Final Win-Loss Predictions for Every MLB Team in 2016

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2016

Final Win-Loss Predictions for Every MLB Team in 2016

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    The 2016 MLB season is set to begin on Sunday, April 3, with a trio of games that concludes with a World Series rematch between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals on Sunday Night Baseball.

    In the meantime, teams are wrapping up their spring schedules and putting the finishing touches on their Opening Day rosters. For the most part, however, we know how all 30 clubs will stack up heading into the year.

    With that said, now is as good of a time as any to make one last round of win-loss predictions for each team before the regular season gets underway.

    The following provides a division-by-division look at my take on how each race will shake out and an in-depth rundown of each division.

AL East

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    Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    Predicted Standings

    TeamWinsLossesWin%GB
    Toronto Blue Jays9369.574-
    Boston Red Sox8676.5317
    New York Yankees8379.51210
    Tampa Bay Rays8181.50012
    Baltimore Orioles7587.46318

     

    Division Overview

    The Toronto Blue Jays won the American League East title by six games last season on the strength of a juggernaut offense that averaged 5.5 runs per game and scored 127 more runs than any other team in baseball.

    Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and AL MVP Josh Donaldson combined for 120 home runs and 348 RBI last season, and adding a full season of Troy Tulowitzki to the mix should mean an offense that once again strikes fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers.

    Their pitching staff won't be confused for elite, but if Marcus Stroman can emerge as an ace and Drew Storen can help solidify the bullpen, they should have enough pitching to again claim the division crown.

    After adding David Price to the top of the rotation and the hard-throwing duo of Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith to the back of the bullpen, the Boston Red Sox have a chance to give the Blue Jays a run for their money as they look to rebound from a last-place finish in 2015.

    With Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz coming down the home stretch of their respective careers, the young duo of Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts appear ready to emerge as the new faces of the franchise.

    Fresh off an offseason that saw them spend a grand total of zero dollars, the New York Yankees are hoping their veteran core can once again stay relatively healthy and that trade acquisitions Aroldis Chapman and Starlin Castro can make a legitimate difference.

    There's no bigger boom-or-bust rotation in the league than the one donning pinstripes this year, as Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and CC Sabathia are as big of a question mark as any in baseball.

    The Tampa Bay Rays starters posted an AL-best 3.63 ERA last year, and that group could conceivably be even better in 2016 with Matt Moore and Alex Cobb getting healthy and the arrival of Blake Snell.

    Offense is still an issue after they ranked 25th in the majors and 14th in the AL at 3.98 runs per game, but the additions of Corey Dickerson, Logan Morrison, Brad Miller and Steve Pearce won't hurt.

    That leaves us with the Baltimore Orioles at the bottom of the heap. Their starting rotation simply doesn't look good enough to contend even with Yovani Gallardo signed to replace Wei-Yin Chen.

    They're going to hit a ton of home runs, though. They ranked third in the majors with 217 long balls last year, and now they've added Pedro Alvarez and Mark Trumbo to the lineup along with re-signing Chris Davis.

AL Central

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    John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

    Predicted Standings

    TeamWinsLossesWin%GB
    Kansas City Royals9270.568-
    Detroit Tigers8775.5375
    Cleveland Indians8280.50610
    Minnesota Twins7785.47515
    Chicago White Sox7389.45119

     

    Division Overview

    The Kansas City Royals will be looking to make it three straight American League pennants this coming season, and with defense, speed and relief pitching all looking to be strengths of the team once again, it's hard to bet against them at least repeating as AL Central champs.

    Bringing back Alex Gordon at a discounted rate was a coup for the franchise, and while guys like Ian Kennedy, Joakim Soria, Dillon Gee and Travis Snider are not the most exciting offseason additions, they're exactly the kind of players this team has targeted to fill out the roster around its homegrown core.

    This team desperately needs Yordano Ventura to step forward and assume the role of staff ace. From an overall depth standpoint, it could be in trouble if the injury bug strikes, but right now it has to be the favorite in the division.

