Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

American League East

Preseason:

  1. Toronto Blue Jays* 88-74
  2. Tampa Bay Rays* 86-76
  3. Baltimore Orioles 81-81
  4. New York Yankees 79-83
  5. Boston Red Sox 74-88

Update:

  1. Baltimore Orioles* 92-70
  2. Toronto Blue Jays 87-75
  3. Boston Red Sox 84-78
  4. New York Yankees 75-87
  5. Tampa Bay Rays 71-91

I think the Orioles are having a very good season. The rotation is still not great, but their bullpen has been the best in baseball all season long and they never have trouble scoring runs. Toronto will also be in the mix thanks largely in part to the emergence of Aaron Sanchez as a starter. Their lineup has not been as dominant as it has been in the past couple of seasons, but we know how fast they can heat up. I think they fall just shy of a second straight postseason appearance. The Red Sox have an incredible lineup that will be intact for many years to come but at the end of the day, their lack of pitching will cost them. It would be smart for the Yankees to sell all of their tradable assets; Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman and yes, even Andrew Miller. If the Phillies can turn Ken Giles into five players that includes Vincent Velasquez, the Yankees will be able to fleece somebody’s farm system for Miller. They should do so, because they are not competing for the postseason this year. I predicted the Rays to grab one of the Wild Cards this year, but it looks like they will be selling from their rotation this month and looking toward the future instead.


American League Central

Preseason:

  1. Kansas City Royals* 93-69
  2. Cleveland Indians 84-78
  3. Minnesota Twins 82-80
  4. Detroit Tigers 76-86
  5. Chicago White Sox 72-90

Update:

  1. Kansas City Royals* 89-73
  2. Cleveland Indians* 88-74
  3. Detroit Tigers 83-79
  4. Chicago White Sox 76-86
  5. Minnesota Twins 64-98

I still believe that the Royals will win this division. They have been ravaged by injuries this year, but players such as Cheslor Cuthbert, Whit Merrifield and Brett Eibner have done a nice job filling in. Losing Mike Moustakas for the season is a big loss. But I think this team’s chemistry will lead them to a big second half surge. Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez carried the American League to a fourth straight All-Star Game victory, and I saw two players who were ready to start a big second half run. I still view this division as a two team race between Kansas City and Cleveland. People have been hyping up the Indians for a few years now, and everything came together for them this year. This is a dangerous team and I felt they would be the team that gave the Royals the biggest challenge for the division this year. This race could come down to the final series of the season; a three game set between the Royals and Indians in Kansas City. The Tigers have seen their best days behind them, but Michael Fulmer is a bright spot for the future in an organization that is otherwise lacking in impact talent. The White Sox got off to a hot start, but I did not expect that to keep up. I never thought they were a very good team. They seem to be stuck in that same spot right in the middle, which is not where a team wants to be. Maybe this will be the year Chris Sale wins the Cy Young Award, though. The Twins are simply not very good.


American League West

Preseason:

  1. Houston Astros* 90-72
  2. Texas Rangers* 88-74
  3. Seattle Mariners 84-78
  4. Oakland Athletics 75-87
  5. Los Angeles Angels 71-91

Update:

  1. Texas Rangers* 96-66
  2. Houston Astros* 90-72
  3. Seattle Mariners 85-77
  4. Oakland Athletics 72-90
  5. Los Angeles Angels 67-95

The Rangers are probably the most underrated team in baseball, and they could also be the best team in baseball. Cole Hamels has been nothing short of excellent since coming over from the Phillies last July. Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor look like stars, and neither are older than 22-years old. Ian Desmond was a steal as a free agent and Adrian Beltre is a first ballot hall-of-famer. It is incredible how consistent he has been his entire career. They also have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, which will enable them to make any upgrades they will need over the next few weeks. (Joey Gallo for Andrew Miller?) The Astros are also heating up after a slow start, and this looks to be the beginning of an excellent rivalry for the foreseeable future. I think the Mariners will be in the mix into September, but the Rangers and Astros are superior teams and will begin to pull away. The Athletics are in a strange spot. Billy Beane’s magic is not working this year, and they will likely sell off at the deadline. The Angels are bad, and I am waiting for the day they trade Mike Trout and let this guy actually have a chance at winning a World Series, both for his own good and their own good.


