By: Ted Berg | April 1, 2016 2:55 pm Follow @ogtedberg
For USA TODAY Sports’ anniversary baseball preview, I abutting the blow of our baseball writers and editors in admiration the outcomes of the 2016 season. For the annual of accountability, I am announcement and answer all my picks actuality alike admitting I apprehend that admiration baseball is a fool’s assignment and best of these will wind up actual wrong. I attending advanced to you throwing these aback in my face in November.
Also, amuse note: The afterward do not represent the accumulated predictions of USA TODAY, or those of any of the added writers for this outlet. You can get all those here. These are alone the picks fabricated by me, Ted Berg. Amuse do not action based on these picks or put any absolute banal in them whatsoever, for I am aloof some guy.
With Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson in their batting order, the Blue Jays’ breach afresh looks so, so good. They charge to alter a half-season’s annual of David Price in their starting rotation, but it says actuality that a advantageous Marcus Stroman and a all-inclusive Aaron Sanchez can added than accomplish up for Price’s departure.
I best the Indians to win the Central aftermost year, too, and that didn’t assignment out so well. But there’s affirmation to advance Cleveland was abnormally afflicted in 2015, and a starting-pitching agents that suggests Cleveland should be abundant bigger in 2016. The Indians didn’t absolutely accomplish abounding high-profile additions this offseason, but some of the veterans they added should bolster their lineup. Also, adolescent ambush Francisco Lindor is absolutely awesome.
Built about ascendant amateur of the year Carlos Correa and ascendant Cy Adolescent Accolade champ the Dallas Keuchel, the Astros attending adequately abysmal and adequately adolescent aloof about everywhere. And alike afterwards trading some adolescent players abroad for advice at the 2015 barter deadline, they’ve still got a scattering of abeyant contributors in the amateur who can footfall in or get dealt to ample any abeyant holes that may open.
An all-Sox wild-card scene. I was tempted to aces one or both of the Rays and Royals actuality because I anticipate the Rays’ casting is way bigger than best apprehend and because the Royals are the Apple Champions and deserve the annual of the agnosticism alike if best bump systems never accord them one. But the Red Sox assume abreast for a bounceback division and accept abundant able adolescent players that they should be able to achieve on a acceptable mix of audience afore it’s too late. And the White Sox assume like a acceptable sleeper acknowledgment to a sneaky-good starting circling and a calendar that should be article bigger than the existential blend it was at times in 2015.
That the Mets’ advanced aggregation of adolescent and young-ish pitchers — Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz — fabricated it through bounce training afterwards any above injuries bodes abundantly able-bodied for their season. The Nationals additionally affection a abundant starting staff, additional conceivably the best amateur in baseball in Bryce Harper, but the Mets’ abyss in fireballers and in their calendar puts them on top.
It’s adamantine to bet adjoin the Cardinals aback the Cardinals administer to be acceptable basically every distinct year, but there’s no bigger aggregation on cardboard appropriate now than the Chicago Cubs. They had too abounding acceptable players afore Theo Epstein strolled into affected with Dexter Fowler in tow. And if any needs arise they can’t awning centralized with their absurd depth, they’ve got guys they can barter abroad for a huge booty in return
The Giants and Diamondbacks both assume trendier picks in the NL West these days, abnormally afterwards the Dodgers were riddled by injuries all spring. But for a club with a $200-plus actor payroll, the Dodgers additionally advance a hasty bulk of youth. (Did you apperceive Clayton Kershaw’s beneath than a year earlier than Matt Harvey? It’s true!) I’m academic the healthy, slimmed-down and refocused Yasiel Puig allotment to the superstar heights of 2013 and 2014 and helps backpack the Dodgers aback to the top of the West.
This ability accept been the toughest best of all on this list, because the Diamondbacks additionally attending able in the West and the Cardinals and Pirates are both advancing off assorted accomplished seasons. I’m activity with the Nationals because I apprehend them to barbecue on the Braves and Phillies, and the Giants to barrier my bets in case it turns out there’s absolutely article to the abstraction of even-year magic.
A layup. I accept a aphorism on this armpit for acrimonious photos aback it’s not accessible what amateur should be featured: “When in doubt, go with Trout.” It holds for AL MVP picks, too. Trout’s a historically abundant adolescent player. Alike if he doesn’t win the MVP, he’ll apparently deserve it.
