The 2016 Major League Baseball season is only a couple months away, with that being said the Atlantis Race and Sports Book released win totals for MLB’s 2016 season yesterday. They envision an American League full of parity and a National League with some really bad teams. Here’s a look at the totals as well as my “preseason” predictions and best bets. Anyone who has ever placed a bet on a 162-game marathon knows staying healthy is of paramount performance and tough to predict. So here is my best shot without getting all nerdy and looking up statistics for the next two weeks.
American League East
- Baltimore Orioles 80.5
- Boston Red Sox 85.5
- New York Yankees 85
- Tampa Bay Rays 78
- Toronto Blue Jays 87
Overvalued: Tampa Bay Rays. There are four teams capable of winning this division. There is one that is not. Chris Archer is a force to be reckoned with but the Rays struggled to score runs last year (3.98 a game) and will look to Brad Miller and Logan Morrison to add pop. That and a reliance on Evan Longoria returning to form doesn’t instill much confidence.
Undervalued: Baltimore Orioles. Securing Yovani Gallardo to serve as an ace of a mediocre staff would be key. Should continue tradition of blasting home runs. Have more confidence they can slug with the big boys within the division. Manager Buck Showalter was fantastic in one-run games in 2012 and 2014.
Don’t Touch: New York Yankees. Starlin Castro and Luis Severino help bring the Yankees’ average age down a bit but this team is old.
American League Central
- Chicago White Sox 80.5
- Cleveland Indians 84
- Detroit Tigers 85
- Kansas City Royals 87
- Minnesota Twins 77.5
Overvalued: Detroit Tigers. Always look good on paper. Will be trying out a starting lineup with eight right-handers and one switch-hitter. Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez all need to increase their production from last year.
Undervalued: Minnesota Twins. Expecting a breakout year from Byron Buxton and an even bigger one from Miguel Sano.
Don’t Touch: Kansas City Royals. With the division getting better in both the Twins and Indians, don’t expect the Royals to dominate like they did last season. A lot like the AL East, teams are going to beat up on each other. I truly believe in a World Series hangover, and while I’m not saying that KC won’t win the AL Central, I think 85 wins gets it done rather than 90.
American League West
- Houston Astros 85.5
- Los Angeles Angels 82.5
- Oakland Athletics 75.5
- Seattle Mariners 83
- Texas Rangers 86
Overvalued: Seattle Mariners. Had the lowest ERA in 2014 and finished 12th in the American League in the same category last year. The number suggests a 7-win jump from 2015. Felix Hernandez is great and all but there are three teams I like more in this division, meaning wins could be hard to come by.
Undervalued: Houston Astros. Vegas seems to think last year was a flash in pan. This is a young, hungry team that picked up a huge veteran piece in Doug Fister.
Don’t Touch: The Los Angeles Angels. An old team gets a little older. Trout is still fantastic, however, with no major free agent signings and a vulnerable pitching staff, the Halos will have to fight all season to stay in the Wild Card race in the AL.
National League East
- Atlanta Braves 65
- Miami Marlins 80.5
- New York Mets 88
- Philadelphia Phillies 66.5
- Washington Nationals 87
Overvalued: Miami Marlins. Teeming with potential and in possession of Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez. What’s not to like? Every fiber in my being suggesting the rebuilding projected is a long way from winning stage, for starters.
Undervalued: Atlanta Braves. Look, I don’t think the Braves will be particularly good this year. But I don’t think the Marlins or National League Central trio of contenders will be as dominant as predicted.
Don’t Touch: Washington Nationals. Bryce Harper may very well repeat as National League MVP. The loss of Jordan Zimmermann could be rougher than expected.
National League Central
- Chicago Cubs 89
- Cincinnati Reds 71
- Milwaukee Brewers 71.5
- Pittsburgh Pirates 87
- St. Louis Cardinals 87.5
Overvalued: Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates window has closed. They are not a 88 win team. John Jaso is not the answer.
Undervalued: Milwaukee Brewers. If one or two young prospects step up, a 90-loss season could be avoided. Jonathan Lucroy is undervalued and Ryan Braun is protected now by Chris Carter. 72 wins….. It could happen.
Don’t Touch: St. Louis Cardinals. Big public team. Lost Jason Heyward to Chicago but always find a way to reach the playoffs.
National League West
- Arizona Diamondbacks 84.5
- Colorado Rockies 68.5
- Los Angeles Dodgers 87
- San Diego Padres 74
- San Francisco Giants 90
Overvalued: San Francisco Giants. With newcomers Denard Span, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, the Giants look a lot better on paper. But lets not forget, the NL West is full of teams who love to beat up on each other. I think the Giants improve but not to 91 wins.
Don’t Touch: Los Angeles Dodgers. The loss of Grienke can not be understated.