Ohhhh that horrible task of making predictions. Woe to the A’s of 2009, the Rangers of 2014 and the White Sox last year, my outside the box picks of the past to see the World Series only to crash and burn.
Every once in a while I pick a pennant winner correctly (thank you 2013 St. Louis Cardinals) but not often.
Alas, this is what we do before a season begins. And as I said on my podcast linked HERE and below, I am standing by these picks even though no doubt I will look really silly come October.
THE OFFICIAL SULLY BASEBALL PICKS FOR THE 2016 SEASON
American League East Division Champion
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
A case can be made for each team (a weak one for Baltimore) but if the Blue Jays can snap up another inning eater during the season, their offense will slug the team to enough wins.
The Red Sox have too many questions in the rotation. The Yankees have too many issues with their age. The Rays can pitch but their hitting is suspect. The Orioles have some star power but look like they are teetering on the edge of a franchise meltdown.
American League Central Division Champion
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
OK, not a brave pick to say the two time defending American League Champions will be heading back to October. There is no dud team in this division. The Indians can pitch. The Tigers have star power. The White Sox have talent and the Twins could have the top three Rookie of the Year finishers on a club that had a winning 2015.
With Alex Gordon back and the team deep and confident, I will pick the Champs until they are dethroned.
American League West Division Champion
Sure, I have all three Division Winners from 2015 repeating. But the Rangers bullpen is solid, the team has a budding All Star team in triple A waiting to join a big league club that has contended almost all decade and Cole Hamels will be there for a while year. The Astros will make their lives miserable but Texas will hold on. The A’s have talent but few stars. The Mariners have star and little talent besides them. And the Angels have the biggest star of them all in Mike Trout but the club is in turmoil.
American League Wild Cards
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Oh the Astros, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, White Sox, Twins and maybe Seattle will all take a run at the wild card. But pitching will win out the day. The Indians and Rays will address any offensive holes and two of the lowest payrolls will face off in the Wild Card game.
National League East Division Champion
NEW YORK METS
The Mets and the Nationals should be neck and neck until the end of the season and whichever team wins should be a coin flip. The Mets have the deeper pitching staff and are coming off a pennant. The Nationals have a deeper club and will be more relaxed with Dusty Baker rather than Matt Williams at the helm. Either team can win it but I am picking the Mets because of their superior pitching.
The Marlins are stuck in that awful neutral zone. They are not as bad as the horrible teams in the NL but not as good as the elite ones. The Braves and Phillies will combine for 200 losses.
National League Central Champion
Ahhh the pick that will inevitably get me the most crap. Yes, I know everyone and their moose is picking the Cubs to win the Division and ultimately the World Series. I think the Pirates reclamation projects in their pitching staff will continue with Juan Nicasio. And Andrew McCutchen is poised to have a monster year in the number two slot. The Cubs will be solid of course and discount the Cardinals at your own peril. But the Pirates are sneaky and under everyone’s radar. I see them feasting on the dreadful Brewers and Reds and winning 96 games and the Division.
National League West Champion
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
I am not picking the Giants because it is an even year. OK, that isn’t the only reason. The Giants pitching staff will be deeper than the Dodgers who are already banged up. And if Pence stays in the lineup, they will score enough runs to win a lot of games.
Meanwhile the Diamondbacks strike me as a team that gets all the press in the off season but it does not fit in the regular season. (See 2011 Red Sox, 2012 Marlins, 2013 Blue Jays and 2015 Padres and Nationals for examples.)
The Rockies and the Padres will make the Washington Generals seem competitive in basketball.
National League Wild Card
There is just too much talent on these teams to not make the post season. The Cubs lineup is stacked and while I prefer Pittsburgh’s pitching, starting with Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester doesn’t hurt.
Meanwhile the Nationals season long battle with the Mets will result in 90 wins and a place in the Wild Card game as Dusty Baker will have his fourth franchise in post season play.
The Cardinals, Dodgers and for a while the Marlins will hang around the periphery of the Wild Card chase but fall short.
So there you go. My Divisional Picks.
Best way you could ever lose money is to go to Las Vegas right now and bet on all of these!