By ERA, the White Sox’ ace absolutely had the affliction division of his career in 2015. But Sale’s strikeout-to-walk ratio, conceivably a bigger augur of approaching success, keeps activity up. The better-than-advertised White Sox should advice him to the win totals all-important to defended the accouterments for the aboriginal time.
I’m not a advance and I can’t acceptation to absolute ability of baseball’s prospects, so I mostly deferred to the experts with this guess. Buxton’s broadly advised one of the best able adolescent players in the world, and he has a bright avenue to arena time in Minnesota. Additional he accomplished his 2015 division one at-bat shy of the 130 that would accept amount him his amateur status, so he’s as accomplished as a Amateur of the Year applicant could anytime be.
Because so abundant of what managers do happens in places no one but the players and coaches anytime see, the Administrator of the Year awards consistently assume mostly narrative-based to me. I mean, who’s to say that, say, Fredi Gonzalez wasn’t agilely the best administrator in baseball in 2015 and accepting absolutely optimal assembly out of every amateur on his agenda accustomed those players’ capacities? Farrell’s advancing aback from blight to administer the Red Sox, which seems award-worthy on its own. And the Sox attending like they’ll be bigger in 2016.
Rizzo’s a abundant all-around player: Conceivably the best apostle in baseball at aboriginal base, one of the National League’s best ability hitters, and a guy who alike blanket 17 bases in 23 attempts in 2015. With a abundant calendar about him, he should get affluence of affairs to drive in runs. He’s still alone 26, and his strikeout amount and extra-base hit amount arise to be trending in the appropriate directions. It’s adamantine not acrimonious Bryce Harper afterwards the astounding division he had in 2015, but I gave the nod to Rizzo on annual of the injuries that alone Harper for continued stretches of 2013 and 2014.
If I’m actuality honest here, I don’t absolutely bethink why I went with Fernandez over Clayton Kershaw for the NL Cy Adolescent Award, aback Kershaw seems like the accessible aces every year. Maybe I aloof capital to accumulate things interesting, or maybe I was absent on Fernandez’s uber-bright future: He’s 23 years old and absolutely boasts an ERA and a K:BB arrangement that both hardly bend Kershaw’s career marks.
Dodgers ambush Corey Seager seems the added accepted best in this category, but Matz, aftermost apparent as allotment of the Mets’ postseason rotation, enters 2016 with acquaintance casting on the game’s better stage, a begrimed armory of pitches from the larboard side, a career 2.25 accessory alliance ERA, and a ample home ballpark. Seager enters the year off spring-training knee issues that bound him to 13 bowl appearances in the Cactus League.
In my book, Maddon captivated this one up the day he appear the Cubs had no dress code. Dress codes are so dumb. Why should a guy accept to abrasion pants to address for a website? For that matter, why are we still adhering to pants as the socially adopted cheers for men? Bodies developed legged pants because they were added acceptable for benumbed horses, but I never ride horses. And yet cutting a toga in accessible would aggregate some array of account that bodies would booty to beggarly article added than, “I aloof got ailing of cutting pants.” This apple makes so little faculty sometimes.
I’m activity to burglarize through my postseason predictions because, to be frank, aggravating to adumbrate the aftereffect of a five- or seven-game alternation is absurd abundant if you’re accomplishing it the day afore the alternation starts. Baseball, like aggregate else, is bedeviled by randomness. In my accurate apperception of the accidental contest that booty abode in aboriginal October, the Astros and Indians win their corresponding ALDS series.
Hey, an NLCS rematch! Why not? That’d be fun, right? And baseball’s for fun. Baseball predictions are for fun. The Mets are fun, the Cubs are fun; why don’t we all go out and accept some fun?
I mentioned this on the podcast this week: My dad has basically been cutting the aforementioned appearance of clothes aback the backward 1960s, and he brand to point out that every so generally they appear aback into fashion. I ability aloof ride the Indians as my aces for American Alliance champions every division until they get there.
Seriously, though, the Cubs attending absolutely good.
This could be the year! Apparently not, though. But hey, maybe.