    That was a title that belonged to the Detroit Tigers for several years running, as they won four straight division titles before being dethroned last season, falling all the way to the cellar with a 74-87 record.

    New general manager Al Avila set right to work reloading the roster, adding an impressive crop of talent headlined by Justin Upton and Jordan Zimmermann. The biggest difference might come in the bullpen, where Justin Wilson, Mark Lowe and Francisco Rodriguez were added to a relief corps that has perennially been among the worst in baseball.

    People like to say that pitching wins championships, but if it were that easy, the Cleveland Indians would not have been sitting at home watching the postseason last year.

    The rotation trio of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar rivals any in the AL, but will the additions of Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, Juan Uribe and Marlon Byrd be enough to give the offense the shot in the arm it needs to get over the hump?

    Predicting a step back for a Minnesota Twins team that surprised with an 83-79 record last year may seem odd considering the wealth of young talent on the roster, but the Twins played over their heads, and a 30-19 start helped mask a 53-60 finish.

    Byung Ho Park and a healthy Byron Buxton could make a significant impact offensively, and the eventual arrival of Jose Berrios will help the rotation immensely, but the Twins still look to be a year away from making a serious push.

    Finally, we have the Chicago White Sox, who ranked among the most disappointing teams in baseball last year.

    Another step forward by Carlos Rodon would give the rotation a third front-line arm, and the additions of Brett Lawrie and Todd Frazier will help as much defensively as they do offensively, but a fourth straight losing record might be in the cards in a tough AL Central battle.

AL West

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Predicted Standings

    TeamWinsLossesWin%GB
    Texas Rangers9171.562-
    Houston Astros9072.5561
    Seattle Mariners8379.5128
    Oakland Athletics8082.49411
    Los Angeles Angels7389.45118

     

    Division Overview

    The Texas Rangers managed to keep their heads above water amid a rash of injuries before closing out last season on a 41-22 tear to swoop in and win the AL West title.

    There is understandable excitement about the prospect of a full season of deadline addition Cole Hamels alongside a healthy Yu Darvish at the top of the rotation, and the improved staff will once again be backed by a bullpen that was quietly among the best in baseball last year.

    Without any real holes on the roster and more overall depth than in years past, the Rangers appear to have a real shot at defending their division title.

    However, expect the Houston Astros to give them everything they can handle on that front.

    It was a relatively quiet offseason for the Astros, with the addition of closer Ken Giles to shore up the relief corps ranking as the big move.

    When you add in full seasons of Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers, a healthy George Springer and two extra months of Carlos Correa, this has a chance to be a significantly improved team.

    Speaking of improving, the Seattle Mariners went in the wrong direction last year, as they went from 87 wins and one game away from the postseason in 2014 to 76 wins and a fourth-place finish.

    New GM Jerry Dipoto wasted little time putting his stamp on the roster, as there are 10 newcomers currently projected for the Opening Day roster, per Roster Resource. There wasn't necessarily a flashy addition in the bunch, but overall, the team added a ton of talent and plugged more than a few holes.

    The Oakland Athletics struggled mightily in the late innings last season, going 19-35 in one-run games thanks to a 4.63 ERA from a bullpen that converted just 28 of 53 save chances.

    An overhauled bullpen around a healthy Sean Doolittle in the closer's role should help rectify that glaring weakness, while under-the-radar additions like Khris Davis, Yonder Alonso and Jed Lowrie should also give the offense a boost. It's the starting pitching behind ace Sonny Gray that now looks like the issue.

    That leaves us with the Los Angeles Angels, a team that went from 98 wins and 4.77 runs per game (first in MLB) in 2014 to 85 wins and 4.08 runs per game (20th in MLB) in 2015.

    Having the best player on the planet in Mike Trout doesn't hurt their chances, but their lineup as a whole might be the worst in the American League. While the rotation should be solid, it's not good enough to carry them.