National League East

Preseason:

  1. New York Mets* 89-73
  2. Miami Marlins 85-77
  3. Washington Nationals 80-82
  4. Atlanta Braves 72-90
  5. Philadelphia Phillies 70-92

Update:

  1. Washington Nationals* 94-68
  2. Miami Marlins* 88-74
  3. New York Mets 81-81
  4. Philadelphia Phillies 74-88
  5. Atlanta Braves 66-96

Everything finally seems to be clicking for the Nationals this year. Daniel Murphy looks like he is from another planet. It’s really something to see him just dominate the Mets all season long. I said they were overrated before the season. That has changed this year. This is an excellent team that is finally starting to put everything together. I have always been a Marlins believer for whatever reason. I am a big Christian Yelich fan and Marcell Ozuna is having a monster breakout year. I expect Giancarlo Stanton to take off and lead what is one of the best outfields in baseball. Jose Fernandez has been dominant this year. They will likely need to make some moves at the deadline, but I think this will be the year that the Marlins bust through and make the playoffs. The Mets rely so much on their pitching and home runs. Their pitching is not the same as it was a year ago, and Matt Harvey has been shut down for the season (should have traded him)… Even though they went to the World Series a season ago, this is still a team that cannot manufacture a run. Speed does not slump, but power does. The Mets rely on it so much that I think the second half will unfortunately be more of the “Same Old Mets” mantra that people are used to hearing. The Phillies and Braves are rebuilding. The Phillies are farther ahead in that process, while the Braves have as many elite prospects in baseball as anybody. It will take some time, but there is a lot to look forward to for both teams.


National League Central

Preseason:

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates* 95-67
  2. St. Louis Cardinals* 91-71
  3. Chicago Cubs 85-77
  4. Cincinnati Reds 71-91
  5. Milwaukee Brewers 70-92

Update:

  1. Chicago Cubs* 93-69
  2. Pittsburgh Pirates* 91-71
  3. St. Louis Cardinals 83-79
  4. Milwaukee Brewers 75-87
  5. Cincinnati Reds 61-101

Yes, I wrote this before the season started. Yes, I was wrong. In baseball, sometimes crazy things happen and you need to be bold with your predictions. That was my bold statement this year, and it made me look like a clown. It happens. The Cubs will win this division, but I expect the Pirates to make a run in the second half and makes things closer than people may think. Andrew McCutchen can’t be this bad all season and Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco have become two of the top outfielders in baseball. I also expect their pitching to improve, and Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow should only help that. Josh Bell is ready to play first base every day, and he will add an impact bat to their lineup. It’s been an off year for the Cardinals. But that’s okay, because they never have an off year. It will be interesting to see what moves they make going into the future after this season. The Brewers and Reds are both in rebuilding phases, and it will be a few years before either team can start to think about playing in October.


National League West

Preseason:

  1. San Francisco Giants* 91-71
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks* 88-74
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers 86-76
  4. San Diego Padres 72-90
  5. Colorado Rockies 68-94

Update:

  1. San Francisco Giants* 95-67
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers 85-77
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks 76-86
  4. Colorado Rockies 73-89
  5. San Diego Padres 70-92

Even year or not, I felt that the Giants were the best team in the NL West coming into the season. It appears that I was right as they have ran away with this division up to this point. I don’t think the Dodgers are very good, especially when Clayton Kershaw is not on the field. The Diamondbacks went all-in and I bought in, but this is just another example of a franchise making an ill-advised move that will likely have long-term repercussions. Losing A.J. Pollock for the season did not help, but they invested way too much in one pitcher and Shelby Miller has basically been a disaster. The Rockies need to develop some pitching before they can hope to contend and the Padres hosted the All-Star festivities this week, but that is about all they have going for them in 2016.


