77 (AL Wild Card #2, #5 Seed)
Baltimore Orioles 83 – 79
TB Rays 76 – 86
AL Central (Division Record, 415 – 395, .512)
KC Royals 90 – 72 (AL Central Winner #1 Seed)
Detroit Tigers 84 – 78
Cleveland Indians 84 – 78
Chicago White Sox 79 – 83
Minnesota Twins 78 – 84
AL West (Division Record, 407 – 403, .502)
Houston Astros 89 – 73 (AL West Winner #2 Seed)
Seattle Mariners 84 – 78
Texas Rangers 82 – 80
LA Angels 81 – 81
Oakland A’s 71 – 91
American League Record 1240 – 1190 (.510)
National League Record 1190 – 1240 (.490)
American League Interleague Record vs National League 175 – 125 (.583)
National League East (Division Record, 395 – 415, .486)
NY Mets 95 – 67 (NL East Winner #2 Seed)
Washington Nats 92 – 70 (NL Wild Card 1, #4 seed)
Miami Marlins 81 – 81
Philadelphia Phillies 66 – 96
Atlanta Braves 61 – 101
NL Central (Division Record, 402 – 408, .496)
Chicago Cubs 99 – 63 (NL Central Winner #1 Seed)
St. Louis Cardinals 91 – 71 (NL Wild Card #2, #5 seed)
Pittsburgh Pirates 90 – 72
Milwaukee Brewers 63 – 99
Cincinnati Reds 59 – 103
NL West (Division Record 393 – 417, .485)
SF Giants 92 – 70 (NL West Winner Seed #3)
LA Dodgers 90 – 72
Arizona D’Backs 86 – 76
Colorado Rockies 63 – 99
SD Padres 62 – 100
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their other partners.***
A big thanks goes out to our chief writer/owner Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured post.
To Subscribe and listen daily to ‘Our Lead Personality’ Sully’s 20 Minutes Daily (every day since Oct.24, 2012) Podcast click here. Guaranteed listening to the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast will be the best time you invest in online!
2016 MLB Previews: Team Salaries + SOTUs (MLB Teams State Of The Unions) Links Page here.