NL East

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Predicted Standings

    TeamWinsLossesWin%GB
    New York Mets9468.580-
    Washington Nationals8973.5495
    Miami Marlins8181.50013
    Philadelphia Phillies6399.38931
    Atlanta Braves61101.37733

     

    Division Overview

    In case you haven't heard yet, the New York Mets starting rotation is going to be pretty good this season.

    The one-two punch of Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom was brilliant last season, but don't be surprised if it's Noah Syndergaard who winds up being the team's best pitcher in 2016. Throw in "rookie" Steven Matz, who already has three postseason starts under his belt, ageless wonder Bartolo Colon and the eventual return of Zack Wheeler, and it truly is an embarrassment of riches on the mound.

    Offensively, they won't be confused with the 1927 Yankees anytime soon, but finding a way to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes and countering the loss of Daniel Murphy with the addition of Neil Walker should be enough for them to avoid the bouts of ineptitude they suffered last year.

    One hundred games. That's how many I predicted the Washington Nationals would win in last year's version of this article, and I was far from alone in singing their praises heading into the season. Injuries bit them early, though, and they wound up falling flat with an 83-79 record.

    A healthy season from Anthony Rendon could prove to be the biggest difference, but a retooled bullpen and the eventual arrival of top prospects Lucas Giolito and Trea Turner should also give them a boost. They burned a lot of prognosticators last season, but it would be foolish to ignore the talent on their roster.

    The Miami Marlins are still searching for a winning product to help bring some life to Marlins Park, and there is no question they improved this offseason with the addition of Wei-Yin Chen to a staff that desperately needed a reliable No. 2 starter.

    If Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez can stay healthy, Dee Gordon can avoid significant regression, and guys like Marcell Ozuna and Jarred Cosart can rebound, this team could surprise some people. For now, though, 81-81 seems reasonable.

    From there, it's a race to avoid 100 losses and a last-place finish between a pair of rebuilding franchises in the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.

    The Braves probably have more talent on their Opening Day roster, but the Phillies have more high-end prospect talent expected to arrive at some point during the course of the season.

    Maikel Franco is a star in the making for the Phillies, and he'll soon be joined by the likes of shortstop J.P. Crawford, outfielders Nick Williams and Roman Quinn, and right-handers Jake Thompson and Mark Appel in forming the foundation of their rebuilding efforts.

    As for the Braves, they still have one superstar in place in first baseman Freddie Freeman, but protecting him with the likes of Hector Olivera, Adonis Garcia and A.J. Pierzynski could make it a long year for the two-time All-Star.

    Both teams will likely be looking to flip more veteran talent come July. The Phillies added a number of cheap veteran arms who could build up some value to fill out the pitching staff, and the Braves have one of the most intriguing bounce-back candidates in the league in right-hander Julio Teheran.

NL Central

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Predicted Standings

    TeamWinsLossesWin%GB
    Chicago Cubs10161.623-
    St. Louis Cardinals9270.5689
    Pittsburgh Pirates8775.53714
    Milwaukee Brewers6597.40136
    Cincinnati Reds6498.39537

     

    Division Overview

    The Chicago Cubs surprised more than a few people last year with 97 wins and a run to the National League Championship Series, but they won't be sneaking up on anyone this year.

    Adding Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, John Lackey and Adam Warren to a roster that was already overflowing with talent should make them the odds-on favorites to win it all when the season starts, and the young roster will face a whole new set of challenges in the role of favorite.

    Young players like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler have only scratched the surface of their vast potential, and adding Lackey to the rotation plugs what was arguably the Cubs' biggest weakness a year ago. This is still the Cubs we're talking about, so anything can happen, but it's impossible to ignore their talent.

    Sustained success is the ultimate goal for any team, and the St. Louis Cardinals have been the gold standard in that department. They've reached the postseason in 12 of the past 16 seasons, including each of the past five years, and led the majors with 100 wins in 2015.

    They are not without some legitimate areas of concern, though.

    Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk will be relied on heavily in an offense that has struggled to consistently score runs at times, and losing Jhonny Peralta to a thumb injury doesn't help that situation. Meanwhile, catcher Yadier Molina is still recovering from thumb issues of his own, and keeping him healthy will be incredibly important.

    Joining those two in making it an exciting three-team race once again will be the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have made the postseason each of the past three years after snapping a 20-year drought.

    It's a new-look Pirates team this year, with guys like Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, A.J. Burnett, J.A. Happ, Joakim Soria and Antonio Bastardo moving on and John Jaso, David Freese, Jon Niese, Ryan Vogelsong, Juan Nicasio and Neftali Feliz set to take their place.

    The return of Jung Ho Kang and arrival of prospects Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, Josh Bell and Alen Hanson could be the X-factor for the Bucs.

    Similar to the NL East, the bottom of the division will be a battle to the cellar and perhaps a race to 100 losses, as the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers have both sold aggressively and are still in the early stages of rebuilding.

    The Brewers rotation has a chance to be good enough for them to at least remain competitive, while the Reds still have some solid offensive pieces in place, starting with Joey Votto, who was an absolute monster after the All-Star break.

    The NL Central is a tough division for a rebuilding team, and with both teams expected to trade off at least a few more pieces between now and the deadline, the 2016 season is essentially a throwaway year for both clubs while they evaluate their young talent.

NL West

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    Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    Predicted Standings

    TeamWinsLossesWin%GB
    San Francisco Giants9171.562-
    Arizona Diamondbacks8478.5197
    Los Angeles Dodgers8478.5197
    San Diego Padres6696.40725
    Colorado Rockies62100.38329

     

    Division Overview

    These NL West picks will almost certainly draw the most scrutiny, but I'll ask that you holster your comments of "Giants homer" for the time being and hear me out.

    Those aforementioned San Francisco Giants spent $220 million to add Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to a starting rotation that was by far their biggest weakness last season. Matt Cain could be a non-factor and Jake Peavy is another year older, but with Chris Heston and Clayton Blackburn providing solid depth, it's hard to not see the pitching staff being better.

    Meanwhile, the offense has quietly become the strength of this team, starting with superstar catcher Buster Posey and the Giants' homegrown infield. Throw in a healthy Hunter Pence and bounce-back candidate Denard Span, and they could easily boast one of the best attacks in all of baseball.

    The season hasn't even started yet and I'm already sick of hearing about the fact that it's an even-numbered year, but there's no denying the Giants look like the most talented team in the division and one poised for another October run.

    Then there are the Arizona Diamondbacks. They already boasted one of the best offenses in baseball, led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta, but they were lacking on the pitching side of things.

    Adding Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller to the front of the rotation and Tyler Clippard to the back of the bullpen should go a long way in changing that, and don't underestimate the impact Patrick Corbin could make another year removed from Tommy John surgery.

    There are question marks on the infield and at the back of the rotation, but after a few years on the fringe, they finally appear ready to make some legitimate noise.

    And that brings us to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Even before a spring riddled with injuries, the Dodgers looked like a team that was at best treading water this winter while the Giants and Diamondbacks made significant strides to improve.

    The rallying cry from supporters was that they had lost Greinke but gained significantly more starting pitching depth, which would make them better in the long run. That depth has quickly been put to the test this spring, though, and they again find themselves scrambling to find a No. 5 starter.

    As things stand as of March 21, it's impossible to argue this is a better Dodgers team than the one that was ousted in the division series last October, and that will leave them on the outside looking in when the postseason rolls around again.

    That leaves us with the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies.

    The Padres went all-in last offseason and it didn't work, so now they're left picking up the pieces and working to rebuild the farm system while trying to stay competitive.

    For the Rockies, it's the same old story of a stacked offensive attack and no pitching to back it up. The return of Tyler Chatwood and a step forward from Jon Gray would help, but not enough for them to contend.

     

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.