In just a few days, the 2016 baseball season will begin. So all the sports magazines and websites will soon be publishing their predictions (if they haven’t already) on what the final standings will look like. I cannot add anything to what they’re saying (most of what I could say will just be a rehash anyway), but I can still muse on what we might see in the upcoming months.
Can the Royals and Mets repeat?
2014 was supposed to have been a fluke for Kansas City. On paper, they weren’t that good. No real power, average starting pitching…. They weren’t that good on paper last year, either – but we know what happened. They aren’t supposed to be that good on paper this year…. Somehow, they are doing things right that don’t show up in the projections. They’ve been a bit lucky in the playoffs, so it’s still fair to ask if they can do it again. Their AL Central rivals in Cleveland and Chicago have improved a bit, bu probably not enough to dethrone them.
The Mets have one of the scariest-good young rotations that we’ve seen in ages. They got some breaks last year (a trade that didn’t go through led to an even better deal, the only other good team in their division collapsed down the stretch, people got hot at the right time). This year, they look even better. But their offense, though improved, isn’t *that* great, and all that good young pitching could fail them….. They’re relying on the depth of their rotation, and a very weak division.
Will any team lose 100 games this year?
So many National League teams seem to have given up. The Braves are rebuilding, the Reds and Padres are starting to rebuild, the Rockies just lost their only good player, and the Phillies….. It’s going to get ugly. One doesn’t like seeing dumpster fires, but the chances are good there will be at least one in the NL this year.
It’s an even-numbered year. Does that mean the Giants will win it all?
No, it does not. They did add some talent in the off season, but not enough to carry them past the Dodgers – or the Cubs, Cardinals, Mets, and Nationals.
Which divisional race will be the most exciting?
In the NL Central, the Cubs and Cardinals have a REAL rivalry this time. They might beat up on each other enough to let the Pirates sneak past them. In the American League, the Red Sox went all-in on acquiring talent. Watching them battle the Blue Jays will be great fun. Though probably not as much fun as the Battle For Texas, with the Rangers and Astros slugging it out in the AL West. Pick your favorite!
Will the Cubs disappoint?
The Cubs are already being anointed as World Series Champions. And they’ll run roughshod over every other team, winning 1,000 games along the way. Yes, they’ve finally got a really good team that’s capable of winning it all. But actually doing it is another matter, especially given the randomness of the playoff structure. For Cubs fans, let’s hope that at least winning a playoff series will be satisfying enough.
Which team will have the most annoying fans?
There’s the “even-year” thing for the Giants. There are Cardinals fans who think that just because you wear the uniform you should be an All-Star, MVP, Cy Young, Gold Glove, and Nobel Prize winner. Yankees fans are becoming less insufferable now that the team has started losing, and they don’t have any truly charismatic players anymore. If the Royals win again, their fans might start to blather about a “dynasty”. If the Red Sox are as good as projected, their fans might get on one’s nerves if they start bragging about how many championships they have this century….
Will people shut up about bat flips and “respect for the game” and just enjoy it?