Postseason Picture:

American League:

Preseason:

  1. Kansas City Royals
  2. Houston Astros
  3. Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Texas Rangers
  5. Tampa Bay Rays

Update:

  1. Texas Rangers
  2. Baltimore Orioles
  3. Kansas City Royals
  4. Houston Astros
  5. Cleveland Indians

National League:

Preseason:

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates
  2. San Francisco Giants
  3. New York Mets
  4. St. Louis Cardinals
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks

Update:

  1. San Francisco Giants
  2. Washington Nationals
  3. Chicago Cubs
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates
  5. Miami Marlins

People may look at this and see the Cubs as my number three seed and go crazy. But the top three teams are separated by just two wins. It can really go either way, but this is how I see things shaping up, especially if the Pirates do finish only two games out of first place like I have.

Woah Just Take it Easy Man


AL Wild Card Game:

Preseason: Rays over Rangers

Update: Indians over Astros

This has the makings of an excellent game, especially if the Astros are playing at home. However, Dallas Keuchel has not been the same pitcher he was a season ago and it seems like anybody the Indians throw will be a tough task in one game.


NL Wild Card Game:

Preseason: Cardinals over Diamondbacks

Update: Marlins over Pirates

I really do not want to do this to the Pirates for a THIRD year in a row. But unfortunately, Jose Fernandez looms. One-and-done for the Pirates once again.


ALDS:

Preseason: Royals over Rays, Astros over Blue Jays

Update: Rangers over Indians, Orioles over Royals

The Rangers are a very good team and even though the Indians have an excellent staff, I think the Rangers will prevail and advance to the American League Championship Series. I do think the Royals will win the Central, but I can see their bullpen formula being used against them in the Division Series. Brad Brach, Darren O’Day and Zach Britton have been lights out all year for the Birds, and they really are the better team this season.


NLDS:

Preseason: Pirates over Cardinals, Giants over Mets

Update: Giants over Marlins, Cubs over Nationals

The Giants have “it” when it comes to the postseason and even years. The Marlins have an exciting future, but they unfortunately run into the wrong team in this scenario. A Cubs-Nationals match-up would be an excellent series, but I think the Cubs win out.


ALCS:

Preseason: Astros over Royals

Update: Orioles over Rangers

As good as the Rangers are, I think the Orioles’ bullpen puts them over the top. This was another tough call for me, but I think the Orioles are primed for something big this year.


NLCS:

Preseason: Pirates over Giants

Update: Giants over Cubs

If you are a Cubs fan, this is the last thing you want to see. “It” will strike again in this match-up between two of the National League’s elites as the Giants will return to the Fall Classic for the fourth consecutive even year.


World Series:

Preseason: Astros over Pirates

Update: Orioles over Giants

It’s an even year. But sorry Giants…

No No No Not Today

Now that that’s out of my system, I think this is the year for the Orioles. Their lineup is excellent. Their defense is always solid. Manny Machado and Adam Jones are superstars. Jonathan Schoop has developed nicely. Mark Trumbo has been a steal for this team. Their pitching has it’s questions, but the last two American League pennants were won because of a shut-down bullpen (a strategy that also secured home field advantage for the American League). The Orioles bullpen has been baseball’s best this year but the difference between the 2016 Orioles and the 2014-15 Royals is the lineup. I think Baltimore will have the lead late in the game many times and if they don’t, their bullpen will be able to hold down the fort until one of their many thumpers can provide the offense. The Giants will make it to the World Series, but it will be the Birds that come out on top in the battle between the orange and black in the 2016 Fall Classic.


Awards:

AL MVP:

Preseason: Carlos Correa, HOU

Update: Jose Altuve, HOU

NL MVP:

Preseason: Paul Goldschmidt, ARI

Update: Clayton Kershaw, LAD

AL Cy Young:

Preseason: Chris Archer, TB

Update: Chris Sale, CWS

NL Cy Young:

Preseason: Jose Fernandez, MIA

Update: Clayton Kershaw, LAD

AL Rookie of the Year:

Preseason: Sean Manaea, OAK

Update: Michael Fulmer, DET

NL Rookie of the Year:

Preseason: Cody Reed, CIN

Update: Corey Seager, LAD

AL Manager of the Year:

Preseason: A.J. Hinch, HOU

Update: Buck Showalter, BAL

NL Manager of the Year:

Preseason: Clint Hurdle, PIT

Update: Clint Hurdle, PIT

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