Bastian’s 2016 Preseason Predictions
Remember when the Angels beat the Nationals in the World Series last October? No? Well, certainly you recall that raucous celebration when Cleveland clinched the 2015 American League Central title. Still no?
Oh, that’s right, because I totally nailed all my preseason predictions last year!
Let’s take a look at the last five World Series winners in the alternate reality that is the annual Bastian Preseason Predictions. Let’s see, before the Angels took the crown last year, the other Los Angeles club, the Dodgers, defeated the Tigers for the 2014 title. Too bad, because that could’ve been back-to-back Series triumphs for Detroit, which bested the Braves in the 2013 Fall Classic. Texas beat San Francisco in ’12 (so close!) and the Phillies took down the Red Sox in ’11.
As you can see — just like all the other experts out there — I am really good at this.
I actually went 0-for-15 on division finishes last season, which I think is a new low. I mean, you’d think I would’ve accidentally got one right. As a reporter who sees the American League the most, it makes total sense that I went 9-for-15 in the National League, including predicting the entire NL Central. I even had five of the playoff teams right.
All of this is to say, once again, take these predictions for what they’re worth: zilch.
I’m not going to pick Cleveland to win the Central this time. The Royals are the back-to-back pennant winners. They have earned the right to be picked first (even if I don’t really think they’ll finish first. Or, maybe I do. Gahh. I don’t know.). Don’t get me wrong, though, I do think the Indians are capable of winning the division, based on their pitching and defense.
Really, the AL Central as a whole is tough to pick this year. The Royals proved they are no fluke, no matter what PECOTA thinks of them. The White Sox have solid pitching and should be better. The Twins are that annoying team that other clubs increasingly don’t want to face. The Tigers tried to bury their problems beneath some big-money contracts. I could see each of the teams finishing first, or last.
With all that in mind, let’s just get to it. Here are the teams I plan to jinx this year.
1. Blue Jays
2. Red Sox
3. White Sox
*indicates Wild Card pick
NL Wild Card: Mets over Pirates
NL Division Series: Cubs over Mets
NL Division Series: Nationals over D-backs
NL Championship Series: Cubs over Nationals
AL Wild Card: Indians over Astros
AL Division Series: Blue Jays over Indians
AL Division Series: Rangers over Royals
AL Championship Series: Blue Jays over Rangers
Blue Jays over Cubs
AL Most Valuable Player: Mike Trout, Angels
AL Cy Young Award: Chris Sale, White Sox
AL Rookie of the Year: Joey Gallo, Rangers
AL Manager of the Year: John Gibbons, Blue Jays
NL Most Valuable Player: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
NL Cy Young Award: Zack Greinke, D-backs
NL Rookie of the Year: Steven Matz, Mets
NL Manager of the Year: Chip Hale, D-backs