Spring is in the air, which means Opening Day is right around the corner. Best time of year. Some people are questioning if the O’s are better than last year, or if they’re worse. I’m on the side who thinks they have improved, but it all comes down to starting pitching.
So the question is, do the O’s return to 2014 form and make the playoffs for the third time in five years, or do they bust?
Here’s how I broke down each division winner, along with who I think will be the eventual World Series champ.
East: Toronto Blue Jays– The Blue Jays were a good team last year, until they acquired David Price, and became a World Series contender. Now that they’ve lost Price, they should fall back down to earth again, but with a competitive division without any onvious frontrunner, I think the Blue Jays should be favored to win the AL East.
Central: Kansas City Royals- I Hate the Royals, and I was hoping 2014 was a fluke, but then they proved themselves by going on and winning the World Series in 2015. The Royals bring back the same core of players this year, and I don’t expect anything less than a division win for KC.
West: Houston Astros- The 2015 Astros reminded us all of the 2012 Orioles. Their guys finally put it together, and with ace Dallas Keuchel and young studs Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve, the Astros will be around for a few years.
Wild Card 1: Baltimore Orioles- The O’s just have way too much offensive power to not make the playoffs, even with very questionable starting pitching. A typical O’s game for 2016? Losing 8-5 after the sixth, then go on to win 10-8.
Wild Card 2: New York Yankees- The Yankees have to be worse this year than in 2015 right? I mean how long can you ask 40 year olds to carry your ball club? But their bullpen is so good, the Yankees are basically playing against a team for six innings. If the Yankees can get even average starting pitching, the offense should be just enough to keep the Yankees in the playoffs for another year.
ALCS: Kansas City Royals over Houston Astros
East: Washington Nationals- I was high on the Nats last year, but they failed to deliver. I just can’t imagine a team with as much talent as them missing the playoffs, even though the Mets will make it competitive. Look for Stephen Strausburg to have a big bounce back year before entering free agency.
Central: Chicago Cubs- Toss up between the Cubs and Cardinals here, as the Cubs have more talent on paper, but the Cardinals are the constant. This one will go down to the wire, but I’ll take the Cubs to come out on top because of all their young talented bats.
West: San Francisco Giants- The Giants spent a lot of money in the offseason, and I’m not sure if the guys they got were entirely worth it. But the Giants are a well run organization, so I’ll trust their front office, and pick them to win the West.
Wild Card 1: St. Louis Cardinals- The Cardinals should have Adam Wainwright healthy, and despite losing a few pieces to their rival Cubs, the Cardinals did have the best record in baseball last year. The Cardinals won’t miss the playoffs anytime soon.
Wild Card 2: New York Mets- This one was tough, because I had to leave the Dodgers out of the playoffs. But I have too much confidence in the Mets’ young pitching combined with their weak division to leave them out.
NLCS: Chicago Cubs over San Fransisco Giants
World Series: Kansas City Royals over Chicago Cubs- It would surprise the baseball world to have a back to back champion, but as of right now the Royals are top dog and someone’s got to push them off. I think the Cubs are close, but end up, it’s Salvador Perez who gets to tatt up his other chubby bicep.