Major League Baseball Predictions For 2016

Mar 24, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Fans reach for autographs prior to the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 24, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Fans reach for autographs prior to the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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Major League Baseball
Mar 26, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) is greeted by teammates after scoring a run in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The American League Central has been owned by the Royal Blue for the last few seasons. Once the Tigers’ division, the Royals franchise has been built on past failures and producing talent that can stay around. They’ve excelled despite being a not so desired free agent destination. Much credit should be given to general manager Dayton Moore and their skipper Ned Yost for getting the job done.

The Royals have faced much criticism for their fans participation in the All-Star voting, trading for James Shields and giving up Wil Myers — not to mention their losing decade of the 2000’s. After years of waiting for top talent to bloom and guys received via trades, the Royals are showing their true colors.

2016 won’t be an easy task though, despite back-to-back World Series appearances. One of the hot teams in baseball right now, they are at the crossroads of becoming a consistent franchise, or could see some guys who deserved to get paid leave Kansas City.

Alex Gordon is a prime example who turned down millions to return to the Royals. The money is out there, but he chose rising success and familiarity. With Eric Hosmer and some others set to hit free agency after this season, 2016 could be it for the team.

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But for the Royals to even return to the playoffs, they will have to get through a good division with other teams who honestly could have a compelling case for deserving to win.

The Indians sport one of baseball’s best rotations with Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer, and Josh Tomlin. But with Michael Brantley possibly shelved for some time in recovery from shoulder surgery, the Indians chances might take a hit.

Young star in the making, Francisco Lindor, could prove to be a big offensive force in the absence of their face of the franchise, and the team must hope that Carlos Santana finally breaks out after years of anticipation.

The Tigers cannot be counted out of the mix for a division title as their offseason additions to the bullpen, rotation, and outfield have improved the club. Cameron Maybin has returned but a broken hand will stall the beginning of his season, and Justin Upton joins an already dominant batting order. Could this boost his potential and take pressure off being the main source of offense in San Diego? Jordan Zimmermann added to the rotation will help bring consistency behind Justin Verlander who looks to be in good health and looks like he could return to the form he had during his strongest seasons.

The White Sox were big spenders and big traders these past few seasons and if they don’t improve dramatically, this could be Robin Ventura’s last season in Chicago. Todd Frazier has come over from Cincinnati this offseason as part of a three-team trade between the Dodgers, White Sox, and Reds. Building the offense around Adam Eaton, Jose Abreu, and Frazier, the White Sox could finally be in position to be where they want.

One of the game’s best starters, Chris Sale, will look to bounce back to a choppy finish in 2015. Needing help, the young and talented Carlos Rodon could take the next step and challenge Jose Quintana for the second spot in the rotation in the future.

The Tigers, Twins, Royals, and Indians are a handful the White Sox will have to handle, and Ventura’s departure looks more than inevitable.

For the Twins, this could be a season in where they get back to the playoff days of Ron Gardenhire’s teams. In his first season with unknown expectations, Paul Molitor took the Twins close to .500. Top prospect Byron Buxton has looked his part this spring and a 2016 breakout season could be key Minnesota needs. His ability to get in scoring position and steal bases will be essential for their offense and to win games.

Phil Hughes will take the mound once again on Opening Day and could kick the Twins into good position to surprise the division and American League.

With the case of all five teams, this division was hard to predict, but it is probably best to play it safe.

Prediction –

  1. Royals (92-70)
  2. Tigers (87-75)
  3. Twins (80-82)
  4. Indians (79-83)
  5. White Sox (73-88)

Next: American League West