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 Basball
February 26, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) poses for a picture during photo day at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Another division and more controversy, the American League West presents itself with some the league’s great players and a wide open race for the division crown.

If there is one thing that should scare baseball, it should be when the Angels finally throw in the towel and let Mike Trout go. The AL West’s — and arguably, the game’s — best player is stuck on a team with many bad contracts and an owner who does not seem to get it. Being deemed Los Angeles’ second team, the Angels find it hard to gain the attention of others.

But at some point, the prime and great years of Trout are going to be wasted. Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, and Josh Hamilton were given massive deals that have been bad for the team and have restricted their flexibility to add talent. The team struggles with its farm system as well, as it ranks among the bottom in baseball. Within the AL West, teams should not have to be frightened by the Angels. But if Andrew Heaney and Garrett Richards find their groove and health, Wilson can be forgotten and they can lead the charge for the Angels rotation.

The defending division champion Astros, look to be in good position to use their youth and experienced players to handle the Wild West. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, take on the lead roles for the team and all signs points to a bright future. The Astros were not supposed to contend in 2015 according to many experts. But the critics were silenced as Jeff Luhnow’s plan began coming to fruition.

After struggles with Eric Wedge at manager, Lloyd McClendon came in for the Mariners and had a successful initial season in 2014. In 2015, it all fell a part for a Mariners team who had a bullpen even greater than the Giants and Royals had in 2014. Injuries to players and underperforming led to an embarrassing season for the Mariners, and a fresh start for new general manager Jerry DiPoto and new manager Scott Servais.

With attractive pieces like Felix Hernandez, Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Taijuan Walker, Dipoto has put in serious work to help mold a team around these players — which is something former general manager Jack Zduriencek failed to do. With more diversity, defense, and speed, the Mariners are in good position to climb back up and challenge the Astros and Rangers.

Last season, the Rangers finally were the team to make a splash when they dealt for Cole Hamels, after the Dodgers were the rumored team to obtain him. The Rangers have done things their own way since Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels have stepped in to run the organization.

Growing homegrown talent and trading for big league players, the Rangers almost outdid the Blue Jays in last year’s playoffs — not to forget a 2010 World Series trip against the Giants. Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, and Cole Hamels look to lead the Rangers in 2016 and a Yu Darvish return projected in May will help their odds to challenge the West and get back to October baseball.

For the Athletics, well they will likely be the same in 2016 as they were in 2015. Oakland baseball is Billy Beane ball, and will be so until a new owner is presented for the club. When a player gets too good, they are traded and it is back to square one for the club. With Sonny Gray a rising ace, he soon will probably be one of Beane’s victims of success.

Because success brings reward, and that means money. However, give the A’s much credit for building up players and their value and receiving players in return. Whether moneyball can work anymore remains to be seen, but what can be admired is the handful of talent that is created that has increased one’s value. Khris Davis looks to be the next project for the A’s to work on who will likely be dealt to a contending team come the trade deadline. A cellar finish looks imminent for the A’s once again.

If the West wasn’t wild enough already, 2016 will present an even more competitive division and may come down to the last week of the season to crown the division winner.

Prediction –

  1. Rangers 87-75
  2. Astros 85-77
  3. Mariners 81-81
  4. Angels 77-85
  5. Athletics 68-94

Next: National League East