In 2015, we essentially saw a changing of the guard in the MLB. Gone are the days of teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox dominating the playoffs. Expect more of the same in 2016. The 2015 postseason had a number of new faces. For example, the Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros, and Chicago Cubs each made their first playoff appearances since at least 2008. (‘08 for the Cubs, ‘05 for the Astros, and ‘93 for the Jays.) Additionally, the New York Mets made the playoffs for the first time since 2006. In 2016, look for these four teams, plus the Royals, to continue their success. The New York Mets have a chance to win it all this year due to their pitching staff. Their core consists of three guys: Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom all of whom top out at 97mph+ and have devastating breaking balls (Syndergaard’s slider tops out at 95 mph). On the opposite side, the Cubs can mash. Top to bottom, their lineup is the best in the major leagues. They have power in Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, contact in Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell, and speed with Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler. Couple their lineup with pitchers like Jake Arrietta, the newly acquired John Lackey, and one of the best closers in baseball in Hector Rondon, and you get a potential 100+ win team. The Blue Jays are very similar to the Cubs as they have guys like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki, and Josh Donaldson. Each of these four guys should contribute at a high enough level to propel them to the postseason for the second straight year, but they lack the pitching to make a deep run. Same goes for the Houston Astros, even though they have Dallas Keuchel. They are just too young and inexperienced to really win the Fall Classic. However, in about five years, when guys like Carlos Correa, Jon Singleton, AJ Reed, and Tony Kemp have all had multiple years of major league experience, they will be the favorites to win it all. Now, on to the Boston Red Sox. Now, while they did acquire a number of top players this past winter, such as David Price and Craig Kimbrel, they lack the experience and yes, pitching, to make it back to the postseason. Offensively, they should be in the top half of the league, with guys like the Mayor of Ding Dong City Travis Shaw, Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Hanley Ramirez. Runs shouldn’t be hard to come by, but besides Price, Kimbrel, Tazawa, and Uehara, the staff is very inexperienced. Expect no better than an 85-87 win season for the Sox.
Red Sox Seek Mediocrity in 2016 MLB Season
by Peter Flahertyon May 5, 2016