Next to Super Bowl Sunday, Opening Day in the MLB is the best sports holiday on the market. The energy, the aspirations, and the expectations are endless. More importantly, it is a sign that warm weather is right around the corner. A lot of big stories this offseason, including the signings of superstar pitchers David Price to my Boston Red Sox and Zack Greinke to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Here are my predictions for the 2016 season:
East – Boston Red Sox. If you thought I was going to pick any other team here you clearly haven’t visited this site before. Boston’s youth, combined with David Price, Craig Kimbrel, and Big Papi’s last season will give the Red Sox the AL East crown.
Central – Kansas City Royals. Forget Moneyball, the Royals have figured out the winning formula when it comes to manufacturing hits, runs, and wins. Ned Yost will once again have his team in the playoffs and poised to make another deep run.
West – Texas Rangers. A full year of Cole Hamels and the return of Yu Darvish sometime in early May will help support an underrated line-up that is chock full of guys that can mash the ball.
Wildcards – Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros. Toronto’s lineup is a force to be reckoned with and Houston’s Carlos Correa is a budding superstar.
Cy Young – David Price. Last year’s Cy Young runner-up comes as advertised this season and finishes the year with exactly 20 wins.
MVP – Jose Bautista. The bat-flip controversay is exactly what the MLB needs to compete with the stories of the NBA and the NFL. I’m predicting 45 home runs from Bautista this season.
ALCS – Royals over Red Sox. The Sox make a deep run into the playoffs, but their lack of depth in the starting rotation is exposed against the pesky Royals.
East – Washington Nationals. This team should’ve won the pennant last year, but their epic collapse and subsequent dugout brawl between Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper derailed the artist formerly known as the Montreal Expos.
Central – Chicago Cubs. Last year’s Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta will have yet another stellar season and the addition of Jason Heyward to the Chicago line-up will put the team over the top and give the tortured Cubs their first division title since 2008.
West – San Francisco Giants. I’m starting to think that this whole even year thing isn’t a trend anymore and is more an act of baseball blackmagic.
Wild Cards – St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks
Cy Young – Zack Greinke. The expectations in Arizona and from Diamondbacks fans are low and that is just how Greinke likes it.
MVP – Bryce Harper. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Harper hit over .350 this season.
NLCS – Nationals over Cubs. The Nats will not only beat the Cubs, but they’ll also defeat the Royals in a seven-game World Series